/title>People — BLAB :/head>


Staff, grad student, postdocs, and undergraduate members of the Bergelson lab stand smiling in a group in Duke Gardens. The image changes to a silly one when the mouse rolls over it.
BLAB end of year celebration, Spring 2022

Dr. Bergelson stands in front of a white wall smiling and wearing a black shirt
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.
Dr.Bergelson, pictured as a two year old, claps in front of a birthday cake
Photo credit:
Vitaly Bergelson
Dr. Bulgarelli wears a scarf and smiles with a tree in the background
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. Bulgarelli as toddler sitting on a curb with her hands clasped togther, wearing a pink sweater with a ruffly floral collar
Dr. Meylan smiles up at the camera in bright sunshine wearing a navy sweater
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. Meylan as a baby, sitting in a high chair looking bemused
Erin smiles brightly in front of a background of trees, wearing a bright green shirt
Erin Campbell
4th 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.
Erin as a baby lounging in a professional portrait, wearing a pink checkered jumper
Hallie stands in front of a brick wall, wearing round glasses, a black shirt and a maroon sweater
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.
Baby Hallie winking and flashing a big cheesy grin with her first baby teeth
Lilli sits in a white adirondack chair and smiles while holding a duck on her lap
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.
Baby Lilli sticks both fingers up her nose while her staticky hair sticks to a balloon
Zhenya looks to the side while standing in front of a whiteboard and wearing a blue and white striped shirt
Zhenya Kalenkovich
Lab Technician
Zhenya graduated from HSE University, Moscow in 2017 with an MSc. in Cognitive Science. After graduating, he was involved in research into phoneme perception, negative sentence processing, and neural correlates of syntactic processing. He joined the lab in November, 2021. He is interested in the Language Development as a major window into cognition in general. At the lab, he performs a variety of programming/technical duties involved in managing and analyzing the corpus and experimental data as well as providing technical support for the researchers in the lab. In his free time, he enjoys bouldering, short hikes, and trying new things.
Baby Zhenya pictured in black and white, looking surprised, sitting on a booster chair and holding a picture book with tigers
Jessica wears a grey blazer and smiles in front of a grey wall
Jessica Steil
Visiting scholar
Jessica graduated from the University of Tübingen (Germany) with an M.S. degree in psychology. As a PhD candidate at the University of Tübingen she is interested in infants’ language acquisitions and how young children think about their first words. Jessica enjoys hiking, books, and spending time with babies.
Baby Jessica looks surprised while wearing a colorful jumper
Cai wears a blouse with a bow and a plaid shirt while holding the receiver of a rotary phone to her ear in front of a bubblegum pink wall
Caimiao Liu
Research Assistant
Caimiao is a sophomore at Duke University studying psychology and sociology. She is interested in how children learn to distinguish the nuances among very similar words through early interactions as well as how they respond differently to multilingual environments. On campus, Caimiao is part of the Duke Chinese Theater, Anti-Resume project, Margins Team, a Japanese tutor, and a Duke PAWS volunteer. She enjoys reading, movies, and all kinds of arts.
Cai as a young child, wearing a white shirt and pants
George laughs and looks to the side while wearing a graduation gown with many stoles and cords
George Romero
Research Assistant
George is a sophomore at Duke studying biology and linguistics. He is interested in early language acquisition and how childhood environments may influence bilingualism and multilingualism later in life. Largely, he has a strong interest in STEM communication, and how linguistics concepts and bilingualism can be applied in the medical space to promote compassionate, effective healthcare. After undergrad, he plans to attend medical school and become a surgeon. Outside of school, George has fun being involved with acapella and anything singing or music related.
Baby George grins while wearing a backwards baseball cap, a bead necklace, and holding a toy guitar
Samantha smiles and wears a white t-shirt while taking a selfie in a sunny room
Samantha Chaney
Research Assistant
Samantha is a Sophomore at Duke double-majoring in Neuroscience and Linguistics with a minor in Psychology. She is specifically interested in how music and language impact someone’s perception of their surroundings. Having grown up speaking multiple languages and playing various instruments, she would love to know how that has impacted her cognitive development and helped her navigate the world. Most of her free time is spent drawing and playing Minecraft. The rest is spent napping with her cats and listening to music.
Samantha and her twin hold hands and grin up the the camera. Sam is wearing a white and pink dress
Bella smiles softly and leans her cheek on her hand, wearing a pink shirt
Isabella Liu
Research Assistant
Bella is a sophomore at Duke University studying psychology with a minor in Latin and chemistry. She is particularly interested in seeing how bi/multilingualism and different cultural backgrounds can impact the development of language learning in children, as well as how adults translate baby language. On campus, she is a member of the Digital Health Communities Bass Connections team, Duke American Medical Women’s Association, and the Women’s Club Lacrosse team. You can find her going on runs or exploring the Durham food scene off campus.
Baby Bella sits in a red beanbag chair, wearing a pink onesie and looking up from a large toy block
Damla wears glasses and a jean jacket while smiling on a tree lined street
Damla Ozdemir
Research Assistant
Damla is a junior at Duke majoring in Linguistics with a minor in German and a certificate in Journalism. She is interested in how babies go through language acquisition when they live in a multilingual household, and how playing an instrument can affect language skills. She also loves learning languages, and the one that she is focusing on right now is Russian. After graduation, she is hoping to be involved in science communication. Outside of school, she practices violin and piano, watches anime, and writes plays.
Damla as a young child standing in front of a sofa and wearing a pink shirt and denim skirt
Casey smiles in front of a sunflower field with a cloudy sky in the background. She wears a flowing blue shirt and dark jeans.
Casey Carrow
Research Assistant
Casey is a rising junior at Vanderbilt University double-majoring in Child Development and Cognitive Studies with a minor in Quantitative Methods. She is interested in learning how bi/multilingualism environments influence children’s language learning and how parents’ interpretations of their child’s linguistic abilities impact children’s language development over time. At Vanderbilt, she is a member of Vitality Dance Company, Vanderbilt Dance Marathon, and is an elementary school reading/writing tutor with the local YMCA. Outside of school, you can find her reading, going to concerts, and, in the summers, taking trips to the NC beaches.
Baby Casey sits in a metal stew pot with the lid on her head. She is wearing cloud pajamas and looks to the side.
Mal sits in the passenger side of an orange retro car and smiles into the distance with flowers in the foreground and a music festival in the background
Malini Narula
Research Assistant
Mal is a Senior at Duke double-majoring in Political Science and Linguistics with a minor in Art History. She is interested in seeing how bilingualism and birth order affect the development of language in children. On campus, Mal is a senior officer in the Fluke, the satire organization at Duke, and you can always find her in Vondy with an iced coffee. Outside of school, Mal loves doing the daily crossword, playing Minecraft, and crocheting while watching Love Island.
Mal and her sibling lay together on a couch, both smiling and holding hands.
Maya smiles softly at the camera in a selfie. She has straight dark hair and wears a black turtleneck with a silver necklace.
Maya Yelle
Research Assistant
Maya Yelle is a rising junior at Duke, who is majoring in psychology and minoring in global health. She is originally from the United States, but she grew up in Munich, Germany, where she attended an international school. Her experience as a third culture kid has sparked a specific interest in how multilingual environments impact children’s language learning. After graduating from Duke, Maya plans to pursue a Ph.D. in child clinical psychology and, ultimately, become a psychotherapist for adolescents. Outside of class, she enjoys singing with her a cappella group, trying out new vegan recipes, and working alongside SHAPE (Sexual Harassment & Assault Prevention & Education).
Baby Maya with short dark hair sits in a high chair wearing a grey Duke sweatshirt.

