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Meet our research team

LDLS 2020-2021

We’re virtual in 2020-2021!

Laboratory Director/PI

Dr. Syrett

Kristen Syrett

Dr. 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). 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.

Graduate Students

Meg Gotowski

Meg Gotowski

Meg is a fourth year Linguistics PhD student, and doubling as our Laboratory Coordinator for 2020-2021! Meg's research interests include semantics, syntax, first language acquisition, and learnability theory. Her current research is focused on the acquisition of degree constructions, such as comparatives and equatives. When she is not running experiments, she is running miles...and miles...and miles...

Ziling Zhu

Ziling Zhu

Ziling is in her second year of the Linguistics Ph.D. program. She is interested in formal semantics (esp. question semantics), tones and intonations, and Chinese linguistics in general. Her previous research projects include works on English biased questions, Tuwuli tones, and Mandarin verbal classifiers. Currently she is working with Professor Syrett on her first Qualifying Paper on the relation between the object-substance distinction in ontology and the dichotomy of count-mass classifiers in Mandarin syntax.

Undergraduate Research Assistants

Hanna Campiglia

Hanna Campiglia

Hanna is a sophomore majoring in Linguistics and minoring in Developmental Psychology. She is also working towards the Certificate of Speech and Hearing Sciences. She intends to pursue a career in Audiology, specifically in pediatrics. Hanna is very excited to learn more about language acquisition. As for extracurriculars, Hanna is a member of the Rutgers Performing Dance Company and the Rutgers Colorguard. Outside of academics, Hanna enjoys baking, yoga, and dancing.

Katie Cotter

Katie Cotter

Katie is a junior double majoring in Cognitive Science and Psychology with minors in Linguistics and Music. This is Katie’s first year with LDLS and she is excited to learn more about language acquisition and development. She hopes to pursue a career working with children and studying their development in the future. Outside of academics, Katie is the president of the Rutgers University Voorhees Choir and the Meet Director for the Rutgers Club Swim Team. She is also a peer mentor for the SAS Honors Program. In her spare time, Katie enjoys reading, swimming, singing and listening to music, as well as spending time with friends and family.

Samantha Forcht

Sam Forcht

Sam is a junior majoring in Linguistics and minoring in Spanish and Psychology. She is also working towards the Certificate for Speech and Hearing Sciences and hopes to attend graduate school to pursue a career as a Speech Language Pathologist. This is Sam's first year working in the lab and she is looking forward to learning new experimental techniques to study how children acquire language. Outside of the lab, Sam is the treasurer for the Speech and Hearing club and is a part of the sorority Phi Mu. Outside of school, Sam enjoys reading, running, and watching Grey's Anatomy.

Amy Klemens

Amy Klemens

Amy is a senior double majoring in Linguistics and Psychology. After Rutgers, she plans to attend graduate school for speech language pathology. Her main goal is to become a pediatric speech language pathologist and work in a school or private practice setting and with those on the autism spectrum. Her interests are in language acquisition and she is looking forward to learning more about pragmatics and phonology this upcoming year. Outside of academics, Amy is president for Speech and Hearing Club and a founding member of Alpha Chi Omega.

Erin Lavielle

Erin Lavielle

Erin is a senior double majoring in Linguistics and Psychology. She is also working towards the Certificate for Speech and Hearing Sciences for Linguistics majors, as she intends to pursue a career as a speech language pathologist in the future. This is Erin's second year in the lab, and she is very excited to further her learning in child language acquisition. Some of her favorite courses at Rutgers include language acquisition and language development, as those courses sparked her interest in this area of study. Erin is also the secretary for the Rutgers Speech and Hearing Club. Outside of school, Erin enjoys listening to music, going to the beach, and spending time with her friends and family.

Karen Li

Karen Li

Karen is a senior majoring in Cognitive Science, Math, and Linguistics. She hopes eventually to pursue a career in academia. Her interests include semantics and computational linguistics, and she is excited to learn more about pragmatics and language acquisition. Outside of coursework, Karen works as a community liaison for the Honors College and an editorial intern at the Rutgers University Press. In her spare time, she enjoys swing dancing, rock climbing, and playing the guitar.

Joy Lu

Joy Lu

Joy is a senior majoring in Linguistics with a Speech and Hearing Certificate and in Psychology. After receiving her bachelor's degree, Joy hopes to attend graduate school to become a speech language pathologist. She has interests in language acquisition, psycholinguistics, bilingualism, and dialect differentiation. Outside of academics, Joy is the Co-President of Rutgers Chinese Dance Troupe, and the Event Coordinator of Verse One. In her free time, Joy loves reading and painting.

