Lab Team

Dr. Susan Bluck, Professor, Lab Director

For more information on Dr. Bluck, visit her profile.

Emily Mroz, Graduate Assistant, Lab Manager

Emily is a doctoral candidate in Developmental Psychology with a focus in Gerontology. She received her Bachelor’s degree in 2015 from the University of Buffalo, where she majored in both Psychology and Gerontological Health and Human Services. Her research interests involve functions of autobiographical memory, particularly in situations involving death and dying. She is interested in older adult populations and patient- caregiver relationships, as well as the functions of remembering lost loved ones. Her completed Master’s Thesis investigates how young people may prefer to memorialize lost loved ones based on their death anxiety and past experience with death. Emily also assists with quality assessment projects at UF Health involving palliative care program outcomes.

Shubam Sharma, Graduate Assistant

Shubam is a doctoral candidate in Developmental Psychology at the University of Florida. She obtained her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from the University of Georgia, with minors in Statistics and Human Development and Family Science. Her research investigates the impact of adversity in different life phases, and examines individuals’ internal and external resources that promote positive outcomes despite challenging life events. Her completed Master’s Thesis examined the role of protective factors from different levels of the socio-ecological environment in buffering the effects of cumulative risk and negative behavioral health outcomes among high-risk adolescents. In the Life Story Lab, her research investigates how the personal past can be utilized as a resource for resilience, and specifically, how narrating life with a sense of purpose can be adaptive for older adults who contend with life challenges. In her spare time, Shubam enjoys reading both fiction and non-fiction books, exploring new coffee shops, and spending time with her family and friends.

Kiana Cogdill-Richardson, Research Assistant

Kiana, a fourth year UF student, is pursuing a dual degree in Psychology and English. She fell in love with Life Story Lab after attending one of their ‘Death Over Dinner’ events. An avid diary writer since she was a child, she has a special interest in autobiographical memory — specifically how recording our own stories can contribute to one’s best lived life and a better understanding/overcoming of death anxiety. In her spare time, Kiana takes piano lessons, plays board games with friends, knits scarves and reads in her hammock.

Rachel Wisolmerski, Research Assistant

Rachel is a third-year psychology major with a minor in communication studies. Rachel’s interest in the Life Story Lab started with her volunteer work with Meals on Wheels and her experiences working with people of all ages. She’s especially interested in the role of autobiographical memory across the lifespan and its effect on the formation of personal narratives.  When she’s not in the lab, Rachel enjoys her role as treasurer for UF Psychology Club, and loves to practice yoga, fence, and spend time with her friends and family.

Nerea Anaya-Dominguez, Research Assistant

Nerea obtained her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and Spanish from the University of Florida. She is currently in her gap year before going back to school to earn her doctorate degree in psychology. Her interest in the memory lab started after enrolling in Dr. Bluck’s Death and Dying course. She is interested in how the fear of death can be both a motivating force for some and a demotivating force for others. She is interested in learning from the stories of others and how death has impacted their lives emotionally, physically and mentally.

Lance Madow, Research Assistant

Lance is a third year psychology major with a minor in communication studies. Lance originally discovered the Life Story Lab through participating in one of their “Death Over Dinner” events and quickly became interested in a multitude of their projects.He has a special interest in the intersectionality of death and autobiographical memory, how other’s deaths can affect your own view of life. For fun, Lance likes to read or watch anything sci-fi related and plays Dungeons and Dragons with friends.

Riley Gallivan, Research Assistant

Riley is a second year biology major with a minor in Nutritional Sciences at the University of Florida. Her interest in the aging process started in high school while working in nursing homes and volunteering at a hospice. In college,  Riley continued volunteering with the senior population at the Gainesville Senior Center and through No One Dies Alone at Shands. She joined the Life Story Lab because of her interest in the aging process and how different factors can ease anxiety about the death and dying process. Riley also is a Campus Diplomat, which is an ambassador to the Dean of Students office. When she isn’t in the lab, Riley enjoys reading and traveling.

Nidhi Suresh, Research Assistant

Nidhi is in her fourth year at the University of Florida majoring in Psychology and Criminology. Nidhi’s interest are the ways that negative life events affect memory and the process of death and dying and how unique life conditions like race, gender, and sexuality can impact how we remember negative life events. She joined the Life Story Lab after taking Dr. Bluck’s Gerontology class and connecting to the material in a meaningful way. She hopes that this research experience will assist her in working in health care law and malpractice injury in the future. Nidhi is also a Leadership caller for the UF Office of Advancement. In her free time, Nidhi enjoys playing Overwatch, watching movies, and singing.