This page reflects the lab members as of July 2016. To see the Bergelson Lab's current members, see our new page here.

Seedlings Lab Photo, Spring 2016

About Us


Elika Bergelson

Principal Investigator

Photo credit: Zachary T. Kern
Photo credit: Vitaly Bergelson

Elika Bergelson is the Principal Investigator for the SEEDLingS project. She is excited to be doing this work within the Rochester Babylab, thanks to an NIH Early Independence Award.

Elika received her PhD from the University of Pennsylvania, where she first became interested in infant word-learning, after strong research training at the University of Maryland as a Baggett Fellow, and at NYU. Her training is in psychology, linguistics, and cognitive science and she thinks figuring out how babies learn language is just about the coolest question out there.

After SEEDLingS data collection ends, the Bergelson lab will be moving to Duke University.

Here is her personal website.

Shaelise Tor

Project Coordinator

Shaelise graduated from Roberts Wesleyan with a B.A. in Psychology and a Minor in Social Welfare. Long-term, she wants to work with families with young children.

After SEEDLingS, Shaelise will be continuing her Graduate Program in Marriage and Family Therapy at the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry as a full-time student. She will begin her two practicum placements this summer at Strong Behavioral Health and one of the Hillside Family of Agencies sites and graduate next August.

Long-term, she still plans to work with young children and families in multiple settings, doing both prevention and intervention work. Short-term, when she is not in class over the next year, she plans on watching her husband coach soccer games and working on her list of books that has been steadily growing for the past year and a half!

Shannon Dailey

Lab Manager

Shannon graduated from the University of Pennsylvania in 2015 with a B.A. in psychology and a minor in music. She did research on child language acquisition at UC Berkeley before joining the SEEDLingS team. Shannon plans to get a PhD and do research in developmental psychology.

Shannon's hobbies include cooking, playing music and singing, and making really bad jokes.

Next year, Shannon will be continuing her work with SEEDLingS! She will be the lab manager of the new Bergelson Lab at Duke University.

Josh Schneider

Lab Manager

Josh received a B.A. in Psychology from New York University in the Spring of 2015. He conducted research on infant perception-action development with Professor Karen Adolph, specifically on the development of walking and how spontaneous locomotion in natural settings differs from simulated experiences in the laboratory.

Josh hopes to pursue a PhD in Psychology and Neuroscience, investigating the underpinnings of neurodegenerative disorders—when development goes awry. He loves to cook, travel, and is thrilled to be a member of the Seedlings team!

As of Summer 2016, Josh will be working on a cross-cultural project with Dr. Lana Karasik, Dr. Karen Adolph, and Dr. Cathie Tamis-Lemonda, investigating the short- and long-term effects of traditional cradling practices on development. He will also be the new lab manager in Dr. Karasik's Child Development Lab at the College of Staten Island.

Andrei Amatuni

Research Assistant

Andrei graduated from the University of Rochester with a B.S in BCS. He is interested in artificial intelligence, digital signal processing, neuron-computer interface.

In his free time, Andrei likes to record and produce music!

Next year, Andrei will be moving to Duke University to continue working for Elika. He will be writing code for the new Bergelson lab and other language development labs.

Lauren Oey

Research Assistant

Photo credit: Vivian Li

Lauren is a junior majoring in BCS and Statistics and minoring in Linguistics, with her main area of interest being the intersection between implicit statistical learning and second language acquisition. She is also a research assistant for the Human Language Processing Lab and a teaching assistant for the University of Rochester Statistics department.

Her hobbies include playing rugby and softball, writing screenplays, being a foodie, and checking off items from her bucket list.

Sarah Field

Research Assistant

Sarah is a Brain and Cognitive Science and Computer Science double major at the University of Rochester, Class of 2019. In addition to the SEEDLingS project, Sarah also works at the Rochester Baby and Kid Lab as a Research Assistant. She is interested in how children are able to draw connections between words and meaning.

In her free time, she loves to play the piano, cosplay, read and run. She is also a member of the University of Rochester Thestrals Quidditch team.

Ella De Falco

Research Assistant

Ella is a junior majoring in Linguistics with a minor in Brain and Cognitive Sciences. She is interested in language acquisition, bilingualism, pidgins, and creoles, and hopes to someday go into the field and do language documentation and description.

In her spare time Ella enjoys playing cello and doing the tech side of theater with TOOP.


Bella Clemente

Research Assistant

Bella is a BCS and Studio Arts double major. She’s interested in brain development and the influences of nature vs. nurture.

She likes rowing in boats, hiking with her dog, and browsing art galleries in her free time.

This summer, Bella is working full time for a sculpting studio and traveling around the United States. Next fall, she will be pursuing printmaking and art and may additionally work in a lab.

Tessa Eagle

Research Assistant

Tessa is a senior majoring in BCS interested in development and decision making. She enjoys cycling, playing squash, and flying planes.

