/title>People — BLAB :/head>


BLAB retreat, Fall 2018

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. Before coming to Duke, she was a Research Professor in the University of Rochester's Brain and CogSci Department. Dr. Bergelson's work has been funded by the NSF and NIH; she is the recipient of an NIH Early Independence Award and an NSF CAREER Award. Dr. Bergelson thinks figuring out how babies learn language is just about the coolest question out there.
Photo credit:
Vitaly Bergelson
Dr. Federica Bulgarelli
Postdoctoral Researcher
Federica finished a PhD in Cognitive Psychology and Language Science from Penn State University (personal page). She is interested in how learners figure out what to do with variability stemming from different sources in their environment, such as different speakers or different languages. Federica also loves baking and traveling.
Dr. Stephan Meylan
Postdoctoral Researcher
Stephan splits his time between the Bergelson Lab and the Computational Psycholinguistics Lab at MIT working on computational models of language acquisition and language processing (personal page). He recently completed a PhD in the Computational Cognitive Science Lab at UC Berkeley, focusing on how to represent adults’ and children’s abstract knowledge of language with probabilistic graphical models.
Dr. Carla Fernandez
Postdoctoral Researcher
Carla graduated from Penn State with a PhD in Cognitive Psychology and Language Science. She is interested in language processing differences in response to speaker variability. She is also deeply interested in the neural correlates of vocabulary acquisition in infants. In her free time, Carla likes to watch tennis and go on hikes with her family.
Charlotte Moore
5th year 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, studying speech perception in toddlers. At Duke, Charlotte is a PhD candidate in the Developmental Psychology department. Charlotte is interested in how babies and toddlers learn words that have different surface forms, like "feet" and "foot". She also loves dogs and talking about which celebrities are actually Canadian.
Shannon Dailey
4th year Graduate Student
Shannon is a PhD candidate in 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.
Erin Campbell
3rd year Graduate Student
Erin graduated from Towson University in 2018 with a B.A. in speech language pathology, deaf studies, and disability studies. She is currently completing a Ph.D. at Duke in Cognition and Cognitive Neuroscience. Erin wants to better understand language processing and acquisition for children with sensory impairments. In her free time, she enjoys rock climbing, yoga, smiling (recreationally), and embroidering pictures of bugs.
Hallie Garrison
Research Associate
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. She also worked for Child Trends as a Research Analyst in the Early Childhood Development policy area. Hallie likes books and babies.
Lillianna Righter
Lab Manager
Lilli graduated from the University of Maryland, College Park with a B.A. in Linguistics in 2020. There, she worked on research looking at infants’ acquisition of long-distance syntactic dependencies and wrote a thesis about early verb learning. She is thrilled to join BLAB and learn more about language development. Lilli loves her ducks, playing D&D, and theater.
Sarp Uner
Lab Technician
Sarp is a Turkish programmer. He came to Duke as an undergrad and studied computer science and psychology. He worked for a while in Durham as a programmer and is super excited to join BLAB where he can combine his academic interests. Sarp also likes to dance and sometimes pretends to play the drums.
Junette Yu
Research Assistant
Junette is a senior studying Neuroscience & Linguistics and doing a certificate in Marine Science & Conservation Leadership. She is interested in the intersection between multilingualism and the ever-fascinating brain, and also dabbles in learning about cetacean vocalisations. Junette likes travelling, reading, walking and being anywhere near the sea.
Janani Ramadurai
Research Assistant
Jen is a sophomore at UNC double majoring in Linguistics and Neuroscience and minoring in Computer Science. She is most interested in understanding how children acquire language and hopes to apply that knowledge to speech therapy in the future. In her free time, Jen loves to spend time with her friends and family, read books, and play music.
Jing Liu
Research Assistant
Jing is a sophomore majoring in psychology and statistics. She is interested in how children acquire their first words and categorize them into their existing network of knowledge. In general, she is just fascinated by how things she learn in her psychology courses can be applied to the real world. Jing enjoys playing flute, watching C-drama, chewing on boba, and secretly psychoanalyzing those around.
Lauren Mitchell
Research Assistant
