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/

Cass Lowry

Lab Manager

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

LeeAnn Stover

Research Coordinator

MLS Grants and Contracts Administrator

LeeAnn Stover is a PhD student in the Linguistics Department at the CUNY Graduate Center and a research coordinator in the SLA lab. 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.

Contact: lstover@gradcenter.cuny.edu

Pamela Franciotti

Graduate Researcher

Research Coordinator

Pamela Franciotti is a Ph.D. student in the Linguistics program at The Graduate Center, CUNY. Her research interests mainly focus on generative L2 acquisition of syntax, L2 psycholinguistics and experimental syntax. In the lab, she is currently conducting her dissertation research on the L2 processing of Italian relative clauses and wh-questions and the role played by morphosyntactic features in the processing of such dependencies by L2 learners. She is also conducting a study on the interpretation of null and overt pronouns in anaphora resolution contexts across different Romance varieties.

Pamela holds a B.A. in Foreign Languages and Literature and a M.A. in Linguistics, both from the University of Siena, Italy. Her M.A. research study investigated the acquisition of passives in L2 Italian, in both comprehension and production. Before joining The Graduate Center, Pamela worked as a Teaching Assistant of Italian at Vassar College, NY and as a teacher of Italian for asylum seekers and refugees in several reception centers in Italy.

Contact: pfranciotti@gradcenter.cuny.edu

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

Research Assistant

Kara Morgan is a writer and researcher working with the MLS team on quality control, content management, and website materials. Kara holds a B.A. in political science and international affairs from Northeastern University, with a capstone focused on discourse between public officials and activists during the AIDS crisis. Their interests include the politics and expression of gender and sexuality, mental health, comedy, climate change, and the language interspersed between it all. Their work has ranged from producing fair trade marketing videos to slinging groceries. Before moving to New York, they have worked and lived in New Delhi, Sarajevo, Boston, Phnom Penh, and most recently, Fort Morgan, CO.

Contact: kara.liz.morgan@gmail.com

Daniela Castillo

Graduate Researcher

Daniela is a Ph.D. student in Linguistics and a Research Assistant in the SLA lab. She graduated from Queens College with a double major in General Linguistics and Communication Sciences and Disorders. Daniela has also worked as a Research Assistant in the Neurolinguistics Lab and is also a member of the Developmental Neurolinguistics Lab at the CUNY Graduate Center. Her research interests include bilingual speech perception and bilingual sentence processing. At the SLA Lab, Daniela is currently investigating the role of morphology in sentence processing in Spanish-English bilingual code-switchers.

Contact: dcastillo1@gradcenter.cuny.edu

Ilaria Porru

Graduate Researcher

Ilaria Porru is a Research Assistant in the SLA Lab at The Graduate Centre. She is currently assisting in the Turkish-English Bilingual Phonetics Project. Her broader research interests are sociolinguistics, language contact, language acquisition and phonology. In 2018 she completed an MA at Ca’ Foscari University of Venice (Italy) in Language and Civilisation of Asia and Mediterranean Africa with a specialization in Turkish Language. Her MA thesis at Ca’ Foscari, the fieldwork for which was carried out in Berlin, (2018, Evidentiality and Language Contact: A case study of Turkish Children in Berlin) focused on language change in immigrant communities, specifically in the context of the use of the evidential suffix -mIş/ (y)mIş in first, second, and third generation Turkish children in the German capital.

Contact: iporru@gradcenter.cuny.edu

Matthew G. Stuck

Graduate Researcher

Matthew Stuck is a Research Assistant in the SLA Lab and PhD student in the Linguistics Program at The Graduate Center. He is currently assisting in editing texts for the Multilingual Literacy Development project, and is also involved in ongoing research on the Second-Generation Bilinguals Project. His research interests are broadly tied to the study of second language acquisition, and he is particularly interested in investigating how the variationist sociolinguistics framework can be applied to both interlanguage and endangered languages. He has performed research on the variable realization of embedded clauses among L2 speakers of English. He holds a BA in Linguistics from the University of Washington and an MA from NYU Steinhardt. Before joining CUNY, he was an adjunct lecturer of ESL with programs in America and abroad.

Contact: mstuck@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

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

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