Meet our Doctoral Students
Alisa Baron's primary research interests are in bilingual language development and bilingual language impairment. Typical bilingual language development norms has not yet been firmly established and therefore there is a need to study both typical and atypical children. Additionally, Alisa will focus on the language processing and expressive language of children with language impairment so that more intervention techniques can be created and improved for bilingual children. Alisa Baron is a doctoral student in the HABLA lab.
Natalie Czimskey's area of study is Adult Neurogenic Language Disorders. Her primary focus is on language rehabilitation and identification of language differences in traumatic brain injury, stroke, dementia, and concussion. Natalie's recent research looks at how individuals with traumatic brain injury process emotion in semantics. Her research goals are usually clinically applicable in nature and revolve around improving the lives of individuals after the onset of their communication disorder. Natalie has served as the instructor for Anatomy and Physiology of Speech and Hearing Mechanisms for the past three years, and is a member of the Communication in Adults Research Group.
Zoi Gkalitsiou is a third year PhD student at the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders at the the University of Texas at Austin. Her primary interests are the organization of the mental lexicon in persons who stutter as well as investigation of the potential psycholinguistic factors that contribute to the development and persistence of stuttering using eye-tracking techniques. A secondary area of interest includes the manifestation of stuttering in bilingual/multilingual individuals. Zoi is a doctoral student as well as a clinical supervisor in the Michael and Tami Lang Stuttering Institute.
Stephanie’s research interests pertain to the manifestation of neurologically based communication disorders within the context of bilingualism. More specifically she is interested in utilizing neuroimaging to better inform responsiveness to tailored speech and language treatments in bilinguals who have acquired a traumatic brain injury, or have acquired aphasia as a result of neurodegenerative disease. She is a doctoral student in the Aphasia Research and Treatment Lab and the Human Abilities in Bilingual Language Acquisition Lab.
Since 2012 I have been a doctoral student of audiology in the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders.I am interested in exploring how experience (e.g. bilingualism, hearing loss, hearing aids) modulate speech perception in noise by using psychophysical and electrophysiological methods. Understanding how the brain adapts “new” sounds with different experience provides good insight for helping listeners with communication difficulties.
Ying Hao joined the doctoral program at the University of Texas at Austin at August 2014. Her research interests are in the area of Psycholinguistics. She looks at syntactic and grammatical development in Mandarin monolingual children, Mandarin-English bilingual children and language disordered children, such as children with Autism Spectrum Syndrome. Currently, she is focusing on pronoun interpretation and aspect interpretation in the three populations. She is also working on adapting assessment tools of narrative skills to Mandarin-English bilingual children. She is a doctoral student in the Language Learning & Bilingualism Lab and the Human Abilities in Bilingual Language Acquisition Lab.
Meghan Kainz, MS, CCC-SLP, a doctoral student in the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders at the University of Texas at Austin. Her current research is focused on better understanding the nature of socioeconomic disparities in early vocabulary by exploring the fundamental differences in children’s word learning skills. Prior to entering the doctoral program, Meghan worked as a Speech-Language Pathologist in both public schools and private practice.
Successful communication implies reduction in uncertainties. Boji Lam’s main focus is to understand how the brain encodes and utilizes the predictability in the language signals, with the aim to better the understanding about primary language impairment so that better interventions could be provided. He is also involved in research in lexical-semantic development in bilingual children who speak different language pairs, with a particular focus on Spanish-English and Mandarin-English bilinguals. Boji is currently a third-year doctoral student at the language learning and bilingualism lab led by Dr. Li sheng. Besides research, he is also doing clinical work.
Mingshuang Li has joined the Ph.D. program and studied in the Speech Psychophysics Laboratory in the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders since August 2016. He has an interdisciplinary background of hearing science, psychology and pedagogy. Mingshuang’s research focuses on perception of speech and non-speech sound with psychophysical and electrophysiological evaluations, especially for native and non-native speakers, normal-hearing and hearing-impaired listeners and the populations with amusia and tone agnosia. He is also interested in training and enhancement for speech perception in noise.
Ying Lu's research interests are in the areas of lexical-semantic and morphosyntactic development in bilingual children. Using different spontaneous and elicitation tasks, her work has focused on how bilingual children lexicalize semantic knowledge and how they express temporal concepts across two languages. She hopes to better understand language development by examining cross-linguistic influences and comparing populations from diverse linguistic backgrounds. Ying Lu is a doctoral student in the Language Learning and Bilingualism Laboratory.
Megann McGill is a doctoral student, a licensed speech-language pathologist, and a Spanish-English bilingual clinical supervisor in the Michael and Tami Lang Stuttering Institute. Her research interests include the exploration of the contributions of psycholinguistic, phonological and phonetic factors to stuttered speech production.
Through collaborative effort between the SoundBrain Laboratory and the Categorization and Decision Making Laboratory, Rachel investigates the extent to which neurocognitive processes contribute to learning auditory information throughout development. Her current research is focused on utilizing brainstem and cortical electroencephalography to examine context-dependent modulation of neural responses to speech signals.
Jin Wang is a doctoral student in the Brain Developmental Lab. She is interested in the neural basis of language and reading development using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). During her doctoral studies, she will focus on how brain activation during language processing is related to reading skills in pre-school children and how early brain activation predicts the later reading performance.
Danielle Werle is a licensed clinician and doctoral student. She is a clinical supervisor and research associate in the Michael and Tami Lang Stuttering Institute. Her research interests include the cognitive and behavioral contributions to stuttering and effective communication.
Jessica Wise is interested in determining neural correlates of individual differences in academic achievement. Her work has focused on how we learn to read, both by studying the development of reading systems over time in children and teaching adults to read a new writing system. She is now using a new technique called transcranial direct current stimulation to see if the learning process can be accelerated and whether this will lead to lasting neural changes. Her goal is to understand the learning process to better inform new methods to help those who struggle to read. Jessica is a doctoral student in the Brain Development Lab.
Zilong Xie is a doctoral student in the Chandrasekaran lab (SoundBrain lab). His research interests include (1) factors (e.g., cognition, emotion, motivation) contributing to individual differences in speech perception in challenging environments; (2) experience- and context-dependent cortical and subcortical encoding of behaviorally relevant sounds.
Hoyoung Yi is a doctoral student in the speech production lab. Hoyoung°Øs research interest is understanding acquisition of speech and language in children with and without hearing loss. Her research has focused on how children form their early language based on potential interactions between their lexical knowledge and their available phonological abilities.