People

BLAB party, Spring 2017
Photo credit: Zachary Kern


Photo credit:
Zachary T. Kern
Dr. Elika Bergelson
Principal Investigator
  Dr. Bergelson is an Assistant Professor in Duke's Department of Psychology and Neuroscience (personal page). Dr. Bergelson received her PhD from the University of Pennsylvania, where she first became interested in infant word-learning, after receiving research training at the University of Maryland as a Baggett Fellow, and a B.A. at NYU in Language and Mind. Her training is in psychology, linguistics, and cognitive science.
  Most recently she was a Research Professor at the University of Rochester's Brain and CogSci Department. Dr. Bergelson's work has been funded by the NSF and NIH; she is most recently the recipient of an NIH Early Independence Award.
  Dr. Bergelson thinks figuring out how babies learn language is just about the coolest question out there.
Photo credit:
Vitaly Bergelson
Hallie Garrison
Lab Manager
  Hallie graduated from Bryn Mawr College in 2013 with a B.A. in Sociology. She moved to Boston to work in childcare for three years, where she developed an interest in infant language acquisition. Hallie likes books, bikes, and beautiful places!
Andrei Amatuni
Lab Technician
  Andrei is a recent graduate of University of Rochester, where he received as B.S in Brain and Cognitive Sciences. His research interests include semantic space models and symbolic representation in dynamical systems. He enjoys writing code and building things.
Charlotte Moore
Graduate Student
  Charlotte received a B.A. in psychology and linguistics from the University of Ottawa, and went on to do her Master's in Linguistics at the same university, continuing work she began as an undergrad on speech perception in toddlers. She is currently completing a PhD in developmental psychology at Duke.
  Charlotte is interested in how babies learn the sounds of their language, and how knowledge of those sounds helps them learn their first words. She also loves biking and knitting, and always reads the book before she watches the movie version.
Shannon Dailey
Graduate Student
  Shannon is a PhD student studying developmental psychology. She graduated from the University of Pennsylvania in 2015 with a major in psychology and a minor in music. She began working with Dr. Bergelson in 2015, first as lab manager on the SEEDLingS team at the University of Rochester, and then as the BLAB manager at Duke. Shannon’s hobbies include cooking, playing music, and complaining about how hot North Carolina is.
Micaela Brewington
Research Assistant
  Micaela is a junior from Arizona double majoring in Neuroscience and Global Health with a minor in French. She is interested in cognitive development as well as neuropsychiatric disorders like Autism, among other mental health issues. She especially loves children and studying how they grow and learn in her work at the lab.
  Outside of work and school, Micaela loves watching sports and television, listening to music, reading the news, laughing at her own jokes, and spending time with friends, family, and her dog.
Natasha Derezinski-Choo
Research Assistant
  Natasha is a junior double majoring in Linguistics and Neuroscience and minoring in French. She is interested in linguistics, cognition, and learning. At Duke, she is a Resident Assistant and serves on the executive board for Duke SWIRL. In her free time, Natasha enjoys yoga, food, and writing.
Danielle Mayorga-Young
Research Assistant
  Danielle is a junior from Colorado majoring in Neuroscience with minors in French and Chemistry. She is interested in the social and developmental impact learning multiple languages has on infants and children into adulthood.
  Danielle hopes to go to medical school after her undergraduate years at Duke, but while she still has free time, she enjoys cross-country running, reading classic novels, and going to concerts at Red Rocks.
Savanna Groft
Research Assistant
  Savanna is a junior Linguistics major with minors in Spanish and Global Health. She is interested in multilingualism and development, and is also learning French and American Sign Language. Savanna recently traveled to Spain and can't stop talking about it; she hopes to work internationally in the future, preferably surrounded by a new language.
  When she is not in school or at the lab, Savanna can be found at Reformed University Fellowship, crafting up a storm, or narrating her life in song.
Hannah Humayun
Research Assistant
  Hannah is a sophomore from Los Angeles, California who is planning on majoring in Neuroscience with minors in Classical Civilizations and Education. She is especially interested in how early learning programs can use new neuroscience and linguistic discoveries to create more targeted early learning curricula. She hopes to expand on these interests in the future as a pediatrician.
  In her free time, Hannah enjoys going to Duke basketball and football games, hanging with her friends and family, and hiking new places around North Carolina.
Chandler Richards
Research Assistant
  Chandler is a Junior studying Neuroscience with minors in psychology and music. She is interested in neuropsychological disorder and how this relates to childhood development. She is also interested in less traditional forms of psychological treatment, especially music therapy, and the neuroscience behind why those work.
  When she isn't working or studying, Chandler likes to hang out with her dog Eloise, experiment with cooking and baking, or spend time with her friends in Hoof 'n' Horn working on whatever current musical is being put on.
Elise Breitfeld
Summer Research Assistant
  Ellie is a rising junior at Princeton University, originally from Chapel Hill, North Carolina, majoring in Psychology with minors in Neuroscience, Cognitive Science, and Linguistics. She is particularly interested in how research on language development can inform early education policy and improve language learning outcomes.
  In her free time Ellie enjoys running, baking, spending time with friends and family, and eating all of the NC comfort food she misses up north (especially BBQ!).
Naseem Dillman-Hasso
Summer Research Assistant
  Naseem is a rising junior at Carleton College. He is a Psychology major, with minors in Music Performance and Cognitive Science. He loves thinking about how people use language to communicate.
  Naseem loves spending time outdoors on his bike, playing frisbee, and watching Netflix.
Natasha Vernooij
Summer Research Assistant
  Natasha is a rising senior at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill pursuing a double major in Psychology and Hispanic Linguistics and a minor in Statistics. She is interested in how language shapes our thinking and interpretation of the world around us. Particularly, she wants to explore how multiple languages interact and how people's concept of a word changes when they learn new languages.
  When she’s not in a lab or a class, Natasha like to read, badger her friends with obscure facts, and travel.
Erich Hess
High School Research Assistant
  Erich is a senior at the North Carolina School of Science and Math. He plans to major in psychology and is interested in bilingualism in infants.
  In his free time, Erich enjoys spending time with friends, family, and his dog. He also likes to watch crime thrillers on Netflix and is currently watching Goliath.
Estelle He
Programming Research Assistant
  Estelle is a sophomore planning to double major in Electrical and Computer Engineering and Computer Science. She is interested in the language learning process at the early development stage. At Duke, Estelle is also a member of Duke Robotics Club.
Webster Bei Yijie
Programming Research Assistant
  Webster is a sophomore persuing a double major in Electrical and Computer Engineering and Computer Science. He is interested in mathematics, cognitive science, data science, and artificial intelligence. As an enthusiast for consumer electronic products, he hopes to become a part-time journalist for new tech products.

Lab Alumni

  • Afua Ansah, research assistant, 2016-2018
  • Angela Tawfik, research assistant, 2017-2018
  • Reena Jasani, research assistant, 2016-2017
  • Alexis Aberman, high school research assistant, 2017
  • Maia Donald, high school research assistant, 2017
  • Kelsey Shelofsky, research assistant, 2017
  • Claire Patrick, high school research assistant, 2017
  • Dr. Catherine Laing, postdoctoral researcher, 2016-2017
  • Emmaline Drew, graduate practicum student, 2017
  • Hannah Ballock, research assistant and independent study student, 2016-2017
  • Ryan Bloom, programming research assistant, 2017
  • Nick Groszewski, programming research assistant, 2017
  • Liwen Zhang, programming research assistant, 2016-2017
  • Cristopher Alvarado, high school research assistant, 2016

If you are interested in joining our lab, see here!