VL2 Student Scholar Recognition Ceremony

February 12, 2014

A team of Gallaudet University students was celebrated at a November 5, 2013 ceremony that recognized their selection as 2014-2015 National Science Foundation (NSF), Science of Learning Student Scholars. The students were honored for their work, research, and scholarship in Gallaudet's NSF-funded, Visual Language and Visual Learning Center (VL2) and the Petitto Brain and Language Laboratory for Neuroimaging (BL2). Student scholars are selected annually and the honor includes NSF-VL2 assistantships.

The student scholars all share a common interest in science and bring much collective strength to the NSF-VL2 Science of Learning Center with their backgrounds spanning multiple Gallaudet majors, including education, linguistics, communication studies, and interpretation. These NSF-VL2 Student Scholars assist with the promotion of various projects such as studies of brain development and language processing in cochlear implant users, children's reading abilities with contemporary learning tools, such as ASL-English bilingual storybook apps, the creation of research to translation products, such as VL2's Parent Information Package, and more.

Student scholars working in BL2 have the unique opportunity to learn how to conduct cognitive neuroscience studies of language, reading, and the bilingual brain with among the world's most advanced neuroimaging technologies, functional Near Infrared Spectroscopy (fNIRS), as well as how to conduct Eye-Tracking studies of children's reading.  Student training and work involves the full complex of research activities, from the recruiting of research participants, to the writing of Institutional Review Board (IRB) applications, to the writing of grants, journal articles, and the public dissemination of scientific discoveries.

VL2's co-principal investigator and science director, Dr. Laura-Ann Petitto, opened the ceremony with welcoming words of gratitude and encouragement.
 
"All of you are outstanding young scholars and excellent students. We are so happy to be working alongside all of you, and I believe you all will have a fantastic future," said Petitto.

Andrea Sonnier, who is a first year Ph.D. student in Critical Studies in the Education of Deaf Learners, shared that she felt invigorated by the wealth of new knowledge she's received from the moment she began her program.

"I like my job with VL2 because it allows me to pay attention to services for deaf people. It is so cool! We research the connection between the hearing and deaf communities, and the connection between ASL and English," said Sonnier. "Every day I can study something new and it has made me become a better student overall."

Adam Stone, a first year Ph.D. student in Educational Neuroscience, said that through his work with VL2 and BL2, he interacts with many different students from various majors such as education, psychology, and linguistics. Stone has also acquired rich experiences from students who come from different universities. Adam expressed his hope in a bright future with VL2. At the end of the ceremony, the student scholars were treated to lunch and shared their first year experience stories and their future career goals.

Casey Cochran, a continuing NSF-VL2 student scholar in the Department of Linguistics, said she has had an enjoyable experience during her time conducting research in BL2 and likened her lab cohorts to family.

I. Congratulations to the New VL2 2013-2014 Student Scholars

Petitto Brain & Language Laboratory (BL2) for neuroimaging, VL2 Student Scholars

  • TraciAnn Hoglind -Sophomore
  • Lorne Farovitch - Senior
  • Don Cullen - Senior
  • Elizabeth Steyer - Graduate Student (M.A.)
  • Diana Andriola - Graduate Student (M.A.)
  • Adam Stone - Graduate Student (Ph.D. in Educational Neuroscience)
  • Geo Kartheiser - Graduate Student (Ph.D. in Educational Neuroscience)

VL2 Student Scholars with Dr. Melissa Herzig (VL2's Research and Translation Manager) and Melissa Malzkuhn's Motion Laboratory

  • Cara Keith - Graduate Student (Ph.D.)
  • Andrea Sonnier - Graduate Student (Ph.D.)

Dr. Tom Allen's Early Education Longitudinal Studies Laboratory, VL2 Student Scholars

  • Daqian Dang - Post-B.A.
  • Donna  Guardino  - Graduate Student (Ph.D.)
  • Amarylis Galloza - Graduate Student (Ph.D.)

II. Congratulations to the Continuing VL2 Student Scholars
 
Petitto Brain & Language Laboratory (BL2) for neuroimagnig, VL2 Student Scholars

  • Clifton Langdon - Graduate Student (Ph.D.)
  • Casey Cochran - Graduate Student (Ph.D.)
  • Erin Spurgeon - Graduate Student (M.A.)

VL2 Student Scholars with Dr. Melissa Herzig (VL2's Research and Translation Manager) and Melissa Malzkuhn's Motion Laboratory

  • Erica Wilkins - Graduate Student (Ph.D.) 

Allen's Early Education Longitudinal Studies Laboratory, VL2 Student Scholars

  • Amy Letteri - Graduate Student (Ph.D.)
  • Dani Previ - Graduate Student (Ph.D.)