Bergelson Lab members

Dr. Elika Bergelson, PI

Dr. Bergelson is an Associate Professor in Harvard’s Department of Psychology. Dr. Bergelson received her PhD from the University of Pennsylvania, where she first became interested in infant word-learning, after receiving research training at the University of Maryland as a Baggett Fellow, and a B.A. at NYU in Language and Mind. Her training is in psychology, linguistics, and cognitive science. She was a Research Professor in the University of Rochester’s Brain and CogSci Department from 2014-2016. From 2016-2023, she was an assistant and then associate professor in the Psychology and Neuroscience department at Duke University. Dr. Bergelson’s work has been funded by the NSF and NIH; she is the recipient of an NIH Early Independence Award, an NSF CAREER Award, and an NIH Research Project R01 grant. Dr. Bergelson thinks figuring out how babies learn language is just about the coolest question out there.

Full time researchers

Dr. Jasenia Hartman, Postdoctoral Researcher

Jasenia finished her PhdD in Neuroscience from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She is interested in how infants use social and linguistic cues available on the face to support their learning. Jasenia is an aspiring plant mom and DIY-enthusiast.

Lilli Righter, Lab manager

Lilli graduated from the University of Maryland, College Park with a B.A. in Linguistics in 2020 and has managed the BLAB ever since. At UMD, she worked on research looking at infants’ acquisition of long-distance syntactic dependencies and early verb learning. She is interested how babies learn some of the less transparent structures of language, and how the senses affect language learning. Lilli loves her cat, painting and playing D&D.

Zhenya Kalenkovich, Lab Technician

Zhenya graduated from HSE University, Moscow in 2017 with an MSc. in Cognitive Science. After graduating, he was involved in research into phoneme perception, negative sentence processing, and neural correlates of syntactic processing. He joined the lab in November, 2021. He is interested in the Language Development as a major window into cognition in general. At the lab, he performs a variety of programming/technical duties involved in managing and analyzing the corpus and experimental data as well as providing technical support for the researchers in the lab. In his free time, he enjoys bouldering, short hikes, and trying new things.

Graduate students

Kristen Gilyard, G2

Kristen is currently completing a Ph.D. at Harvard, where she also graduated from Harvard University with an A.B. in Neuroscience and Mathematics. Kristen wants to acquire more knowledge about how infants learn specifically how infants create semantic representations. Kristen also enjoys reading, knitting, and bird-watching.

Genia Lukin, G2

Genia studied psycholinguistics at Tel Aviv University and theoretical Linguistics at Boston University. She is interested in how sensory impairments impact language-learning, and how babies compensate for them. In her spare time, she tries to read all the books, sings classical choir, and has very strong opinions about Mediterranean cuisine.

Research Assistants

Nicole Calderon

Nicole is an undergraduate at Harvard College from Miami, FL studying Psychology and Education. She is interested in early language development, how language is taught, and finding out how young learners can be best supported in their growth! In her free time, she loves latin dancing, cooking, and crochet.

Ethan Chaves

Ethan is a sophomore from Charlton, MA concentrating in Music and Psychology (Cognitive Science track), as well as a dual-degree student at the New England Conservatory of Music. In his free time he enjoys hiking to find petroglyphs and watching old films.

Stephanie Zaragoza

Stephanie is currently a junior psychology student at Harvard. She is interested in clinical psychology, but also in developmental psych and learning disorders. In her free time, she enjoys showing pictures of her dog Coco and listening to music. 

Grace Benkelman 

Grace is a Harvard undergraduate from Montana studying Psychology and Linguistics. She is interested in various topics in social psychology and psycholinguistics. She loves to hike, run, rock climb, and be outside in her free time!

Sarah Latzke 

Sarah is a junior undergraduate student at Harvard College from Columbus, Ohio studying Psychology and Linguistics. She is interested in clinical and developmental psychology, and she has a particular curiosity for how first and second languages are acquired. In her spare time, Sarah loves to sing and travel the world with her a cappella group, the Radcliffe Pitches.