Current Undergraduate Cohort


Arlyn Ballesteros

Arlyn Ballesteros

Hello! My name is Arlyn Ballesteros and I’m currently a second-year Neuroscience major at UCR. I am interested in pursuing an MD-PhD degree in Neurobiology. As someone who speaks two languages, I am curious to find out how a bilingual brain differs from a monolingual brain. I have always been passionate about studying the central organ that is composed of billions of neurons. I’ve been blessed with the opportunity to be an RA for this lab because I will be given the chance to expand my knowledge in neural connections and memory processes that occur in the brain.

Blanca Bautista

Blanca Bautista

My name is Blanca Bautista and I’m a third year in the process of becoming a Psychology major. This is my first year as an RA and I’m very thrilled to study bilingualism. As a freshman in Dr. Kroll’s class I became astonished and mesmerized as to how a bilingual mind works, Growing up in an environment speaking English and Spanish I never thought about certain aspects of the brain and how it’s capable of learning multiple languages. I’m also hoping to gain experience and the skills I need as an RA to apply them in my future career.

Dinh Bui

Hi, my name is Dinh. I am a fourth year undergraduate. My degree is Statistics. I have been a research assistant at this lab for two years.


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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Sierra Cheung

I’m a fourth year transfer student majoring in psychology. I previously attended university in Canada as a microbiology major, but transferred to UCR because of its emphasis on student research opportunities. This is my research assistant position, and I looked into this lab in particular because I’m interested in how language is presented in the brain, especially for people who are multilingual. I’m particularly drawn to cognitive science because it combines my interests in psychology, philosophy, linguistics, and computer science along with many other disciplines, which I find exciting.


Jasmine Conanan

I am a junior majoring in Psychology and working towards a minor in Korean Literature and Culture. I am bilingual in both English and Tagalog, but have been studying Korean for three years now. Language and linguistics have always been passions of mine, and I hope to attain a better understanding of how neural networks differ in monolingual and bilingual individuals and how we can effectively learn other languages. I plan to pursue speech therapy or a career involving psycholingustics in the future.


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.


Faredun Dungore

I am currently a second year Neuroscience major (CNAS) at UCR trying to pursue my dream of becoming a doctor. As a first time research assistant, I am really excited to gain experience in a research lab environment. In particular to this lab, I would like to learn how bilingualism may improve memory or cognitive skills of a person compared to being monolingual. As I further advance in my neuroscience courses, I would like to connect the information I attained, to the research lab in the future.


Zinet Ezedin

Hi! My name is Zinet (or Zina) Ezedin and I’m a second year Neuroscience major. Growing up in a household where each of my parents spoke 4 languages each, I have always wondered how people are able to oscillate from one language to another with such ease. My interest in this matter helped me to master 3, almost 4 languages. It has been an aspiration of mine to be given the opportunity to research the correlation between cognition and bilingualism. I’m thrilled to be a part of this lab and looking forward to exploring the extraordinary aspects of the mind and language.

Merisanda Finely

Merisanda Finely

Hi! I am a second year psychology major and this will be my first year as a research assistant. I am bilingual in English and Spanish. Because Spanish is my first language, I find it difficult at times to fluently speak and write English. This is one of the reasons as to why I am intrigued by the correlation between cognition and bilingualism. I am interested in learning the brain functions when speaking and writing in a second language and what factors make it more difficult. My future goal is to earn a master’s degree in clinical psychology. I am very eager to begin this journey as a research assistant and look forward to learning and growing in the lab!

Madeline Finnegan

Madeline Finnegan

Hello! I’m a second year psychology student with an interest in Latin American studies. I’m interested in seeing how being bilingual impacts a person’s brain and other aspects of their health. I hope that with what I learn in the lab will allow me to work better in a Spanish community alongside children who are bilingual. I hope to gain a plethora of skills by working in this lab and I am excited to see where it takes me!


Claudia Garcia

Hello! I am a transferred student and currently a Senior at UCR majoring in Psychology. After graduation my plan is to continue studying to become a licensed LMFT Clinical Psychologist, and obtain a Psy D. I became very interested in this research because I am bilingual myself, raising two bilingual children, and find it interesting how our brains process information coming from different languages. Additionally, I am intrigued to finding out under what language information is stored primarily. I look forward to continuing to learn and helping in any possible way.


