Current Lab Members

Gita Martohardjono

Lab Director

Gita Martohardjono’s research focuses on the development of syntax, semantics and phonology in adult second language acquisition and bilingualism. Her projects investigate the acquisition of gap structures, such as wh-questions, relative clauses, control structures and null pronouns in bilingual adults and children from a cross-linguistic perspective. In the area of semantics, her research investigates the acquisition of temporal and aspectual markers by child and adult bilinguals. In phonology, her work centers on the role of L1 phonotactics as a potential source of interference in L2 acquisition. A variety of languages have been examined, including Italian, Spanish, Indonesian, Chinese, Korean and Japanese. Recent projects investigate non-standard varieties of Italian and Spanish, as spoken by “heritage” speakers, and include the use of electrophysiology (ERP). A second research area is the development of literacy in emergent bilinguals. Since 2004, she has conducted research on immigrant students with low literacy in the native language, and has been a leader in the construction of academic language and literacy assessments benefiting this population. She is currently PI on several externally funded projects creating multilingual, online assessments for use in NY public schools.

Contact: gmartohardjono@gc.cuny.edu

CV: Here

Jennifer Chard

Research Associate

Jennifer Chard is the Project Director for the Multilingual Literacy SIFE Screener (MLS) at the Second Language Acquisition Laboratory. Her dissertation, entitled Mandarin assessment in Chinese-English bilingual preschoolers, examines Chinese/English bilingual children’s sentence comprehension skills in Mandarin and English. It adds to the body of literature emphasizing that home language assessment is critical when evaluating young children who may have special needs, and it specifically demonstrates that care must be taken in identifying the home language so that children are not inappropriately tested. Jennifer has spent a lot of time working directly with teachers and administrators at the preschool through high school levels to help them understand the importance of using students’ home language skills and abilities to design instruction, and promoting the maintenance and development of the home language in classroom settings. Jennifer is also the Project Manager for Bridges to Academic Success.

Contact: jchard@gradcenter.cuny.edu

Website: http://www.linkedin.com/in/jennifer-chard/

Pamela Franciotti

Lab Manager

Pamela Franciotti is a Ph.D. candidate in the Linguistics Program at the CUNY Graduate Center. Her research interests are on second language acquisition, psycholinguistics and experimental syntax. Her work mainly investigates the interaction between L2 grammar and L2 processing strategies and the influence of the L1 grammar in L2 parsing. In the lab, she is currently conducting her dissertation research on the processing of relative clauses and WH-questions in L2 Italian. She is also investigating the L2 acquisition of English raising structures by L1 Italian learners as well as pronoun resolution strategies by Italian and Spanish native speakers. Pamela holds a B.A. in Foreign Languages and Literature and a M.A. in Linguistics, both from the University of Siena, Italy, where she conducted research on the acquisition of passives in L2 Italian.

Pronouns: she/her
Contact: pfranciotti@gradcenter.cuny.edu

LeeAnn Stover

Research Coordinator

MLS Grants and Contracts Administrator

LeeAnn Stover is a Ph.D. student in the Linguistics program at the CUNY Graduate Center. Her interests include bilingual processing, experimental syntax and semantics, and heritage linguistics. In the lab she is involved in projects on quantifier scope processing, multilingual assessment, relative clause processing, fluency measures, and sociolinguistic profile analyses. She holds a B.A. in Spanish Secondary Education, a B.S. in Psychology, an M.A. in Hispanic Studies, and an M.A. in Linguistics. LeeAnn is currently working on a project that explores the gradient effects of bilingual experience on quantifier scope ambiguity processing among Mandarin-English first-generation and heritage bilinguals. Check out her most recent publication!

Contact: lstover@gradcenter.cuny.edu
Website: leeannmstover.com

Jules Heller

Math Coordinator

Jules Heller is a writer/editor currently coordinating math test creation, translation, and review with the Multilingual Literacy SIFE Screener (MLS) Team. Their professional life spans teaching, marketing, and research, from staffing information desks at local public libraries to publishing short stories and anthologies for young adults. They are a lifelong musician specializing in cello performance, participate actively in medieval combat reenactment and fantasy roleplaying sports, and keep busy with crafting, art, and general tinkering. Throughout all facets of their life, Jules delights in details, and pursuing the nuances of communication and language is their greatest joy.

