I am an Associate Professor and the Undergraduate Program Director in the Department of Linguistics, with a co-appointment in the Center for Cognitive Science (RuCCS), at Rutgers University.
I completed my Ph.D. in Linguistics at Northwestern University in 2007, with a specialization in Cognitive Science. I joined the Rutgers Linguistics faculty in 2011. Before that, I had a Cognitive Science Fellowship at RuCCS and an NIH NRSA post-doctoral in Psychology.
My areas of expertise are in language acquisition and psycholinguistics, with a focus on how we acquire, represent, and process linguistic meaning, and how (and whether) the ability to do so changes over the course of development. In my experimental research, I gather empirical data that informs us about how children acquire the meaning of words, how children and adults interpret sentences that involve abstract syntax-semantic operations, and how the grammar interacts with other factors such as the discourse context and processing. Formal linguistic theory is always the starting point for these questions, and a variety of traditional and innovative methodologies collecting behavioral data aim to provide the answers.
My main topics of investigation in semantics, pragmatics, syntax-semantics, and cognition include word learning (primarily of adjectives and verbs), gradability and vagueness in adjectives and nominals, comparative constructions, numerals, expressions of quantification and measurement, verb phrase ellipsis, and the contribution of prosody to meaning.
I have received the following awards and grants.
2020 Linguistics Faculty Superlative Award (voted on by our UnderLINGs!)
Linguistic Service Award, Linguistic Society of America. 2019. For our organization of the COSWL Pop-Up Mentoring Program (shared with, clockwise from top left: Melissa Baese-Berk, Paola Cepeda, Hadas Kotek, me, Jessica Rett, and Ivona Kucerova).
PI, NSF Grant (2019-2021): Doctoral Dissertation Research: “Linguistic cues and speaker goals in the question/answer exchange” (Morgan Moyer, Co-PI). NSF award no. BCS-1918068. Amount: $12,332
Early Career Award, Linguistic Society of America. 2018
PI, NSF Grant (2016-2017): “Support for the 2016 North American Summer School on Logic, Language, and Information (NASSLLI); July, 2016 – New Brunswick, New Jersey.” (Ernest Lepore, Mary Rigdon, Co-PIs). NSF award no. 1556428. Amount: $44,119
Best Paper Written by an Untenured Scientist awarded by Language Acquisition: A Journal of Developmental Linguistics for “Collectivity, distributivity, and the interpretation of plural numerical expressions in child and adult language,” published in Issue 20.4. 2013
Linguistic Service Award, Linguistic Society of America. 2007
I have been awarded the following fellowships.
Rutgers University Presidential Fellowship for Teaching Excellence. 2017
NIH Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award (NRSA) Post-Doctoral Fellowship. 2008-2011
Postdoctoral Fellowship, Rutgers Center for Cognitive Science, Rutgers University. 2007-2008
Presidential Fellowship, The Graduate School, Northwestern University. 2005-2007
Bernard and Julia Bloch Memorial Fellowship, Linguistic Society of America. 2003-2005
My research, lab, and/or I have been featured in the following media outlets.
Interviewed for the Rutgers School of Arts and Sciences News: A Rutgers linguist discusses the battle over sexist language
My lab featured in The Daily Targum, Rutgers: Rutgers linguistics lab researches computer interactions with language
Interviewed in Episode #5 (How is the internet changing language for kids), In Plain Language
Quoted in coverage of the Berkeley gender-neutral language ordinance, The Associated Press [Forget ‘manmade’: Berkeley drops gender-specific words, Business Insider]
My lab featured in Rutgers School of Arts and Sciences Access Magazine [pdf]
My lab featured in Rutgers School of Arts and Sciences feature on RuCCS
Quoted in Millenials discuss origin of modern language terms. The Daily Targum, Rutgers
Work/Life balance is so important to me.
I have two children and two beagles. I’ve been practicing yoga for over 15 years. I love ashtanga, Jivamukti, and a good hot power vinyasa flow class. I also enjoy high-intensity workouts, bike riding, and spinning. I’m a pescatarian. I love baking. If I were at Hogwarts, I would be sorted into Ravenclaw.