Ph.D., 2011, Cornell University
Dr. Lauren Emberson investigates how experience supports learning and early development. She focuses on the development of perceptual abilities like vision, audition and multisensory perception (e.g., audiovisual perception): These systems provide crucial information for all other cognitive systems (e.g., language comprehension, face recognition). Dr. Emberson's studies often use neuroimaging techniques (fMRI, fNIRS) which give researchers a peek into how the infant brain changes as they learn and develop. In addition to being the co-director of the Princeton Baby Lab, Dr. Emberson is the Principal Investigator of the Laboratory for Perception, Learning and Development.
Ph.D., 2009, Stanford University
Dr. Casey Lew-Williams studies how babies learn, with a particular focus on language. He is interested in several key ideas: that babies can learn and generalize patterns, that toddlers can efficiently process what their parents say, that home language experience shapes learning, and that some children learn more easily than others. He studies various populations — including children learning two languages and children growing up in poverty — to ask questions about the foundations and high-stakes consequences of early learning. Studies usually involve listening to language and looking at short videos, and we measure eye movements as a window into learning.
B.A., 2009, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel
Ph.D., 2016, Hebrew University of Jersualem, Israel
Sagi is interested in how infants learn to predict upcoming events and perceive them efficiently. To reveal the underlying mechanism of these processes, Sagi uses both behavioral, computational and neuro-imaging approaches. Out of the lab, Sagi learns from his two kids how to make the most fun of the once-in-a-lifetime experience of familiarizing the world.
B.A., 2009, Williams College
Ph.D., 2015, University of California, Berkeley
Elise is interested in how our brains extract crucial patterns from complex sounds to facilitate communication, especially in the context of early language learning and musical performance. Her dissertation research investigated efficient mechanisms for understanding complex auditory patterns, including statistical learning, statistical summary (i.e., “gist” processing), and adaptation. In addition to playing various musical instruments and strategy board games, Elise enjoys eating good food in faraway places.
B.A., 2008, Stanford University
Ph.D., 2016, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Chris is interested in how past experiences shape future learning. Her research focuses on how people of different ages, from very young infants up to adults, learn new languages, and why some learners are more successful than others. She explores how both characteristics of the individual, such as age, prior knowledge, and memory skills, as well as properties of the input can change the kinds of information that learners are most likely to perceive and acquire. Outside the lab, she enjoys traveling, the beach, and coaching kids’ soccer.
B.A., 2007, Zhejiang Sci-Tech University, China
Ph.D., 2015, University of Toronto, Canada
Gabriel (Naiqi) is interested in how experience shapes early development of human perception and cognition. His previous studies focused on face processing in infants, children, adolescents, and adults by using behavioral and eye tracking techniques. Recently, he started studies on the development of perceptual learning abilities in full-term and preterm neonates with neuroimaging techniques. When Gabriel is tired of working, he would choose to cook, take photos, enjoy classical music, and/or talk to his computers, which is fun!
B.S., BA, 2014, University of Delaware
Carolyn Mazzei received her B.S. in Cognitive Science and B.A. in Psychology from University of Delaware. With University of Delaware’s Child’s Play Learning and Development Lab, Carolyn studied how variations in caregiver verbal input influence infants’ vocabularies at the onset of walking. She is interested understanding learning from multiple perspectives and exploring how to best apply lab findings to educational settings. In her time outside the lab, Carolyn can be found coaching with Girls on the Run or eating ice cream.
B.A., 2016, Williams College
Eva Fourakis received her B.A. in Psychology and Mathematics from Williams College. Her research in the Implicit Cognition and Evaluation lab at Williams focused on the formation and change of implicit attitudes. With regards to language development, Eva is interested in the effects of bilingualism and language setting on behavior and performance in tasks. In her free time, she likes to watch and play sports, quilt, and eat good food.
B.A., 2015, Macalester College
Alex Boldin received her B.A. in Physics and Mathematics from Macalester College. Her past research experience has been in different areas of applied physics. She is excited to jump into a new field and apply her physics background to the interesting questions of infant development. When she is not working, Alex likes to crochet and play rugby.
B.A., 2017, Kenyon College
Claire received her B.A. in Psychology from Kenyon College. While at Kenyon, Claire studied conscious and unconscious face perception using EEG in the Kenyon Psychology and Neuroscience Lab under Dr. Andrew Engell. Claire is excited to contribute her psychology background and neuroscience research experience toward the study of infant development. Outside of lab, Claire enjoys trying new recipes, reading science fiction, and visiting as many beaches as possible.