Jules holds an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults from Vermont College of Fine Arts in Montpelier, VT, and a BA in English (minor: Russian Language and Culture) from Lawrence University in Appleton, WI. They grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area of California, have traveled extensively through all 48 contiguous states, and are settled in central New York State.

Contact: juliaheller42@gmail.com

Kara Morgan

User Services Technician

Kara Morgan is the User Services Technician for the MLS, troubleshooting issues with test administrators and supporting internal quality control efforts. A writer and researcher, they joined the MLS team in 2019 to compile internal records and update the SLAL and RISLUS website content. Previously working as a journalist, they currently spend their spare time reading, rock-climbing and moonlighting as a part-time grocer. 

Pronouns: they/them/theirs 

Contact: kara.liz.morgan@gmail.com

Eric Tsai

Programmer

Eric Tsai is a programmer providing support for the MLS website.

Eric holds a master’s in linguistics from CUNY Graduate Center and a bachelor’s in engineering from the University of Pennsylvania.

Contact: teamargh@hotmail.com

Daniela Castillo

Graduate Researcher

Daniela is a Ph.D. candidate in Linguistics and a graduate researcher in the SLA lab. Her research interests include bilingual sentence processing and bilingual speech perception. At the SLA Lab, Daniela is currently investigating the influence of morphophonology in the processing of code-switching. She is also a research assistant at the Institute for Language Education and Transcultural Context (ILETC) working on a project that seeks to understand the patterns of syntactic and lexical complexity in the writing of heritage language learners. Daniela has also worked as a research assistant in the Neurolinguistics Lab and in the Developmental Neurolinguistics Lab at the CUNY Graduate Center. She graduated from Queens College with a double major in General Linguistics and Communication Sciences and Disorders. 

Contact: dcastillo1@gradcenter.cuny.edu

Ilaria Porru

Graduate Researcher

Ilaria Porru is a Ph.D. student at The Graduate Centre in Linguistics. Her areas of interest include psycholinguistics, multilingual processing, language contact, sociolinguistics, heritage and endangered languages, particularly Campidanese Sardinian. Ilaria holds a BA in Foreign Languages and Communication (University of Cagliari, Italy), an MA in Linguistics from The Graduate Center, and an MA in Turkish Studies from Ca’ Foscari University of Venice (Italy). Some of her recent research in the lab focused on how to measure dominance, as well as the interplay between dominance and heritage phonology. She is currently exploring pronoun resolution strategies in multilingual speakers.

Pronouns: she/her Contact: iporru@gradcenter.cuny.edu Website: https://ilariaporrugc.wixsite.com/ilaria-porru

Naparat Meechanyakul

Graduate Researcher

Naparat Meechanyakul is a Linguistics Ph.D. student at The Graduate Center, CUNY. Her research interests are on second language acquisition, bilingualism, theoretical, and experimental syntax. Her current work investigates the bidirectional crosslinguistic influence in the interpretation of Thai and English reflexives and pronouns. Naparat holds a B.A. in Italian with a minor in Dramatic Arts from Chulalongkorn University and a M.A. in Teaching English as a Foreign Language from Thammasat University, Bangkok, Thailand. 

Contact: nmeechanyakul@gradcenter.cuny.edu

Reid Vancelette

Graduate Researcher

Reid Vancelette is a doctoral candidate in Linguistics at the CUNY Graduate Center. He is actively interested in the representation of various morphosyntactic features and their processing in baseline speakers, heritage speakers, and second language learners of Slavic and Baltic languages, including Russian and Lithuanian. His current research compares lexical and structural case and also lexical and grammatical gender in the aforementioned populations in Russian. His previous research has focused on structural case realization in relative clauses and also gender attraction effects in baseline and heritage speakers of Russian in the United States. Reid holds dual Bachelor’s degrees in Linguistics and Russian from the University of Iowa and an MPhil in Linguistics from the CUNY Graduate Center. In addition to this, he works as a Communication Fellow at the Bernard L. Schwartz Communication Institute at Baruch College and teaches both undergraduate and graduate linguistics courses in the department of Linguistics and Communication Disorders at Queens College.

Contact: rvancelette@gradcenter.cuny.edu

Cass Lowry

Graduate Researcher

Cass Lowry is a Linguistics PhD student at the Graduate Center and has an MA in Applied Linguistics from the University of Pittsburgh. His research uses behavioral, psycholinguistic, and computational methods to investigate bilingual morphosyntax.

