Current Undergraduate Cohort


Dayra Bernal

I’m a senior majoring in Psychology and minoring in language science. I am bilingual in
Spanish and English, I can also understand a bit of French. I grew up in a Spanish-speaking household which reinforced both languages at a very young age. Some of my research interests include language acquisition, code-switching, and interactional contexts of language. I’m a 2020 summer PIRE scholar, currently working on an undergraduate thesis project for the Cognitive sciences honors program. I hope to continue working within research in graduate school in the near future.

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Kathlyn Canales

I am a senior majoring in Language Science with a minor in Hearing and Speech. I am Bilingual in English and Spanish. I’ve been very interested in Bilingualism and want to continue to learn more. I want to learn more about language acquisition and how it is affected when learning two languages at once.


Joseph Cheung

Hi Everyone! I’m Joseph Cheung, a fourth year English Major with minors in Chinese Language & Literature and Management. Growing up, I spoke Cantonese in my family circles and English at school. I was intrigued by the way certain people seemed to shift the way they speak, their accents, and even their identities when they moved between languages. As such, through this lab, I hope to learn more about the way language and bilingualism both forms and informs our identities.


Jasmine Cortez

Hi! I am a fourth year majoring in Psychology and Sociology. I am interested in learning about the cognitive process that occurs when people are switching back and forth when speaking two languages. I grew up learning Spanish as my first language and saw greatly how much I benefited from being Bilingual. I am also fascinated to know how our brain is capable of storing all the information needed to code switch and how it responds when trying to learn a new language from an early age and at a later age. I’m really excited to be joining the Bilingualism, Mind, and Brain lab! 

Yuting GU

Yuting Gu

Hello, my name is Yuting Gu! I am from Shanghai, China. I majored in Germanistik (Germanic linguistics and literature) when I was an undergrad. As a multilingual, I am deeply interested in how bilinguals and multilinguals process their L1 and L2, and if possible, what the language processing of multilinguals looks like. My research interests are speech perception and psycholinguistics. I am native in Mandarin and Shanghainese, and fluent in English and German. I also had some experience with French, Spanish, and Russian. I am really excited to work with you in the Bilingualism, Mind, and Brain Lab!


Andy Huynh

Hi everyone! I’m a recently graduated Language Science student from the University of California, Irvine, and I am looking to continue learning in grad school. I am interested in bilingualism, heritage speakers, and language processing. 


Jiachen Jin

Hi! I’m a junior majoring in psychology, and recently I plan on minoring in fields like linguistics. Personally, I found it interesting to experience different languages and see the difference between cultures, which is also the main reason why I started self-studying Japanese this summer. One of my research interests is how our brain functions during code switching. Though there’s a saying that our brain is like a computer, I suggest our brain is far more flexible. As someone that is fluent in two languages, I sometimes notice how effortless code switching could be. Hopefully, we will all have a meaningful time here!

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Andrew Lei

Hi! I am a third-year majoring in Cognitive Sciences. I am interested in how a human’s brain works and how each individual neurotransmitter collaborates with other neurotransmitters to carry out different actions. Growing up in a Cantonese-speaking household, I always wondered how I acquired Cantonese effortlessly but when I learned a second language, it was much harder. I am so excited to be part of the Bilingualism, Brain, and Mind Lab. 

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Michelle Nguyen

Hey there! I am a third year psychology B.S. major. My research interests are in brain plasticity and cognitive function. I am interested in how multilingualism affects cognitive behavior, and how the brain molds as we grow older and how learning is affected. Multilingualism is a very useful skill that most people recognize, but don’t understand. I speak Vietnamese at home and I took four years of Spanish in high school, but I am most fluent and comfortable in English. This past summer, I started self-teaching myself some sign language. It was through sign language that I got more interested in the cognitive effects of languages, I’m excited to learn and hopefully contribute lots to this lab!


Hana Rios

Hello! My name is Hana Rios and I graduated from UCI in Spring 2021 with my B.A. in Psychological Sciences. I grew up surrounded by many languages and I speak both Japanese and English. My research interests include the psychological and cognitive processes that underlie language acquisition and development throughout the lifespan. I’m very excited to learn from the BMB Lab!


