Meet the Team
Meet the team
Dr. Krista Byers-Heinlein is an associate professor in the psychology department at Concordia University, and is the director of the Concordia Infant Research Laboratory. Originally from Fredericton, New Brunswick, she completed her undergraduate work at McGill University in 2003, before completing MA and PhD degrees at the University of British Columbia. Dr. Byers-Heinlein’s research investigates language acquisition and cognitive development, with a focus on bilingualism in infancy. She has published papers on topics such as language discrimination in newborn infants, and word learning by young bilinguals and trilinguals. Another line of research investigates how parental input influences bilingual development. Her research approach is multi-pronged, integrating techniques such as eye tracking, neuroimaging, high amplitude sucking, habituation, preferential looking, and parental report. Her work has two overarching aims: 1) To use data from bilingual infants to inform and extend theories of language acquisition, and 2) To provide empirical data that can inform the decisions of parents wishing to raise bilingual children.
(Languages: English & French)
Click here to download her CV (last updated January 2019)
Ana Maria Gonzalez is a postdoctoral fellow in Psychology at Concordia University. She joined the Infant Research Lab in Fall 2017. Ana Maria is a Speech-Language Pathologist. She also completed a Master’s degree in Educational Psychology at McGill University and a Ph.D. in Communication Sciences and Disorders with a specialization in Language Acquisition at McGill University. Ana Maria’s research interests focus on language acquisition in bilinguals and multilinguals and on the effects of bilingualism on language and cognition in typically-developing children as well as in children with neurodevelopmental disorders.
Languages (English, French, Spanish)
Esther Schott is a Ph.D. student in Psychology at Concordia University. Esther is particularly interested in how bilingual and monolingual infants learn to recognize words in the face of variability inherent in speech. For example, “apple” sounds different when it is pronounced by different speakers and with different accents, yet adults have little problem recognizing words across speakers and accents. How do infants achieve this? Specifically, do infants use the context (both immediate and their lifelong experience) to guide their word recognition? In a second line of research, Esther is studying whether infants are able to detect a language switch across single words, and whether infants can associate a language with a speaker. Esther’s master thesis (at McGill University) investigated which pairs of languages are hard or easy to discriminate.
(Languages: English, French, German)
Lena Kremin is a PhD student in psychology at Concordia University. Lena is interested in studying how bilingual infants tell apart the languages they hear, and learn two separate languages, instead of combining them into one. She is also looking at the speech patterns of parents and how they switch between French and English when speaking to their child. Lena joined the lab in 2018 after completing her Master’s degree in linguistics at Utrecht University.
(Languages: English, Spanish, Dutch, Italian)
Hilary Killam has a Bachelor of Science in Psychology from the University of Toronto, with a Minor in French and a Language Citation in Italian. She always enjoyed learning French at school, and in 2006 decided to spend a year in France in order to immerse herself in the language. With a lot of hard work, she learned to speak French as an adult, which certainly came in handy when she unexpectedly moved to Montréal! Most of Hilary’s work experience has been in a clinical setting, managing therapy intakes for a large psychotherapy clinic in Toronto, and now she is excited to take on a new challenge in supporting academic research.
(Languages: English, French & a little Italian)
Melanie Brouillard is an M.A. student in Clinical Psychology at Concordia University, starting this September. Having grown up in Montreal learning English and French simultaneously, she identified herself as a bilingual from a young age and has been fascinated with the phenomenon ever since. Her research interests include shared book reading and word learning in young bilinguals, and parental attitudes and beliefs about bilingualism and their influence on bilingual development.
(Languages: English & French)
Maria Tamayo completed a B.A. double degree in Honours Spanish and Major Psychology. She always felt great curiosity for language acquisition and bilingualism, and became even more passionate about the topic after taking classes on linguistics and psychology of language in both of her programs. Before joining Dr. Byers-Heinlein’s lab, Maria gained experience conducting research with bilingual adults, and now she is eager to extend her knowledge about second language acquisition to early language development in infants and children. Her previous volunteer experiences include providing care for malnourished children, teaching Spanish as a second language, and working with adults with Aphasia. Maria's long-term goal is to become a Speech-Language therapist, and she is confident that volunteering at the Infant Research Lab will provide her with valuable skills and knowledge for her future career.
(Languages: English, French, Spanish)
Meghan Mastroberardino is currently an undergraduate student at Concordia University pursuing her Bachelor of Arts in Honours Psychology. She hopes to pursue graduate school to obtain a Masters degree in either Child Psychology or Industrial/Organizational Psychology, keeping her doors open for both. She also volunteers at the Montreal children’s Hospital in hopes of learning more about research and child development. She is very interested in how children acquire languages at different rates and how the environment plays an important role. By working in Dr. Byers-Heinlein’s lab, she hopes to gain more experience in research and in children’s cognitive developments.
(Languages: English & French)
Erica Chelini is currently an undergraduate student pursuing her BSc in Honours Psychology with a Minor in Linguistics at Concordia University. She is very passionate about volunteering and has various experience working with elementary school children such as being a teacher's assistant, instructing and organizing an after school activity, and now volunteering with Let's Talk Science Concordia. With a strong interest in language acquisition and cognitive development, Erica had been drawn to the Concordia Infant Research Laboratory upon beginning her studies at the university. She is incredibly grateful to join the team and she is eager to further expand her knowledge and understanding of these topics while helping out as much as she can with the fascinating research studies that are being conducted.