Contact: clowry@gradcenter.cuny.edu

Website: casslowry.com

Matthew G. Stuck

Graduate Researcher

Matt is a student in the linguistics program at the Graduate Center, and has been an SLA Lab member since 2015. During his time in the lab he has collaborated on a number of projects, including the Second Generation Bilinguals Project and the Multilingual Literacy Screener.  He is interested in bilingualism, language variation and change.  His current project examines how socio-demographic and language use factors predict restructuring of the Spanish vowel systems of NYC Spanish-English bilinguals. His first exam was a variationist study of English complementizer omission.  

Matt has an MA in linguistics from the Graduate Center, an MA in TESOL from NYU Steinhardt (2014) , and a BA in linguistics from the University of Washington (2013). He has taught linguistics courses at CUNY since 2017 as a Graduate Teaching Fellow (Lehman College, Brooklyn College) and Adjunct Lecturer (City College, Lehman College, Brooklyn College). He also occasionally TAs courses in NYU’s linguistics department.  Prior to joining CUNY, Matt was an ESL teacher in China and NY. His past times include meditation, yoga, running, and biking around Manhattan. 

Contact: mstuck@gradcenter.cuny.edu

Ioana Wicker

Research Assistant

Ioana Wicker is a Research Assistant at the SLA Lab and an Adjunct Lecturer at Hunter College. She is currently teaching German language courses and literature courses at Hunter College, Hofstra University, Farmingdale State College and The Goethe Institut in NYC. She holds a bachelor’s degree in German Philology from the Babes-Bolyai University (Romania), and a Masters of Arts in Teaching German from SUNY Stony Brook. 

Her broader research interests are language acquisition, sociolinguistics, phonetic and phonological learning, bilingualism and biliteracy, foreign language pedagogy. She is currently researching and developing classroom material specifically aimed to include student’s identity, purpose, and mental health in the early stages of language acquisition. 

Contact: iwicker@gradcenter.cuny.edu 

Alaa Al-Sharif

Research Assistant

Alaa M. Sharif is a master’s student in the linguistics department at CUNY Graduate Center and a member of the SLA lab. She holds a bachelor’s degree in biology and a master’s degree in neuroscience. Alaa’s research interests include bilingualism, second language acquisition, neurolinguistics, and historical linguistics. As part of the RISLUS multilingual syntax test (RMST) team, she focuses on French syntax acquisition as a first language.

Contact: alaa.m.sharif@gmail.com

Amal Aissaoui

Research Assistant

Amal is a PhD student in the Linguistics program at the Graduate Center. She has an M.A. in Applied Linguistics from L’Institut Supérieur des Langues de Tunis (Tunisia) and was a Fulbright Language Teaching Assistant in William Paterson University (New Jersey). Her research interests include the syntax of negation and negative polarity items, the syntax/semantic of restrictive and non-restrictive relative clauses, and quantifiers and scope. In the SLAL, Amal is working with the Arabic team on the Math and Reading comprehension section of the Multilingual Literacy Screener (MLS).

Contact: aaissaoui@gradcenter.cuny.edu

Mariana Graterol Fuenmayor

Research Assistant

Mariana Graterol Fuenmayor is an MA student of Computational Linguistics at the CUNY Graduate Center. She has a BA in Linguistics, and she has worked in different areas related to language, from teaching ESL to humanitarian translation. Her broad research interests include multilingualism, political discourse analysis, misinformation detection, and information extraction.

As a Research Assistant at the SLA lab, she has assisted the Spanish team in translation, localization and revision of the Multilingual Literacy SIFE Screener (MLS). She has also helped styling and validating structure and content of several test languages, including Spanish, Burmese and S’gaw Karen, to ensure smooth deployment.

Contact: mgraterol@gradcenter.cuny.edu

Elizabeth Garza

Research Assistant

Elizabeth Garza is a Research Assistant for the SLA lab and an M.A. student in the Linguistics Program at The Graduate Center. She is currently coordinating the development of reading comprehension assessments for the Multilingual Literacy Development project, and also serves as an education and linguistics consultant for LangInnov, a company that is developing a bilingual literacy app for emergent bilinguals. Her interests include computational linguistics, language acquisition, and learnability.

Contact: garza.elizabeth9@gmail.com

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