2016-2017 Cohort (UC Riverside)

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Karla Bonilla

I am a sophomore studying political science with a concentration in international affairs. This is my first year working in the lab and I am most excited to test hypotheses and learn more about bilingualism and cognitive processes. My own background as a bilingual inspired my interest in becoming a part of the lab and learning all I can about this study.


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Marissa Fernandez

I am a 4th year psychology student at UCR and this is my first year in the lab as an RA. Although I am monolingual, I know a lot of individuals who are bilingual and I am interested in this lab to discover ways in which these individuals are very unique as compared to monolinguals. I am also excited to gain research experience on campus and see what it’s all about. After I graduate, I hope to have acquired a new skill in conducting psychological research in hopes of attending grad school in the future.


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Brianna Hernandez

I’m a third year undergraduate student majoring in psychology, with a set goal to work with and help those who are mentally disabled or ill, whether that would be in education or in the health field. I am interested in being an RA for this study because I believe bilingualism is an interesting topic to focus on, as seeing the differences or similarities between monolinguals and bilinguals can help to explain how the brain structure differs between them and how cognitive ability comes into play.

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Sammi Hua

I am a junior who is majoring in Biology and I hope to one day become a pharmacist. I have had prior research experience before this; however, I am highly interested in exploring different research studies. This particular research has caught my attention because I am a bilingual speaker who is fascinated about the brain’s capabilities and how much cognitive control a person has. From this, I hope to gain more insight about language learning, brain activities, and applying this information to my own personal life.


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Angelica Magaña

My name is Angelica Magaña and I am a 4th year. I am a linguistics and Spanish major. I am super excited to be a part of this research because I know that I will gain an immense amount of knowledge on language and bilingualism. I am very interested in learning more about a child’s development through language, specifically what occurs in the brain when people are learning an L2  at different ages in their lives. I feel that this research lab will give me experience to help be prepared for my future endeavor of becoming a Speech Language Pathologist.


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Mildred Rangel

I am a third year Psychology with Law and Society major with an interest in minoring in Spanish. This is my first year working in a research lab, and I look forward to learning more about the research methods and how to conduct an experiment. In this lab specifically, I look forward to learning more about how bilingual’s cognitive processes differ from those of monolinguals. After I graduate, I plan on applying to graduate school for a master’s degree in the field of social psychology.


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Melissa Saidak

My name is Melissa Saidak and I’m a third year here at UCR. My major is Psychology with a minor in Russian Studies. I have been studying Russian for three years and even studied abroad there over the summer. Though I am still hesitant to call myself a Russian-English bilingual, I find the literature on interference interesting as I have found my own languages changing since learning Russian. It was this language learning journey that drew me to explore the relationship between Psychology and Language. I am very interested in studying how L2 and L1 effect each other, and the relationship between clinical psychology and bilingualism.


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Samah Shaikh

I am a junior studying Neuroscience. This is my first year as a research assistant in the lab. After taking particular courses related to the brain, I have gained an interest in expanding my knowledge about how factors such as language affect cognitive development. I look forward to acquiring experience in this field with my fellow research assistants.


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Neha Sheik

Hi! My name is Neha Sheik and I am a second year Biology major. This is my first year working as a RA and I am very excited to study bilingualism. I’ve always had a fascination with psychology and language and this is the perfect opportunity to do both.


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Erik Villalpando

I am a senior studying sociology and I plan to start my Master of Social Work degree next fall. Learning about bilingualism in a research setting is interesting to me because I am bilingual, myself, and I am eager to learn about the different effects it has on the bilingual’s cognition. I’m also excited to be a research assistant for the time.


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Alexander Carrillo-Kashani

I am junior studying Biology. I grew up in a household where three languages were spoken, so I was naturally very interested in doing research in this study. I hope to gain a lot of experience from working in the lab, as well as help find data to prove or disprove certain hypotheses about monolinguals, bilinguals, etc.


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Natalia Rzeslawski-Gamboa

I’m a senior studying Psychology and I hope to gain an advanced degree in Clinical Psychology. This is my second year working as a research assistant at UCR, and my first year working in the Bilingualism, Mind, and Brain lab. I am bilingual, myself, and I am interested in understanding how L1 and L2 affect cognitive function—particularly on the topic of lexical predictions. I look forward to gaining knowledge and experience as this research progresses.