(Languages: English, French, and Italian)
Julia Alves is currently an undergraduate student at Concordia University pursuing her BA in Honours Psychology. She was raised in a trilingual environment, speaking both English and Portuguese at home, and French at school; thus, her interest in the research being conducted in the Infant Research Lab stems from her own personal experiences of growing up in a multilingual environment. After the completion of her Bachelor of Arts degree, Julia hopes to go on to Graduate School and pursue her interests in Developmental Psychology. She believes that working in this lab will help her acquire the necessary research skills and knowledge for her future studies.
(Languages: English, French, & Portuguese)
Nathalie Germain is currently an undergraduate student at Concordia University pursuing her BA in Honours Psychology. Her previous experience working with children includes facilitating a community art studio in collaboration with Concordia's own Art Hives program. Having worked as a tutor for primary school students, she is interested in how children learn and how to make learning fun and interactive. With a background in the visual arts and psychology, she is especially interested in exploring how children respond to and recognize visual stimuli. She is excited to have been welcomed to the Concordia Infant Research Laboratory, where she aims to gather experience and contribute to the lab's research. She plans on attending graduate school after earning her Bachelors, aiming to pursue a Masters degree in Art Therapy or Conflict Resolution and Mediation.
(Languages: English and French)
Stephanie Côté is currently finishing her BA in Psychology at Concordia University, following the acquisition of college diplomas in special education and autism. Working in community programs with individuals from multilingual backgrounds brought her to the Infant Research Laboratory, where she is gaining research experience and understanding of the effects that learning two or more languages has on development. Stephanie coordinates external recruitment at the laboratory, where she visits programs in the community, such as infant story times, to find parents who are interested in having their children participate in language studies at the lab. She plans on pursuing graduate studies in the field of counseling and educational psychology.
(Languages: French & English)
Alexa Fogel is currently an undergraduate student at Concordia University pursuing a BA in Honours Psychology. Her interest in working with children stems from her many years of experience working at a children’s day camp as a camp counselor. She is interested in learning more about the research process and furthering her knowledge of child psychology and cognitive development, which is what led her to the Concordia Infant Research Laboratory. In the future, she plans on continuing to pursue a Masters Degree and eventually a Ph.D. in the field of psychology.
(Languages: English & French)
Elizabeth Di Flumeri is an Honours student pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Behavioral Neuroscience at Concordia University. She has had ample experience working with children of a wide variety of ages as a camp counsellor, a babysitter and a passionate volunteer at the Montreal Children’s Hospital. Her love for children began at a very young age and has continued to progress ever since. Growing up bilingual and later learning two new languages has sparked her interest in understanding the implications in acquiring new vocabulary and its impacts on future quality of speech. In Dr. Byers-Heinlein’s Infant Research lab, she hopes to gain a better grasp of the infant world as well as a more thorough comprehension of how social interactions and environmental conditions can shape behavior. Elizabeth strives to one day apply her knowledge in a medical career focused on caring for others as this is her heartfelt passion.
(Languages: English, French, Italian & Spanish)
Beatrice Necsa has been pursuing an undergraduate degree in the Faculty of Arts with a concentration in Specialization Psychology. She has had various volunteer experiences ranging from rehabilitating patients back into their community at the Douglas Mental Health University Institute, to accompanying people with intellectual disabilities go about their daily routines. With a curiosity for the world of tiny humans, Beatrice joined the Concordia Infant Research Laboratory and is eager to be surrounded by a research environment which seeks to explore the numerous facets that language has to offer in the area of cognitive development, particularly in the rapidly growing brains of children and how they can benefit from learning two languages simultaneously.
Languages (English, French, & Romanian)
Amanda Cabugao is currently an undergraduate student pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Specialization Psychology. Her interest in working with children stems from her many years of experience as a swimming instructor for toddlers and children. She joined the Concordia Infant Research Laboratory to gain experience in research and further expand her knowledge on the cognitive development of young children. Upon completion of her Bachelor of Science, Amanda hopes to attend graduate school and pursue her interests in childhood development.
(Languages: English and French)
Ethan Katz-Zeitlin is currently pursuing a Bachelor of Arts at Concordia University in the Faculty of Arts and Science, with a Specialization in Psychology. He has gained experience working with children from both years of volunteering at the Special Needs Family camp and working at summer camps as a counsellor and has now developed this experience into a passion. This passion has sparked interest in language development and the cognitive effects that occur with it in early childhood. He plans to acquire as much knowledge as possible on this particular subject and eventually pursue a PhD in the field of psychology.
(Languages:English and French)
Orly Dayan is an undergraduate student at Concordia University pursuing a BA in Honours Psychology with a minor in Education. She loves children and wants to be able to make a difference in their lives. She joined the Concordia Infant Research lab to contribute to the research in any way she can and hopes to learn more about the research process throughout her experience. She also does external recruitment for the lab. She plans on pursuing her studies in either Clinical Psychology or Educational Psychology.
(Languages: French, English, Hebrew)
Melina Longo completed her Honours BA in Psychology at the University of Ottawa. With a passion for languages, she grew up speaking English, French and Spanish and learned Italian during her travels. She gained more hands on experience with bilingualism by teaching English to children in Italy and Austria. Fascinated by the differences in learning between the two countries, her curiosity for bilingualism grew stronger and drew her to join the Concordia Infant Research Lab. She hopes to gain more knowledge and experience in children’s language acquisition and multilingualism as well as the research process. Melina plans to pursue graduate studies in psychology and to help children/teens with a variety of challenges or desires for improvement in a clinical or school setting.
(Languages: English, French)