Lab Director

 Matthew L. Bernacki

Matt Bernacki


Matthew Bernacki is an Assistant Professor who joined the UNLV faculty in 2013. He earned his Ph.D. in educational psychology in 2010 from Temple University in Philadelphia and also holds master’s degrees in Experimental Psychology from Saint Joseph’s University and Social Work from Temple University. Prior to arriving at UNLV, Matt worked at the Learning Research & Development Center (University of Pittsburgh) and the Human Computer Interaction Institute (Carnegie Mellon University) as a postdoctoral researcher at LearnLab.

Matt’s research focuses on (1) the roles that motivations and metacognitive processes play when learners use technologies like hypertext, intelligent tutoring systems, and learning management systems, (2) the development of interventions and software to promote effective learning strategies, and motivation to learn AND (3) the development of learning materials and environments that personalize learning to students’ interests.

Outside the Lab, Matt is a dad, cook, hiker, and nature- food- and baseball-tourist. He also avidly follows Pittsburgh-area sports teams and parlays his prior sports knowledge and quantitative training into a stable of slightly-better-than-mediocre fantasy sports teams.

Lab Members

Yvette Aqui



Yvette is a doctoral student in the Learning and Technology program, as well as the WebCampus Administrator on campus. Her research interests focus on instructor adoption and utilization of learning management system features. Yvette’s doctoral studies are co-advised by Michael Nussbaum; she provides expertise across multiple projects in the Lab with respect to LMS design features.

Celeste Calkins

Celeste is a doctoral student in the Higher Education program. She currently serves as a graduate assistant within the EPHE department. Prior to coming to UNLV, Celeste taught Graphic Arts at Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana. It was at Ball State that she received two Masters Degrees, one in Career and Technical Education, the second in Adult and Community Education. She received her B.S. in Graphic Communications Management from the University of Wisconsin – Stout. Her current research focuses on what motivates faculty within higher education to teach, and the factors that may impact that motivation.

Megan Cogliano

Michelle Dominguez

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Michelle is a doctoral student in the Higher Education program and is one of the graduate assistants at the MALT•lab. She received her B.A. in Biochemistry from the University of San Diego and her M.A. in Medical Sciences from Boston University. Before coming to UNLV, Michelle taught Chemistry for three years at Boston College and MCPHS University. Her research experience includes bench lab work as well as clinical research. Michelle is currently working on the Educational Data Mining project.

When not in the lab, Michelle enjoys ballroom dancing, reading fiction, and watching Netflix. She also serves as the President of the Las Vegas Alumni Chapter for her alma mater, the University of San Diego.

Mustafa Gunozu



Mustafa is a doctoral student in the Educational Psychology program, as well as an administrator at Coral Academy of Science, a public charter school. With a background in teaching language and management, he studies self-regulation and metacognition. His research interest is on students’ self-efficacy and metacognitive processes as they relate to learning math and science using technology. LeAnn Putney is his co-advisor.

Wonjoon Hong


Wonjoon is a doctoral student in the Learning and Technology program. He has work experience as an enterprise resource planning (ERP) system developer in Korea. His research interest is in educational data mining (EDM) and learning analytics (LA). In the lab, he has used log and registrar data to build models predicting final grades in STEM courses and researched messaging effects based on these model. He also works for the Office of Online Education as a data analyst.

In his spare time, he enjoys swimming and cooking with his two kids and wife. One of his favorite activities is feeding squirrels acorns with his family at the Red Rock Canyon.

Elsa Mason

Elsa Mason2

Elsa is a 5th year Ph.D. student in the Educational Psychology Foundations track whose research interests include self-regulation of motivation and cognition.  In the lab she explores LearningTAGs data to examine how instructional interventions affect students’ adoption of online learning behaviors.

Outside the lab, she is a full time faculty member in Psychology at the College of Southern Nevada. Prior to her 2011 full-time appointment, she led a team of retention specialists that conducted interventions with at-risk students to help them complete their term coursework, persist in college, and graduate in a timely manner. In her free time, she enjoys going to the movies and her children’s sporting, choir and orchestra events, the gym and So-Cal beaches.

Kyle Mefferd

Mano Murukutla

Marissa Owens



Marissa is a doctoral student in the Learning & Technology program. She has previously earned a BS in Psychology and a MA in Industrial/ Organizational Psychology from Roosevelt University in Chicago. She has experience as a research administrator, and studies how affordances and constraints posed by technologies influence academic discourse. Marissa is a student of Michael Nussbaum‘s and, in affiliation with the Educational Datamining project, she i developing a review of the prevalence of research that makes use of trace methods for observing learning with technology.

Outside the Lab, Marissa loves to travel, read, and bake. She also has a weird love for anything Victorian and enjoys buying antiques.

Rachel Part

Nick Voorhees

Lucie Vosicka



Lucie is a graduate student in the Foundations program. She brings expertise in software development and project management from her time at 22Learn and is interested in studying how mobile applications and advanced learning technologies can be used to scaffold students’ motivations, learning processes, and achievement. Lucie’s primary duties are to the Learning TAGs project as a project manager and content developer.

