Lab Members


Dr. Sudha Arunachalam is the director of the Child Language Lab, and Assistant Professor of Speech, Language & Hearing Sciences and Linguistics at Boston University. She is particularly interested in how children acquire verbs, including their lexical and event semantic properties, how they represent these along with their syntactic properties, and how they access these representations during online comprehension–in both typical and atypical development. For more information about her research and a list of publications visit her website or download her CV.

Recruitment Specialist

KatieKatherine Brown is a Recruitment Specialist in the Department of Hearing, Language and Speech Sciences. She recently graduated from the University of Rochester with double majors in American Sign Language and Psychology. In the future, she hopes to research information and language deprivation in deaf individuals, as it relates to pragmatics as well as possible psychopathology. She is also interested in preventative measures to reduce language deprivation systemically. In her free time, she enjoys attending music festivals, making ceramics, and socializing with the Deaf community.

Postdoctoral Associate

me1Dr. Angela Xiaoxue He is a postdoctoral researcher at the Child Language Lab. She received her PhD in Linguistics from the University of Maryland. She is interested in how infants figure out what a word (a verb, in particular) means, given a high degree of uncertainty and little instructions from parents. She studies factors that may facilitate or hinder this word learning process, particularly looking at some learning biases, event representations, processing abilities, and the dynamic interactions between them. Her investigation takes developmental and cross-linguistic perspectives. She is also beginning to look at these issues in atypically-developing population, like children with Autism Spectrum Disorder. Find out more here:

Graduate Students

Sabrina Horvath, M.S. CCC-SLP is a third year doctoral student in the Speech, Language, and Hearing ScieSabrinances department. Sabrina received her B.A. in linguistics and history from the College of William and Mary and her M.S. in Speech-Language Pathology from the University of North Carolina. Prior to beginning her doctorate, Sabrina worked as a speech-language pathologist for a children’s hospital in Virginia. Her primary research interest is in early child language acquisition, with a focus on using contemporary linguistic theory to provide a framework for diagnosis and intervention. In her free time, Sabrina enjoys playing the harp and crafting. Find out more here:

Matthew Valleau is a current MS/PhD student in Speech and Hearing Sciences.  He completed his undergraduate studies at Northeastern University, and holds a Masters in Applied Linguistics from Boston University.  His primary scholarly interests include first language acquisition and the interface between clinical practice in speech pathology and the research behind practice.  Outside of school, he is an avid cyclist and enjoys making homemade pastas.

Research Assistants

DorothyDorothy Ahn is a doctoral student in the Linguistics department at Harvard. She is working as the lab manager over the summer to gain experience doing behavioral research with children. Dorothy is interested in the variety of words used in a language for reference (from calling a name to using a pronoun such as “she” or a demonstrative “that”), and learning how children and adults interpret these words across different languages. She also likes drawing and playing the French horn.

Elizabeth Evans is a sophomore in the Speech, Language, and Hunnamedearing Sciences program in Sargent College. Elizabeth is interested in language development in children, as well as neurological disorder’s impact on speech. She hopes to gain a Master’s degree in Speech Pathology and work with children in the future. In her free time Elizabeth enjoys reading, spending time with friends, and traveling.

AllyAllison Hatch is a former undergraduate student of Sargent’s undergraduate Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences program. She is now in her first year as a Master’s student. Allison’s interest in speech began when a close family member was diagnosed with dyslexia and started attending speech therapy.  Allison is interested in how children acquire language, particularly children with neurological disorders or developmental delays.  She wishes to practice as a speech-language pathologist in either a private practice or out-patient clinic.  In her free time, Allison enjoys dancing, walking on the esplanade, and crafting.


Gillian Lynch is a senior majoring in the undergraduate Speech, Language and Hearing Sciences program at Boston University. She loves working with children and is fascinated by how they acquire language. She hopes to one day work with children with disorders that may impact their language acquisition. Gillian enjoys strolling around Boston with friends, watching movies, and playing with dogs in her free time. 

NatashaNatasha Olson is a junior majoring in the undergraduate Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences program and minoring in Psychology at Boston University. She looks forward to continuing her education in Speech Pathology and obtaining a Master’s Degree and going on to work in a hospital. She is most interested in pediatric dysphagia and other feeding disorders. In her free times she enjoys doing aerial gymnastics and exploring the city for new places to eat.


Brianna Rivera is a sophomore in Sargent College studying Speech, Language and Hearing Sciences.  Brianna is interested in learning more about the acquisition of language in children, and the recovery of language that has been lost in older populations.  She looks forward to continuing her studies and working with children once she attains a Master’s Degree in Speech Pathology.  In her free time, Brianna can be found enjoying Boston with friends, reading, or watching movies.

FullSizeRenderSavannah Simpson is a senior majoring in psychology and chemistry at Auburn University. She has always been interested in child development and is excited to learn more about language acquisition this summer. Upon graduation, she hopes to attend medical school in order to fulfill her dream of becoming a pediatric psychiatrist. In her spare time, you can find Savannah cheering on the Auburn Tigers or relaxing on the beach.


Kerri Wegner is a senior in the Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences program in Sargent College. Kerri is interested in the impact of Autism on language acquisition, as well as the speech therapy involved with stroke patients. In the future, Kerri looks forward to obtaining a Master’s Degree in Speech Pathology and eventually start a private practice. In her free time you can find Kerri rowing or running along the Charles river, enjoying picnic, listening to country music, or exploring Boston with family and friends.

