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Maddie Thall
Class of 2022

Maddie with her dog, Maisey

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 has been 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 - Forté will always 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. This research experience has given me the foundation and confidence to pursue primate research as I make my way to 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). Working in our lab has been one of the most pivotal and rewarding experiences of my life, and I am grateful every day to come into work, knowing that I am doing what I love. 


Chris Leppink-Shands

Class of 2019
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.

Ana Knighten

Class of 2020
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.
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