Lab Alumni (Where they are now)

  • Dr. Shannon Dailey '22, PhD student, 2017-2022 (Postdoctorate Associate at Sanford School of Public Policy, Duke University)
  • Jingxuan Liu '22, research assistant, 2019-2022 (PhD student, Columbia Business School)
  • Olivia Leggio '22, research assistant, 2019-2022
  • Jasmine Pflepsen '22, research assistant, 2020-2022 (Learning Support research assistant, American Institute for Research)
  • Taylor Horowitz '22, research assistant, 2020-2022 (Clinical Research Coordinator, Cohen Children's Hospital)
  • Sophie Barry '22, research assistant, 2021-2022 (Digital marketing, Michael Kors)
  • Kyra Lewis '23, research assistant, 2020-2022
  • Janani Ramadurai '21, research assistant, 2019-2021 (Linguistics Master's student at UNC)
  • Madi Yancy '22, research assistant, 2019-2022 (English teaching assistant in Spain)
  • Natalie Chou '23, research assistant, 2021-2022
  • Mihika Rajvanshi '23, research assistant, 2020-2022
  • Janis Zhu '24, research assistant, 2021
  • Dr. Charlotte Moore '21, PhD student, 2016-2021 (Post-doctoral researcher with Dr. Krista Byers-Heinlein at Concordia University)
  • Dr. Carla Fernandez, Postdoctoral Researcher, 2019-2021
  • Crismely Fermin, Visiting summer ICIS intern, 2021
  • Isha Mahadeshwar, High school summer intern, 2021
  • Lauren Mitchell '22, research assistant, 2019-2020
  • Justin Kim '22, research assistant, 2021
  • Sebastian Sanchez '22, research assistant, 2021
  • Sarp Uner, Lab Technician, 2019-2021 (Data Science Master's student at Vanderbilt)
  • Halden Levin, high school research assistant, 2020
  • Junette Yu '20, research assistant, 2020
  • 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!