Annalin Roepken

Hi everyone! I’m a third year at UC Irvine majoring in Psychology. I’m also planning on minoring in language science. My curiosity for bilingualism came from constantly being surrounded by different types of bilingual people in every aspect of life. Some of my research interests include second language acquisition, and the cognitive aspect of bilingualism. I’m so excited to be a part of the Bilingualism, Mind, and Brain Lab! 


Jessica Rojas

Hello! I’m a fourth-year student majoring in Psychological Science with a minor in Spanish. As someone who grew up bilingual in English and Spanish, code-switching is something that I often utilize in my daily life. I have always been intrigued by how code-switching and learning more than one language can affect a person’s cognitive development and learning skills from a young age. I look forward to becoming more knowledgeable about these topics being involved in the Bilingualism, Mind, and Brain Lab! 


Kailey Suda

Hi everyone! I am a third-year undergraduate student majoring in Language Science and looking to minor in Japanese Language and Literature. I’m really interested in language acquisition and how multilingualism affects cognitive processes and hope to learn more about these as a research assistant. I look forward to being a part of the Bilingualism, Mind, and Brain Lab!

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Christine Wong

I’m a fourth year Psychology major with a minor in Chinese studies. I speak English, Cantonese (and Toishanese), and am currently brushing up on my Mandarin. I joined this lab because I’ve always been interested in language acquisition and how bilinguals and multilinguals navigate switching between different languages and if there’s a difference between their cognitive processes when using different languages. I’m very excited to join this lab and learn more!


Nicole Wu

Hi! I am a second-year undergraduate student majoring in cognitive science. I am fluent in languages including English, Cantonese, and Mandarin Chinese. As a multilingual, it is fascinating to see that people from different age groups will have different experiences when learning a new language. Through this lab, I am curious to see how brains will relate to our learning in language at different age groups. Also, this research experience will allow me to understand more aspects of multilingual speakers that find it easier to acquire new languages than others.

Kehan Zhou

Hi everyone, my name is Kehan Zhou, I am a third-year student double majoring in Psychological Science and Criminology, Law & Society. I am bilingual in English and Chinese (Madarin and Shanghainese), which makes me interested in how bilingualism affects our brain. I hope to learn more about this topic through this research experience!


Katie Fong

My name is Katie and I’m a 4th year biological sciences major at UCI! I grew up speaking English and Cantonese, and I really like learning new languages (such as Japanese, Mandarin, and German). I was raised in a household that heavily emphasized bilingualism and all the benefits associated with it. This really influenced my interest in language learning and the process of code-switching. I’m excited to be joining this research lab and learning more about the interconnections between the brain and bilingualism!


Michelle Guo

Hello! My name is Michelle Guo. I am currently a fourth-year Biological Sciences major with a minor in Anthropology. I am bilingual in English and Cantonese. I have always been interested in how the brain is able to code switch and process the two different languages seamlessly. I look forward to learning more about bilingualism and how the brain interprets distinctive stimuli.

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Kristi Ryono

Hello! My name is Kristi, and I’m a 4th year double majoring in Social Policy + Public Service and Education. Growing up in an English-speaking household but having friends who did not, I wondered how speaking in another language differentiated how we go through our lives. I think it’s fascinating how communication can happen in so many forms, which is why I’m currently learning Mandarin (and would eventually like to learn more languages). I’m excited to be a part of this lab to explore bilingualism!


Michelle Chao

Hello everyone! My name is Michelle and I’m a second-year double majoring in Cognitive Sciences and Language Science, minoring in Spanish. I am multilingual in English, Spanish, and conversational Cantonese. Although Cantonese is my native language, I’m far more proficient in English, having lived in the U.S. for most of my life. I grew up in Hong Kong, so I was surrounded by a Cantonese and English-speaking environment at an early age. Perhaps unsurprisingly, given my experiences as a multilingual, I am primarily interested in bilingual education as well as second language acquisition and I look forward to learning from everyone!

