The Team

Photo credit: Thuy Nguyen Buonocore

Rhiannon Luyster

Director, LI+TLE Lab

B.A. Wesleyan University, M.Ed. Boston College, Ph.D. University of Michigan

Dr. Luyster is a developmental psychologist who studies social communication and language in young children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Her research has been supported by the National Institutes of Health, National Science Foundation, American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, American Philosophical Society, Brain & Behavior Research Foundation, Organization for Autism Research, and Emerson College. Dr. Luyster has published her work in several peer-reviewed journals, including Developmental Psychology, Development & Psychopathology, Journal of Child Language, Journal of Speech, Language and Hearing Research, Autism Research, andJournal of Autism and Developmental Disorders. Dr. Luyster offers graduate courses on research methods and ASD, as well as an undergraduate course on developmental psychology. Her research activities are open to Emerson students interested in learning more about clinical research with young children and toddlers with ASD.

 

Lisa Wisman Weil

Co-Director, LI+TLE Lab

B.A. Case Western Reserve University, M.A. Case Western Reserve University, Ph.D. Purdue University

As a language scientist and speech-language pathologist, Dr. Wisman Weil’s research, teaching, and clinical interests focus on child language development and developmental language disorders. She studies grammatical development in children, including those with developmental language disorders.

 

Dr. Wisman Weil recently completed postdoctoral training focused on the language and literacy abilities of school-age children with autism spectrum disorder, specific language impairment, and dyslexia at the Center for Autism Research Excellence at Boston University and the McGovern Institute for Brain Research at MIT.

She has published in peer-reviewed journals, including Journal of Child Language, Biological Psychiatry: Cognitive Neuroscience and Neuroimaging, and Language Speech and Hearing Services in Schools.

 

LI+TLE Lab Team

Kayley Fung

Kayley is pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in Education with Psychology at the University of Bath, UK. She is currently working with Dr. Rhiannon Luyster as the Research Coordinator in the LI+TLE Lab in the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders. She is in charge of participant recruitment and data collection in the question-asking study for children with ASD. Her interest lies in language development and the effect of translanguaging language bilingualism.

 

 

Kaya LeGrand

Kaya is a second year master’s student in the Communication Sciences and Disorders program at Emerson College, where she has worked in the FACE Lab for the last year. She graduated from Pomona College in 2015 with a B.A. in Linguistics, and she completed an online bachelor’s degree in Communicative Disorders and Deaf Education in 2017.  Kaya wrote an undergraduate thesis focused on historical reconstruction of a Bantu language, and she is now working on a master’s thesis in the LI+TLE Lab – identifying which area of structural language best predicts language outcomes in individuals with ASD.

 

Kimberly Lin

Kim is a second year master’s student in the Communication Sciences and Disorders program at Emerson College. She graduated from Boston University in 2017 with a B.A. in Biology, and a minor in Speech, Language, & Hearing Sciences. Throughout undergrad, Kim was a research assistant at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and BU’s Center for Autism Research Excellence, studying novel language interventions for children with ASD. Kim spent a year in early childhood special education, working as a paraprofessional for Cambridge Public Schools’ Special Start program, and is now excited to complete a master’s thesis on noun and verb acquisition in young children with ASD.

 

Lauren Rosano

Lauren is a second year master’s student in the Communication Sciences and Disorders program at Emerson College. She graduated from Connecticut College in 2014 with a B.A. in French, and Literatures in English. She has since worked at a law firm specializing in Social Security disability. As a paralegal and then a supervisor, Lauren managed 200+ client cases, and 8 paralegals. She is particularly interested in the narrative development of children, including those with developmental language disorders and ASD. Lauren is excited to be part of the LI+TLE Lab team!

 

Samantha Babineau

Samantha is a current Senior, studying Communication Sciences and Disorders at Emerson College; with a minor in Hearing and Deafness. With guidance from Lisa Wisman Weil, Sam helps with transcriptions in a project about unconventional language use in children with autism. Due to graduate in 2020, Sam hopes to better understand the relationship between language use and child development.

