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M.Sc. and Ph.D. Students

Ph.D. students

Janet Bang


Supervisor: Dr. Aparna Nadig

Research Interest: My research interest is in language acquisition and development with a special interest in children with autism.

More about Janet

I am originally from San Francisco, California and I received my Bachelor of Science from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) in Psychobiology with a minor in Art History. During my four years at UCLA I worked as an undergraduate researcher on projects studying emotion in patients with Schizophrenia.

After graduation, I gained experience working with children in different settings before returning to school. I spent one year as an English teacher in Seoul, South Korea and after this I worked as a staff research assistant in an autism intervention lab at UCLA. It was here that I began to develop skills in working with children with autism and their families.

I entered the doctoral program in 2010 under the supervision of Dr. Aparna Nadig. My research interests include language development in children with autism, as well as multilingual and bilingual language development. Our recent work examines how parental language influences child language in both children with autism and typically-developing children. We also explore this relationship in English-speaking and French-speaking families. I will be proposing my doctoral thesis in the coming year focusing on language development in autism.

Publications
Bang, J., & Nadig, A. (2012) A look at the input: Relationships between parental speech and child language in autism and typical development. Manuscript in progress.
Bang, J., Burns, J., Nadig, A. (2012). Conveying subjective experience in conversation: Production of mental state terms and personal narratives in individuals with high functioning autism. Manuscript submitted for publication.

Awards
2010-2011: Provost Graduate Fellowship, McGill University
2006-2007: Undergraduate Research Scholarship Program, UCLA

Sarah Colby


Supervisor: Drs. Shari Baum and Meghan Clayards

Research Interest: My research interests include investigating the effects of normal aging on both the plasticity of the speech perception system and on spoken word recognition, specifically with regard to the integration of acoustic cues.

Hanady Bani Hani


Supervisor: Dr. Aparna Nadig

Research Interest: My research concerns language development, assessment, and intervention of children with autism.

Myrto Brandeker


Supervisor: Dr. Elin Thordardottir

Research Interest: My research interest involves bilingual language development and disorders, assessment and intervention, with focus on bilingual intervention methods and parental interaction.

Karyn Fish


Supervisor: Dr. Marc Pell

Research Interest: My research interests lie in the domain of social uses of language, looking at how prosody affects the transmission and interpretation of attitudes such as sincerity.

Ana Maria Gonzalez


Supervisor: Dr. Aparna Nadig

Research Interest: My research interests focus on language acquisition, as well as on language and learning disorders in bilinguals and multilinguals.

Katja Haeuser


Supervisor: Dr. Shari Baum

Research Interest: My research interests focus on the cognitive and neural mechanisms underlying normal and impaired language processing, as well as on psycholinguistic issues such as nonliteral language processing and bilingualism.

Kristina Kasparian


Supervisor: Dr. Karsten Steinhauer

Research Interest: My research interests focus on language acquisition and bilingualism/second languge learning, both in children and adults. Using event-related brain potentials, I am currently exploring how minority-language speakers (with limited proficiency in their first language) process their first and second languages, compared to native speakers of each language.

More about Kristina

Originally from Montreal, I obtained by Bachelor of Science degree in Honours Psychology from McGill University in 2007. It was during that period when I discovered that I could devote my studies – and, eventually, my career – to researching a topic that is truly fascinating to me, and to many people: language and the brain. For my Master's degree, I took a leap of faith and decided to join a rather unconventional M.Sc. program in "Clinical Linguistics" which was not only interdisciplinary, but also took place in three European countries: Italy, the Netherlands and Germany. This program gave me so much, academically and personally, and prepared me for the challenging (but rewarding!) PhD journey. In 2009, I returned to Montreal and to McGill, to join the PhD program at SCSD.

My research interests are in the areas of language acquisition, bilingualism and neurolinguistics. I am interested in how language develops in children, how second languages are learned and the many factors that influence successful second language learning, and in the changes that occur in the brain when we learn a second language.

My PhD project examines the language abilities of minority-language speakers (immigrants in Montreal whose native language is neither English nor French). These speakers are a unique group of bilinguals because many of them experience reduced exposure to their mother tongue, in favour of the more widely-spoken language in the new environment. As a result, they typically become more proficient in their second language, although they learned it much later in life. I am currently studying the language abilities and brain activation patterns of these individuals — compared to second language learners and to native speakers – to see whether they still resemble native-speakers in the way their brain processes the first language, or whether they are actually more like native-speakers in their second language which has “replaced” their mother tongue in their daily life.

