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Principal Investigator

Dr. Cara Palmer is the director of the Sleep and Development Lab and the co-director of the MSU Sleep Lab. Dr. Palmer joined the MSU faculty as an assistant professor in Psychology in 2018. Prior to coming to MSU, Dr. Palmer completed her doctoral training in Life-Span Developmental Psychology at West Virginia University in 2014, and a postdoctoral fellowship in Clinical Child Psychology at the University of Houston from 2014-2017. In 2017, she was promoted to research faculty at the University of Houston within the Department of Psychology and the Texas Institute of Measurement, Evaluation, and Statistics. Dr. Palmer has received numerous awards and grants for her research from organizations including the National Science Foundation, the National Institutes of Health, the Sleep Research Society, and the World Sleep Society.

When not in the lab or the classroom, Dr. Palmer loves to spend time with her family and friends, travel, cook (and eat!) new foods, paint, and stay active by running or hiking in the beautiful mountains of Montana.



Graduate Student

I am a fourth-year graduate student, originally hailing from Richmond, Virginia. I moved to Montana in 2012 after graduating from James Madison University. My research interests include sleep, emotion regulation, and executive function. I am particularly interested in the relationships between cognitive factors (e.g. selective attention, rumination) and sleep, emotion regulation, and other mental health outcomes. Outside of school you can find me hiking, skiing, napping, or pouring craft beer at my side job!

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Graduate Student

Dagny (she/her/hers) is a 2nd year graduate student and the current coordinator for the Sleep and Development Lab. Dagny grew up for most of my life in the small town of Salmon, Idaho where she has been a whitewater river guide for the past 12 years. Dagny has been a guide on the Middlefork of the Salmon, which is Shoshone-Bannock tribal land, and it is her favorite place in the entire world. If you can't find her there you can find her very busy with a nose in a book, community building, or project managing somewhere. Dagny's current research focus is looking at the intersection of sleep as it relates to positive psychology constructs such as mindfulness and self-compassion. When Dagny isn't working you can be sure to find her with a paintbrush, on a dancefloor, or cooking good food for good friends.

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Graduate Student

Giovanni Alvarado is a first-year graduate student from Los Angeles, California. He graduated from the University of California, Merced in 2020 where he received his Bachelor's degree in Psychology. Giovanni's current research interests revolve around the relationships between sleep, stress, anxiety, and its effects on other health outcomes. During his free time, he enjoys hanging out with friends or playing and watching soccer, football and basketball. If any of those three sports are not in season, he'll watch any other sport that isn't baseball.



Project Coordinator

After visiting MSU in the Spring of my junior year in high school I knew that this was the school that I wanted to attend. I absolutely love being involved on campus, I have been in two research labs and volunteer at the VOICE Center. I have a passion for working with children and having a stronger understanding for how to be the best mental health professional for them down the line. In my free time I love watching Criminal Minds, going on hikes/walks around Bozeman, cuddling with my cat, and reading as much as I can.

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Research Assistant

Growing up in Bozeman, I couldn’t imagine going anywhere else for school! I am a senior majoring in both criminology and psychology. After my undergraduate, I plan to pursue a PhD in graduate school with a focus in forensic psychology (the criminal mind is so fascinating!) I am aiming for a career in behavior analysis or research in neurocriminology. Outside of classes I love to play tennis, travel, and sketch.



Research Assistant

I'm a senior studying cell biology and neuroscience, and after I graduate, I hope to attend medical school, with the goal of coming back to practice here in Montana.  My hometown is Billings, Montana, and I love being close to family and being able to spend time at the family cabin on the Boulder River.  When I'm not busy with school work, I can be found curled up with a good book and my three cats, or better yet, at the cabin with a book and my cats :)



Research Assistant

I am a senior studying psychology at Montana State. After graduating I intend to work in mental health or counseling.  I grew up in South Dakota and moved to Montana to work in Big Sky and started to pursue my degree the following year. My favorite hobbies are rock climbing, running, skiing and making art.