Michelle Guerra

I am a fourth year undergraduate student studying Psychology. I have recently chosen to follow my passion to further understand the brain and behavior of people, including how some people learn languages later in life. This lab’s study of bilingualism peaked my interest because of my background of growing up in a trilingual household. Thus, this lab provides the perfect environment to explore the neurological links on why some people have the aptitude to learn two languages easily and why others struggle. I look forward to expanding my knowledge and experience with bilingualism and applying it to my future endeavors in the medical field.


Jeneane Hamideh

Hi! My name is Jeneane Hamideh and I am a fourth year Neuroscience major. I have been in this lab for about a year and am intrigued by the mechanisms of bilingualism and the brain. In this lab, I am able to translate my passion for neuroscience through various projects I get to create or work on. I am bilingual with reading, writing, and speaking in Arabic. I am interested in understanding how the brain learns and picks up languages, and specifically what can interfere with language learning in the brain over a period of time.


Tzu-Ning (Vicky) Hsu

I am a junior majoring in Psychology, and this will be my second year working in this lab. I grew up in Taiwan as a monolingual until sixth grade, and now I am fluent in Mandarin Chinese, English, and Japanese. My main interest are, but not limited to, how bilingualism correlates to the process of learning, memory, and physical changes to the brain. I will be looking forward to continue working with our professors, researchers, and fellow RAs.


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.


Jorge Juarez-Duarte

Hi! I am a 4th year psychology major. I want to pursue a master’s degree in clinical psychology. I was born and raised in Mexico, I started to learn English when I was 19th years old. Therefore, my research interest is to learn how we are capable to acquire more than one language to communicate with others and how the brain and speech aspects synchronize to make us bilinguals.


Samreen Kazi

I am a third year Biology major at UCR and this is my first year working in this lab. I am excited to learn about bilingualism and the cognitive processes that allow bilingual individuals to transition from one language to another. In this lab, I look forward to learning new skills about conducting research and hope to be able to apply them to other research studies in the future.

Sam King

Sam King

Hello! I am a third year student studying psychology. I joined the bilingualism research lab for a few reasons, one of them being that I am bilingual with Farsi and English. I hope to acquire research skills and experience that I can use to further my growth as a student. I am intrigued to learn about how bilingualism and the brain work because English was the second language I learned but I find myself not just using it more but also having all my thoughts be in it as well.


Amy Kobayashi

Hello my name is Amy Kobayashi and I am a second year linguistics major with an interest in speech pathology. I currently know three languages: English, Japanese, and American Sign Language. Japanese was my first language and I remember going through a time when I struggled to learn English, but now it has become so easy for me. I am so excited to be a research assistant for this lab and to learn more about bilingualism and how it affects the brain.

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Charles Lai

Hello there! I am a third year at UCR. My major is Biochemistry in Medical Emphasis. I speak three different languages: English, Taiwanese, and Chinese. I came to this research lab to understand the relationship between bilingualism and the mind. I had taken Spanish classes in my high school life, but I never managed to master it. I am interested the reasons behind this. Perhaps what I learn from the research and the lab techniques can also help me in my future career.


Tram Le

I am a third year Biology major student at UCR. I am particular interested in the research on Bilingual Minds and Brains because I am a trilingual speaker who is intrigued by the way the brain works for people who speak multiple languages. I want to gain more insight on bilingual’s cognitive and the brain’s capabilities to switch between languages. Also, I hope to gain experience working in lab setting and conducting different experiments.


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.

Belen Leon Perez

My name is Belen Leon and I am a second year majoring in Psychology. I have always been highly interested in research but my love and curiosity for the mind started in one of my psychology classes. My interest in joining a lab grew as I came across Dr. Kroll’s lab and found that it was the perfect fit for me. I am captivated by the human mind, our cognitive skills, and the ability to learn different languages. Being in this lab has given me the opportunity to be able to explore the psychology field even further. Also, being able to apply the knowledge I have learned in my psychology classes and seeing it come to life is truly fascinating.

