dr² > About

After spending spent my childhood roaming the hills of Wisconsin catching butterflies, I attended the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where I received my bachelors in Linguistics. Becoming enraptured with linguistic psychology, I then headed out to the University of Rochester, where I earned my masters and doctorate in Brain and Cognitive Sciences under the guidance of Prof. Elissa Newport (adviser) and Prof. Richard Aslin.

In general, my research has looked at the fascinating world of languages formation and evolution! Some of the most interesting cases of language formation occur with the development of pidgins and creoles — languages that form when groups of people need to communicate that don't share a common tongue. Since the early stages of these languages are so fleeting, we created miniature model versions of pidgin languages to teach people in the laboratory. The way participants learn and subtly change this input when they produce it themselves helps us to pick apart some of the underlying processes that fuel language change on the large scale.
(For more info, see Projects)

Post-PhD, I have been teaching at the University of Rochester, while working with colleagues on some new projects. I've also been working on writing some fiction, and I am currently studying up on the communication systems of other animals, which may help us to understand what led human Language to emerge in the first place. If I have any interesting thoughts or insights, I'll share them in my blog!