Lab Team



Dr. Susan Bluck, Professor, Lab Director

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

Emily Mroz, Graduate Assistant

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.

Majse Lind, Graduate Assistant

Majse is a doctoral candidate in Cognitive Psychology with a focus on mentalization and life stories. She received her Bachelor’s degree of Psychology in 2012 at Aarhus University, and earned her Master’s degree of Psychology in 2015 at Aarhus University. Her research of interest is connections between mentalization and life stories. Mentalization is the ability to perceive and interpret human behavior in terms of intentional, mental states (e.g., needs, desires, feelings, thoughts, beliefs, goals, purposes and reasons, Fonagy et al., 2007). The connections between life stories and mentalization is studied in a group of high school students as well as in a group of patients with a borderline personality disorder and a matched control group. A focus on these connections may contribute to a more nuanced understanding of clinical groups that have difficulties with mentalization and with constructing coherent life stories.

Natasha Narvel, Research Assistant, Lab Manager

Natasha is in her senior year at the University of Florida. Working with the elderly at a nursing home sparked her interest in the function of memory in our daily lives which led her to join the Life Story Lab. Natasha also developed a passion to work with all kinds of people of all ages with her experience teaching children and working with teachers to gain students’ interests in learning. Natasha is a volunteer at Shands where she in involved in a support program for young adults living with cancer, sickle cell, cystic fibrosis, and other chronic and life limiting illnesses called Streetlight. In her free time, Natasha loves to watch Modern Family, dance and spend time with friends and family.

Jacob Williams, Research Assistant, Webmaster

Jacob is in his final semester at UF, majoring in Behavioral Psychology and Cognitive Neuroscience. His interest in memory and its decline in the elderly ultimately brought him to the Life Story Lab. He is very interested in the motivations behind behavior and the role of the brain in those behavioral processes. Jacob is also involved in Haven Hospice and the Gator Emergency Response Organization at UF, where he serves as an EMT. Outside of volunteering and classes, Jacob enjoys watching football and reading.

Raihan Noman, Research Assistant

Raihan is in his third year at the University of Florida and is majoring in Mathematics and Psychology. Raihan has been interested in photographic and autobiographical memory and their influence on day-to-day functioning since he was in high school. In an effort to pursue this interest further, Raihan decided to get involved in the Life Story Lab. Outside of the lab, Raihan volunteers for Haven Hospice, where he spends time with terminally ill patients and their caregivers. In his free time, he enjoys reading, playing instruments, and spending time with friends.  

Krista Smith, Research Assistant

Krista is a Psychology and International Studies major and International Development and and Humanitarian Assistance minor in her third year at UF. While taking Dr. Bluck’s Gerontology course, Krista became interested in the Life Story Lab and its focus on autobiographical memory. She has always been fascinated by memory and nostalgia, and the role each plays in determining life satisfaction. When not in the lab, Krista enjoys spending time at coffee shops, going on service trips, listening to music, and making smoothies.

Shelby Hall, Research Assistant

Shelby is a volunteer in the Life Story Lab. She is a recent graduate of Eckerd College where she majored in Women’s & Gender Studies and Religion. Shelby became interested in the subject of autobiographical memory after taking courses on the literature of Holocaust survivors. She has also done research on the role of identity in the lives of Native American feminists. She is interested in pursuing graduate work related to the intersection of spirituality and mental health and is excited about getting to do more research in the lab. In her free time, Shelby enjoys doing art projects, volunteering, reading, and spending time with friends and family.

Hanna Akerlund, Research Assistant

Hanna is in her third year at the University of Florida, and majoring in Psychology and Spanish. Hanna’s research interests involve the ways in which autobiographical memory affects our sense of identity. In particular, how life events typically considered a crisis situation, might take a significantly different direction depending on factors such as personality traits and social expectations. As an international student from Finland, the opportunity to study abroad has shaped her curiosity about the ways in which cultural standards affect the stories people tell themselves about their own lives. When she is not in the lab, she enjoys long dinners in good company, sour patch, and pretty views.