Sasha Kimel, Ph.D.

Lab Director

Dr. Sasha Kimel is a social and cultural psychologist. She joined the Psychology Department at California State University, San Marcos in Fall 2018 as an Assistant Professor of Psychology. Beforehand, Dr. Kimel was at Harvard University where she was a Harvard College Fellow, a postdoctoral fellow and a lecturer. She received her PhD from the University of Michigan. Her psychological research on intergroup conflict and culture draws on her background in public policy as well as her experience working at the United Nations and non-profits focused on international conflict resolution. She has lived in Canada, Japan, Singapore and Israel/Palestine. 

Viridiana Sanchez Alcaraz

Lab Manager

Viri graduated from California State University San Marcos in 2020 with a major in Psychological Sciences. She joined our lab in March of 2019 with hopes to develop her skills in research and team management. Viri has a strong background in statistics and data analysis. While at CSUSM, Viri was an Undergraduate Teaching Assistant for Dr. Carnes' Social Psychology Lab. In her free time, Viri enjoys hiking, weightlifting and traveling. After graduating, Viri will be moving to Seattle, Washington to pursue work in the higher education industry. 

Kayleigh Cousar

Graduate Student

Kayleigh graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from the University of California, Riverside in 2018 before pursuing her Masters of Arts in Psychological Science at CSUSM. For her Masters thesis, Kayleigh is interested in investigate the influence of morality on motivating intergroup conflict, through the lens of political group affiliation. In her free time, Kayleigh enjoys watching movies, playing sports, working out, and eating great food with friends and family. Kayleigh hopes to work in the criminal justice field after graduating CSUSM.  

Brianna Salazar 

Graduate Student 


Brianna graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Psychology from the University of La Verne in 2018 before beginning the Masters of Arts program in Psychological Science at California State University, San Marcos. Brianna is interested in examining the differences between the acculturation attitudes of minority groups and receiving host communities on intergroup relations. After graduating, she would eventually like to become a professor of psychology. During her free time, Brianna enjoys traveling, spending time with friends and family, and drawing. 

culture + intergroup relations lab