Nancy Webb


Nancy is a doctoral student in the Learning and Technology Ph.d. program.  She received her M.Ed. and B.S. from Wayne State University in Detroit, MI.  Nancy is an Instructional Designer at the College of Southern Nevada (CSN), a position she has held for 11 years.  Nancy is a Quality Matters (QM) Master Reviewer and CSN’s QM Coordinator.  Her research interests focus on self regulated learning in the online learning environment.

In her spare time, Nancy and her husband Michael enjoy being empty-nesters, practices yoga, and is attempting to improve her cooking skills.

Michael Wilder


Michael is currently a doctoral candidate in Educational Psychology (Learning & Technology) at UNLV.  His research focuses on online learning curricular organization from the perspective of cognitive load theory.  He received his bachelor’s degree in English from UCLA, and received his master’s degree in Educational Leadership, with emphasis on computer-based education, from Gonzaga University. Michael is currently the Instructional Design Coordinator for the UNLV Office of Online Education, and teaches part-time for the UNLV School of Journalism.  Michael is also a certified Quality Matters master reviewer and a recipient of the Online Learning Consortium’s Effective Practice award. In his spare time, Michael enjoys wood sculpting, archery, cycling, and distance running.

Monique Yarnell


Monique is a doctoral student in the Learning & Technology program and is one of the graduate assistants at the MALT•lab.  She received her M. Ed. in Learning Systems Technology from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock and her B.S. in Merchandising from Texas Christian University.  Before coming to UNLV, Monique was a co-developer of a college coaching program designed to help students’ reach their academic and career goals, while minimizing the stress commonly associated with graduating from high school. As a graduate assistant, she manages lab resources and develops new course curriculum. When not in the lab, Monique enjoys spending time with friends and family, taking walks with her dog children, and working out.

Undergraduate Lab Members

Alexis Hilts


Alexis is a member of the Honors program double majoring in biochemistry and political science at UNLV. She hope to attend medical school after graduation. In the lab, Alexis will be pursuing a Departmental Honors Project investigating topics relevant to women in STEM education.

Hermella Misiker


Hermella is a pre-med undergraduates student majoring in biology and minoring in public health. She is interested in the sciences, especially integrative health sciences. In the lab, she is working on a project that pairs students’ descriptions of their learning strategies with their use of learning resources in STEM courses.

Jerra Strong

Britney Trieu

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Britney is a pre-medical biology major active in student government and community service. In the lab, she assists on a project cross validating trace and self-report data. She also studies learning behaviors and techniques to increase student performance in science courses, with a focus on declarative knowledge and application.

Collaborators & Friends of the Lab

Lab members collaborate with a number of scholars and organizations. Past and current collaborators include:


Vincent Aleven

Anita Aguilar

Ryan Baker

Dan Belenky

Adar Ben-Eliyahu

John Kinnebrew

Timothy J. Nokes-Malach

J Elizabeth Richey

Andreas Stefik

Candace Walkington

Leaning TAGs instructional partners: Jenifer Utz, Carryn Bellomo Warren, Monika Neda, Donald Hayes, & Jeff Markle


Carnegie Learning


Human Computer Interaction Institute (Carnegie Mellon University)

LearnLab (A National Science Foundation – Science of Learning Center)

Learning Research & Development Center (University of Pittsburgh)

The Office of Instructional Technology at UNLV

The Office of Online Education at UNLV

Splunk – [Data Operations Software Platform]

The Transparency in Teaching & Learning Project at UNLV

Lab Alumni

Kira Albers

Kira is a UNLV graduate (Computer Science) who helped develop a sequence mining tool for use with math learning data from the Cognitive Tutor intelligent tutoring system.

Robert Coe

Robert is UNLV graduate (computer science) who built data models to support data mining research and interventions. He also developed software to enable researchers to analyze students’ sequences of learning behaviors in intelligent tutoring systems and learning management systems.

Kyle Bowen


Kyle is a UNLV graduate (Computer Science) who helped build the data collection infrastructure for the Learning TAGs project.

Erica Marti

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Erica is a doctoral graduate of the Civil and Environmental Engineering Program. Her dissertation research was on emerging disinfection byproducts for water treatment; however, she also pursues education research on the side. Erica has a Master of Education and previously taught high school chemistry. Her work in the malt•lab examines help-seeking behaviors within an intelligent tutoring system.

Caleb Picker

Picker pic - Bernacki website

Caleb worked in the lab in 2014 and analyzed the education instrumentation used in the Transparency in Teaching and Learning Initiative.

Stephanie Torres

Stephanie is a Psychology major at UNLV who completed an undergraduate research apprenticeship in Spring 2015. She explored the features of motivational writing interventions and their potential for delivery via learning technologies.

Merlin Uesbeck


Merlin is a graduate student in Computer Science. He implemented initial data mining activities for the LearningTAGs project by conducting data transformations and creating and evaluating a number of different models examining how student behavior can be used to predict course performance.

Michelle Zochowski

Michelle is a graduate student in School Psychology who managed data from Year 1 of the LearningTAGs study, among other project management tasks.