Past Team MembersPhDs (& dissertations), Postdocs, Post-bacs
Postdoc, UC San Diego
Shota led us fearlessly into the world of language production, in order to tackle important architectural questions about production-comprehension relations. He also works on electrophysiology, he has advanced our understanding of how we anticipate upcoming words, and he has a knack for devising ingenious new tasks. Shota is from Japan, did his BA in Linguistics and Psychology at the U of Washington, and is expanding his language production repertoire in his postdoc at UCSD.
Visiting Assistant Professor, University of Minnesota
Dustin is one of those people with a rare talent for languages: he’s bilingual in Spanish and English, but his true love is Bengali, which he somehow learned in high school in South Dakota. He combines his linguistic flair with analytical, experimental and computational skills that he uses to probe the nature of language diversity. He was an NSF Graduate Research Fellow at UMD, and taught at NYU before taking his current position at his alma mater.
Assistant Professor, University of Frankfurt
Sol started our annual debate tradition, and few can match her in the argumentative arts. She’s also a tough customer when it comes to data, and she taught us new ways of understanding our experimental results. Originally from Buenos Aires, Argentina, her PhD work focused on cross-language differences in language processing in Spanish, English, and German, but she also worked on memory, speech perception, and electrophysiology.
Assistant Professor, College of William and Mary
Dan just kept on digging until he found gold. He showed us how to turn off linguistic illusions that we regarded as robust, and how to turn on illusions that we regarded as impossible. Surprises like this keep us in business. Dan is a proud Ohioan. His BA was in English at the U of Toledo, and he studied linguistics at Eastern Michigan U. His position at America’s second oldest university combines psycholinguistics and computational linguistics.
Research Assistant Professor, University of Maryland
Shevaun gets us organized. In her PhD research she developed a framework for pragmatic learning and processing. She straightened out my thinking about cognitive architecture for language, led the coup that transformed our interdisciplinary graduate program, and designed countless cakes. She did a CogSci BA at Yale; in her postdoc at Johns Hopkins she studied children with neurocognitive disorders. Now part of the leadership team at the Maryland Language Science Center, she leads our graduate training initiatives.
Wing Yee Chow
Lecturer (tenure-track), Univ. College London
Wing Yee made prediction in language processing a whole lot more interesting for us. It’s neat when people are really good at it, but it’s far more informative when people are only sometimes good at it. Wing Yee is originally from Hong Kong, did a BA in Psychology and Linguistics at McGill University in Montreal, and did a postdoc in the Basque Country before taking her current position at University College London.
Associate Professor, NTNU, Trondheim, Norway
Dave is a syntactician and ace experimentalist. He studies the basic building blocks of sentence structures, and how those are used in real-time computation. In addition he has worked on comparative syntax, including notorious cases of island-immunity in Swedish, and semantics of Hindi. In his current postdoc position at Haskins Labs / Yale he is investigating individual differences. His faculty position at NTNU starts in 2016.
Associate Professor, University of Massachusetts
Brian is a linguist, psycholinguist, and computational modeler. Brian showed us the importance of using implemented models in theory building, and was an all round experimental black belt, adding speed-accuracy tradeoff to our repertoire. His experiments have covered English, Hindi, Chinese, and French, and during his time as lab manager (2005-7) and then PhD student (2007-11) his research took him to Beijing, Potsdam, and Michigan.
Akira Omaki (1980-2018)
Assistant Professor, University of Washington
Akira was a man with a plan. His overarching interest was in learning, but he investigated this through the window of language processing, how adults and children perceive the target language. And he was pretty handy as a syntactician, too. Originally from Hokkaido in northern Japan, he also worked in Hawaii, Switzerland, Johns Hopkins U, and Seattle. He will be sorely missed. See Remembering Akira.
Assistant Professor, University of Maryland
Ellen finds order in chaos, whether in the lab or in the scientific literature. And she makes discovery fun. Ellen joined us as a 1-year post-bac in 2003, and we’ve managed to keep her from leaving ever since, aside from a short-ish stint as a postdoc in Boston. She got us thinking carefully about prediction, showed us how to learn from the conflicting results from different neuroimaging techniques, inspired the Baggett Fellows program, and started our now venerable tradition of cakes.
Associate Professor, UC Santa Cruz
Matt deserves much of the blame for our fascination with memory mechanisms, and their successes and failures. In his PhD he focused on English agreement and wh-dependencies, and also did some computational modeling. More recently he has turned his hand to languages that have traditionally been far out of the reach of psycholinguists, such as the Austronesian language Chamorro, which he apparently speaks rather well. He is an authority on diverse topics, ranging from biology to Buffy.
Senior Program Officer, National Academy of Medicine
Clare took us down electrophysiological roads that we hadn’t dared to travel before, and started us thinking about the coupling between syntactic processing and semantic interpretation. Clare has a BA in Spanish and Linguistics from Queens University in Canada. After receiving her PhD in 2008 she remained in Washington DC to pursue her science policy interests at the National Academies, where she acts as a bridge between science and the corridors of power.
Associate Professor, University of Connecticut
Jon was never officially part of our team when he was at UMD, but so many people assume that he was, and we’ve worked closely together since then, so it might as well have been true. Jon is adamant that he is a syntactician, not a psycholinguist, but he’s pretty handy at both. In addition to his well-known research on acceptability judgments and reductionism, he has done provocative work on the learnability of complex linguistic constraints. In 2013 he won the LSA’s Early Career Award.