Abdiel Lopez

Abdiel Lopez

I am a senior student studying psychology. This will be my first time working on a lab. The topic being researched bilingual learning interest me because I am a bilingual, I speak Spanish and English. Being a first generation college student and having Spanish be the first language has me wondering if bilingual learning is different than those who are monolingual. I want to learn the benefits and disadvantages of being a bilingual and I want to expand my skills.


Sharon Lopez

Hello! I am a third year Psychology major pursuing a career in the medical field. I was raised in a Spanish speaking household and never understood the importance of being bilingual until I was older. Im interested in learning and understanding the processes the brain goes through and how it all comes together to allow someone to switch from one language to the other. Im looking forward to working in the bilingualism lab and applying what I have learned to contribute to further research.


Monica Martinez

I am a third year Psychology Law and Society major. After I graduate, I want to either go to law school or a graduate school in Forensic Psychology. I am bilingual, Spanish and English, and have always been grateful for it. I am also interested in the way the mind works, which is why I became interested in working in this lab. I hope that this lab allows me to know more about bilingualism and give me tools that I can use for the rest of my schooling and career.


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.


Giselle Moreno

I am a second year here at UCR studying Psychology. This is my first year working as a lab research assistant. Through out the course of my college experience, I’ve found research to be something that interests me. As a bilingual myself, I often reflect on my experience acquiring both English and Spanish and the cognitive effects it has. I am excited to be apart of this lab and further expand myself in the researching field.


Mariam Morkos

Hello! My name is Mariam Morkos. I am a fourth year undergraduate student at UCR studying biology. I grew up speaking Arabic with my parents, and I can’t remember a time where I was unable to speak both Arabic and English. However, I’m constantly told how my Arabic accent has been affected by English. It fascinates me to believe that if I was monolingual, my Arabic would’ve been different. Helping with this research will educate me on the complexity of how languages affect the brain and our cognitive abilities.

Gold Osita

Gold Osita-Ogbonnaya

I am a fourth-year undergraduate student majoring in Biology and this will be my first year working as a research assistant. I have always held a great interest in languages as a result of my experience growing up in a bilingual household and am looking forward to furthering my knowledge through this lab. I am interested in how language is processed in the brain, the acquisition of multiple languages, and the cognitive effects this has on the brain.

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Nilam Patel

I am a fourth year undergraduate student studying Neuroscience. I speak Gujarati and English. I am currently a caregiver who work with many bilingual patients ranging from all ages. Based on my professional and personal experience, I am very grateful to be able to grasp a better understanding of how our brain learns more than one language. I am hoping to expand my knowledge at this lab and be able to use it greater understand the brain and potentially benefit other individuals from this research.


Josseline Pineda

I am a Junior studying both Spanish Literature and Psychology. I am interested in exploring more the cognitive aspect of Psychology. By working in this lab, I want to interconnect and further explore both my passion for language and Psychology. I am intrigued by the cognitive aspect of the lab and I am hoping to get more exposure to research studies to prepare me for my post graduation plans.


Valeriya Ragozina

I am a second year pre-med Psychology major and this is my first year working in the lab. I am planning to matriculate into medical school immediately after graduating from UCR and to go on to pursue psychiatry. I am excited to gain experience working with participants and to learn more about bilingualism and research methods.

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Melissa Ramos

My name is Melissa and I am a sophomore studying Psychology. I am intrigued in this research because I grew up in a Spanish-speaking household making Spanish my first language but English my dominant language soon after; I have always wondered about our brains capability on acquiring more than one language. I am interested in learning more about bilingualism, the correlation of psychology and language, and the skills needed for conducting psychological research. Thus, being bilingual has driven me to want to be more involved in this research lab.

Melissa Rico Romero

Melissa Rico Romero

I am a fourth-year psychology major. I speak both Spanish and English, and throughout the years I have picked up a bit of Korean and Japanese. As a person who is fascinated by languages I am curious to learn more about the brain and how people who speak more than one language are able to switch between the languages they speak. I hope to learn more about bilingualism during my time in this lab and about research in general that I could later use in the future.

