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PRIME’s undergraduate work-study program offers students an introduction into the world of psychiatry research and the chance to make a meaningful impact on our current studies and projects. Students will learn about research coordination, recruitment, and data collection, as well as have the opportunity to assist with phlebotomy, blood processing, and biorepository organization. Click here to learn more about UNC’s work-study program.

Current Undergraduate Research Assistants


Earl McBride

Class of 2024

Earl is a senior at UNC majoring in Psychology (B.S.) and Neuroscience. He joined the UNC Department of Psychiatry staff in Fall 2022 as a work-study student. Prior to joining, Earl discovered that he was passionate about psychopathology and how this affects individuals on a day-to-day basis. He completed several courses that required research projects related to mental illnesses but wanted to get more involved. Earl desired an up-close, face-to-face research experience that would direct him towards his future career goals. In the future, Earl plans to attend a dual MD-PhD program, focusing his research on the psychopathology of children (and young adults) and the effect that environmental factors have on the development of certain disorders.

Averi Goldman

Class of 2025

Averi is a sophomore from South Florida pursuing a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and a minor in Neuroscience. Averi joined the PRIME Research Program in the Fall of 2022 as a Work-Study Student after looking for ways to get involved within the Psychiatry/Psychology department at UNC. Through taking courses at UNC and participating in various extracurriculars within the realm of Psychology, Averi discovered a passion for looking for ways to better understand and treat mental illnesses. 

Megan Taylor

Class of 2026
Megan is a sophomore from Minneapolis, Minnesota seeking out a Bachelor of Science degree in Neuroscience with a minor in Chemistry at UNC. She joined the PRIME lab in Fall 2023 as a work-study student hoping to get hands-on research experience. Megan established a passion for the field of neuroscience and psychology during her high school years, more specifically the distinct biological mechanisms that influence our everyday behaviors and actions. After exploring these passions throughout her first semesters at UNC, she decided she wanted to become more involved through varying student-run clubs and aid in research through the PRIME lab. After undergrad, Megan aspires to pursue a graduate program in hopes to one day work as a physician’s assistant, specializing in neurology.

Emilie PowellEmilie Powell picture

Class of 2027

Emilie joined the PRIME lab team as an undergraduate research assistant in Fall 2023. She is currently pursuing a Bachelor of Science degree in Neuroscience, as well as a second major in the arts for Music Performance, and a minor in Chemistry. Emilie was driven by her interest in research, medicine, and psychopathology to join PRIME, and during her time in the lab she has worked to recruit participants, prepare study materials, manage data, and collect, process, and store biospecimens. In the future, Emilie plans to pursue research on the links between psychological well-being and social networks, as well as a medical degree and subsequent career in psychiatry.

Former Undergraduate Research Assistants


Sidra Afzal

Class of 2024

Sidra worked with the PRIME lab team as a work study student during her sophomore year from 2021 to 2022.

Armani Johnson, B.S.

Class of 2022, December graduate

Armani spent her final semester at UNC working in the PRIME Lab. She graduated with a B.S. in Psychology and double minors in Health & Society and Chemistry. Prior to being a research assistant in the PRIME Lab, Armani was a research assistant in another lab that studied schizophrenia spectrum disorder to understand the unique effects of race-related stress on social cognitive functioning among Black Americans. Armani decided to join the PRIME Lab because she is interested in Psychiatry and wanted a more hands-on role to contribute to a global study aimed at developing new treatments and long-term health outcomes for those at highest risk for psychosis. Armani is currently working as a Patient Care Technician at an hospital and preparing for the 2023-2024 medical school application cycle.

Tori Langdon, B.A.

Class of 2022

Tori spent her senior year at UNC working with the PRIME lab team as a work study student from 2021 – 2022. She graduated from UNC Chapel Hill in May 2022 with a B.A. in Psychology and Neuroscience Minor. Her involvement with PRIME included recruitment efforts for the LTF study, creating biospecimen collection kits for ProNET, and assisting in biorepository organization. She currently works as a Registered Behavior Technician at an Autism Therapy Center where she practices Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) Therapy, teaching social skills, daily living skills, and reducing maladaptive behaviors in children with autism. She is currently applying to earn her Master’s degree with UNC’s Clinical Mental Health Counseling program.

Irma Gutierrez, B.Ed.

Class of 2021

Irma contributed to data collection and biospecimen processing for PRIME’s NAPLS III study from 2017 – 2020. In 2021, she received her Bachelor’s of Education in Human Development and Family Studies with a concentration in Child and Family Health. She is currently working on her MSW at UNC Charlotte.

Katelyn Pope, B.S.

Class of 2021

Katelyn worked with the PRIME Research Program as an undergraduate research assistant from 2017 to 2020. She graduated from UNC Chapel Hill in 2021 with a double major in Psychology and Neuroscience and a minor in Chemistry.

Ashley Maria Jiron, B.A.

Class of 2017

Ashley joined the NAPLS team as a work study student during her junior year at UNC-Chapel Hill in 2015. During her first year, she was exposed to various research methodologies such as accurate data entry. She became interested in the wet lab portion of the research lab, and the following year she was trained to follow appropriate protocol to process blood samples received from various sites. During her senior year, Ashley became involved with her own research project in which she recruited control participants and conducted her own observations on heart variability. She is now a clinical research assistant for the perinatal research team for UNC’s OBGYN Maternal and Fetal Medicine Division, working with high-risk pregnant women developing pre-eclampsia or at risk of delivering prematurely. She is involved in multiple research projects with UNC’s MFM doctors and has a newfound passion for medicine. Her future plans include moving back home to Miami, FL, to be close to family and pursue a career in nursing.

Kristen Boling, B.A.

Class of 2015

Kristen joined the UNC Department of Psychiatry staff in 2013 as a work-study student. She then transitioned into a research assistant position during the summer of 2015 and worked as the database manager for the NAPLS and OMEGA studies. She is a graduate of UNC-Chapel Hill, having earned her bachelor’s degree in psychology in 2015. She is currently pursuing her masters in social work at UNC-Charlotte.