Caitlin Moy

Caitlin Moy

Caitlin is a sophomore majoring in Computer Science and Linguistics with a minor in Cognitive Science. Her interests include computational linguistics and natural language processing. Outside of academics, she is the Vice President of Rutgers Product Co., a peer mentor in the School of Arts and Sciences Honors Program, and the Marketing & Design chair for Women in Computer Science, for which she also writes for their blog. In her free time, Caitlin enjoys learning Cantonese and Japanese. She also loves music and plays the guitar and bass.

Abeer Mumtaz

Abeer is a senior double majoring in Psychology and Linguistics. She is fluent in English and proficient in Urdu and Hindi. Her main interests include bilingualism and language acquisition because of her exposure to different languages and her enjoyment in the courses she has taken involving childhood development. Abeer also takes pleasure in working hands-on with the younger populations. She volunteers in the Behavioral Assistant Program at Rutgers University in which she works with children with Autism. As for her extra-circulars, she is the treasurer for Rutgers Speech and Hearing club as well as the Events Coordinator for Rutgers Ahlul-Bayt Student Association. After she completes her bachelors degree, she hopes to attend graduate school to eventually a pursue a career as a Speech Pathologist. Outside of school, she loves watching the Office, painting, and playing tennis.

Claire Pansini

Claire Pansini

Claire is a senior double majoring in Psychology and Linguistics, also pursuing a certificate in Speech and Hearing Sciences. After graduation, she hopes to attend graduate school and pursue a career as a speech-language pathologist in an elementary school setting. Her main interests include psycholinguistics as well as language acquisition. Claire is a member of the Rutgers University Speech and Hearing Club and the National Society of Leadership and Success. Outside of school, she loves traveling, hiking, and baking.

Amy Rosen

Amy Rosen

Amy is a Junior majoring in Linguistics with minors in Psychology and Jewish Studies. She finds the interdisciplinary nature of linguistics as it pertains to language development, cognition, hearing science, and speech science particularly interesting. After her time at Rutgers, Amy plans on attending graduate school for Speech-Language Pathology where she eventually hopes to become a Pediatric Speech Pathologist for children with Fluency and Articulation disorders. Alongside her classes, she serves as a Resident Assistant and a leadership board member for the Rutgers Hillel Reform Community. She is also an active member of the American Sign Language Club and Rutgers Speech and Hearing Club, both organizations that build upon her love for linguistics. In her free time, Amy enjoys reading, cooking, visiting museums, watching I Love Lucy, and taking nature walks.

Maddie Russell

Maddie Russell

Madeline is a sophomore hoping to major in linguistics and minor in psychology. She also likes taking Spanish classes here at Rutgers, sparking her interest in language learning and acquisition. She is considering working towards the Certificate for Speech and Hearing Sciences to become a speech language pathologist in the future. Outside of academics, Madeline plays for Rutgers Women’s club basketball team and is part 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.

Nathaniel Serio

Nate Serio

Nate is a senior and Lloyd C. Gardner Fellow in the School of Arts and Sciences Honors Program, where he studies Philosophy, Cognitive Science, and Linguistics. His main research interests lie broadly at the intersection of these fields, but he is particularly captivated by issues surrounding language acquisition and development. Outside of the lab, Nate is serves as Vice-President of the Philosophy Club, Treasurer of Phi Sigma Tau—The International Honor Society in Philosophy. He was also a course instructor for “Exploring Philosophy” as part of the FIGS program.

Sarah Zimmer

Sarah Zimmer

Sarah is a junior majoring in Linguistics with minors in Education and Psychology. She is also working towards her certificate in Speech and Hearing Sciences with hopes to become a Speech Language Pathologist. She is specifically interested in working with children who have autism and understanding how they develop. After Rutgers, she plans to attend graduate school for Speech Pathology, and possibly pursue a PhD. This is Sarah's first year working in the lab and she is very excited to learn more about language development. Sarah is also a tutor for the Plangere Writing Center where she specializes in working with students who have special needs and need some accommodations. As for her extracurriculars, Sarah is involved in the Speech and Hearing Science Club and is house manager of her sorority, Phi Sigma Sigma. Sarah has played competitive soccer her whole life so when she is not in class or meetings you can catch her kicking around a soccer ball!