Infant Language and Learning Lab

Current Members

Image not available.

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.


Image not available.

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.


Image not available.

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.


Image not available.

Alia Friedman
Research Assistant
Alia Friedman is a freshman Neuroscience major at CMU. She grew up in Philadelphia but has fallen in love with Pittsburgh.
She loves children, wants to be a pediatrician, and is fascinated by language acquisition. When not in the lab she enjoys reading and has a passion for history.


Image not available.

Amanda Thiele
Research Assistant
Amanda Thiele is a senior pre-med Cognitive Neuroscience major. She hopes to one day become an OB/GYN and has always been interested in how infants learn and develop. She is a part of the Women's volleyball team and in her spare time loves to read, watch movies, and explore Pittsburgh’s amazing restaurant options.


Image not available.

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. And also food.

Image not available.

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.


Image not available.

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.


Image not available.

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.


Image not available.

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.


Image not available.

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.




Image not available.

Ruchira Ragavan
Research Assistant
Ruchira Ragavan is a student of Masters program in Applied Development Psychology. She wants to explore how language acquisition occurs in preterm infants and infants at risk of developmental issues. In her leisure time when she isn’t trying to solve environmental problems, she loves science fiction, music, plays with children and is a voracious reader.



Image not available.

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.


Image not available.

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.


Image not available.

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!


Image not available.

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.



Image not available.

Varsha Shankar
Research Assistant
Varsha is a freshman cognitive science major at CMU.
She joined the lab because of her interest in how children develop and how they acquire languages. She hopes to have a future working in the Artificial Intelligence field. In her free time, amongst other things Varsha likes to swim, travel and volunteer.


Alumni

Image not available.

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.