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Miguel Miramontes

I am a third year undergraduate student majoring in general linguistics, anthropological linguistics, and Spanish linguistics. I was raised in a household where multiple languages were spoken as well as variations of Spanish. Having been exposed to a family that collectively could be called a polyglot household, I have seen how an L1 language can affect an L2 language. These effects can be seen when the user of two languages begins to codeswitch for various functions such as referential, directive, expressive, phatic, and lastly metalinguistic functions. Though, I may have formal training in different branches of linguistics, psycholinguistics is not one of them which is why I am excited to participate in this lab to learn more about the cognitive effects of bilingualism.


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Andrea Rios

I am a 4th year Biology student at UCR who plans to go to grad school after graduation for a masters in pharmacology. This is my 1st time doing research and I am monolingual even though most of my family is bilingual in Spanish because no matter how long I study Spanish I’m unable to speak it fluently. I joined to better understand the difference in our brain between bilinguals and monolinguals hoping some day I could finally unlock the secret to learning and speaking Spanish to become bilingual.


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Dalia Garcia

I am a junior studying Linguistics and Spanish Linguistics with an interest in speech and language pathology. This is my first year as a research assistant, and I am particularly interested in how bilinguals and their language abilities are affected by dementia. By working in this lab, I hope to gain a better understanding for bilingualism and how speech and language disorders affect the bilingual mind.


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Karen Jaranilla

Hi! I am a third year neuroscience major considering minors in Spanish and creative writing. This is my first year working as a research assistant, and I’m ecstatic that my first lab studies bilingualism! I’m looking forward to learning about both the linguistic and neural mechanisms of juggling multiple languages.


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Pilar Raygoza

I am a 4th year majoring in Psychology. I am a bilingual speaker myself, and I have always found it fascinating how we are able to switch languages automatically. I am mostly interested in learning about the benefits that bilinguals have in cognitive aging; and the undergoing changes of brain plasticity. I am excited, and hoping to gain a lot of experience working as an RA. In the future, I plan to pursue a career in the health field or in education.


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Cyrus Lai

I am a 2nd year student at UCR studying Linguistics. I am interested in the cognitive processes required to manage two languages, as I am a bilingual myself. I hope to gain research experience from this position that I can extend to my possible career in the field of Linguistics/Psycholinguistics.


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Alba Larraburu

I am a senior pursuing a Neuroscience major. This is my first year working in a lab as a research assistant. I am excited to be working in this lab particularly because as a bilingual and as a neuroscience major it is interesting to me to see how our brain works differently from those of monolinguals. As a part of this lab I hope to learn more about hands on research and the wide variety of techniques used to collect and analyze data.


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Vanessa Ledesma

I am a second-year student majoring in biology and interested in pursuing a career in medicine. This will be my first year working as a research assistant. I am excited to work in this lab because I would like to find out how and why a bilingual’s brain functions differently than that of a monolingual’s. As a bilingual myself, I would also like to learn what the advantages and disadvantages of being one are. I am looking forward to learning more about the subject.


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Gabriela Young

My name is Gabriela Young and I am an undergraduate research assistant. My field of study is Neuroscience and I am interested in studying the effects of brain structures on multiple facets of cognitive function.


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Zoya Mirza

I am currently a fourth year studying Neuroscience at UCR. This major has made me increasingly more aware and in awe of the wide range of cognitive abilities our brains posses- and how much more there is to learn about this spectacular organ and its workings. Furthermore, I grew up in a bilingual household, and learned to speak English as my second language at a very young age. I am currently working on my fluency in a new language, Spanish, and it peaked my interest to see the differences between how the brain picks up different languages at different ages. This is my first quarter being part of this lab and I am very excited to learn more about the effects bilingualism has on the brain.


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Esperanza Rodriguez

Hi everyone! My name is Esperanza Rodriguez I am currently a third-year pursuing a degree in Psychology. I am really looking forward to researching the interrelationship of bilingual speakers and the cognitive process. This will be my first year in a lab and I look forward to contributing as a research assistant. In the near future, I plan to further pursue my education after completing my degree at the University of California of Riverside. I hope that working in this lab will provide me with opportunity to develop my research skills as well as expose me to other research opportunities in the future.


