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Meet our research team

LDLS team 2022-2023

Our LDLS Team 2022-2023

Laboratory Director and Principal Investigator (PI)

Dr. Kristen Syrett

Kristen Syrett

Dr. Syrett is an Associate Professor in the Department of Linguistics, with a co-appointment in the Rutgers Center for Cognitive Science (RuCCS). She is also an Associate Dean in the Office of Undergraduate Education. Her areas of specialization are language acquisition and psycholinguistics, with a focus on semantics and pragmatics (meaning). She earned her Ph.D. in Linguistics from Northwestern University in 2007, with specializations in Language and Cognition and in Cognitive Science. She also has an M.Ed. and AMI Montessori certification. Before joining the faculty at Rutgers in 2011, Dr. Syrett spent three years as an NIH post-doctoral fellow at RuCCS, and one year as a RuCCS post-doc. She devotes her time outside of research to advocacy and service in the field of Linguistics, her two kids, her yoga practice and working out, baking, and her two mischievous beagles.

 

Laboratory Coordinator

Nayantara Das

Nayantara Das

Nayantara joins us this Fall after graduating from Mount Holyoke College in May 2022. Her time in Massachusetts was divided equally between the classrooms on campus, where she studied philosophy and logic, the laboratory in the psychology department, where she worked on her thesis, and on frequent buses to UMass Amherst, where she studied Linguistics. She’s excited to be spending this year doing research, managing the lab, and preparing her applications to graduate school. Her research interests lie in semantics, philosophy of language, and psycholinguistics. She’s also keen to learn more about language acquisition. Outside of research, she spends her time trying to brew the perfect cup of coffee, experimenting with her mother’s recipes in the kitchen, and adding, but usually never finishing, books to her reading list.

Post-Doctoral Fellow

Shuyan Wang

Shuyan Wang

Shuyan earned her Ph.D in Linguistics from University of Connecticut. She works on language acquisition, especially the acquisition of Semantics, Pragmatics, and Syntax. Her specific topics of interest include the acquisition of scalar implicatures, free choice inferences, adjectives, and quantifiers. She focuses on how factors like grammar, maternal input, and processing can influence children’s language development. She is also interested in theoretical syntax and sign language studies, including numerals and classifiers in Mandarin and adjectives in American Sign Language.

Shuyan’s post-doctoral fellowship is supported by Dr. Syrett’s NSF grant BCS 2016963

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Undergraduate Research Assistants

Ellie Alvarez

Ellie Alvarez

Ellie is a rising SENIOR majoring in Linguistics and minoring in Psychology. She is also pursuing the Speech and Hearing Certificate, and plans to attend graduate school for Speech-Language Pathology. Ellie loves doing research on language development and is excited to continue working on the research team. Outside of academics, Ellie is an ABA therapist and works with children with autism. She has loved doing this as she also gets to witness their language expand over time. Ellie is also serving as president of the Speech and Hearing Club and as secretary of Rutgers Chi Alpha Christian Fellowship.

Angela Atcosta

Angela Atcosta

Angela is a SENIOR majoring in Linguistics with the Speech and Hearing Certificate, as well as minoring in Developmental Psychology. She is aiming to go to graduate school to become a Speech Language Pathologist. She hopes to land her dream job working with children and possibly even owning her own practice one day! This is Angela’s second year being involved with LDLS and she is so excited to keep doing research. At Rutgers, Angela is on the Executive Board of the Speech and Hearing Club. Outside of school, she enjoys going to the gym, watching movies, and spending time with her kitten, Nova. You can always find Angela at a nearby coffee shop, catching up on work with a yummy cup of caffeine. She loves working in the lab and hopes for another great year!

Hanna Campiglia

Hanna Campiglia

Hanna is a rising SENIOR majoring in Linguistics and minoring in Education as a Social Science. She is also working towards the Certificate of Speech and Hearing Sciences. She intends to pursue a career in Audiology, specifically in pediatrics. Hanna has been a part of the LDLS since her sophomore year. At Rutgers, Hanna is an active member of Omega Phi Alpha, National Service Sorority and the Rutgers Speech and Hearing Club. She has held leadership positions in both of these organizations. Outside of academics, Hanna enjoys baking, yoga, and hiking.

Brittney Cullen

Brittney Cullen

Brittney graduated in 2022 with a major in Linguistics (with the Speech and Hearing Certificate) and a double minor in Psychology and Education as a Social Science. She is continuing as an RA in the lab on the side while she prepares to apply to graduate school. Brittney’s hobbies outside of academics include weight lifting, reading, hiking, and playing with her dog Maverick.

Vaishnavi Elanchezhian

Vaishnavi Elanchezhian

Vaishnavi is a rising SOPHOMORE majoring in Cognitive Science and Linguistics, as well as minoring in Korean. She is interested in language acquisition, specifically the relationship between syntax and semantics, and hopes to pursue a career in computational linguistics. She is a member of the Seeing Eye Puppy Raising Club and hopes to join other clubs as well. Outside of school, Vaishnavi enjoys baking, writing, and spending time with her dog Simba.

