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.
Experimental Lab Members
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
Cass is a Linguistics PhD Candidate at the CUNY Graduate Center. Their research uses mixed methods to understand broad questions about bi-/multi-lingualism. A majority of her research focuses on Georgian-English bilinguals.
Matthew G. Stuck
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.
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.
Multilingual Literacy SIFE Screener Team
MLS Project Director/RISLUS 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.
Jenny Lee (Alma) Almanzar
User Support Specialist
Jenny Lee Almanzar (known as Alma) is a recent addition to the MLS team. Working as the User Support Specialist, she enjoys supporting her team behind the scenes with day-to-day tasks as well as interacting with and providing support to users. Alma is passionate about health & wellness, movement, sustainable fashion, books and all things related to Disney and Harry Potter. She enjoys various hobbies including dancing, yoga, interior design, painting/coloring, video games and Disneybounding. A love for dance and psychology has led Alma to pursue a degree in Dance Movement Therapy with the goal of working with children and adults who need support through non-verbal communication.
Anthony is the Data Scientist for the MLS. He primarily works on statistical analyses, data reporting, and research efforts to support the MLS tests and the students who use them. Anthony holds a master’s degree in computational linguistics from the CUNY Graduate Center.
Elizabeth Garza is a Reading Comprehension Assessment Development Coordinator for the SLA lab and a PhD student in linguistics at Stony Brook University. Her interests include phonology, computational linguistics, and learnability.
Jules Heller is a writer/editor whose 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 currently coordinate math test creation, translation, and review with the Multilingual Literacy SIFE Screener (MLS) Team, and systematize the process by which MLS tests go from local files and documents to the live assessment websites used by teachers and students across New York State.
Jules is a lifelong musician specializing in cello performance. They 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. They hold 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.
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.
Avital is an MA student at the Graduate Center at CUNY, pursuing a degree in computational linguistics. Her research interests include automatic speech recognition, dialogue systems, and assistive technologies. At the lab, Avital has contributed to the expansion of the Multilingual Literacy SIFE Screener (MLS). Previously, she has worked as the content manager of the online geo-museum Beitenu. Her hobbies include history, gardening, and composting.
Nishtha Trivedi is a MA student in General Linguistics at the CUNY Graduate Center. She has a BA in Cognitive Science and Cell Biology & Neuroscience from Rutgers University. Her broad interests in Linguistics include prosody and phonetics, language acquisition and neurodivergence, and multilingualism. At the SLA Lab, Nishtha is working as a Research Assistant to support the Multilingual Literacy SIFE Screener (MLS) Research team. She aims to get a Ph.D. and continue research in linguistics in the future.