Research Assistant

I am currently a Junior at MSU studying Cell Biology and Neuroscience with a minor in Psychology. After I finish my undergrad, I plan to continue attending school whether that be grad school or medical school. I am passionate about the human brain and I hope to contribute to our evolving understanding of neuroscience in the future. I am originally from Cheyenne, WY, but I have fallen in love with Bozeman and now call it home. Outside of school, I love hiking, drinking tea, and spending time with my friends and family.

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Research Assistant

I am a senior at Montana State University studying Psychology and a 2020 cohort of McNair Scholars. I plan to graduate in May of 2022 and attend a graduate program in Industrial/Organizational psychology fall of 2022. I grew up in Minnetonka, Minnesota, and lived in Greenville, South Carolina before moving to Bozeman. When I am not in school, you can find me at the Gallatin Valley YMCA where I work, and Access Fitness dancing with the Zumba crew! I love staying active in our Bozeman community and was recently a part of the IndepenDANCE community project. I am a returning research assistant of the SAD Lab and I am excited to be here again. :)



Research Assistant

I am a junior majoring in Cell Biology and Neuroscience and minoring in Psychology. I plan to go to medical school to become a doctor.
Outside of classes I love to read, play sports and listen to ’80s music.

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Research Assistant

I am currently a Junior majoring in Psychology, originally from Livermore, California. I have an excitement to get involved in research to further understand how the mind works on a psychological level. After completing undergrad, I hope to complete my Master’s in order to pursue a career of therapy in the mental health field! Outside of class I enjoy baking, spending time with my pup, and getting outside in the beautiful state of Montana.

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Research Assistant

I am a senior at Montana State University studying Psychology and plan to graduate this May. After I graduate I plan to take a year off of school before coming back to work on my PsyD. I was born and raised in Minneapolis, Minnesota and still go back frequently to visit friends and family. Outside of class I work as a caregiver at The Springs, an assisted living home in Bozeman. My hobbies include hiking, snowboarding, videogames, and spending time with my friends.



Research Assistant

I’m currently a Junior majoring in Psychology and Sociology. After graduation, I plan to attend graduate school with the hope of becoming a Licensed Clinical Social Worker to support underserved rural communities. I’m from Bozeman, so I love all things outdoors, particularly hiking with my dog, backpacking, and cross country skiing. I’m very excited to be apart of the SAD research team this semester!

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Research Assistant

I am a freshman studying psychology and nursing at Montana State. After undergrad, I hope to become a mental health nurse practitioner. My hometown is Fort Collins, CO where I love to paddleboard on Horsetooth Reservoir. Outside of class you’ll see me on the trails hiking or with a book in hand!



Research Assistant

Maddie is a first-year undergraduate student at Montana State University from Helena, MT studying Cell Biology & Neuroscience. After undergrad, Maddie hopes to go to medical school, with a focus on pediatrics. Outside of school, she has a passion for the outdoors, which she enjoys sharing with her family and friends, whether it be through rafting, hiking, fishing, etc. She also loves spending time with her 1 year old Brittany pup, Dory.



Research Assistant

Native of Montana, I spent much of my childhood at our family ranch and my BUTTEiful hometown.  I am currently a junior majoring in Cell Biology and Neuroscience with the hopes of attending medical school. I am very passionate about premature babes, infants, and psychology. Much of my time is spent with my family, friends, and pups, while my favorite hobbies are horse riding, exercising, and enjoying the outdoors. I am more than excited to learn from Dr. Palmer and assist in the SAD lab!



Research Assistant

I am currently a senior majoring in psychology with a minor in sociology. I grew up in Winnett, Montana and came to Bozeman in 2018 to attend MSU. After I graduate, I plan on attending graduate school to further my education. When I’m not busy with classes or homework I like hiking, reading, or spending time with friends or my cat.



Research Assistant

I am a junior standing student and Montana State University pursuing a major in psychology!  My future goals are to attend graduate school in clinical psychology or neuropsychology.  After taking Psych.101 I completely fell in love with how the human brain functions and behaves!  My interests include video games, movies, any physical activities, and hanging around my friends!