 

Simran Hooja

Simran is a first-year master’s student in the communication Sciences and Disorders program at Emerson. She graduated from Topiwala National Medical College under Maharashtra University of Health Sciences, India with a Bachelors in Audiology and Speech Language Pathology in June 2018. She is particularly interested in studying pragmatic skills in in children with ASD and also language development in other developmental disabilities. Simran is excited to be a part of the LI+TLE Lab team.

 

Toby Loewenstein

Toby is a first year master’s student in the Communication Sciences and Disorders program at Emerson College. She graduated from the University of Virginia (UVA) in 2013 with a B.A. in Psychology and a minor in Leadership. She worked as a research assistant and program coordinator  at the Preschool Relationships Enhancement Project Lab. After graduating, she taught in preschool and kindergarten classrooms in St. Louis for 5 years before coming to Emerson at Boston.

 

 

Ellen Macaruso

Ellen is a first-year master’s student in the Communication Sciences and Disorders program at Emerson College. She graduated from Brown University in 2019 with a degree in Cognitive Neuroscience, where she completed a thesis project on learning from distributional properties of linguistic input. She is particularly interested in syntactic development and the roles of attention and social cognition in language acquisition. Ellen is excited to be a member of the LI+TLE Lab team!

 

Rachel Arnold

Rachel is a first year master’s student at Emerson’s Communication Disorders and Sciences (CDS) program. She has acquired a B.A. in CDS at the State University of New York at Fredonia, graduating in December of 2018. Interested in learning more about children with ASD and its effect on language development and she is looking forward to be a part of the LI+TLE Lab Team.

 

 

Grant Bachhuber
Grant is a first year graduate student at Emerson College in the Communication Sciences and Disorders Program. He earned his undergraduate degree at Boston University in Linguistics in 2015 with a minor in Speech, Language and Hearing Sciences. He then spent several years working for a Boston-based travel company called EF Explore America, before moving to Denver, Colorado with EF Cultural Care Au Pair. He is very excited to join the LI+TLE lab team this fall to learn more about language development and communication in children!
Astrid Esquilín Nieves
Astrid graduated from the University of Massachusetts Amherst in May 2018 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Linguistics and French with a Minor in Spanish. She worked as a Research Assistant for Lisa Green analyzing the third person singular -s use in and African American English speaking children. She’s excited to be part of the LI+TLE lab team as it will give her an opportunity to learn more about the role of syntax and how language is acquired in children with autism.

LI+TLE Lab Alumni

Molly Atkinson – Molly completed her Placement Year at the LI+TLE Lab as part of her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from the University of Bath, in 2016. She was a member of the Bath Association of Psychology Students and assisted in research concerned with social communication in the ASD population at University College London. She currently works as a Medical Secretary at a Doctor’s Surgery in Greater Boston.

Julia Bird – Julia graduated from Boston University in 2010 with a Bachelor’s degree in Journalism. She decided to pursue a degree in Speech-Language Pathology after working in health care for four years. She is currently a second year student at Emerson College.

Nicole Coughlin – Nicole graduated from Villanova University in 2014. While at Villanova, Nicole majored in Human Services with minors in both psychology and sociology. She participated in a group called LeVel, which focused on raising awareness to change attitudes on ability and bridge the gap between the able-bodied and differently abled community. She worked with students of different abilities and disabilities to help them achieve their academic potential. She is currently a second year student at Emerson College, and she is working towards her Master’s degree in Communication Sciences and Disorders. She is working in the LI+TLE Lab, helping to support a study that focuses on the overhearing abilities of individuals with Autism.

Marisa Curtis – Marisa graduated from James Madison University in May of 2014. While there, she majored in Communication Sciences and Disorders with a minor in Exceptional Education, and she participated in the National Student Speech Language Hearing Association (NSSLHA). She is currently a first year Master’s student at Emerson College, and she is pursuing her degree in Communication Sciences and Disorders. She is working on ADOS-2 training and parts of an overhearing study in the LI+TLE Lab.