Lab Alumni

**If you are listed below, or if you aren’t but think you should be, we’d love to know where you are now and what you’re up to! Send your updates to

Alina Agamov received a B.S. from Boston University and is in a graduate program in Medical Sciences at Boston University.

Giordana Amato is from Milan, Italy and received her B.A. in Psychology at Boston University. She is a graduate student at New York University in Speech and Language Pathology and hopes to continue working with children in the future.

J. Tyler Baxter

Francesca Bellantoni is studying Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences in Sargent College. She hopes to work as a speech-language pathologist in a district or private practice for school-age children.

Casey Bowen

Jessica Brough spent her junior year working in the lab as a full-time research assistant to collect data for her dissertation. She graduated with a Psychology undergraduate degree from the University of Bath, England and is now in a MSc program in Research Psychology at the University of Edinburgh.

Bridget Bussell graduated from Boston University with a degree in Speech, Language & Hearing Sciences.  She is a teaching assistant at the Kennedy Day School at the Franciscan Hospital for Children in Brighton, MA.

Ruth Caputo is a Ph.D. student at Washington University in Saint Louis, working with Rebecca Treiman.

Alix Ching graduated from Boston University with a B.A. degree in Psychology.

Nathalie Chouery graduated from Boston University with a double major in Psychology and Speech, Language and Hearing Sciences. She is now an AuD student at Rush University.

Esther Chung completed an M.A. in Applied Linguistics at Boston University, and is now attending Johns Hopkins University for a doctoral degree in Cognitive Science.

Ingrid Cook is a student at Boston University studying Speech-Language Pathology.

Jamie Cortez graduated from Boston University with a degree in Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences. She loves working with children, and she hopes to one day be a Speech Language Pathologist at a school or a clinic.

Maura Curran, M.S., CCC-SLP is a PhD candidate at the University of Iowa in Speech & Hearing Science.

Angelica Cygan is studying in the BS/MS speech pathology program at Boston University.

Shaun Dennis is studying for a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology at the University of Bath. His research interests include linguistics and language acquisition as well as developmental dyslexias and he plans to begin a graduate degree in Clinical Psychology.

Karen Escarcha graduated from Boston University with a B.A. in Linguistics and Psychology. She is now an Executive Assistant at Boston Private Industry Council.

Caroline Frazia graduated from Boston University in 2012 and studied Linguistics and French. She is now the lab manager of the Phonology Lab and Language Processing Lab at the University of Chicago.

Yarileeza Garcia

Jessica Ghofrani

Annalise Hannah is an MS-SLP student at the University of Colorado Boulder.

Benjamin Harris is a student at BU pursuing a dual degree in Vocal Performance and Psychology. He wants to follow his passion and do Music Therapy, working with kids and teens with ASD.

Ju Hong worked in the lab as a full-time lab manager during her junior year to gain experience and collect data for her dissertation. She is now in her senior year at the University of Bath, England.

Sarah Kapica is recent graduate of Sargent’s MS Speech-Language Pathology Master’s program.

Max Kaplan is an MA student in Applied Linguistics at BU.

Kathy Minhye Kim received her Master’s degree in Teaching English as a Second Language (TESOL) at Boston University. She is pursuing a PhD in Second Language Studies at Michigan State University.

Nina Kim graduated from Boston University with a Bachelor’s degree in Speech, Language & Hearing Sciences; she is now in her first year of Sargent’s MS Speech-Language Pathology Master’s program.

Chris Kohberger is a recent graduate of Boston University with a B.A. in Linguistics. He currently works at Harvard University.

Zak Kopp recently graduated from CAS pursuing a major in Linguistics and a minor in Speech, Language, & Hearing Sciences.

Max Kon graduated from the Speech-Language Pathology MS program at Sargent College.

Katelyn Li was a high school summer intern through BU’s RISE program in 2016. She is starting college at Harvard University.

Emma Liss is a senior at Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs, NY where she is studying Psychology and Spanish.

Elizabeth McDermott received her M.S. in Speech-Language Pathology at Boston University. She is completing her Clinical Fellowship at Children’s Speech and Feeding Therapy.

Sara Nolette received her B.S. in Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences at Boston University. She is graduating in January with an M.A. in Speech-Language Pathology from Montclair State University.

Liz Petitti graduated with her MS-SLP from Sargent College.

Tiffany Phan received a B.A. in French Language & Literature at Boston University and a Master’s degree in Speech-Language Pathology from Loyola University Maryland. She is currently working as an adult inpatient rehab speech pathologist at New England Rehabilitation Hospital.

Amulya Raju was a high school summer intern through BU’s RISE program in 2015. She is now in an accelerated BS/MD program at Penn State and Thomas Jefferson Medical School.

Leah Sheline is a doctoral student at Temple University in Philadelphia, PA, studying developmental psychology with a focus on early word learning.

Kathryn Solomon is a Psychology major at the University of Pennsylvania. She spent her summer as a research assistant in the lab.

Amanda Spencer

Shruthi Srinivas is a student at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, OH, where she is studying biomedical engineering.

Chrissy Taubert graduated from the Speech, Language and Hearing Sciences program at Boston University. She is currently working as a Clinical Support Associate at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.

Ambica Trehan

Arun Viswanath graduated from Harvard University in 2013 with a degree in Linguistics and will be a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant in Chennai, India in 2013-14.

Alexandra Yanes is majoring in Psychology and minoring in Speech, Language and Hearing Sciences at Boston University.