Lauren is a sophomore at Duke studying neuroscience, computer science, and global health. She is most interested in understanding how early experiences shape cognitive development and language acquisition in multilingual children. Here at Duke, Lauren is a GANO tutor, WISER club member, and a FEMMES Connect mentor to young girls interested in pursuing STEM fields. Outside of school, she loves baking, trying new restaurants with family and friends, listening to true crime podcasts, and attempting to train her Mini Aussie, Bear.
Madeleine Yancy
Research Assistant
Madeleine is a sophomore at Duke, where she plans to double major in Psychology and Global Health. She is interested particularly in how children's environments and interactions affect their language development, and how that changes for children with learning disabilities. After undergraduate, she plans to attend medical school. Here at Duke, she is a Baldwin Scholar, as well as the Afterschool Program Director for FEMMES. She likes to run, bake, read, and eat anything chocolate in her free time.
Olivia Leggio
Research Assistant
Olivia is a sophomore majoring in linguistics and planning on minoring in computer science or psychology. Outside of school she plays in the marching band, fences, daydreams about making bread, and highkey wishes she could go to culinary school at the same time as regular college.
Kyra Lewis
Research Assistant
Kyra is a sophomore at Duke University, planning to major in Linguistics and Global Health with a minor in Cultural Anthropology. After working with children for multiple years, she is interested in how early childhood experiences correspond with language acquisition. On campus she is involved in Black Student Alliance, Camp Kesem and SCOHP. Outside of school she enjoys musicals, snorkeling and drinking boba tea.
Nicole Izquierdo
Research Assistant
Nicole is a sophomore at Duke pursuing a B.S. in Psychology. She is from Miami, Florida. She is Cuban and speaks both Spanish and English. She is a University Scholar. She is devoted to addressing the WEIRD sample problem that is rampant in psychological research, with the hopes of including more representative samples in studies, such as non-white and low-income participants. She is interested in bilingualism and multilingualism, as well as accents. She is also interested in language acquisition among children with developmental disorders. Here at Duke, Nicole works in the Math Department as an Office Assistant and is Secretary of Project Sunshine. She enjoys to dance and spend time with friends.
Taylor Horowitz
Research Assistant
Taylor is a junior majoring in neuroscience and minoring in biology and chemistry. After Duke, she hopes to attend medical school. Taylor is interested in learning about how children’s environments influence their ambitions and goal-setting, both academically and socially. Here at Duke, she also does research through Bass Connections on the topic of global neurosurgery. In her free time, Taylor enjoys running, having picnics, singing karaoke, and eating cereal.
Jasmine Pflepsen
Research Assistant
Jasmine is a junior majoring in Linguistics and minoring in Russian and French. She is most interested in multilingual language acquisition and how language acquisition interacts with literacy. Here at Duke, she is a QuestBridge Scholar, a Teacher’s Assistant and a Head tutor with ARAC, a member of the Global Citizenship and Ethics LLC. Outside of school, she likes cooking and watching Netflix, and she has recently started taking a ballet class. After graduation, she hopes to pursue further studies in linguistics.
Mihika Rajvanshi
Research Assistant
Mihika is a sophomore at Duke University majoring in Neuroscience and minoring in Linguistics. She is interested in how children acquire and store languages as multilingual individuals. She is also interested in the social development of children and studies the social dynamics on preschoolers on a Bass Connections team. Outside of school, she is on the Duke competitive Bollywood fusion dance team, Duke Rhydhun, NeuroCare, a mental health advocacy organization, and volunteers with The Girls’ Club.
Halden Levin
Research Assistant
Halden grew up in Pinehurst, North Carolina and graduated from the North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics in 2020. Her passion for language fueled by her Chinese language-learning journey, poetry recitations, and experiences with her older brother and his disability, spastic quadriplegic cerebral palsy, have led Halden to develop an interest in the process of language acquisition, particularly in children with speech impairments. In college, Halden plans to double major in Anthropology with a focus on Global Health and Neuroscience with a focus on Child Development, as well as minor in Chinese Language and Culture. In her free time, Halden loves to run, bike, plank, read and write poetry and Chinese, play boccia with her older brother, and experiment with oatmeal.