Elyse Dion – Elyse received her undergraduate degree in Communication Sciences and Disorders in 2013 from the University of New Hampshire, where she minored in Deaf and Hard of Hearing Studies. She was a graduate research assistant for the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders recruiting children and adults, with and without communication disorders, to join the Family Registry for Research at Emerson. She received her Masters from Emerson College in Communication Sciences and Disorders in May 2015.

Alyssa Barzach

Alyssa is a second year master’s student in the Communication Sciences and Disorders program at Emerson College. In May of 2018, she graduated from the University of Connecticut with a B.A. in Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences. While studying, Alyssa worked as a research assistant in the Language Creation Lab, focusing on how math skills are impacted by language in Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing children. Alyssa is excited to join the LI+TLE lab and begin work on projects!

Sophie Edwards – Sophie completed her Professional Placement year at the LI+TLE Lab from 2018-19 in pursuit of a Bachelor’s Degree in Education with Psychology from the University of Bath, UK.  She is due to graduate in the summer of 2020, and hopes to apply to Clinical Psychology Graduate Programs in the Fall. As the Research Coordinator for the Communication Sciences and Disorders department, she developed a question-asking study for children with Autistic Spectrum disorder and managed aspects such as participant recruitment and data collection.

Ryan Dyckes

Ryan is a second year master’s student in the Communication Sciences and Disorders program at Emerson College. In May 2018, she graduated from the University of South Carolina with a B.A. in Public Health. She has been working as an Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA) therapist for children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) for the past two years. She is excited to join the LI+TLE Lab team and learn more about the language acquisition process for children with ASD.

Bella Leiwant

Bella studied at Miami Dade College for two years before transferring to Emerson College. She graduated in 2019, and is going on to study School Psychology at Northeastern University. As a member of the LI+TLE Lab team, Bella continues to help with transcribing and coding for a longitudinal project.

Clare Mitchell

Clare recently graduated from the Communication Sciences and Disorders Master’s program at Emerson, in 2019. Having successfully completed her Master’s Thesis assessing the ‘Relationship between the Frequency and Function of Questions Posed by Children and their Mothers’, Clare continues to assist with transcribing and coding for a longitudinal language project.

Jen Georgeson – Jen graduated from Saint Mary’s College in Notre Dame, Indiana in May 2016 with a Bachelor’s degree in Communicative Sciences and Disorders.  While at Saint Mary’s College she conducted research with a team of undergraduate students at the University of Notre Dame in the Laboratory For Understanding Neurodevelopment (F.U.N. Lab).  She is a first year Master’s student at Emerson College, and is pursuing a degree in Speech Language Pathology.  She is helping with inter-rater reliability for a thesis of an Emerson alum.

Sally Goldstein-Elkind – Sally graduated from Ohio Wesleyan University in 2011 with a BA in Early Childhood Education. After graduating, she spent six years working at the preschool at Solomon Schechter Grade School of Greater Boston. During her time there Sally held the role of floating teacher, assistant, and co-teacher, and worked with childrenfrom 18 months to 5+ years. Sally helped with a longitudinal language project.

Rebecka Henry – Rebecka graduated from Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo, California. While there, she majored in English Literature and minored in Linguistics and Women’s and Gender Studies. She is a first year graduate student at Emerson College, pursuing her Master’s degree in Communication Sciences and Disorders. She is currently working on an eye-tracking study in the LI+TLE Lab.

Emma Hill – Emma received a bachelors degree in Psychology from Saint Olaf College in 2011. She is currently a research assistant in the Communication Sciences and Disorders department at Emerson College, where she is also pursuing a masters degree in Communication Disorders. Emma previously worked in the Speech and Cognition Laboratory at St. Olaf College. Her areas of interest include child language development and pediatric hearing loss.

