profile picture

Elaine C

- Research Program Mentor

PhD candidate at University of California, Santa Cruz


Cognitive Psychology, Applied Linguistics, Cognitive Linguistics, Psycholinguistics, Perception, Memory, Critical Thinking, Learning how to learn


I am: - a motivated and resilient learner with diverse academic experience in both liberal arts (language and literature) and social science (cognitive psychology) - a resourceful and innovative researcher studying perception, memory and language processing with quantitative (such as behavioral experiments), qualitative (such as interview) and mixed methods - a patient and passionate mentor with high-school, university, and military-based teaching experiences - a ballerina and art-lover

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.

Can our bodies shape our minds? If so, how?

They say "mind over matter", but have you ever considered the possibilities of the other way around? In this project, you will: - learn about interesting topics and studies in "Embodied Cognition" - explore how people are "prompted" or "swayed" to perceive things in certain ways and/or to make certain decisions based on their bodily interactions with the world - write a review paper OR produce a podcast OR create a VLOG OR design an experiment based on the topics and theories we have covered

Learning (and coping) strategies in this fast-paced and eventful era

When more than half of our global population was confined to bedrooms and to learn and to work, when online courses and meetings became the norm, when our average human attention span is rapidly shrinking while everything else is booming and luring, how do we keep our focus and keep important information from fading? In this project, you will: - gain comprehensive understanding of attention, memory and learning processes - get to know useful tools and methods (such as mindfulness) in boosting attention, memory and general life satisfaction - Evaluate the validity and reliability of certain intervention-based studies that trying to promote/demote certain practices - conduct interviews and/or questionnaires on one or several of the tools and methods we have discussed

Literally speaking, how figurative are we?

When it comes to metaphors and other figures of speech, people generally equate them with some artistic talents that are shared only among poets and writers. Not to mention, some tend to believe that rhetorical devices are at best useless ornamental pieces scattered here and there to beautify one's language, or worse yet, deviant twists of tongues insidiously lead the recipients astray. But hold on a sec! Did I just unintentionally left a full trace of metaphors as I'm typing down these words? Isn't "equate" a metaphor - mapping maths values to general ideas? Isn't "scatter" a metaphor - mapping candies to words? Isn't "astray" a metaphor still - mapping a physical path to a mental path? It turned out, figuration (especially metaphor) might as well be a fundamental mechanism of human cognition! In this project, you will: - experience the magic of "Conceptual Metaphor Theory", a powerful and still developing theory in Cognitive Linguistics - gather evidences and examples of "metaphors of our mind" in linguistic data, cultural and social artifacts - Carry out a corpus study OR a discourse analysis based on arguments for or against "Conceptual metaphor

Coding skills


Languages I know

Mandarin Chinese

Teaching experience

I had more than five years of experience teaching English for academic purposes. In four years of graduate school, I TAed courses including Research Methods, Perception, Learning and Memory, Feelings and Emotions, Intro to Cognition and Intro to Neuroscience. I'm currently an Assistant Professor in Chinese Mandarin.


Work experience

Department of Motor Vehicles, California (2022 - Current)
Research Specialist


Wuhan University
BA Bachelor of Arts (2012)
English Language and Literature
Chinese University of Hong Kong
MA Master of Arts (2013)
Applied Linguistics
University of California, Santa Cruz
MS Master of Science (2018)
Cognitive Psychology
University of California, Santa Cruz
PhD Doctor of Philosophy candidate
Cognitive Psychology

Interested in working with expert mentors like Elaine?

Apply now