Lab Alumni (Where they are now)

  • Aahnix Bathurst, Project Manager, 2019-2020
  • Irene Tang, Lab Manager, 2019-2020 (PhD Student at University of Chicago in Linguistics)
  • Sarah Yang '20, Research Assistant, 2018-2020 (Senior Clinical Research Specialist, Duke Center for Autism and Brain Development)
  • Jessica Marlow '20, Research Assistant, 2019-2020 (Master's of Science student in Global Health at National Taiwan University)
  • Sophie Hurewitz '22, Research Assistant, 2019-2020
  • Georgia Price '22, Research Assistant, 2019
  • Gladys Baudet, lab technician, 2018-2019 (AI Engineer at AnotherBrain)
  • Estelle He '20, programming research assistant, 2016-2019
  • Webster Bei '20, programming research assistant, 2016-2019
  • Meghan Beck, co-op visiting research assistant, 2019 (Research Assistant Co-op at Institute of Biophysics and Biomedical Engineering)
  • Danielle Mayorga-Young '19, research assistant, 2017-2019 (Clinical Research Specialist at Duke)
  • Chandler Richards '19, research assistant, 2017-2019 (IRTA Research Assistant at NIMH-SFIM)
  • Katya Khlystova '19, research assistant, 2017-2019 (Ph.D. candidate at UCLA)
  • Emma Zhang, NCSSM high school research assistant, 2018 (Undergraduate at UNC)
  • Natasha Derezinski-Choo '18, research assistant, 2016-2018 (Fullbright recipient, "Many Medicines and Many Languages: The Sociolinguistic Underpinnings of Medical Pluralism." )
  • Micaela Brewington, research assistant, 2016-2018 (Public Health Analyst at RTI International)
  • Naseem Dillman-Hasso, summer research intern, 2018 (Lab Manager of the Perception Lab at Carleton College)
  • Natasha Vernooij, summer research intern, 2018 (Ph.D. candidate at the University of Michigan; Studying multilingual cognition)
  • Ellie Breitfeld, summer research intern, 2018 (Psychology Ph.D. candidate at University of Wisconsin-Madison’s)
  • Savanna Groft, research assistant, 2016-2018 (Clinical Medical Interpreter at Duke)
  • Erich Hess, high school research assistant, 2018 (Undergraduate at UNC)
  • Andrei Amatuni, lab technician, 2015-2018 (Ph.D. candiate at Indiana University in the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences)
  • Afua Ansah, research assistant, 2016-2018 (Ohio-Illinois District Youth Assistant Secretary, Presbyterian Church of Ghana)
  • Angela Tawfik, research assistant, 2017-2018 (Senior Research Fellow at Duke University)
  • Reena Jasani, research assistant, 2016-2017 (Medical Student at The University of Texas Southwestern Medical School)
  • Alexis Aberman, high school research assistant, 2017 (Undergraduate at Cornell University)
  • Maia Donald, high school research assistant, 2017 (Undergraduate at Barnard College)
  • Kelsey Shelofsky, research assistant, 2017 (Clinical Research Coordinator at Massachusetts General Hospital, Dept. of Neurology)
  • Claire Patrick, high school research assistant, 2017
  • Dr. Catherine Laing, postdoctoral researcher, 2016-2017 (Lecturer in the Centre for Language and Communication Research at Cardiff University, Wales)
  • Emmaline Drew, graduate practicum student, 2017 (Doctoral student in cognitive psychology at Duke University)
  • Hannah Ballock, research assistant and independent study student, 2016-2017
  • Ryan Bloom, programming research assistant, 2017 (Associate Consultant / Software Engineer at Levvel.io)
  • Nick Groszewski, programming research assistant, 2017 (Senior Associate Data Engineer at Capital One)
  • Liwen Zhang, programming research assistant, 2016-2017 (Data Scientist at GM Financial)
  • Cristopher Alvarado, high school research assistant, 2016 (Undergraduate at Swarthmore College)

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