Kayla MacKay – Kayla graduated from the University of Massachusetts Amherst in 2015. While there, she majored in Communication Disorders and minored in Psychology. She worked for two research labs, S2S Lab and the World Lab. She completed an honors undergraduate thesis, investigating word recognition strategies in children with Specific Language Impairment. She is currently a first year Master’s student at Emerson College, and is pursuing a degree in Communication Sciences and Disorders. She is helping with outreach for the research registry and marketing materials for LI+TLE Lab.

Mika Maeda – Mika graduated from Wellesley College in 2014. While there, she majored in Neuroscience and minored in Psychology. After graduating, Mika worked in the Pediatrics and Developmental Neuroscience Branch at the National Institutes of Mental Health. She is currently a first year Master’s student at Emerson College and is pursuing a degree in Communication Sciences and Disorders. In the LI+TLE Lab, she is helping administer assessments of cognitive development as part of eye-tracking studies carried out at the lab.

Jessica Mann – Jessica has graduated from Emerson College in 2019 – with a degree in Communication Sciences and Disorders. Her areas of interest are child language development and aural rehabilitation. As a member of the team in the LI+TLE Lab, she helped with coding language transcripts.

Devon Milkie – Devon graduated from Ohio State University in 2014 with a Bachelor’s degree in Speech and Hearing Sciences. She is a second year Master’s student at Emerson College and is studying to become a Speech Language Pathologist. She is working on her Master’s thesis, which focuses on parental mind-mindedness and how this varies based on conversation partners and child contributions to the interaction.

Christina Morgan – Christina is an undergraduate student at the University of Michigan studying Biopsychology Cognition and Neuroscience (BCN) and Writing. As a research assistant for the LI+TLE Lab, Christina developed media for the lab.

Amanda Netburn – Amanda graduated from Washington University in St. Louis in 2014 with a bachelor’s degree in psychology-neuroscience-philosophy (PNP). After graduating, she spent two years working in Susan Levine’s Cognitive Development Lab at the University of Chicago, studying the development of spatial skills in young children. Amanda is currently a first year graduate student in Emerson’s Communication Sciences & Disorders program, pursuing her master’s degree. In the LI+TLE Lab, Amanda helps with literature reviews, as well as data collection and processing. She will be completing a master’s thesis focusing on question-asking in children with autism.

Zoë Pichler – Zoë graduated with a Bachelors degree in Integrative Neuroscience from Binghamton University in 2011. While at Binghamton, she completed course and clinical work at the Institute for Child Development, working with children with autism spectrum disorders. She is a second-year Masters student in Emerson College’s Communication Disorders program, studying to become a Speech Language Pathologist. Zoë completed her Masters thesis investigating the relationship between social intelligence and drawing ability in young children in May 2015.

Rea Ramos – Rea graduated from University of California, Irvine in 2006. While there she majored in Studio Art and minored in Education and Digital Arts. She is currently a second year student at Emerson College and is pursuing her Master’s in Communication Sciences and Disorders.

Alicia Reifler – Alicia graduated from Georgia College and State University in May 2013  with a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology. While at Georgia College and State University, she was a part of Psi Chi, the International Honor Society in Psychology. She is a first year Master’s student at Emerson College, and is pursuing a degree in Speech Language Pathology. She is helping to support ADOS-2 training and an overhearing study in the LI+TLE Lab.

Madeline Saunders – Madeline has just graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from the University of Bath in the UK. Having completed her Placement Year here in the LI+TLE Lab in 2017, her responsibilities included data collection for an eye-tracking study as well as assisting with participant recruitment.

Nicholas Souter – Nicholas has graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from the University of Bath in the UK, in 2017. In 2016, he completed his Placement Year here in the LI+TLE Lab. He was the secretary for the Bath Association of Psychology Students, and he is currently in the process of submitting a paper about eye-tracking in infants with ASD.