Associate Professor, Tsuda College, Tokyo
Takuya can get children to do things that few others can. He combines this with his linguistic talents to uncover how children learn about meaning. Takuya’s PhD research on cross-lanuguage differences in scope interpretation is an underground gem, in both the linguistic analyses and the experimental ingenuity. Takuya nowadays works at Tsuda College in Tokyo, the Wellesley of Japan, together with Hajime Ono, a former part-time member of our team. Oh, and he took the frog picture.
Associate Professor, University of Chicago
Ming spent 2 years with us as a postdoc (2005-7), but it seemed like she was around for longer. She took the plunge that got us into studying linguistic illusions systematically, and we haven’t looked back since. Ming has a BA from Beijing University and a PhD from Michigan State, and she worked at Harvard and Victoria before moving to Chicago. Nowadays she’s developing new paradigms for investigating silent structure and invisible syntactic movement, in English, Chinese, and more.
Associate Professor, Northwestern University
Masaya is a fearless psycholinguist and syntactician. He takes the kinds of experiments that you don’t try because they’ll never work, and shows that they can somehow work. He did a postdoc in Edinburgh before taking his current faculty position at Northwestern U in Chicago. He recently received an NSF grant for his work on the syntax and processing of ellipsis, i.e., things that you don’t hear. He was also the recipient of perhaps the largest ever thesis cake, a map of the islands of Japan.
Research Scientist, University of Leiden
Leticia is bilingual in Spanish and Basque, and her PhD work included experiments on Spanish clitics and Basque agreement, neither of which is a topic for the faint-hearted. After finishing her PhD in 2006 she did a postdoc in the UK at the U of Reading, and in recent years she has been based at the U of Leiden in the Netherlands, where she has added Dutch and electrophysiology to her repertoire. Her current work focuses on comprehension of questions and the syntax-phonology interface.
Senior Lecturer, University of Bristol
If there was such thing as a Renaissance Psycholinguist, Nina would be it. She was our first team member at UMD and she showed that it’s possible to work in language acquisition, psycholinguistics, and cognitive neuroscience, in phonology, syntax, and semantics, and to make important contributions in all of them. Originally from Moscow, she has been a faculty member in Experimental Psychology at the University of Bristol (UK) since 2007, where she has expanded her repertoire even further.
Professor, Sangji University, Korea
Meesook was my (joint) first graduate student, at the U of Delaware. Her research on cross-linguistic differences in verb argument structure, and what children make of those differences, took me to an area that I would never have explored otherwise, and reinforced the value of a multi-lingual perspective in our experimental research, something that we have built on ever since.
Dave was my (joint) first graduate student, at the U of Delaware, and I probably learned more from him than he did from me (a recurring theme). Dave built a minimalist parser for his PhD thesis. The explicitness of the model threw up many surprises, which led to experimental tests, which led to further surprises. This taught me to think more clearly. Since 2002 Dave has been the Lead Computational Linguist at Cycorp Inc. in Austin, TX.
US Government Language Specialist
In her 2003 PhD thesis Sachiko showed us the value of studying the processing of verb-final languages and constructions. Her finding that Japanese speakers favor long-distance wh-dependencies over shorter ones — because they are linearly more local in Japanese — is the kind of surprise that I love. Sachiko had an established career in English pedagogy before she came to us, and her current position returns to those roots, though now via Japanese.
Natalie Chun-Chieh Hsu
Assistant Professor, National Tsinghua University, Taiwan
Natalie’s 2006 PhD was from the U of Delaware, but much of her research was based at UMD and she became an adoptive member of our team. She carried out impressive studies on the comprehension of head-final relative clauses in Chinese. Hers was one of our earlier demonstrations that comprehenders aren’t always so good at using the information that we put in front of them.
Associate Professor, Tokyo Metropolitan University
Ryu is an expert on language, neuroanatomy, and fMRI. He spent just a year with us as a postdoc, but he set us down a very fruitful path, investigating multi-modal neuroimaging, and trying to make sense of why identical linguistic manipulations elicit brain activity in different brain regions, depending on the recording technique. Nowadays he directs a cognitive neuroscience research group in suburban Tokyo.
Lab Manager 2013-2014
BA, U of Massachusetts, 2013. Current: software developer, U of Maryland and Washington DC.
Lab Manager 2012-2013
BA, U of Massachusetts, 2012.
Lab Manager 2011-2012
BA, Stanford University, 2011. Current: PhD student in Psychology, U of Illinois.
Lab Manager 2010-2011
BA, UC Santa Cruz, 2010. Current: PhD student, U of Massachusetts.
Lab Manager 2009-2010
BA U of Michigan, 2009. Current: Reearcher, Center for Advanced Study of Language, U of Maryland.
Lab Manager 2008-2009
BA, Yale University, 2008. Current: PhD student in Psychology, U of Michigan.
Lab Manager 2005-2007
BA, SUNY Buffalo, 2003; PhD, U of Maryland 2011. Current: Assistant Professor, U of Massachusetts.
Lab Manager 2003-2004
BA, Duke University, 2003; PhD, U of British Columbia, 2010. Current: Research Scientist, CNRS, Paris, France.
Lab Manager 2003-2004
BA, Yale University, 2003; PhD, U of Rochester, 2010; postdoc: Haskins Labs. Current: business in Seattle area.
Lab Manager 2003-2004
BA, Michigan State U, 2003; PhD, U of Maryland, 2009; postdoc, Tufts/Harvard 2009-12. Current: Assistant Professor, U of Maryland.
Lab Manager 2002-2003
BA Harvard, MBA Wharton/UPenn.
Lab Manager 2001-2002
BA U of Maryland; PhD McGill University, Communication Disorders. Current: Nuance Communications.