Navskhumani Sandhu

Navsukhmani Sandhu

Hello! My name is Navsukhmani Sandhu and I am sophomore majoring in both English and Psychology. My first language is Punjabi, but I also speak Urdu, Hindi and English as well. The concept of language acquisition and how it intersects with our psychological development through the mechanisms of society has always interested me as someone who is multilingual myself. I am so excited to be able to take part in research that explores the brains capacity for language. This is my first year being an RA and I’m eager to learn new skills that I can apply to my future career and academic prospects.


Rebeea Shaikh

I am a first year majoring in Neuroscience and am very excited to begin studying bilingualism. Growing up in a household in which multiple languages are spoken has sparked an interest in me to enhance my knowledge regarding the processes occurring in the brain when switching among different languages. I look forward to conducting research in this lab through my first year as an RA.


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.


Juliana Shenouda

I am a sophomore studying biology with a minor in Spanish. I took Spanish for all four years of high school and grew up in an Arabic setting. With this experience, I was always curious to understand neural connections in depth and how different language factors were systematically sent to different places in the brain. I am eager to learn and am excited about being part of research in the field of neuroanatomy and the diverse function both of the sides of the brain. And I think the ability to actively participate in and analyze new research is an essential component to the successful practice of medic


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.


Adnan Syed

Hey! I’m a 3rd year Neuroscience major pursuing a career in the health field. This is my first year as an RA in the Bilingualism, Mind, and Brain Lab. Being a bilingual myself, I am hoping to gain more knowledge about what kind of an effect language has on the human brain and how we process and comprehend different languages. I’m hoping to gain more research experience and hone essential skills for future endeavors in the field of healthcare!

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Shayaan Syed

Hi! I am a second year student majoring in Biology. I only spoke Urdu for 10 years , and learned to speak English when I moved to U.S. Now that I can speak these two languages fluently, I am curious to find out how does a bilingual brain works, and how it differs from that of monolingual. This is my first year as a research assistant, and I am very excited to be researching on the Language Experience and Verbal Fluency project.

Tramanh Truong

I am currently beginning my 3rd year as an undergraduate Psychology major and this will be my first year in the lab. Growing up fluent in both English and Vietnamese, I have always been curious about how the way I process information may differ from my monolingual peers. After having Emily as a TA and learning about language from her, I became very interested in learning more about what she studied. Therefore, I am very excited to learn more about bilingualism and how it affects the brain. After graduating, I would like to continue on to graduate school and one day receive my PhD.


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.


Tammy Van

Hi! My name is Tammy Van and I’m a second year Neuroscience major, interested in pursuing pediatrics. I currently speak two languages, that being English and Vietnamese, but I’m hoping to expand on that with Spanish and Sign Language! As a bilingual, I’ve always been intrigued by languages and even more captivated by how the mind works, now in relation to languages. Given this lab bridges the two, I can’t express how excited I am to be a part of this lab. I can’t wait to dive into the world of bilingual minds and learn more about their neurological processes!

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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!

Berenice Velazquez

Berenice Velazquez

I am currently a third-year undergraduate student working towards a Psychology degree and a minor in Spanish. I am particularly interested in working in the Bilingualism, Mind, and Brain Lab because as a bilingual myself, I hope to better understand the differences in the way the brain functions in regards to bilinguals and monolinguals. I also look forward to acquiring new research skills and experience as a research assistant.

Jason Wong

Jason Wong

My name is Jason Wong, and I’m a third year Linguistics major. I’ve been passion about linguistics for as long as I can remember so I’m excited to be able to work at the Bilingualism, Mind, and Brain lab as a research assistant. I grew up in a Cantonese speaking household but was never taught the language so I’m interested in how bilingual environments could affect language acquisition at various stages in life. I hope to learn as much as possible about both the research process as well as the bilingual mind.

Betty Yohannes

Bethlehem Yohannes

I am a Third Year Neuroscience major. I am interested in this research because I have always wondered how people were able to switch from one language to another and how that could impact their memory and/or cognitive skills. My first language was Amharic. My parents had to teach me English because it was impacting my school life. As they were teaching me English, my dominant language switched from Amharic to English. Through this research opportunity, I want to learn and understand how learning a second language can benefit the brain’s cognition.