Meet Our Team

Meet Our Team

Jan Edwards

Director of the Learning to Talk laboratory

Jan Edwards joined the University of Maryland in the Fall of 2016 as a faculty member in the Department of Hearing and Speech Sciences and  an Associate Director of the Language Science Center. Her research focuses on children from a wide range of language experiences, including children who speak non-mainstream dialects of English or different first languages as well as children with cochlear implants or autism spectrum disorders. She is particularly interested in how  children learn the sounds and words of their language and how this relates to language skills, literacy and school success.

Tatiana Thonesavanh

Lab Manager

Tatiana Thonesavanh received a B.S. in Human Development and Family Studies from the University of Wisconsin, Madison in May 2013. From 2013-2016, she was a Research Specialist at the Waisman Center at UW-Madison where she was the Recruitment, Outreach and Testing Coordinator for both the Learning to  Talk Lab and the Infant Learning Lab. She is very interested in child and family research as it relates to development as a whole and she looks forward to the exciting new projects the Learning to Talk Lab endeavors at the University of Maryland.

Carolyn Mazzei

Teacher Training and Support Coordinator

Carolyn Mazzei received her Masters in Teaching and K-8 Certification from the University of Washington through the Seattle Teacher Residency. With a developmental psychology background, Carolyn is interested in how evidence-based practices, culturally inclusive classrooms, and continuing professional development for inservice teachers impact long-term outcomes for students from historically underserved populations. She is looking forward to partnering with public school communities in the area alongside the Toggle Talk Team.

Michelle Erskine

Ph.D. Student

​Michelle Erskine received her MS in Speech Language Pathology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.She is currently pursuing her doctoral degree at the University of Maryland (College Park) under the guidance of Dr. Jan Edwards. Her current research focuses on the relationships among literacy development, language development, and phonological acquisition in culturally and linguistically diverse populations. She is also interested in the intersection among language, literacy, and poverty.

Allie Johnson

Ph.D. Student

Allie Johnson is a PhD student in Hearing and Speech Sciences at the University of Maryland-College Park. She earned her MS degree in Speech-Language Pathology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2016. Allie’s research focuses on using a variety of methods to assess speech production skills and exploring factors that influence lexical and phonological development in young children. She is particularly interested in how children with cochlear implants develop speech and language skills despite having degraded auditory input.

Meg Cychosz

Ph.D. Student

Meg Cychosz is a PhD student in linguistics at the University of California, Berkeley. She studies acoustic and articulatory (ultrasound biofeedback) phonetics in young children. Meg also applies computational methods to model children’s phonological acquisition. She is very excited to be a visiting member of the Learning to Talk Lab.

Zachary Maher

Ph.D. Student

Zachary Maher is a PhD student in Neuroscience and Cognitive Science at the University of Maryland-College Park. He holds a BA and MA in Linguistics from Yale University, where he was a founding member of the Yale Grammatical Diversity Project. He has also worked in a variety of roles in the field of education, including time as a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant in Germany and as an Education Pioneers Analyst Fellow at the Newark Charter School Fund in Newark, NJ. Zach’s interests lie in the educational implications of language research, with a particular focus on supports for students who speak non-mainstream dialects.

Christina Blomquist

Ph.D. Student

Christina Blomquist is an MA/PhD student in Speech-Language Pathology in the Department of Hearing and Speech Sciences at the University of Maryland-College Park.  She is working under the supervision of Dr. Jan Edwards and Dr. Rochelle Newman.  Her primary research interests focus on language and literacy development, specifically the relationship between the development of language processing and reading acquisition.  Christina earned her B.A. in Speech and Hearing Science and Psychology from the University of Iowa

Arynn Byrd

Ph.D. Student

Arynn Byrd received her MA in Speech-Language Pathology at the University of Georgia in 2018. She is currently pursuing her doctoral degree at the University of Maryland, College Park under the guidance of Dr. Jan Edwards. Her research interests include language development, code switching, dialect instruction, and non-mainstream dialects. She is particularly interested in African American English and the educational impacts of code switching.