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Tahani Ali

I am a second year, Microbiology major and I am interested in pursuing a career in the health field. This is my first time being a research assistant and I am super excited to be working here. The experience of growing up in a multilingual home gives me a different perspective on this research that I hope will allow me to contribute greatly to this lab.


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Bilal Rana

Hello everyone, my name is Bilal Rana and I am a first year biochemistry major with a medical sciences emphasis. I plan on combining my interests in science along with my passion for humanitarian services to become a successful neurosurgeon. Through this laboratory, I wish to apply and understand science in a more hands-on method as well as learn about the differences between a multilingual mind as compared to a monolingual mind. Since I also have interest in linguistics, I am even more enthusiastic about participating in this particular lab.


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Clarissa Chavez-Moreno

I am a 1st year Biology major and this is my first year as a research assistant. I decided to partake in this lab because I took the class that Dr. Kroll taught my fall quarter and the course just fascinated me. What fascinated me was how the brain and mind work amongst bilinguals and monolinguals. I learned so many advantages and disadvantages that came with being bilingual that I never knew. I cannot wait to gain experience and learn a lot from this lab.


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Angela Limeta-Ongkingco

I’m a second year majoring in biology and going through the pre-med route. As someone who was brought up in a bilingual household, I’ve always been interested in how they proficiently switch between two languages. I’m looking forward to working in the lab in order to explore the relationship between cognitive function and linguistics in bilinguals.


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Supanat Sritapan

I am currently a second year Biology major at UCR. As a person who speaks two languages, I would love to learn more about how the brain of a bilingual functions differently than that of a monolingual. Also, with my recent interests in Neuroscience, I am determined to apply what I learned in classrooms and to obtain more research experience from working in this lab.


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Mindy Nguyen

Hello! I am a third year Psychology major pursuing a career in the medical field. I find the human brain to be fascinating and as a bilingual myself, I am interested to see what effects languages have on the brain and cognitive development overall. I hope to gain a better understanding as to why it is harder to acquire a new language in adulthood versus childhood and what makes some adults more successful at doing so than others.


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Yasmeen Sheikh

I am a fourth year psychology student. My interest in language stems from my upbringing. I grew up in a household with the constant trill of three languages spoken around me, my two bilingual parents found their common language in English. Yet I have zero affinity for languages! I am an overhearer. I am enthusiastic about the research we will be doing and I look forward to working as an RA.


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Mayur Upparapalli

Hello! I’m a second year Biology Major and this is my first year being an research assistant in this lab. After taking multiple psych courses, I developed an interest in cognitive function and how it affects various areas such as bilingualism. Having learned multiple languages growing up, I am interested in how knowing different languages can affect each other and learning a new language. I am looking forward to learning new skills as well as information which I can apply to a career in the health sciences or related field.


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Matthew Rios

I am a fourth year neuroscience major. When I took my first class with Dr. Kroll, I was not interested in language at all. Dr. Kroll made me excited about how language affects the brain, especially the effects of L2 acquisition. I look forward to working in the lab to further see how a L2 affects the brain.


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Evelyn Gamez

I am a fourth year Spanish and Linguistics major interested in Spanish language attitudes and identities inside and outside of the US as well as bilingualism and code-switching. As a member of the lab I look forward to learning more in the field of psycholinguistics to see if that is a possibility of study later in my career.


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Jacqueline Cervantes-Mendoza

I am a fourth year Applied Math and Statistics student. This is my first year working in a research lab and am very excited to apply statistical tools for bilingualism research. As a bilingual myself I am interested in how it is possible to juggle two different languages without even realizing it and hope to gain a better understanding of this process.


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John Rodriguez

Hi. I am a third year linguistics major. I read some articles about how bilingualism affects an individual’s language processing and cognitive control and became curious about the possible outcomes for my future children (I do hope they will exist (this is a joke by the way (laugh))). Through this lab, I will be able to understand more about an aspect of the world that affects many in the field for which I hold in high regards and have an unwavering love. It is my duty to understand things that I do not understand in order to pass on the information to the future generations that succeed mine.