Alanna Goodger

Alanna Goodger

Alanna is a rising JUNIOR majoring in Cognitive Science and Linguistics, and pursuing a Speech and Hearing Certificate. She is very grateful to be joining LDLS for the firs time as an RA, as this research combines her top interests: the brain, language, and working with children. Over the summer, she worked as an instructional assistant for her school district’s extended school year program, where she helped kids with learning disabilities and communication disorders prepare academically for the upcoming school year. After graduating, she plans on going to graduate school to earn a Master’s Degree in Elementary Education. Outside of work and school, she enjoys relaxing with her cat, drinking tea, singing, and trying out new restaurants. She looks forward to being a member of this amazing team for the upcoming school year.

Deshik Iyengar

Deshik Iyengar

Deshik is a rising SOPHOMORE majoring in Linguistics and French and minoring in Philosophy. This will be his first year in the lab and he is excited to learn more about the research process and contribute to the study. This past summer, Deshik worked with fellow students and faculty to promote neurodiversity at Rutgers University, further developing his interest in language acquisition. Outside of classes, he is the secretary of the Rutgers University Undergraduate Linguistics Club and a member of the IDEA program. Deshik enjoys reading, creative writing, and watching tennis and superhero movies in his free time.

Precious Janae-Romain

Precious-Janae is a SENIOR majoring in Linguistics and minoring in Developmental Psychology and is also pursuing the Certificate in Speech and Hearing Sciences. After graduating from Rutgers, she plans to pursue a doctorate degree in Linguistics with a research focus on child language acquisition—spoken and sign language—and bilingualism. Over the summer, she worked alongside graduate students at The Ohio State University on ongoing dialectal variation research. Outside of classes, she is a member of the American Sign Language Club and the Rutgers Speech and Hearing Club, which fuel her interests in language and linguistics. She is also a Resident Assistant on campus. She is very excited to continue working in the lab this year.

Madelyn Kwak

Madelyn Kwak

Madelyn graduated in spring of 2022 with a major in Linguistics with the Speech and Hearing Certificate and a minor in Developmental Psychology. She is pursuing a career as a Speech-Language Pathologist and is continuing as an RA during her gap year before graduate school. She enjoys board games, baking, reading, exploring new places, trying new foods, and crushing her friends at Word Hunt.

Erika Lucas

Erika Lucas

Erika is a rising SENIOR majoring in Linguistics. She is also working towards the Certificate in Speech and Hearing Sciences, and minoring in Psychology. She intends to work as a licensed Pediatric Speech-Language Pathologist. Erika speaks Italian and knows American Sign Language. Outside of classes, Erika likes to sing, and she is on the executive board of the Rutgers University Voorhees Choir as Activities and Alumnae chair. She also enjoys cooking and spending time with her friends.

Phoebe Mao

Phoebe Mao

Phoebe is a rising JUNIOR majoring in Linguistics and minoring in Anthropology. This will be Phoebe’s second year in the lab and she's looking forward to continuing the never-ending learning. At Rutgers, she plays intramural volleyball with her friends for fun. Her hobbies include reading novels, embroidering, and knitting.

Maddie Russell

Maddie Russell

Madeline is a rising SENIOR majoring in linguistics alongside the speech and hearing certificate and minoring in psychology. She also likes taking Spanish classes here at Rutgers, sparking her interest in language learning and acquisition. She is hoping to attend graduate school for speech language pathology and is teaching a FIGS class (Exploring Linguistics and World Languages) in the fall. Outside of academics, Madeline plays for Rutgers Women’s club basketball team and president of a mentorship program called RU Pilot Me which works with children in the New Brunswick area. She also works for her town’s local diner while not in class and enjoys working out, reading, and going to the beach.

Khushi Shah

Khushi Shah

Khushi is a rising SOPHOMORE double majoring in Linguistics and Cognitive Science here at Rutgers. She’s continuing with the lab this year after joining it this summer through the Aresty Summer Science program. Outside of classes, Khushi is on the executive board for the Cognitive Science club and enjoys singing, writing, and reading. She’s excited this year to meet more people that share her passion for understanding the mind.

Madison Skibicki

Madison Skibicki

Madison is a rising JUNIOR majoring in Linguistics with the Speech and Hearing Certificate and pursuing a Psychology minor. She is seeking to go to graduate school to become a Speech-Language Pathologist and work with children or adults, and maybe have her own private practice one day. She is very interested to work with our research team for the very first time and to take a deeper dive into language development and acquisition. Last summer, Madison worked as a sleepaway camp counselor for children, and continues to involve herself at Rutgers through her sorority, the sign language club and being the vice president of the speech and hearing club. Outside of academics, you can find Madison going on walks, participating in yoga, or painting and drawing.