People page

Lab Director

Amy Lieberman, Ph.D.
Amy Lieberman is an Assistant Professor in the Deaf Studies and Deaf Education Programs at Boston University.  She studies child language development, with a particular interest in how deaf children learn to manage their eye gaze to perceive sign language and the surrounding world.  Prior to joining the BU Faculty, Amy worked as a Research Scientist in the Mayberry Lab for Multimodal Language Development at UCSD and as an Early Childhood Teacher at Kendall School at Gallaudet University.

Lab Manager

Erin Spurgeon, MA NIC
Erin Spurgeon, MA NIC is a Nationally Certified Interpreter for the Deaf based in Boston, Massachusetts and graduated with a Masters in Interpretation from Gallaudet University.  She has worked within a variety of laboratories studying ASL acquisition and psycholinguistic research including Dr. Peter Hauser at Rochester Institute of Technology, Dr. Karen Emmorey at San Diego State University, Dr. Carol Padden at University of California San Diego and Dr. Laura-Ann Pettito at Gallaudet University.

Post Doctoral Researchers

Allison Fitch, PhD
Allison Fitch is a postdoctoral fellow with in both the Deaf Studies program and the Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences program at Boston University. She received her PhD in Developmental & Brain Sciences from the University of Massachusetts Boston. Her research addresses the interaction between word learning and extra-linguistic factors, such as visual attention, in both signed and spoken language.
Anne Wienholz, PhD
Anne Wienholz is a postdoctoral associate in the Deaf Studies Program at Boston University. She investigates various factors affecting signers‘ perception and language processing. She received her PhD in linguistics from the University of Goettingen, Germany, where she investigated language processing in signers of German Sign Language (DGS).

Doctoral Student Researcher

Anna Lim Franck, MA
Anna Lim Franck is a second year student in the Doctor of Education in Language and Literacy Education: ASL/Deaf Education program at Boston University. She graduated with a Master’s degree in Linguistics from Gallaudet University. She has worked on Haskins Laboratory’s ASL SLAAASh (Sign Language Acquisition, Annotation, Archiving and Sharing) project for linguists Drs. Diane Lillo-Martin and Julie Hochgesang. She is interested in research on L2 pedagogy/acquisition of Deaf learners and educational issues in bilingualism in Deaf classrooms.

Graduate Student Researchers

Lily Feinberg, BA
Lily Feinberg is a first-year graduate student in the speech-language pathology program. She studied applied psychology and human development and worked in a language acquisition lab throughout her undergraduate years at Boston College, and is interested in transitioning into research that explores this topic within the Deaf population.
Carey M. Ballard, BA
Carey M. Ballard is a first-year graduate student in the Deaf Education program at Boston University. He formerly served as a Research Lab Coordinator for Dr. Ben Bahan & Dr. Marlon Kuntze’s Gesture Literacy research laboratory at Gallaudet. He was also previously involved in linguistics research projects at Gallaudet University and Georgetown University. He strives to promote American Sign Language, Bilingual Education and the way being of Deaf as a basic right for all Deaf children.
Elana Pontecorvo, BA
Elana Pontecorvo is a first-year graduate student in the Deaf Education program at BU. She is interested in studying sign language acquisition. In the future, she would like to work with young Deaf children and their families to promote early sign language acquisition.


