Tweety Language Development Lab

Department of Psychology

Current Lab Members:

Dr. LouAnn Gerken, Director of the Tweety Lab
Dr. Gerken

Dr. Gerken, the director of the Tweety Lab, is a professor of psychology and linguistics. She is also the associate editor of Language Learning and Development. Her main interest is language acquisition and, more specifically, infants' and children's sensitivity to linguistic structure. She is also interested in how language is represented in the mind and the relation between linguistic grammars and language behaviors like comprehension and production.

Email Dr. Gerken

Dr. Carolyn Quam, Post-doctoral Fellow
Carolyn Quam

Carolyn is a postdoctoral fellow in the lab. She completed her Ph.D. in 2010 from the University of Pennsylvania, and spent a year as a postdoc at the UC San Diego Center for Research in Language. Her research concerns how children learn the sounds and words of their native language, and how bilinguals process sounds in both their languages. At the University of Arizona, she is conducting infant studies with LouAnn Gerken, training in Specific Language Impairment research and assessments in Elena Plante's lab, and continuing her collaborations with Daniel Swingley (Penn) and Sarah Creel (UCSD). She also enjoys playing the bassoon, biking all over Tucson, and taking her dog to the park!  Read more about her 7.5 and 14 month infant experiments here!

Email Carolyn or check out her personal homepage here!

Dr. Kara Hawthorne, Recent Doctoral Graduate
Kara Hawthorne

Kara recently completed her doctoral program in Linguistics at the University of Arizona. She is now a Post-Doctoral Fellow at the University of Alberta, but she is still collaborating with the Tweety Lab on continuations of some of her research projects.  Her main research interests involve the role of prosody (the rhythmic and melodic aspects of speech) in syntax acquisition in infants and adults. She is also conducting experiments on infant music perception. Kara teaches yoga, gardens, and embarks on complicated cooking projects in her free time.  Read more about her experiments here!

Email Kara or check out her personal homepage here!

Andréa Davis, Doctoral Student

Andréa graduated from UC Berkeley with a BA in linguistics in 2008, from Utrecht University with an MA in linguistics in 2010, and is now a third year PhD student in linguistics at the University of Arizona. She is currently researching whether age and phonological experience affects whether phonetic variation is beneficial to word learning. When not in the lab, she likes to travel, cook and bake, hike, and belly dance.  Read more about her experiment here! 

Email Andréa or check out her personal homepage here!
Megan Figueroa, Doctoral Student
Megan F

Megan received her BA in English linguistics from Arizona State University in 2010 and her MA in English linguistics from ASU in 2012. She is currently pursuing her PhD in linguistics at the University of Arizona. Her research interests include the acquisition of morphosyntax in typically-developing and language impaired monolingual and bilingual children. In her free time, she enjoys reading young adult novels, spending time with her dog, being a foodie, and cross-stitching nonsense.

Email Megan!
Lauren Clough, Undergraduate research assistant
Lauren Clough

Lauren is currently double majoring in Linguistics and Anthropology at the University of Arizona. She is currently assisting with the 2-6 year old Phonetic Variation study. In her free time, Lauren enjoys reading, crocheting, and visiting her family in San Diego.

Email Lauren!

Celeste Gallegos, Undergraduate research assistant

I am studying Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences at the U of A. I want to pursue a graduate degree in Speech Pathology and eventually hope to work in a children's hospital. I enjoy listening to music, playing guitar and softball, watching movies, and traveling.

Email Celeste!

Neida Ahmad, Undergraduate research assistant

Neida is an undergraduate student double majoring in Psychology and Spanish with an emphasis in Linguistics. She hopes to pursue a graduate degree in Psychology and plans to go on to be a school psychologist. In her free time she enjoys reading, crafting, organizing, watching movies, and spending time with family and friends.

Email Neida!

Alisa Wang, Undergraduate research assistant

Alisa is currently a third year undergraduate student double majoring in Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences and Special Education with a minor in Marine Biology at the University of Arizona. After graduating, she hopes to spend time volunteering abroad before coming back to the U.S. to pursue a graduate degree in Speech Pathology. In her free time, she enjoys hiking, surfing, snorkeling, and traveling.

Previous Lab Members:

Sara Knight, former Lab Manager/Research Coordinator

Kimberly Golisch,
former undergraduate research assistant

Jeannette Bell,
former undergraduate research assistant

Michelle Gernon, former undergraduate research assistant

Lark Yildirim,
former undergraduate research assistant

Devin McGrane,
former undergraduate research assistant

Erin Huff, former undergraduate research assistant

Omar Aujani,
former undergraduate research assistant

Nicole Szivek,
former undergraduate research assistant

Kelly McGinn
former undergraduate research assistant

Jessica Brittain, former undergraduate research assistant

Kailey Alyssa Tucker, former undergraduate research assistant

Colin Dawson, PhD., 
former doctoral student

Colin completed his dissertation in Fall of 2010 under the guidance of Dr. LouAnn Gerken. Colin is beginning a doctoral program in statistics and still collaborates with the Tweety Lab on various projects.

 Juliet Minton, former lab manager

Evelyn Jaramillo, former undergraduate research assistant

Peter Richtsmeier, post-doc

Peter completed his dissertation August 2008 under the guidance of Drs. LouAnn Gerken and Diana Ohala at the University of Arizona, and is currently working as a postdoctoral fellow at Purdue University in the Goffman Laboratory, directed by Dr. Lisa Goffman. Peter and Lisa are figuring out how his research on phonological learning can be translated into clinically relevant studies targeting children with Specific Language Impairment.

Claire Fischer, former undergraduate researcher

Frances Balcomb, post-doc

Frances is a post-doc, with a Ph.D in Psychology and a M.S. in Speech and Hearing Sciences from the University of Arizona. Her primary interest is in how infants and young children are able to be such great learners, specifically how young children actively behave to maximize their learning efficiently, including using various strategies like selective attention. She is currently engaged in research at Temple University in Philadelphia.

Nikki Pikaard, former undergraduate researcher

Alex J. Bollt, former undergraduate researcher

Arwen Bruner, former undergraduate researcher

Other Researchers Associated with the Tweety Lab:

Dr. Rebecca Gomez, Director of the Tigger Lab at the University of Arizona

Dr. Mary Peterson, Director of the Visual Perception Lab at the University of Arizona

Chewie Mon, Member of the Visual Perception Lab

Dr. Tania Zamuner, Infant researcher at the University of British Columbia and the Netherlands

Dr. Jessica Maye, Assistant Professor at Northwestern University

Dr. Allyson Carter, Acquiring Editor at the UA Press