Kathleen Oppenheimer

Ph.D. Student

Kathleen Oppenheimer received her MS in Speech-Language Pathology from Northwestern University and her BA in Linguistics and Chinese from Harvard College. She previously worked as a speech-language pathologist in a children’s hospital and is currently a doctoral student at the University of Maryland at College Park under the guidance of Dr. Yi Ting Huang and Dr. Jan Edwards. Kathleen’s research interests include language and literacy development in children with typical and atypical development. She is also interested in the diagnosis and treatment of language disorders in children who speak non-mainstream dialects of English.

Alyssa Smith

Graduate Student

Alyssa Smith is a first year Master’s Student in Speech Language Pathology at the University of Maryland. She has worked in Dr. Nan Ratner and Julianne Garbarino’s Autism Research Lab on campus. Alyssa is looking forward to learning and working with the Learning to Talk lab!

Joseph Nicol

Graduate Student

Joseph Nicol earned a Combined B.S. degree in Speech-Language Pathology, Audiology, and Deaf Studies at Towson University, and is currently a second-year student in the M.A. in Speech-Language Pathology program at the University of Maryland, College Park. His eagerness to work in the Learning to Talk lab was inspired by his undergraduate research, internship, and service learning in the field of urban education, and he looks forward to furthering his understanding of the intersection of urban ed. and speech-language services.

Michele Liquori

Graduate Student

Michele Liquori received her B.A. in Hearing and Speech Sciences at the University of Maryland, College Park in the Spring of 2019 and is currently a first year Master’s student in the Speech-Language Pathology program. During her undergraduate career, she worked in the Language-Learning Early Advantage Program (LEAP) Preschool as a Classroom Intern, Social Interaction Group Network for students with Autism (SIGNA) as a Peer Mentor, Program for Undergraduate Language Science Ambassadors in Research (PULSAR), National Student Speech Language and Hearing Association (NSSLHA) as an Enrichment Co-Chair, and the Learning to Talk Lab as both a Research Assistant and a UMD ToggleTalk Assessor. She is looking forward to beginning her third year in the lab!

Megan Gigliotti

Undergraduate Student

Megan Gigliotti is a senior undergraduate Hearing and Speech Sciences major at the University of Maryland. She is also involved in the National Student Speech Hearing and Language Association on campus. This will be Megan’s second year working in the lab.

Rachel Niemann

Graduate Student

Rachel Niemann earned her B.A. in Hearing and Speech Sciences from the University of Maryland where she worked in the Language-Learning Early Advantage Program (LEAP), the Program for the Education and Enrichment of Relational Skills (PEERS), and in Dr. Ratner’s Autism Research lab. Rachel is currently a first year Master’s Student in Speech Language Pathology at the University of Maryland and is excited to be a part of the Learning to Talk Lab!

Kayla Horning

Graduate Student

Kayla Horning received her B.S. in Speech Pathology and Audiology and a minor in Autism Spectrum
Disorders from Kent State University. She is beginning the M.A. in Speech-Language Pathology program
at the University of Maryland, College Park this Fall of 2019. During her undergraduate career, she
worked alongside international students while participating in the Conversation Partners Program as
well as the International Conversation Hour. Her research interests include language and literacy
development in culturally and linguistically diverse populations. She is very excited to be a part of UMD’s
Toggle Talk Project!

Becca Higgins

Undergraduate Student

Becca Higgins is a senior undergraduate Hearing and Speech Science Major. She is in the University Honors College and in PULSAR, an interdisciplinary language research program. Becca is currently working on her Undergraduate Honors Thesis with Dr. Edwards and Allie Johnson. Her research interests are focused on speech perception, phonological development, and cochlear implants.

Jaclyn Davis

Undergraduate Student

Jaclyn Davis is a senior undergraduate English and Secondary Education major at the University of Maryland. She joined the Toggle Talk project as an assessor during the Fall 2017 semester. She has also worked as an assessor on Project LEARN through the UMD College of Education. She now enjoys working in the Learning to Talk Lab.

