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Maira K

- Research Program Mentor

PhD at University of California Los Angeles (UCLA)


adolescent development; adolescent brain development; empathy; prosocial behavior; helping behaviors; sleep


Hi there! I graduated from UCLA in 2023 with my PhD in developmental psychology, and I am now a post-doctoral research fellow at Stanford University. My research focuses on how the teenage brain develops in relation to how teens help other people and develop empathy for others. Another line of my research examines sleep during the teenage years: how it changes across teen development, how it relates to mental health, and how people fall into categories of being "morning-types" and "evening-types". I have a deep passion for mentorship and teaching individuals from all walks of life about psychology and neuroscience. Outside of the lab, I love to ski, go on hikes, and try new baking recipes. I also have a cat named Rambo!

Project ideas

Project ideas are meant to help inspire student thinking about their own project. Students are in the driver seat of their research and are free to use any or none of the ideas shared by their mentors.

Sleep & the Commute to School

Does the method of commuting to school (private transit vs public transit) affect how much sleep students get during the school year? This project would entail a literature review of prior research on this topic, research method design, data collection, data analysis, and a final presentation (written or visual).

Coding skills

python; psychopy; stata; r; matlab

Languages I know

Spanish, intermediate

Teaching experience

I have served as a graduate teaching assistant for six undergraduate level courses in the department of psychology at UCLA. Some of these courses have required me to support professors and others have required me to teach classes of students on my own, which taught me how to prepare lecture content and guide students through the learning process. Most of my teaching experience has had an emphasis on teaching the research process/scientific method to students particularly as it relates to psychology and developmental neuroscience. I have also mentored several undergraduate and post-undergraduate students through one-on-one mentorship and guided them successfully through research projects that have turned into conference presentations.


Work experience

UCLA Department of Psychology (2017 - 2021)
Graduate Teaching Assistant
UCLA Department of Psychology (2022 - Current)
Teaching Fellow
UCLA (2017 - 2021)
Graduate Student Resarch
Bryn Mawr College (2017 - 2017)
Undergraduate Teaching Assistant


Bryn Mawr College
BA Bachelor of Arts (2017)
University of California Los Angeles (UCLA)
MA Master of Arts (2018)
Developmental Psychology (Major) | Quantitative Psychology (Minor)
University of California Los Angeles (UCLA)
PhD Doctor of Philosophy (2023)
Developmental Psychology (Major) | Quantitative Psychology (Minor)

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