Faculty Adviser: Casey Lew-Williams
Year of Study:
Undergraduate School: University of Oregon
Undergraduate Major: Psychology
I grew up in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. I was a dancer, and I thought that was what I'd do for the rest of my life. I taught dance and acrobatics classes and even spent some time dancing in parades at Walt Disney World. Eventually, I decided to take classes at a Community College. As a first-generation college student, I wasn't sure what to expect or where it would lead. However, I discovered that I loved learning and research and eventually completed my Bachelor's, Master's, and PhD at the University of Oregon.
I spent a summer working as an apprentice at the Chimpanzee and Human Communication Institute. The institute, which unfortunately no longer exists, was also a sanctuary for three chimpanzees who had been taught to use American Sign Language.
I'm interested in how infants' everyday environment varies and how this variability influences learning. For example, infants growing up in bilingual homes vary in the amount speech that they hear in each of their languages, who speaks each language to them, and how frequently they hear switches between languages. Many caregivers and policymakers want to know how these differences impact infants' language learning. In one project, we're investigating exactly this question. We use a device called a LENA (Language ENvironment Analysis) to record everything an infant hears over the course of two days. We then bring these infants into the lab to test their language development. Our goal is to use this information to better understand how variation in bilingual infants' everyday environments impacts language learning.
Plans for Summer 2022
Confirmed pairing; no longer looking for a mentee.