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Maddy LoRusso
Class of 2023
Maddy LoRusso.png
Intern 2023-2024
Hi, my name is Maddy LoRusso! I graduated from Carleton in 2023 where I majored in Psychology and had a minor in Neuroscience. I began working in the Neiworth Primate Cognition Lab the summer before my senior year and have loved working with the monkeys ever since. Like many other members of the lab, one of my favorite aspects of working here has been getting to know each of the monkeys’ unique personalities and forming connections with them. Having homemade treats brought in by Julie is also another favorite! In addition to primate cognition, I also have a great deal of interest in canine cognition and comparative studies between children, primates, and dogs. For my senior thesis project, I conducted a study on domesticated dogs’ ability to work cooperatively with humans. This coming year, I’m excited to continue working on research projects with both dogs and monkeys. All in all, I am so thankful for the opportunity to work in our lab – the guidance from Julie, the friendships made with other students, and the joy of working with the monkeys have been invaluable to me!


Maddie Thall
Class of 2022
Intern 2022-2023
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Hi! My name is Maddie, and I graduated as a psychology major with the class of 2022. My favorite thing about working in the lab was getting to know our monkeys on an individual level. When I started working here during my sophomore year, I didn't think I would ever be able to tell them apart. Now, it's a no-brainer. Encore and Forté are twins, and although it can sometimes be difficult to distinguish them when watching over the cameras, it is still so obvious to me who is who, not only by their appearance but also by their behavior - Forté will likely be the one climbing upside down on the ceiling. It's knowing these little quirks that brings me so much joy. I have grown so much as a person, scientist, and researcher during my time here. For my senior thesis project, I conducted a study with the tamarins exploring resilience and its behavioral indicators. Because of my findings, we were confident in housing Oriole and Roosevelt together which made them, and us, extremely happy. This research experience has given me the foundation and confidence to pursue primate research in graduate school at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. There, I will transition from the lab to the field as I earn my PhD in anthropology (biological). The years I spent working in the lab have easily been some of the most pivotal and rewarding years of my life, and I am grateful every day for the experiences I had and the relationships I built, both human and nonhuman. 

Ana Knighten

Class of 2020
Intern 2021-2022
My name is Ana Knighten. I graduated from Carleton in 2020 with a major in Cognitive Science and a minor in Arabic. My experiences at Carleton and especially in the Primate lab taught me how to conduct research and allowed me to explore my interests in cognition and behavior. I started working in the primate lab during my sophomore year and came back after graduation for another year. For my senior thesis, I studied the tamarin’s abilities to make inferences about the location of hidden rewards. After graduation, I joined AmeriCorps and worked as a reading tutor for Minnesota Reading Corps for two years. In the fall of 2022, I enrolled in the Master of Arts in Psychological Sciences Clinical-Counseling program at the University of Minnesota Duluth. I’m glad I had the opportunity to work in the Primate lab, because the skills I learned there prepared me for my current path.

Chris Leppink-Shands

Class of 2019
Intern 2019-2021
My name is Chris Leppink-Shands. I graduated from Carleton in 2019 with a major in Psychology and minors in both Cognitive Science and Neuroscience. I worked in the primate cognition lab as a student during both my junior and senior years of college as well as 2 additional years after I graduated. I had the pleasure of working with 9 different monkeys during my time there and I am confident in my ability to identify each of them by photo alone if I had to. Working with the monkeys and Julie and all of my other lab mates was a life changing opportunity. I loved always feeling like I was doing something valuable and unique. The thing I enjoyed most about the lab was learning each of the monkeys personalities and quirks. I also treasure Julie's leadership and the connections I was able to make with all of the other students in the lab. I left the lab after 4 years to pursue a career in college admissions and now I work as an Admissions Officer for Carleton. I still love to talk about the monkey lab with prospective students, especially those interested in engaging with Carleton's research opportunities.
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