Infant Language and Learning Lab

Current Members

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Sandrine Girard
Graduate Student
Sandrine Girard is a third year graduate student in the Thiessen lab. Her research investigates the neural processes that
support our ability to detect predictive relations among elements of the input, especially in relation to language development.
She graduated from the University of Washington in 2014 with a B.S. in Psychology and a minor in Spanish.
In her free time, Sandrine enjoys playing ultimate frisbee, doing yoga, and running.


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Cassie Eng
Graduate Student
Cassie is a first year graduate student in the Thiessen lab. Her research investigates the role attention plays in the acquisition of new knowledge and the
corresponding brain-behavior associations. In particular, she focuses on how children obtain information from various multimedia sources.
She graduated from Penn State in 2015 with a B.S. in Psychology and a minor in Neuroscience.
After, she completed a 1-year research fellowship at Virginia Tech. In her free time, Cassie works out.


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Kristen Boyle
Lab Manager
Kristen holds a Bachelor's degree in Psychology from McGill University as well as a Bachelor's degree in Elementary Education
from the University of Ottawa. She has experience teaching Pre-Kindergarten, French as Second Language, and music.
She enjoys doing yoga, baking, learning languages, and traveling.


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Kenan Seyidov
Research Assistant
My name is Kenan. I am fascinated by the human condition and I am hoping to model the mind and implement its function in a computer system.
I graduated from Penn in 2016 and I am currently working towards a graduate degree in computational theory of the mind.
I dedicate my free time to building awareness and listening to music.


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Eliza Lo
Research Assistant
Eliza is a senior in CMU studying business and psychology.
She is from a city near HongKong but moved to Los Angeles since 12.
Growing up in the Southern China and SoCal, she is just getting used to the weather in Pittsburgh.
In her free time, she likes to cook, eat, watch movies, and look at pictures of cats and dogs.


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Anjie Cao
Research Assistant
Anjie Cao is a conitive science major.
She is from Beijing, China. She used to want to be a whale when she grows up but sadly Beijing doesn’t have a beach so she switched her dream into being a scientist.
Her favorite things include humans and hummus but she prefers humans because they acquire languages.
In her spare time, she loves to consume and produce written language.

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Alyssa Aburchis
Research Assistant
Alyssa is a junior neurobiology and psychology double major with a minor in French.
She joined the lab because of her interest in how children with developmental disorders learn language.
In her spare time, Alyssa likes to guzzle coffee, watch documentaries, and fiercely cheer for the Pittsburgh Penguins.


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Rissa Lee
Research Assistant
Rissa Lee is a junior Cognitive Science Major and Creative Writing Minor. Having grown up in a household that spoke
two languages, she is interested in bilingualism and the effect that early multiple language exposure has on children.
Rissa's hobbies include reading, morning crosswords, playing piano, and brewing strong coffee.


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Alice Zheng
Research Assistant
Alice Zheng is a sophomore pre-med Cognitive Science major.
She has always enjoyed working with children, and joined the lab in hopes of learning more about their development.
When not in the lab, Alice likes to listen to music, hike, draw, and play with dogs.


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Hyunji Do
Research Assistant
Hyunji is a junior Cognitive Science major at Carnegie Mellon University. She is primarily interested in
cognitive visual processing, human perception, and language development as mechanisms that shape our interactions with our environment.
In her free time, she enjoys watching movies, traveling, and trying new foods.


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Amy Lin
Research Assistant
Amy Lin is a senior studying Art and Psychology in the BXA program at CMU. She is originally from Dallas, and she enjoys hiking and going to museums in her free time. She plans on becoming an elementary art teacher in the future.




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Kilie Cavanaugh
Research Assistant
My name is Kylie. I have a dual degree in Early Childhood Education and Special Education from Indiana University of Pennsylvania.
Being in the classroom, I constantly ponder and research factors such as Gardner's theory of multiple intelligences, intrinsic and extrinsic motivation, attention, language acquisition, and the impact of the classroom environment on learning.
My passion and goal is for each child to reach their fullest potential. ​


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Lynnette Ramsay
Research Assistant
Lynnette Ramsay is a senior undergraduate working towards her B.S. Psychology with a minor in linguistics.
In addition to being a research assistant, Lynnette also works in the Children's School. On campus, she is an English tutor for CMU FORGE and a leader in the CMU knitting club. Lynnette hopes to have a career in research, education, school counseling or speech pathology.
She is particularly interested in the interplay between the language we use and our self-concept or self identity. Her personal hobbies include knitting, running and watching cartoons.


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Tori Iataroli
Research Assistant
I am a Senior majoring in Psychology and minoring in linguistics and cognitive neuroscience. I am on the Women’s Soccer team at Carnegie Mellon. I also work at the Carnegie Mellon Children’s School.
In my free time I love to walk around and explore Pittsburgh’s hidden food spots.


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Ermina Lee
Research Assistant
Ermina is a rising sophomore studying neuroscience and minoring in health policy and management.
She joined the lab because she loves children and misses seeing them around. In her free time she runs, plays the violin, and paints.


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Rebecca Kalmeijer
Research Assistant
Rebecca is a junior in cognitive science with a concentration in linguistics. Having been exposed to several languages early on, Rebecca has always been interested in language acquisition and language cognition.
In her free time Rebecca loves to read, play with her dog Aya, and drink lots of tea!


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Bridget Tan
Research Assistant
Bridget is a rising junior in Electrical and Computer Engineering.
She enjoys mixing sound, celebrating Chinese culture, and playing video games.
This summer, she is working under Cassie to make an exergame based on the go/no-go task for preschoolers.


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Hannah Famili
Research Assistant
Hannah Famili is a senior communication science and disorders major and Spanish minor in the School of Health and Rehabilitation Science at the University of Pittsburgh.
She plans on becoming an audiologist. In her spare time, she enjoys running, playing tennis, traveling, and finding new coffee shops.


Alumni

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Lucy Erickson
Former Graduate Student
Lucy worked with Dr. Thiessen as a graduate student from 2009-2015.
She is currently a post-doc at the University of Maryland, College Park.