Francis Buenagua

Hello, everyone! My name is Francis Buenagua, and I am a fifth-year Language Science major. I speak English and Tagalog (but mostly English), and I know some German and Spanish. I have a pretty wide-ranging interest in the various subfields of linguistics, be it language evolution or sociolinguistics. I’m excited to be back at the Bilingualism, Mind, and Brain Lab after taking a break over the summer, and also for what this experience has in store for me, including unlocking answers to questions about how language works in the brain, especially those with respect to bilinguals/polyglots and language learning, and also how language works in society at large.

Sandy Matsuda

Hello! My name is Sandy Matsuda and I’m a third-year Cognitive Sciences major, minoring in Linguistics. I am bilingual in Japanese and English which piqued my interest in joining the BMB lab. I am excited to learn about how bilingual brains’ cognition differs from monolinguals.

Kiarah Hernández

Kiarah Hernández is a fourth-year undergraduate student studying Psychology with a minor in Sociology. She takes pride in being a first-generation student from Elysian Valley, Los Angeles, CA. As a researcher for the Bilingualism, Mind, and Brain Lab, UCI PIRE fellow, student missionary, and alumnae relations chairwoman for Phi Lambda Rho Sorority, Inc., Kiarah is always eager to take risks and seek opportunities for growth. In her freetime, Kiarah enjoys attending Dodger games and taking Disneyland trips.

Linh Ngoc Hoang

Hi! My name is Linh, and I am a fourth year Human Biology major and Spanish minor. Growing up as a bilingual in English and Vietnamese, I’ve always had a deep appreciation for how languages can shape our forms of communication and expand our understanding of the different cultures around us. Personally, I am interested in the process of language acquisition — how the brain of a multilingual is able to process information and codeswitch seamlessly between different languages. I also want to learn more about how the brain acquires and retains information in someone who is just learning a new language and explore the most effective ways to learn a new language.

Olivia Forte

Hi, all! My name is Olivia Forte, and I am a fourth year majoring in psychology and minoring in linguistics. My areas of interest include language acquisition, brain plasticity, and the influence bilingualism has on cognitive function over time. I look forward to working in the Bilingualism, Mind, and Brain lab to gain a greater understanding of these cognitive processes and more!

Jian Meng

I’m a second-year master’s student learning developmental psychology at University of Pennsylvania. I finished my undergraduate major English teaching in China. My background combining language and psychology enables me to take an interdisciplinary view of linguistic phenomenon. Also, as a Chinese speaker with English as my second language, I am very much intrigued by language shifting, second language proficiency and many other relevant bilingual issues. I’m so excited to join BMB lab and having opportunities to explore more on bilingualism! 

Nei Fang

I am a sophomore at UC Berkeley majoring in psychology and data science. I am Bilingual in Mandarin and English, and know just a little Spanish from my high school classes.  I am intrigued by how brain regions cooperated when individuals switch between different languages. I want to learn more about this mechanism and hope it can be used in educational fields, and I hope I can learn it with everyone else in this awesome lab!

Taryn Christenson

Hi! My name is Taryn and I’m a third year language science major. I hope to one day become a speech language pathologist and work with kids! Given my career aspirations, I thought joining this lab would open my eyes to the world of bilingualism and would just be an overall amazing opportunity. While I am not bilingual myself, I really wish I could speak more than just one language. Given that being bilingual is such a big part of so many people’s lives, I am so excited to learn more about the brain of bilinguals and the inner workings of the mind for people who speak more than one language. I am so excited to be part of this lab!

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Maya Anna Jedrzejczak

I’m a third year majoring in cognitive sciences. I am bilingual in Polish and English, and therefore the Bilingualism, Mind, and Brain lab seemed very interesting to me! I aspire to graduate with my B.S. and attend graduate school in a field relating to children or social processes!

