David Menendez

David Menendez

Postdoctoral Research fellow

University of Michigan


I am a postdoctoral research fellow in the Department of Psychology at the University of Michigan working with Dr. Susan Gelman. In July 2023, I will start as an assistant professor of Psychology at the University of California-Santa Cruz. I am an interdisciplinary scholar interested in the intersection of cognition, education, and child development. Some of my research projects have explored how children learn science concepts through conversations with parents, when and why people change the strategies they use to solve mathematics problems, and how visual representations influence learning and generalization.

I will be accepting graduate students to start in Fall 2023 in UC-Santa Cruz. If you are interested in STEM learning, socialization, or diagrams let me know! If you are interested in how children think about death, evolution, global warming or genetics I would love to chat!


  • Conceptual development
  • Visual representations
  • STEM education


  • PhD in Psychology, 2022

    University of Wisconsin-Madison

  • MS in Psychology, 2017

    University of Wisconsin-Madison

  • BA in Psychology, 2016

    University of Wisconsin-Madison

  • AA in Psychology, 2014

    Miami Dade College

Recent Publications

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Project management


Quantitative data analysis


Qualitative data analysis




Postdoctoral research fellow

University of Michigan

Jul 2022 – Present Ann Arbor, Michigan
Supervised projects on how children think about viruses and viral transmission. Managed a team of undergraduate students in collecting, transcribing and analyzing data.

Teaching Assistant

Introduction to Psychology

Jan 2021 – May 2022 Madison, Wisconsin
Taught weekly discussion section for students with traditionally underrepresented backgrounds in science. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, in Spring 2021 the section was taught online, with a combination of synchronous and asynchronous components. The focus of the section was to provide students with more opportunities to engage with the material and teach how they can use psychological science to improve their study habits.

Teaching Assistant

Graduate Statistics

Sep 2019 – May 2020 Madison, Wisconsin
Taught weekly lab sections to 15 doctoral and master students taking an introductory statistics course, designed lessons and assements in R, and taught a guest lecture on Bayesian data analysis. The course was an introduction to R (programming language) and inferential statistics. The focus of the course was on general and generalized linear models and linear mixed-effects models. Some special topics discussed include mediation and path analysis, moderated mediation, factor analysis, and Bayesian inferential statistics. Although the majority of the course was in-person, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, I gained experience with both synchronous and asynchronous online teaching and assessment.

Research Intern


Jun 2019 – Aug 2019 Iowa City, Iowa
Conducted literature reviews for projects on improving performance on large-scale science assessments. Worked to incorporate research on science education into science assessments.

Graduate Student Researcher

Cognitive Development and Communication lab

Sep 2016 – Jul 2022 Madison, Wisconsin
Conduct studies on whe students change the strategies they use when solving problems and how visual representations influence students’ learning, particularly in the domain of biology. Supervised between 1 and 4 undergraduate researchers per semester. Coordinated data collection with children between the ages of 5 and 12 and adults.

Graduate Student Researcher

Cognition in Action lab

Sep 2016 – Aug 2019 Madison, Wisconsin
Conduct studies on how socio-cultural factors influence biological reasoning and cognitive development. Supervised between 3 and 10 undergraduate researchers per semester and managed between 2 and 4 projects per semester. Coordinated data collection with children between the ages of 3 and 12 and adults.

Research Assistant

Instituto Nacional de Psiquiatria

Jun 2016 – Aug 2016 Mexico City, Mexico
Analyzed data and wrote up the results of an eight-year longitudinal study of the transition from adolescence to adulthood among a representative sample of Mexico City’s youth. Specifically, I examined risk and protective factors of suicidal ideation, plannning and attempts.

Notable Coursework

Computational Cognitive Science

Item Response Theory

Structural Equation Model

Information Visualization

Bayesian Statistics

Neural Networks Model of Cognition


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