To find out more about me, my project and my interests, please visit my home page (http://kristinakasparian.com/). You could also find me writing about academic and non-academic experiences on McGill's GradLife blog (http://blogs.mcgill.ca/gradlife/). If you're a prospective student and would like to learn more about our PhD program or life in Montreal, feel free to contact me!

Selected Publications
In prep . Steinhauer, K., Drury, J. E., Bourguignon, N., & Kasparian, K. How first language grammar influences second language processing: An event-related potential (ERP) study on L1 background effects in the online processing of adjectival modification.

2012: Kasparian, K. Contributions of neuroimaging to the study of figurative language processing. Journal of Neurolinguistics, 26(1) ,1-21.

2011. Gauthier, K., Genesee, F., & Kasparian, K. Acquisition of complement clitics and tense morphology in internationally adopted children acquiring French. Bilingualism, Language and Cognition, 304-319.

2011. Gauthier, K., Genesee, F., Dubois, M.-E., & Kasparian K. Communication patterns between internationally-adopted children and their mothers: Implications for language development. Applied Psycholinguistics, 1-23.

2009. Bol, G. W., & Kasparian, K. The production of pronouns in Dutch children with developmental language disorders: a comparison between children with SLI, Hearing Impairment and Down's syndrome. Clinical Linguistics and Phonetics, 23(9), 631-646.

Selected Awards
Sept 2012: Michael-Smith Foreign Study Supplement (MS-FSS), Canada Graduate Scholarships (CGS)
May 2012: Graduate International Travel Fund, McGill University
June 2011: Student Travel Award, Center for Research on Brain, Language and Mind (CRBLM)
May 2011: Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarship, Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR)
Feb 2011: Student Travel Award, Center for Research on Brain, Language and Mind (CRBLM)
June 2010: Student Travel Award, Center for Research on Brain, Language and Mind (CRBLM)
Sept 2009: Richard H. Tomlinson Doctoral Fellowship, Faculty of Medicine, McGill University
2007-2008: Erasmus Mundus Scholarship (EU)
2007-2009: Master’s scholarship; Fonds québécois de la recherche sur la société et la culture (FQRSC)
2007: CPA Certificate of Academic Excellence for outstanding Honours thesis in Canada

Kendall Kolne


Supervisors: Drs. Laura Gonnerman and Susan Rvachew

Research Interest: My research interests include language and literacy acquisition in both monolingual and bilingual children, with a specific focus on the early predictors of reading ability.

More about Kendall

Currently, I am a PhD student in the school of Communication Sciences and Disorders at McGill University. My research interests include language and literacy development, specifically the factors which contribute to literacy deficits in children. Previously, I received my Bachelor of Science Degree in Honours Psychology (Developmental specialization), with a minor in Linguistics from McMaster University in 2009.

I continued my studies at McMaster University as a member of the inaugural class of the Cognitive Science of Language graduate program in the Department of Linguistics and Languages. This interdisciplinary program allowed me to develop a background in Linguistics, Neurolinguistics, and Cognitive Science, as well as the interface between these fields. I conducted my thesis research in the Language, Memory and Brain Lab, under the supervision of Dr. Elisabet Service. My research focused on poor reading in adolescent students, and the cognitive factors that drive the association between rapid naming ability and reading skill. I received my Masters of Science degree in 2011.

I began my doctoral studies at McGill University in September 2011, under the supervision of Dr. Laura Gonnerman and Dr. Susan Rvachew. Currently, I am collaborating with these professors on two projects related to spelling development in French, investigating the predictors of French spelling ability in early elementary school.

I am also in the process of developing my own doctoral thesis proposal. I will likely focus my project on reading development in bilingual children, comparing the predictors of reading success in monolingual children to those of this population.

Selected Awards
2011: Graduate Excellence Fellowship recipient, McGill University
2010: McMaster Graduate Scholarship, recipient, McMaster University
2009: McMaster Graduate Scholarship, recipient, McMaster University

Anna Krusanova


Supervisor: Dr. Laura Gonnerman

Research Interest: My research interests include interactions between syntax, semantics, prosody, and context in language processing.

