2024 FoVea Travel and Networking Awardees

FoVea is pleased to announce the winners of our 2024 FoVea Travel and Networking Award.

The FoVea Travel and Networking Award was open to members of the Vision Science Society (VSS) who identify as women and are in pre-doctoral, post-doctoral, pre-tenure faculty, or research scientist positions. The award covers costs involved with attending the VSS meeting, including membership fees, conference registration fees, and travel expenses.  

FoVea created this award as part of its mission to advance the visibility, impact, and success of women in vision science. A recent report from Cooper and Radonjić (2016) indicated that in 2015, the ratio of women to men in VSS was near equal at the pre-doctoral level (1:1.13), but decreased as career stage increased. The decline is symptomatic of forces that impede the professional development of female vision scientists. A key aspect of professional development is building a professional network to support scientific pursuits and to provide mentorship at critical junctions in one’s academic career. The FoVea Travel and Networking Award will help women vision scientists build their professional network by encouraging them to meet with at least two Networking Contacts at the VSS meeting to discuss their research and consider potential for collaboration.

8 awards were funded by an NSF grant and 1 award was funded by the Visual Cognition journal.


Lénia Amaral

Lénia Amaral is a cognitive neuroscientist currently working as a postdoctoral researcher with Ella Striem-Amit at Georgetown University in Washington DC, USA. Her PhD research was conducted at the University of Coimbra, Portugal, under the supervision of Jorge Almeida and Fredrik Bergström, with a focus on the neural organization of conceptual knowledge and how network activity influences that organization. Her interest extends to how neuroplasticity, influenced by conditions such as deafness or blindness, shapes cognitive systems. Her current postdoctoral work is particularly centered on understanding how individuals differ in their brain’s reorganization following congenital blindness or deafness, aiming to shed light on brain development mechanisms and potentially inform strategies for sensory restoration. More information about her research can be found on her website: https://leniaamaral.github.io/.


Akosua Asare

I am Akosua Asare, a PhD Candidate in the Neuroscience Program at the University of British Columbia, where I work with Dr. Deborah Giaschi and co-supervised by Dr. Hee Yeon Im. I received my Doctor of Optometry degree from the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology. My research interests are in visual processing in typical and atypical development. In my current research work, I use psychophysics, eye tracking and functional MRI techniques to understand the neural mechanisms underlying motion perception deficits in amblyopia.


Seah Chang

Seah Chang is a Postdoctoral Research Associate in the Department of Psychology at the Ohio State University, working with Drs. Julie Golomb and Andrew Leber. She received her PhD in Psychological and Brain Sciences in 2021 from Johns Hopkins University, working with Dr. Howard Egeth. Seah’s research focuses on the role of suppression in attentional and perceptual processes. During her PhD, Seah studied the multifaceted nature of attention, revealing that both enhancement and suppression mechanisms contribute to attentional guidance. Seah is currently investigating how suppression is represented across eye movements, how suppression operates in 3D space, and how broadly enhancement and suppression mechanisms are tuned.


Mina Elhamiasl

I am a fifth-year PhD student in Behavioral and Cognitive Neuroscience in the Psychology department at the University of Florida, working with Dr. Lisa Scott. My primary research focuses on the underlying neural mechanisms of human visual attention and perception. My dissertation centers on understanding the developmental trajectories of EEG alpha frequency components, including peak frequency and desynchronization, in response to visual attention and their interplay with brain connectivity throughout infancy. before joining UF, I earned my master’s degree in neuroscience from Bilkent University, where I studied the role of attentional bias and emotion dysregulation in the psychopathology of emotional disorders.

Kathy Garcia

Kathy Garcia is a 2nd year Ph.D. student in Computational Cognitive Science at Johns Hopkins University, advised by Dr. Leyla Isik. She is interested in human vision, deep neural networks (DNNs), and dynamic social perception. Her work aims to find biologically plausible computational models for dynamic and social visual perception. Hence, most of her work thus far has been on large-scale benchmarking of DNNs for dynamic social perception, focusing on the recently proposed “lateral” visual stream. Based on her current work on computational models for dynamic social vision, she was awarded the National Science Foundation’s (NSF) Graduate Research Fellowship in 2024. Prior to her PhD, she was a post-baccalaureate research fellow at Northwestern University, using machine learning models for predicting dimensional symptoms of psychopathology from task-based fMRI using support vector regression with Dr. Robin Nusslock.


Yue Guzhang

Yue Guzhang is a third-year PhD candidate in the Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences at the University of Rochester, being advised by Professor Martina Poletti. Her research delves into the interaction between attention and eye movements at the foveal scale, utilizing methods such as high-resolution eye tracking, psychophysics, and EEG. Her ongoing investigations are focused on unraveling the fundamental mechanisms of fine-tuned covert attention within the fovea and its impact on high-acuity vision.


Alexis Kidder

Alexis Kidder is a cognitive neuroscience PhD candidate at Dartmouth College and the National Institute of Mental Health with Dr. Brad Duchaine and Dr. Chris Baker. She received her BA in Psychology from SUNY Geneseo in 2017 before joining the Section on Learning and Plasticity as a post-baccalaureate fellow at the National Institute of Mental Health with Dr. Chris Baker. Alexis’s research focuses on the interaction of the human visual and memory systems during face processing and individual differences in visual abilities. She is also interested in identifying the underlying dimensions used to process visual stimuli and how familiarity impacts this process.


Hilal Nizamoglu

Hilal is a PhD student working under the supervision of Dr. Katharina Dobs in the department of psychology at Justus Liebig University in Giessen, Germany. In her PhD, she seeks to detect the features that give away identity information from facial motions during emotional and communicative facial expression execution. She uses the state-of-the-art computer vision and computer graphics tools as well as DNNs to identify these features in her current research. Since her master’s studies with Dr. Burcu A. Urgen, she has been keenly interested in the action perception field thinking that what else would be a better tool than the actions themselves to study and understand human mind and behavior since action perception involves both low- and high-level visual processing as well as cognitive resources to make inferences. Now, she would like to apply the methods and analyzes predominant in this field to the study of face perception.


Julie Ouerfelli-Ethier

Julie Ouerfelli-Ethier is currently finishing up her PhD work as a postdoctoral fellow at the Vision, Attention and Action Lab at the University of Montreal. She recently obtained a joint PhD from the University Claude-Bernard Lyon 1 and the University of Montreal under the co-supervision of Dr. Laure Pisella and Dr. Aarlenne Khan. During her PhD, Julie investigated eye movements and attention with spatial and motor inhibition tasks in both clinical and non-clinical populations. Broadly, she is interested in understanding the mechanisms underlying target and saccade goal selection. Soon, she will begin a new postdoctoral fellowship under Dr. Martin Rolfs at the Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin and the German Excellence cluster Science of Intelligence.


You can view past recipients here.