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Jose Calderon

I am a first year Music and Culture major and this is my first year in the lab. I became interested in learning more about bilingualism because I am bilingual and I live with someone who is monolingual. I’m interested in learning what are the key differences in the cognitive process between the two. Also I hope to gain lots of experience in lab research to help prepare any lab I might work in. I’m also hoping this will help me gain new skills to apply towards my school work.


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Paulina Vasquez-Rocha

I’m a 2nd year studying Linguistics and Spanish Linguistics. and I’m excited to learn more about the cognitive development of bilinguals. I am also interested in how and under what circumstances bilinguals decide to code switch. I look forward to developing an understanding on psycholinguistics and being involved and learning about the research process!


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Maria Beshay

Hey! I’m a fourth-year sociology major pursuing a career in the dental field, and I have an associate degree in biology. This particular research interest me because I will start three languages before the age of 12 and a fourth one at the age of 14. I’d like to explore and gain a better understanding of how that affects the brain development and cognitive behavior. I look forward to working with a group that shares the same interest.


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Dennis Wu

Hello! My name is Dennis Wu. I’m a third year Psychology major who’s interested in
being an RA for the Bilingualism, Mind, and Brain Lab. This is my first year as being an RA. I’m very excited to have this opportunity to be part of an awesome team. As a bilingual individual, myself, I hope to learn more about the interaction between bilingualism and cognition.


Amir Emadian Naeini

My name is Amir Emadian Naeini. I am a 4th year Psychology major student. After graduation I am planing on pursuing a graduate degree in clinical psychology. As a bilingual, I am interested in gaining some valuable experience in the field of bilingualism through different experiments that are conducted in this lab. I am looking forward to learning new research findings about the biological and psychological effects of bilingualism.


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Michelle Alva

I am a third year Linguistics Major and this is my first year as a research assistant for this lab. I grew up as a bilingual, and it was during my time at high school that I discovered I had a love for learning new languages. I am really happy that I am able to be a part of this lab, because I will have the opportunity to understand the effects of L2 acquisition as well as see the complexity of language in action.


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Monica Mikhail

I am a second year student majoring in Neuroscience with an interest in minoring in Psychology. This is my first year as a RA in lab and I am really excited to learm more about different research methods and how to conduct different experiments. As a bilingual myself, English and Arabic, I am really interested to learn more about the uniqueness of the brain and its flexibility to acquire a second language even in the early stages of life. It will aslo give me an insight on how acquiring a second language affect the brain’s activities such as in cognitive skills, memory, attention etc. After I grdauate, I am planning to apply to Medical School to become a sport physician.


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Mariamme Ibrahim

As a 3rd year neuroscience major, I am interested in the developments and connections made in the brain as a result of different cognitive processes. Through this lab, I hope to learn how being bilingual affects the way our minds and brains work together. Growing up in a culture where Arabic is widely used in many settings (religious, at home, etc), I began appreciating the complexity and uniqueness of language and hope to further understand different aspects of the brain.


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Fiona Yan

I am a 4th year majoring in Linguistics and psychology and this is my first year with the lab as an RA. I have tried to pick up a few languages in my life as a student because I enjoy being able to learn other country’s language and culture. This particular lab made me interested about how bilinguals and monolinguals are similar and different when they try to learn or pick up a language. After I graduate I intend to continue into grad school for clinical psychology.


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Mariellis Crain

I am a second-year majoring in linguistics, as well as minoring in mathematics. After receiving my undergraduate degree, I am interested in pursuing a career in the medical field. I am extremely excited to be working in Dr. Kroll’s lab because researchers are continuously looking for new ways to become bilingual quickly, and also, to gain a better understanding on the how the brain functions differently between bilinguals and monolinguals.


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Stephanie Lopez

Hi everyone! My name is Stephanie Lopez and I am currently a fourth year Biology major. This is my first year as a research assistant in this lab, but I am very excited to start working and gaining research experience. Since taking my first Psychology classes here at UCR I have become very interested in learning more about the human brain as well as how the mind interacts with other parts in our body and influences the way we think, our behaviors, our memories, and learning processes. As a bilingual speaker, I am very interested in learning more about how bilinguals process and conceptualize things differently from monolinguals and how certain parts of the brain are involved in the processing of words and images. As well as exploring the developmental and cognitive differences learning multiple languages have on an individual.