Ileana Thompson

Undergraduate Student

Ileana Thompson is a senior Hearing and Speech Sciences major, Spanish Language and Cultural Studies and MLAW double minor at the University of Maryland. She is apart of the University Honors College and works in the Student Legal Aid Office on campus. Ileana is excited to be working with families, children and other experimenters in the lab to continue running studies.

Hannah Del Rosario

Undergraduate Student

Hannah Del Rosario is a junior undergraduate Hearing and Speech Sciences major. She is also a mentor for fourth graders in the America Reads* America Counts Program at UMD. She is excited to continue working in the lab this semester.

Kristen Ho

Undergraduate Student

Kristen is a senior undergraduate Hearing and Speech Sciences major with a minor in Spanish Language, Culture and Professional Contexts.  She is a member of the Alpha Lambda Delta & Phi Eta Sigma Honor Society on campus, and has worked with Ms. Sisskin as a coder for the Avoidance Reduction Therapy for Stuttering project.  She will continue as a Toggle Talk Project assessor this year, and is excited to be working with the Learning to Talk Lab!

Katelyn Fulmore

Undergraduate Student

Katelyn Fulmore is a senior undergraduate at the University of Maryland, majoring in Hearing and Speech Sciences. She has worked in the SIGNA and LEAP programs at UMD and is excited to be joining the Learning to Talk Lab to further her knowledge of language development

Dominique Jenkins

Undergraduate Student

Dominique Jenkins is an senior undergraduate Hearing and Speech Sciences major at the University of Maryland. She previously mentored 1st and 2nd graders in the American Reads program at the University and is currently a member of UMD’s National Student Speech Language Hearing Association. She joined the Toggle Talk project as an assessor during the Spring 2019 semester and looks forward to being more involved in the Learning to Talk lab.

Max Scribner

Undergraduate Student

Max Scribner is a sophomore undergraduate student studying Computer Science and Linguistics at Maryland. He is a member of the Maryland Honors College, and the Maryland Filmmaker’s club. Max is excited to learn about language acquisition while working in the lab, and is glad he can utilize his experience repairing computers to help the research continue smoothly.

Abby Rosler

Undergraduate Student

Abby Rosler is a junior undergraduate Hearing and Speech Sciences major at the University of Maryland. She is involved with an array of clubs and organizations on campus, from tap dance to service organizations. She is so excited to begin her first semester in the Learning to Talk Lab!

Madison Rolf

Undergraduate Student

Madison Rolf is a sophomore undergraduate student double majoring in Hearing & Speech Sciences and Psychology at the University of Maryland. She is a member of the University Honors College, Best Buddies, and the Sigma Alpha Lambda honors fraternity on campus. Madison is so excited to learn more about language acquisition while beginning her first semester in the Learning to Talk Lab!

Collaborators

Elise Baker 

University of Sydney

Mary Beckman

Ohio State University

Naomi Feldman

University of Maryland- College Park

Yi Ting Huang 

University of Maryland- College Park

Eun Jong Kong

Korean Aerospace University

Ben Munson

University of Minnesota- Twin Cities

Bob McMurray 

University of Iowa

Rochelle Newman

University of Maryland- College Park

Natalie Munro 

University of Sydney

Patrick Reidy

University of Texas- Dallas

Jenny Saffran 

University of Wisconsin- Madison

Susan Ellis Weismer 

University of Wisconsin- Madison

L2T Alumni

Brianna Johnson

M.A., Speech Language Pathology, UMD

Nora Leonard

M.A., Speech Language Pathology, UMD 

Sidra Sheikh

M.A., Sociology and Education, Teachers College, Columbia University

Currently: Ph.D. Student, Urban Education, Temple University

Lauren Eisner

B.A., Hearing and Speech Sciences, UMD 

Currently: M.A. Student, Speech Language Pathology, UMD

Erica Younkin

M.A., Speech Language Pathology, UMD 

Joelle Latorre

Sr. Undergraduate, HESP, UMD

Alea Goodridge

B.A., Hearing and Speech Sciences, UMD

Ashley Forster

M.P.S., Clinical Psychological Science, UMD 

Tristan Mahr

Ph.D., Communication Sciences and Disorders, UW-Madison 

Currently: Research Scientist, UW-Madison 

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