Matthew Masapollo


Supervisor: Dr. Linda Polka

Research Interest: laboratory phonology; initial biases and experiential influences on speech perception; the development of perceptual-motor linkages for speech; cross-species vocal learning

More about Matthew

Masapollo, M., Polka, L., & Ménard, L. (In Press). When infants talk, infants listen: Pre-babbling infants prefer infant speech. Developmental Science

Polka, L., Masapollo, M. & Ménard, L. (2014). Who’s talking now? Infants’ perception of vowels with infant vocal properties. Psychological Science. [link]

Masapollo, M., Polka, L., Ménard, L., & Vouloumanos, A. (2013). Infant recognition of infant vocal signals. Proceedings of Meetings on Acoustics.

Polka, L., Masapollo, M., & Ménard, L. (2013). Infants’ categorization of vowels with infant vocal properties. Proceedings of Meetings on Acoustics.

Demuth, K., Patrolia, M., Song, J.Y., & Masapollo, M. (2012). The development of articles in children’s early Spanish: Prosodic interactions between lexical and grammatical form. Linguistic interfaces and language acquisition in childhood, J. Rotham & Pedro Guijarro-Fuentes (eds.), First Language, 32, (1-2), 17-37.

 

Matthew's CV [.pdf]

Tanya Matthews


Supervisor: Dr. Susan Rvachew

Research Interest: My research interest includes childhood phonology, language and speech disorders. My current research focus is treating childhood Apraxia of speech. My clinical interest include neurological disorders in adults and early childhood language development.                        

Fatemeh Mollaei


Supervisor: Dr. Vincent Gracco

Research Interest: My research interests focus on speech motor control in healthy and brain damaged patients as well as sensorimotor and Motor Speech Disorders (MSDs) like Apraxia and Dysarthria, and influence of MSDs on degenerative diseases like Parkinson and Alzheimer's Disease.

Stefanie Nickels


Supervisor: Dr. Karsten Steinhauer

Research Interest: Using ERP measures, I investigate how the human brain uses information from syntax, semantics and prosody in order to form a meaningful and coherent representation of a given sentence. More specifically, I am interested in how different people might process the same sentence in a different manner, depending on, for example, their level of language proficiency, working memory or motivation.

AJ Orena


Supervisor: Dr. Linda Polka

Research Interest: language development; the role of language experience in speech processing; speaker perception and talker identification; disfluency processing in toddlers

More about AJ

Selected Publications
Orena, A., Theodore, R., & Polka, L. (2014) Exposure to an unfamiliar language bolsters talker learning. Manuscript in progress.

Selected Awards
2014-2017: NSERC PGS-D: Postgraduate Scholarship (Doctoral)
2013-2014: NSERC CGS-M: Canada Graduate Scholarship (Masters)
2013: CPA Certificate of Academic Excellence for outstanding Honours thesis in Canada
2011: NSERC USRA: Undergraduate Student Research Award

Marianne Paul


Supervisor: Dr. Elin Thordardottir

Research Interest: My research interests are related to the development of language tests for French and bilingual populations in particular, and on language development of normally developing children and children with language impairment in general.  

Kathrin Rees


Supervisor: Dr. Susan Rvachew

Research Interest: My research interest focuses on the relationship between speech perception, phonological awareness and emergent literacy.

Rachel Schwartz


Supervisor: Dr. Marc Pell

Research Interest: My research interest is in exploring the role of prosody in developing shared meaning between conversational partners.

More about Rachel

I received my bachelor's degree in Linguistics from the University of California, Los Angeles and studied Cognitive Science and Industrial Design as a visiting scholar at the University of California, Berkeley. My research interests center around exploring the role of prosody in developing shared meaning between conversational partners. My doctoral research will examine interpersonal understanding in a clinical setting, with the goal of facilitating doctor-patient communication.

Selected Publications
Schwartz, R. & Pell, M.D. Emotional speech processing at the intersection of prosody and semantics. PLoS ONE. In Review.

Kreiman, J., Gerratt, B.R., & Schwartz, R. Temporal and spectral characteristics of period-doubled phonation. Manuscript in preparation.

