Graduate Research Assistants are a vital part of the TRIP Lab, as they provide leadership and guidance to undergraduates, high school interns, and volunteers.


Dr. Stavrinos effectively implements a hierarchical peer mentoring structure in the TRIP Lab. This teaching model is guided by Vygotsky’s Social Development Theory, a proven and successful approach involving hierarchical peer teaching. The hierarchical method of teaching means that more advanced students play an active role in teaching newer students. Graduate students mentor undergraduate students in collecting and compiling data, and performing appropriate data analytic techniques to answer research questions they have developed. Less experienced students benefit through learning from multiple teachers and multiple styles.


Given their significant involvement TRIP Lab, graduate students are also expected to produce theses and dissertations, as well as first-author and co-author manuscripts and scientific presentations.

Tyler Bell
  • Tyler Bell
    Tyler Bell Graduate Assistant
    Tyler Bell received his Bachelor of Arts in Psychology with a training in Applied Statistics at the University of South Alabama, and is currently a third-year graduate student in the Lifespan Developmental Psychology Program with a focus on the role of health on cognitive processes and injury risk. He is an active member of the American Psychological Association and the American Pain Society, and the Southeastern Psychological Association where he has presented his research for the last three years. Recently, he has completed his Master’s thesis which assessed cognitive deficits in chronic pain which may impact risk of future injury.  He is currently assisting with studies looking at the role of traumatic brain injury on cognitive function and health across the lifespan. He is also beginning other projects for his dissertation assessing the role of health behavior on injury outcomes. Upon completion from the Ph.D. program, he aspires to receive post-doctorate training to pursue a career on injury prevention among at-risk health populations.
    Being a part of the TRIP lab has been an incredible experience which has allowed me to better understand the role of health psychology in cognitive assessment and injury prevention. Dr. Stavrinos provides a rich environment to train as future researcher and mentor.”
    Benjamin McManus
    • Benjamin McManus
      Benjamin McManus Graduate Assistant

      Benjamin McManus is currently a third-year graduate student in the Lifespan Development Program with a focus on human factors, cognition, and statistical analyses. He is currently working on the completion of his Master’s thesis and dissertation project focused on the effects of vigilance on driving performance in commercial motor vehicle drivers. Ben is also awaiting approval for two posters to be used in upcoming conferences, both with a focus on driving and use of the Useful Field of View Assessment (UFOV). He has been the leader in the development of the U-HAUL Study, as well as assisting with the ROADS Study. Ben has also been involved running participants for the HIP and SANDS studies, and participation in the in the Arrive Alive Study: Stop the Texts, Stop the Wrecks. Distracted Driving Education for High School Students. Upon graduation from the Ph.D. Program. He aspires to have a career in research and the development of ergonomic interventions to improve driving performance.

      “I have had the unique opportunity to be a member of the TRIP lab as an undergraduate assistant, a post-baccalaureate assistant, and now as a graduate assistant. Dr. Stavrinos’ invaluable leadership of the TRIP lab has provided a vital foundation for the skills and experience necessary for success at all stages of my career. The TRIP lab is a thriving and active hub for not only the acquisition of knowledge in the fields of injury prevention, but also in translating the findings of our research for implementation in the community. The mentorship and opportunities provided by Dr. Stavrinos foster an environment where assistants at all stages of his or her career can thrive, gain crucial experience, and enjoy all aspects of the research process.”

      Email Ben:

      Caitlin Pope
      • Caitlin N. Pope
        Caitlin N. Pope Graduate Assistant
        Caitlin Pope received her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and Bachelor of Science in Biology, as well as her Masters of Arts in Experimental Psychology from the University of North Carolina Wilmington.  Her main research areas of interest are cognitive aging and injury prevention across the lifespan, more specifically the role of executive functioning and health in distracted driving, driver behavior, and driver training interventions.  Currently she is a co-principle investigator on the Cognition, HIV, and Driving (CHAD) Study, which is a part of a NIA-funded project focusing on aging and HIV.  She will be using this data for her dissertation project.  Caitlin is a member of the Psi Chi Psychology Honors Society and is also a UAB Graduate Student Government Senator representing the psychology graduate students in the graduate student senate.  Upon graduating with her PhD from the Lifespan Developmental Psychology Program (LDPP) at UAB, she aspires to obtain a post-doctoral position focusing on health, cognitive functioning, and transportation related injury prevention in at-risk groups such as adolescents and older adults.  Her overall career aspiration is to teach at a university and be the director of her own research lab, focusing on cognitive development and functioning from adolescents to older adults and its association with health and injury prevention.

        “The TRIP lab has offered me mentorship and collaborative opportunities on research and publications that are essential to professional development in academia.  It has helped to broaden my knowledge and expertise in the field of Lifespan Developmental Psychology.”

        Email Caitlin:

        Maria Lechtreck

        Information coming soon!

        Austin Svancara

        Joining the TRIP Family in AUGUST!

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