After graduation, Tessa will be working as a clinical research coordinator in Boston at Brigham and Women's Hospital. She will be working in the Neurology department at a multiple sclerosis center on different projects.

Jayde Homer

Research Assistant

Photo credit: Bridget Badore

Jayde is a senior receiving a B.S. in Brain & Cognitive Sciences and a B.A. in Linguistics. She is interested in language acquisition and literacy development.

When she's not studying or working one of many jobs, Jayde likes to stay active by throwing weights around, hanging out with friends, listening to Harry Potter audiobooks, and playing with furry animals.

After graduation, Jayde will be heading to the University of Notre Dame to work as the lab coordinator for the Infant Studies Lab under Dr. Jill Lany. After that, she hopes to go to grad school to continue studying early language development.

Valerie Langlois

Research Assistant

Valerie is a BCS and Linguistics double major, interested in language development in children and language processing. She is also involved with the Rochester Kinder Lab.

During her free time, she likes to play video games, read, watch Bob's Burgers, and snuggle with puppies.

Next year, Valerie will be studying at UNC Chapel Hill as a PhD student in Cognitive Science (via the Psychology & Neuroscience Department). While there, she hopes to make lots of new friends, do a lot of research in language processing and communication, and have a dog of her own.

Sarah Markowitz

Research Assistant

Photo credit: Kym Pocius

Sarah is a senior majoring in Psychology with a minor in Brain and Cognitive Sciences. She is interested in children’s language acquisition, language development and speech disorders.

When not studying or working in the Seedlings lab, Sarah enjoys horseback riding, and competing on the University of Rochester’s Equestrian Team, as well as baking and playing with her dog.

Starting Fall 2016, Sarah will be attending Boston University to pursue a Masters in Speech-Language Pathology. She plans to become a practicing Speech Pathologist and possibly work with kids.

Alexandra Rickwood

Research Assistant

Alex is a senior majoring in BCS and minoring in psychology. In her spare time, Alex enjoys skiing, visiting aquariums, and listening to NPR.

After graduation, Alex will be attending Northeastern University to pursue a master's degree in Speech-Language Pathology.

Haley Weaver

Research Assistant

Haley is a junior double majoring in Brain and Cognitive Science and Linguistics. She is interested in language aphasia and acquisition, and hopes to pursue a career in rehabilitative speech therapy.

When she is not studying or working, she enjoys spending time on Lake Ontario jetskiing, kayaking, and swimming.

Next year, Haley will be completing her undergraduate degrees in BCS and Linguistics, and hopes to complete a senior thesis utilizing some of the data from SEEDLingS. She will continue to work at the Baby Lab and will potentially be working on some language related EEG projects!

Sophie Werk

Research Assistant

Sophie is a sophomore from Florida majoring in American Sign Language and minoring in Mathematics and BCS. She is interested in the different learning patterns of spoken versus signed language acquisition.

Sophie enjoys painting, swimming, and playing water polo on U of R's club team. If she's not working or studying, Sophie would love to spend an afternoon with her dog and a Harry Potter book.

Our youngest lab member, Sophie, will be a junior next year. She received REACH funding to work for a pilot test program with program coordinators and audiologists at Nemours Children's Hospital doing hearing screenings on children in child care settings. She will also be interning at the American School for the Deaf as a teaching aide.

Adina Poras

Research Assistant

Adina is a BCS major in the class of 2016. She would like to be a child's neuropsychologist in the future. Her other academic interests include American Sign Language and economics.

For fun she enjoys running, reading, and zumba.

Dustyn Levenson

Research Assistant

Dustyn is a freshman majoring in molecular genetics and minoring in african american studies. She has an interesting in pediatric and neonatal medicine and intends to pursue one of those fields.

In her spare time, she loves dancing, baking, and joking around with her family.

Ashwini Manjunatha

Research Assistant

Ashwini is a freshman with a double major in Biology and Statistics. She is interested in cognitive development in children, specifically language acquisition.

She enjoys playing soccer, skiing, and photography.

Leah Nason

Research Assistant

Leah is a freshman majoring in both BCS and Public Health. She is interested in cognitive development in both children and adolescents.

In her free time, Leah enjoys running, playing the violin, and watching shows like House of Cards on Netflix.

Anne Schleining

Project Organizer

Annie graduated from SUNY Geneseo in 2013 with a B.A. in Psychology and a minor in Human Development. In addition to working at Seedlings, she is in the Masters in School Counseling program at the University of Rochester's Warner School of Education.

In her free time, Annie enjoys playing rugby, reading and being outdoors.

Munna Koorathota

First Seedlings Staff Member Extraordinaire

Munna likes to program, run babies on the eye-tracker, and whatever else needs to be done around the lab!

He graduated from UR with a B.S. in Brain and Cognitive Sciences and B.A. in Economics. When he's not in the lab he likes to work with audio and video production and is a big fan of podcasts.

Last year, Munna transitioned to CUMC. He can be easily reached at this address:!