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.
Post Doctoral Trainee
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 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 how children learn to understand speech and language in real time. Her current work uses eye-tracking and EEG to investigate how children with cochlear implants learn to understand spoken words. Christina earned her B.A. in Speech and Hearing Science and Psychology from the University of Iowa.
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 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.
Charity Ayebae is a first-year student in the Master’s of Speech Pathology Program at the University of Maryland. She received her BA in Speech Pathology and Audiology from North Carolina A&T State University in May 2022. She is interested in language development of young children from birth to 3 years old. She is also interested in expanding her knowledge of childhood stuttering. Outside of the lab, Charity serves as Community Outreach Chair of Black Period(t). Project.
Sara is a senior undergraduate Hearing and Speech Sciences major at the University of Maryland. Sara has experience working with children and wishes to pursue a career in becoming a Pediatric Speech Pathologist. She hopes to gain new insight working in the Learning to Talk Lab, where she can take this knowledge in her future studies. Outside the lab, she is part of the National Student Speech-Language Hearing Association, Mentor Corps, and is a member of Alpha Epsilon Phi. She can’t wait to join the new team and continue our research studies.
Syd is a senior undergraduate student majoring in Hearing and Speech Sciences with a minor in Disabilities Studies. She is interested in working with children and works at The School for Blind Children in her hometown during the summer. Syd is very excited to be volunteering for the learning to talk lab as a parent resource liaison. Outside of the lab Syd is involved in Sigma Delta Tau, a sorority on campus and last semester she studied abroad in Rome.
Kaylee is an undergraduate Hearing and Speech Sciences major at the University of Maryland, and minor in Linguistics. The majority of her experience is with infants and toddlers, and she loves working with older children in the Learning to Talk Lab. After graduating in May 2023, Kaylee will pursue her Masters in Speech Pathology, intending to work in pediatric aural habilitation. She is so excited to learn from and assist in research studies with the Learning to Talk Lab team.
Julianna Gross is an undergraduate research assistant in the Learning to Talk Lab at the University of Maryland, College Park. She is a junior Hearing and Speech Sciences major and is interested in pursuing a career in pediatric speech-language pathology. When she’s not helping with the Learning to Listen Project, she works part-time as a newborn hearing screener at Holy Cross Hospital in Silver Spring and Germantown, Maryland.
I am in my first year of the Speech-Language Pathology Master’s program at the University of Maryland! I graduated from Towson University with a Bachelor of Science in Speech-Language Pathology & Audiology in Fall 2021. Currently, I am part of the Cochlear Implant Emphasis Program (CI-EP) and I am interested in working with pediatric cochlear implant recipients. I volunteered at the Maryland Cochlear Implant Center of Excellence (MCICE) Program last summer and will be returning this upcoming year!