Eric Setzer, EdM (May ’20)
Eric Setzer is a second-year graduate student in the Deaf Education program at Boston University. He is passionate about making sure that not all Deaf children are left behind in both home and school by providing them with opportunities to explore something new about themselves. In the future, Eric would love to work as a Teacher of the Deaf and soccer coach for the Deaf youth.
Keri Chamberlain, EdM (May ’20)
Keri Chamberlain is a second-year graduate student in the Deaf Education program at Boston University. She is passionate about providing Deaf students with educational equity through language access using a bilingual approach.
Louloua Almohanna, Undergraduate Student
Louloua Almohanna is an undergraduate student in CAS majoring in Neuroscience and minoring in Deaf Studies. She is interested in the attentional mechanisms underlying language acquisition in Deaf children to help minimize language deprivation in infancy. She is also interested in signed languages across different cultures and countries and plans to learn British Sign Language in the near future.
Nikki Pire, BA
Nikki Pire received her Bachelor of Arts in Linguistics from Northeastern University in 2018. In addition to her position at the LAVA Lab, Nikki has worked as a research assistant in the Psycholinguistics lab at the University of Kaiserslautern and The Center of Research and Training at The Learning Center for the Deaf. She is currently the Office Manager and Executive Assistant for The Center for Research and Training at TLC.
Raven Pentz, EdM (May ’20)
Raven Pentz is a second-year graduate student in the Deaf Education program at Boston University. She is passionate about supporting the identity development of Deaf children. Raven’s long-term goal is to open a training facility that provides access to Deaf youth that are looking to build their skills in basketball.
Lillian Brown, BS
Lillian Brown received her MS in Speech-Language Pathology at Boston University in 2019. She is interested in how both signed and spoken languages are acquired and used in children. She previously worked as a research assistant in the Child Language and Literacy Lab at Vanderbilt University. Lillian will be working at The Learning Center starting Fall 2019.
Justin Bergeron, (May ’20)
Justin Bergeron is a second-year graduate student in Deaf Education at Boston University. Before BU, he had an opportunity to travel around the world during his gap year to explore a bit more about himself and he has been to more than fifty countries in total. As a result, his travels led him to pursue a Master’s degree in Deaf Education and he hopes to somehow combine his passion of traveling and Deaf Education in his future endeavors.
Julie Behar, BS
Julie Behar graduated from Sargent College in 2019 majoring in Speech, Hearing, and Language Sciences and minoring in Deaf Studies. Julie is interested in learning about how to help ensure all deaf children have constant accessibility to language, and about signed language acquisition in adulthood. Julie is starting a doctorate in Audiology at the University of Texas in Fall, 2019.
Adrienne Sheh, BS
Adrienne Sheh graduated from BU in 2019 majoring in Psychology and minoring in Deaf Studies and Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences. She is interested in learning more about the acquisition of ASL to hopefully help further the research behind the linguistics of American Sign Language and to ensure that deaf children have early access to language. Adrienne is starting a Masters degree in Speech-Language Pathology at San Diego State University in Fall, 2019.
Zoe Fieldsteel, EdM
Zoe Fieldsteel received her Master of Arts in Education of the Deaf from Boston University in 2017. She was a high school English language arts instructor at the Colorado School for the Deaf and Blind in Colorado Springs, and now works at The Learning Center for the Deaf in Framingham, Massachusetts.
Aiken Bottoms, EdM
Aiken Bottoms received their Master of Arts in Education of the Deaf from Boston University in 2018. They have worked as a volunteer teacher in the Marshall Islands and is a full time instructor at The Learning Center for the Deaf.
Deanna Gagne, PhD
Deanna Gagne completed a Postdoctoral Associate in the Deaf Studies and Deaf Education Programs at Boston University. She studies how children acquire, create, and change language in various atypical environments.
She received her PhD at the University of Connecticut where she worked with homesigners, Nicaraguan Sign Language signers and hearing children of deaf adults in Nicaragua. She is currently an Assistant Professor in the Linguistics Department at Gallaudet University
Brittany Farr, EdM
Brittany Farr graduated from the Deaf Education program at Boston University in 2019. She is passionate about transforming the English curriculum for the Deaf programs by having the English curriculum tailor to learning approaches that are relevant to Deaf students and their native language, ASL.
Conrad Baer, EdM
Conrad Baer graduated from the Deaf Education program at Boston University in 2019. He is passionate about improving Deaf Education by using a bilingual approach to instruct Deaf students.


Sudha Arunachalam, Boston University

Arielle Borovsky, Purdue University

Naomi Caselli, Boston University

Deanna Gagne, Gallaudet University

Rachel Mayberry, University of California, San Diego

Julie Mitchiner, Gallaudet University

Jennie Pyers, Wellesley College

Liz Schotter, University of South Florida

Chen Yu, Indiana University