B.A., 2014, Smith College
Sammy is interested in the cognitive, social, and developmental origins of word meaning, pragmatics, and grammatical structure. Her current projects focus on how world knowledge and contrast can help children learn the meaning of difficult concepts and their contexts, and how communicative motivations can give rise to complex, implicit knowledge of grammar in adults. Sammy previously worked with Jill de Villiers at Smith College and later managed the MIT Early Childhood Cognition Lab. She enjoys running long distances, learning about current events and social justice, and hearing and reading other people's poetry.
B.A., 2012, Georgetown University
M.A., 2014, Northwestern University
Jessie is interested in how differences in infants' and toddlers' language environments can lead to variability in learning and developmental outcomes. She is currently studying how specific features of caregivers' speech in the context of labeling objects can enhance early word learning. For example, does repeating words in neighboring sentences boost learning, or is it more effective to hear object labels distributed over time? Outside of lab, you can find Jessie at Forbes College planning study breaks as a Resident Graduate Student, teaching classes with the Prison Teaching Initiative, or playing board games with friends.
B.A., 2011, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Tracy is interested in how neurological systems support language learning and processing, and how these systems are shaped by experience. To better understand language and cognitive development, her research includes infants, children, and adults. When she is not in the lab, she can be found mountaineering or relaxing with a novel.
Honors B.S., 2014, University of Toronto
Felicia is interested in how infants and children perceive objects and how experience can influence perception. More specifically, how do young children view novel objects composed of different features? How do multiple exposures to this novel object change their perception and what do they learn from such exposures? In her spare time she likes to practice yoga, run, update her Tumblr blog, explore new places and find new places to eat!
Senior Honors Students
Maia Craver (Class of 2018) is a psychology major from Irvine, California. She is particularly interested in how psychology interacts with public health and education. Outside of the classroom, she is a member of the varsity track and field team and works in Career Services. In her free time she enjoys reading, watching movies and traveling.
Hila Ghersin (Class of 2018) is a psychology concentrator from the sunny state of Florida. She is especially interested in how babies magically acquire language and perceptual skills, and how children's upbringing and early childhood events continue to affect them as they grow older. She is hoping to combine her interests in psychology with medicine and global health policy. On campus you'll probably see Hila walking backwards while giving campus tours for Orange Key, eating Ricotta Pistachio ice cream at Bent Spoon, reading in Holder courtyard, or watching Netflix in her room. Some of her favorite things are traveling, segway tours, cats, and meeting new people!
Kat Giordano (Class of 2018) grew up in Mendham, New Jersey putting on impromptu musicals and talking nonstop (no wonder she is interested in children's language acquisition). Kat is a passionate psychology major pursuing certificates in teacher preparation and musical theater. When not in class or the lab, you can find Kat under Princeton's arches singing with the University's fiercest all female a cappella group, The Wildcats, or on stage performing with the Princeton Triangle Club.
Charlotte Jeppsen (Class of 2018) loves all aspects of developmental research. She is specifically interested in studying the behavior, cognitions, and perceptions of children with developmental disabilities, and how music could be a form of cognitive treatment for these children. She is a Psychology major pursuing certificates in Cognitive Science and in Musical Performance. Outside of the lab, she sings in her a cappella group, Shere Khan, the Glee Club, and the Jazz Vocal Collective. When she has free time, Charlotte loves to hike, cook food, and listen to Discover Weekly playlists or anything on Spotify.
Sarah Reid (Class of 2018) is originally from Belmont, California and is a psychology major with a potential Italian certificate. She is interested in looking at education from a psychological perspective, especially in the areas of development, learning, and language acquisition. Outside of class, Sarah does tech theater with Theatre Intime and sings with the Princeton Trego Singers. In her free time, she loves to hike, rock climb, or curl up with a good book.
Isaac Treves (Class of 2018) is a neuroscience major from Madison, Wisconsin. He is particularly interested in prenatal brain development and how it contributes to pattern learning. Career goals include studying mental health and teaching mindfulness practice. Outside of the classroom, he is a co-president of the Club Tennis team, and plays violin in the Princeton University Orchestra.
