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Lab director

Jordan Quaglia, PhD, is Assistant Professor in Naropa University's Contemplative Psychology program and Research Director for the Compassion Initiative in the Center for the Advancement of Contemplative Education. He received a BA from the University of Richmond, an MA from Naropa University, and a PhD in Experimental Psychology from Virginia Commonwealth University. When he's not in the lab or classroom, Jordan's hobbies include hiking, contemplative practice, and writing fiction. Email:  


Graduate Research Assistant

Katreina Casale is a Master’s student in Naropa’s Clinical Mental Health Counseling program, with a concentration in Contemplative Psychotherapy and Buddhist Psychology. Her primary interests include the body-mind connection, the impact of meditation on self and relationship, and social justice issues surrounding mental health care and equality. She has a background in psychology and criminal justice and is interested in reforming the current systems to promote rehabilitation and reduce recidivism. Katreina also enjoys sports, dance, music, and studying links between physical and mental health.



Elyse Soisson is an undergraduate student in Naropa’s Contemplative Psychology program with a concentration in Contemplative Neuroscience. She is primarily interested in research involving attachment, subconscious bias, and the effects of contemplative practices on everyday life. Outside of the lab, Elyse enjoys working with her hands in Naropa’s Contemplative Carpentry Club. Growing up in Northern Indiana for 18 years, Elyse is trying to make up for the lack of sunshine by spending as much time hiking and running outside in the Boulder sun as is possible. 



Alyssa Gursky is a master's level candidate in Clinical Mental Health Counseling, concentrating in Transpersonal Art Therapy. Her primary research interests are the power of the unconscious mind, as well as its ability for healing and transformation. Her main modalities of interest include the creative process, mindfulness, non-ordinary states of consciousness, dream work, and the application of virtual reality to the field of research and mental health. She is also employed by the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies to work on their study for MDMA-assisted psychotherapy with treatment-resistant Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. Outside of the academic setting, Alyssa thoroughly enjoys petting all dogs, reading science fiction, and creating woven textiles.


Dylan Leigh is an undergraduate student in Naropa’s Contemplative Psychology program. Dylan’s background includes working with education nonprofits and electoral political campaigns. His research interests include understanding how mindfulness and meditation may be used by and practiced within organizations. Outside of trying to be more awake through his own practice, studying at Naropa, and working at Ozo Coffee, Dylan tries to climb, ski, bike, and surf as often as possible. 



Gabriel Santiago is a graduate student in Naropa University’s Transpersonal Counseling Psychology MA Program. During the last few years, he has been working with children at nonprofits and most recently, his clinical work has been focused on addiction recovery. Santiago’s research interests are in cognitive processes generally, as well as specifically in topics such as phenomenology and dreams. During his free time, he likes to play music, practice yoga and capoeira, go on hikes, and hang out in nature.


Justin Weiss is an undergraduate student in Contemplative Psychology at Naropa University. His interests include hypnosis, non-ordinary states of consciousness, and learning what is possible with human physiology. Justin is interested in researching the effects of contemplative practice on one's overall well-being. He is currently a volunteer at the MAPS study for MDMA-assisted psychotherapy with treatment-resistant Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. 

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Research Assistant

Naomi is an undergraduate student at Naropa University studying Contemplative Psychology, with concentrations in Transpersonal and Art Therapy. Throughout her studies, she is interested in lucid dreaming and exploring the unconscious mind through dreamwork. An avid oil painter, neophile, and space enthusiast, Naomi can usually be found in her art studio or at the planetarium when she's not on campus.



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Graduate Research Assistant

Danielle was a CASL Graduate Research Assistant and Naropa graduate student in the Mindfulness-Based Transpersonal Counseling Program.



Sierra Hofstatter was an undergraduate student in Naropa’s Interdisciplinary Studies program. She is passionate about sustainability, healing arts, and the intersection of science and spirituality. Her research interests include effects of mindfulness meditation on the brain, body, and behavior. Outside of school, she likes to connect with nature, rock climb, cook, make art, and look at the stars.



Patrick was an undergraduate student in Peace Studies at Naropa University. His academic background spans philosophy, environmental studies, ecopsychology and politics. His research interests include contemplative media studies and digital humanities. He has worked as a river guide for many seasons in Oregon and Colorado. When left to his own devices, you have an equal chance finding Patrick outside having fun or in a coffee shop discussing human nature.