Dr. Roberta M. Golinkoff, Director
Dr. Golinkoff holds the H. Rodney Sharp Chair in the School of Education at the University of Delaware and is also a member of the Departments of Psychology and Linguistics. She directs the Child’s Play, Learning and Development Lab (formerly the Infant Language Project), whose goal it is to understand how children tackle the amazing feat of learning language. She has also started another line of research on the benefits of play. Although “play” has recently become a 4-letter word, the research suggests exactly the opposite: Children learn best through play and when their learning is embedded in a playful context. Read complete bio here.
Tara Saunders Tara graduated from the University of Virginia with a B.A. in Psychology in 2016. Her past research was in clinical psychology, focusing on anxiety disorders and suicide risk perception. She is enthusiastic about exploring language acquisition research and best practices for measuring language skills and abilities.
Lindsey Foster Lindsey graduated from Bryn Mawr College with a B.A. in Psychology. For her senior thesis, she compared adolescent and parent reports of an adolescent’s attention problems. She has substantial experience working with young children in various settings. She is very excited to be at the Child’s Play Lab, where she works with spatial studies.
Dr. Ilyse Resnick Ilyse is an Institute of Educational Sciences (IES) Post-Doctoral Research Fellow. She received her Ph.D. in Brain and Cognitive Sciences at Temple University, as well as a specialization in neuroscience and a Teaching in Higher Education Certificate. Ilyse’s research examines spatial, temporal, and analogical reasoning essential in the STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) disciplines. One of Ilyse’s main lines of research focuses on how people reason about magnitudes and phenomenon that are outside of human perception, such as geologic time and fractions.
Dr. Giovanna Morini Giovanna received a Ph.D. in Hearing and Speech Sciences and a Graduate Certificate in Neuroscience and Cognitive Science from the University of Maryland. Her research has focused on better understanding how young children and adults process variations in speech, as well as examining whether language experience (e.g., learning one versus two languages) plays a role in the development of cognitive skills or strategies associated with linguistics tasks such as word learning and word comprehension.
Dr. Rebecca Dore is an Institute of Education Sciences (IES) Post-Doctoral Research Fellow. She received her Ph.D. in Developmental Psychology at University of Virginia, where her research with Dr. Angeline Lillard focused on children’s experiences in pretense, fiction and fantasy. Currently, Rebecca’s work examines the role of fictional worlds in children’s education, and how we can use these experiences to best promote learning in both formal and informal settings. Visit her website for more information.
Dr. Christina Barbieri is an Institute of Education Sciences (IES) Postdoctoral Research Fellow. She received her B.A. in Psychology from the City University of New York and then went on to receive her Ph.D. in Educational Psychology at Temple University. There, her research with Dr. Julie Booth focused on exploring algebra learning with consideration of cognitive principles. Christina’s primary line of research focuses on instructional strategies that can potentially reduce students’ algebraic misconceptions.
Dr. Laura Zimmermann Laura is an Institute of Educational Sciences (IES) Post-Doctoral Research Fellow. She received her Ph.D. in Psychology at Georgetown University, with a concentration in Human Development and Public Policy. There her research with Dr. Rachel Barr focused on how young children learn, remember, and transfer information from different media sources such as touchscreens. She also assessed the development of visuospatial working memory and executive functioning in early childhood. Laura’s research is currently examining strategies to teach spatial skills to preschoolers in concrete and digital puzzle formats as well as the relationship between spatial skills and later math readiness. Visit her website for more information.
Kristina Strother-Garcia Kristina is a second-year doctoral student in Linguistics. Her research interests include morphology acquisition, the home learning environment, and the language achievement gap among children from families of different socioeconomic status.
Marcia Shirilla is a first year doctoral student in the School of Education, Learning Sciences program at the University of Delaware. She has a Master’s Degree in Leisure Studies from Penn State and a Bachelor of Science degree in Forestry from Virginia Tech. She has 17 years of experience working in the recreation industry including summer camp and afterschool programming, health and wellness programming, and facility management. She is excited to be working on the Language for Reading project to further her research interests on how children learn through play.
Rebekah Banerjee is a first year MA student in Linguistics and Cognitive Science. She obtained a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology and Neuroscience from the University of Maryland. Her research interests include cognitive development and learning and rehabilitative interventions.
Daniela Avelar is a first year doctoral student in the School of Education, Learning Sciences s program at the University of Delaware. She holds a B.A. in Psychology from Franklin & Marshall College in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. After graduating college, she worked as a lab manager in the Communication and Language Lab at the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign where she assisted in psycholinguistic research projects. Her current research interests are bilingualism and language acquisition as well as how children learn from media and technology.
Dr. Vinaya Rajan – Former postdoctoral fellow. Vinaya is now an Assistant Professor at the University of the Sciences in Philadelphia! Vinaya Rajan received her Ph.D. in Developmental and Biological Psychology from Virginia Tech. Her dissertation focused on brain-behavior associations of episodic memory and domain- general cognitive processes (i.e., attention, working memory and inhibition). She is examining how these cognitive skills relate to outcomes in specific education content areas, such as supporting early numeracy skills in preschoolers and the development of fraction skills in middle school students.
Dr. Haruka Konishi – Former graduate student. Haruka is now at Michigan State working as a postdoctoral fellow at the Early Language and Literacy Investigations Lab! She has extensive research experience in cognitive and developmental psychology. She is currently working on a number of projects that investigate how language influences perception of events. Haruka’s future interests lie in teaching and research in child development. Visit her website for more information.
Dr. Brian Verdine Dr. Verdine is now the Director of Learning Sciences at SmartyPal, where he is using his extensive research background to help make technology more effective for learning! Brian received his B.S. in Psychology from Penn State. He went on to get his Ph.D. in Developmental Psychology from Vanderbilt University, where his work with Dr. Georgene Troseth explored spatial learning from television and video games. Brian worked in our lab as a postdoctoral researcher where he focused on children’s spatial skill development.