Selected Awards
2012: Most Innovative Health Care Solution, Kinect Project Team Member, McGill Centre for Biomedical Innovation
2012: Graduate Student International Travel Award recipient, McGill University
2012: Graduate Excellence Fellowship recipient, McGill University

Aruna Sudarshan


Supervisor: Dr. Shari Baum

Research Interest: My research interest concerns studying Pragmatic Language Skills with focus on Discourse Processing in Adult Neurogenic Disorders.

 

Robert Van de Vorst


Supervisor: Dr. Vincent Gracco

Research Interest: Current research focuses on speech and non-speech (musical) sequence and sensorimotor learning in individuals who stutter.

Nicole Wild


Supervisor: Dr. Elin Thordardottir

Research Interest: My research interests focus on exploring bilingual and monolingual language acquisition and language development disorders (especially in bilingual and hearing impaired children). My current most salient research concerns bilingual language development in a multicultural context.

Ongoing Project: Young adults' communicative abilities and experiences

More about Nicole

Over the past ten years I have worked at the University Hospital Zurich and in the School Psychology Service of Canton St. Gallen in the field of Speech and Language Pathology as an investigator, consultant and therapist (Switzerland). During this period I had the opportunity to acquire clinical experience in a wide range of language-related neurological and psychological diseases as well as of ENT (ear-nose-throat) correlated disorders. This also made me realize the infinite complexity of the brain processes, the impact of environmental and cultural influences and the complex mechanisms that make human communication, language and comprehension possible or limited.

For my master thesis, I developed a communication and speech and language assessment method for children between 6 and 24 month. Currently, I am searching for triggers which are promising to multi-, or bilingual language development in (pre-) school children. Furthermore, I am very inspired in doing research on multi-, bilingual assessment procedure. Moreover, I am attracted to combine this research area to one of my previous specialisation in paediatric hearing impairment and its language assessment, consultation and therapy.

Referred Publications and Presentations
Wild N., Fleck Ch.,Dr. (2013). New standard values of the ‘Mottier’-Test for children between 5–17 years of age with both German as a first or second language, Praxis Sprache, 13(3), 152-158; (link)

N. Wild (2010): Speech Pathology- what is it?, Published article in the Annual News Letter of the School Psychology Service

N. Wild (2008): Effect of hearing and chronological age-related language guidelines in preschool children with cochlear implants: opportunity or risk? Oral speech, NHS-Conference in Como

N. Wild, E. Gruner (2006): Prognostically relevant speech development parameters that indicate age-related or delayed speech development in Cochlea implanted children, Poster-presentation at NHS-Conference in Como

Dr. med. D. Veraguth, N. Wild (2005): Speech and language development evaluation of Cochlea-implanted children, Oral speech, Spring Meeting of the ENT- Swiss Society, Basel

Wild, N. (2004): Concerning speech-pathology investigation of cochlea-implanted-children pointed to speech development and therapeutic measures, Speech at the Cantonal Cochlea-Implant Forum in St Gallen (Link)

Wild, N., Gruner, E. (2002): Measures for Promoting Speech Development in Children with Cochlea Implants. Poster presented at the international conference of the newborn hearing screening. Como, Italy

Wild, N. (2002): Übungssätze zum sprachspezifischen Hirnfunktionstraining zur Verbesserung der Lese- und Schreibleistungen. (Exercises for speech specific training of the brain to improve reading and writing skills). Division of Speech Pathology, University Hospital of Zurich-University, Frauenklinikstrasse 24, 8091 Zurich

Wild, N. (2003): Beside-Screening Test (BST) für die klinisch-logopädische Diagnostik von schweren Sprach-, Stimm- und Schluckstörungen bei Patienten im Akutstadium. (Bedside-Screening Test for the speech and language pathology investigations from hard damaged aphasia-, dysphonia- and dysphagia-patients). Division of Speech Pathology, University Hospital of Zurich-University, Frauenklinikstrasse 24, 8091 Zurich

Wild, N. (2002): Informationsbroschüre über die periphere Fazialisparese für Betroffene und Angehörige. (Information booklet from the periphery facial nerve palsy for patients and for their family). Division of Speech Pathology, University Hospital of Zurich-University, Frauenklinikstrasse 24, 8091 Zurich