Yasmin AlKhowaiter (Class of 2020) is from Saudi Arabia and Turkey, and spent most of her life in Saudi Arabia. Yasmin plans on majoring in either economics or computer science with a certificate in cognitive science. She is interested in studying how children learn and switch between multiple languages growing up. In her free time, Yasmin likes to read, spend time with her family, and watch TV shows.
Jean Bellamy (Class of 2019) is originally from Hillsborough, North Carolina where she grew up surrounded by animals and books. She is interested in studying how the achievement gap develops in children as well as studying the socioeconomic factors involved in language acquisition. She is a prospective psychology major with potential certificates in Neuroscience and French Language. After Princeton she plans to go to medical school in hopes of becoming a Psychiatrist. Outside of the lab and class, she helps organize events for Pride Board, rides with the Equestrian Team, and sings.
Kelly Bojic (Class of 2018) was born and raised in Norwalk, Connecticut. She is majoring in Economics with a certificate in Technology in Society and is broadly interested in how technology affects the behavioral and cognitive development of children. On campus, she is a board member for Breakout Princeton, a Peer Career Adviser, and also works in the ticket office. In her free time, Kelly enjoys visiting new places and trying different foods!
Ellie Breitfeld (class of 2020) grew up in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, inspiring her love of college basketball and barbeque. She is a prospective psychology major with potential certificates in neuroscience and linguistics. She is particularly interested in studying how psychology research on language development relates to education policy. In addition to working with the Baby Lab, Ellie is a correspondent for Princeton’s undergraduate research blog (PCUR), a member of running club, and a photographer for Princeton’s chapter of Spoon University.
Mariesa Cay (Class of 2020) is from Ewing, New Jersey. She is a prospective psychology major on a pre-med track and she wants to be a pediatric neurologist. Her love of both the brain and children stemmed from her involvement with Special Olympics New Jersey in high school. Outside of the classroom, Mariesa is a math tutor for local high school students, a photographer and editor for Spoon University, and member of both the club field hockey and club lacrosse teams.
Ariella Cohen (Class of 2019) is a neuroscience major from Irvine, California. Her experience working with children inspired her interests in child development and studying how early learning and development can predict children's outcomes. On campus, Ariella is a Peer Health Advisor, serves on the Premedical Society, and plays the mellophone with the Princeton University Band. In her free time, she enjoys baking, listening to Spanish music, and drinking tea.
Rachel Cooper (Class of 2019) grew up in Baltimore, MD (with stops in Tennessee, Nebraska, and Connecticut). Rachel plans to concentrate in Economics or Psychology, with a certificate in Visual Arts. Interested in film and animation, she is passionate about the role of media in child development and its potential as a tool or detriment to learning. Rachel spends her free time producing and editing student films, working as an Orange Key tour guide, and cracking jokes as a member of Lobster Club Improv Comedy. She also loves to dance, play volleyball, sound design for theater productions, and is learning to play mellophone in the Princeton University Band!
Wen Du (Class of 2020) is originally from China and now lives in Metuchen, New Jersey. She is planning to major in Molecular Biology with a certificate in Neuroscience. She is a part of Engineers Without Borders and is also involved in the Humans of Princeton project. In her free time, Wen like drawing, photography, and playing with her dog (or any dogs in general).
Fernanda Fernandez (Class of 2019) is a neuroscience major from Rutherford, New Jersey. She loves taking care of and working with children. Coming from a bilingual family, she is really interested in bilingualism and how knowing two languages affects children’s cognitive development. Outside of the lab, She is an EMT for the Princeton First Aid and Rescue Squad in town, a tutor at McGraw, a Peer Academic Advisor for Rocky College, and a member of SIFP. In her free time, she loves going on runs, playing guitar, or spending time with friends. After Princeton, she plans to attend medical school and become a physician.
Alexia Hernandez (Class of 2019) is a linguistic major from Weybridge, VT. She speaks Spanish and Italian and has studied Latin, Greek, and Sanskrit. Apart from the Baby Lab, Alexia helps out as an observing assistant for Astronomy 205 (Planets in the Universe), and is captain of the Women's Club Lacrosse Team.
Christopher Howard (Class of 2020) is a Classical Studies major and pre-med from rural upstate New York. He is interested in studying how musical exposure in the earliest stages of development impacts language learning. Upon graduation, he intends to pursue a medical degree and one day use it to improve the lives of children, potentially with a neurological or psychological focus. On campus, Chris is a baritone in the Glee Club and Chamber Choir, vice president of Princeton Pro-Life, and a participating member of the Aquinas Institute.
Nourhan Ibrahim (Class of 2020) grew up in Parsippany, NJ and is a prospective EEB major with certificates in Spanish and Global Health Policy. She’s interested in language development in children, as well as healthcare access both domestically and abroad. On campus, she’s involved with the Pace Center through SVC and Breakout, a board member for the Muslim Students Association, and a member of SIFP. She enjoys reading, writing, and watching movies in her free time! After Princeton, she hopes to become a pediatric oncologist and continue working with children.
Brandon Lanchang (Class of 2018) grew up in Mount Ephraim, New Jersey. He is a computer science major with a prospective neuroscience certificate and is interested in how both fields can be related. When not in the classroom or the lab, Brandon works as a student technology consultant for Princeton University and an assistant leader for the Princeton Engineers Without Borders Chapter. He also enjoys running, creative writing, and frisbee.
Naoum Fares Marayati (Class of 2019) is originally from Syria and lived in Greensboro, North Carolina. He is interested in the study of multilingualism and the effects of immediate geographical displacement on language learning in children, having experienced that himself with Arabic, French, and English. Fares plans on concentrating in Psychology with a certificate in either Neuroscience or Cognitive Science. After graduating, Fares plans to attend Medical School in hopes of pursuing his dream of becoming a neurosurgeon. When he is not in the library, Fares enjoys photographing new places, attempting tennis, going on bike rides, and playing violin.
Diana Ortiz (Class of 2019) is a psychology major and pre-med student from Winter Haven, Florida. She is interested in studying how bilingualism affects learning patterns and social interactions between children. After she graduates, she hopes to attend medical school and become a doctor to provide health services in disadvantaged communities. Outside of the Baby lab, she serves as the Co-president of GlobeMed at Princeton, an Advising Fellow for the Matriculate Program and Scholar of SIFP. In her spare time, she loves to cook, travel to new cities and hang out with friends.
Fleming Peck (Class of 2020) is from San Francisco, California and plans to concentrate in neuroscience with a certificate in cognitive science. She loves working with children and is especially fascinated by developmental disorders and brain imaging methods. She is interested in pursuing a research career focusing on cognitive developmental neuroscience and psychology. Outside of the lab, she is involved with the Princeton Undergraduate Student Journal as a Peer Review board member and with brainLENS, an educational neuroscience lab at UCSF.
Richard Peng (Class of 2020) spent the majority of his formative years in Shrewsbury, Massachusetts. As a prospective psychology major, everything about people fascinates him. It's no wonder that he spends all his time getting to know them in real life through volunteering for crisis hotlines and in fiction through theater! Outside of psychology, Richard's hobbies are music and acting, and he is a proud member of the Princeton Triangle Club.
Jessica Quinter (Class of 2018) is a concentrator in the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, with a certificate in Values and Public Life. She is particularly interested in studying the intersection of cognitive development research and education policy. Outside of the classroom, Jessica is Executive Director of Fuzzy Dice Improv Comedy and Chief of Staff of the Pre-Law Society. Jessica also tutors Calculus II and Microeconomics at the McGraw Center. In her free time, she loves to ride her bike and try to bake.
Nitasha Siddique (Class of 2018) grew up in Queens, NY and is a Psychology major pursuing certificates in Global Health and Neuroscience. She's interested in clinical neuropsychology, counseling psychology, and palliative care because she loves working with people to understand where they're coming from and how to approach emerging challenges in their lives, whether a chronic illness or changes in the brain. She is excited to learn more about how children learn to navigate the world and spend time channeling her inner child! Nitasha works closely with the Office of Religious Life and is a leader in the Muslim Students Association and Student Volunteers Council with the Pace Center. In her spare time, Nitasha is often singing her favorite Disney songs or getting lost in some magical world in a book.
Alice Wang (Class of 2019), from Palo Alto, California, is currently concentrating in psychology with a visual arts certificate. She is interested in the role education plays in child development, specifically regarding how visual and acoustic stimuli influence learning. In her spare time, Alice can be found (break)dancing with Sympoh, writing old-fashioned letters, or naming inanimate objects.
Ella Whitfield (Class of 2021) is from Chapel Hill, North Carolina. She is planning to major in Psychology with a certificate in neuroscience. She is interested in studying how children learn from each other and from their environment. During the summer, she is a kindergarten camp counselor. Outside of class, Ella is an Army ROTC cadet, a member of the running club, and enjoys creative writing and pottery.