Zixi Lyu

Hi! My name is Zixi Lyu. I am a native speaker of Mandarin and also fluent in
English. I graduated from Teachers College Columbia University with a Master’s
degree in developmental psychology in 2021. My research interests lie in early
language development, focusing on dual language learning and words acquisition. In
addition, I have always been passionate about the research related to infant-directed
speech. I am very excited to meet everyone here and looking forward to this learning
journey at the Bilingualism, Mind, and Brain Lab!

Cassie James

Hi all! My name is Cassie James and I am a third-year student at Monmouth University in New Jersey. I am a history and secondary education major with a minor in communication sciences and disorders with aspirations of becoming a Speech and Language Pathologist in the future! I am very interested in Bilingualism and its potential correlation to aid individuals in language confusion, cognitive problems, and speech impediments. I am beyond excited to work in the lab with other motivated and passionate individuals!

Giancarlo Arzu

Hello! My name is Giancarlo and I am a student in the post-baccalaureate program in psychological science. My goal is to become a neuroscientist. I am bilingual in English and Spanish and have some familiarity with Portuguese, Italian, and Russian. As of this writing I have a 531-day streak on Duolingo. I look forward to contributing to this lab and learning more about how the human brain processes language.

Natalie Salgado

Hello everyone! I am a third-year transfer student majoring in psychology and minoring in hearing and speech sciences. I am fluent in both English and Spanish, Spanish being my native language. Some of my research interests include language acquisition in children on the autism spectrum, code-switching, and communication disorders in children who are bilingual. My career goal is to become a Speech-Language Pathologist. I am excited to be part of the lab and learn more about language and the research process!

Cindy Vanessa Villaseñor Arellano 

I am a 4th year Social Ecology major with a minor in Psychological Sciences. I am bilingual (speak Spanish and English) and speak both languages fluently. My native language is Spanish because I was born and raised for the first 6 years of my life in Mexico.
My research interest is language acquisition since I want to learn about the chemical and brain processes that okay a role in a person being able to learn a new language. That topic has always fascinated me. Researching language acquisition would also help me learn more about myself. 

Will Zhang

Hi everyone! Nice to meet you all. My name is Will Zhang, and I am from China. I’m an undergraduate student at UCI, majoring in Language Science and minoring in Psychology. I am a native speaker of Mandarin, and also know Cantonese, English, Japanese and Korean. I joined this lab because I have a strong interest in how the language learning processes in bilinguals and multilinguals’ brains and how multiple language learning could affect people’s brain function. I’m very excited to join this research lab and work with you!

Faye Lin

Hi! I am a senior pursuing a degree in Psychological Sciences and a minor in Hearing and Speech Sciences. As a bilingual student who is native in Mandarin and Cantonese, fluent in English, I would love to learn more about cognitive neuroscience in bilingualism to further my understanding in the field. The interplay between bilingual language development and cognitive processing in the human brain is fascinating yet still has a lot to be explored. I am so excited to gain amazing insights and experiences with the team in the Bilingualism, Mind, and Brain Lab!

Emily Guilfoyle

Hi! My name is Emily Guilfoyle and I am a first-year student. I am planning on studying International Studies and Spanish. I speak both English and Spanish and completed a K-12 immersion program, therefore I feel connected to the topics researched in this lab. I am excited to explore topics related to language processing and bilingualism. 

Young Zhang

Hi everyone! I’m a senior undergraduate major in Education Science from UC Irvine. I’m currently working with Jasmin Hernandez Santacruz to design a study that looks at heritage speakers of Spanish-English. This study aims at looking at their language experience as bilinguals to connect aspects of this to enhancements or consequences we may see cognitively. I hope to gain research knowledge and build friendships at BMB lab!

Evelyn Cortes-Gress

Hi! My name is Evelyn, I am a second year Psychology and Language Science major at UCI. Being a bilingual speaker myself, I have always been interested in second language acquisition and understanding how our brains work in order to process so much outside information. This and my career aspirations to someday be a speech language pathologist led me to find the BMB lab which focuses on language. I believe language is vital and a big part of our everyday lives therefore I am excited to join the BMB lab and explore this field a lot more in the coming future.

Moon Nguyen

Hello! My name is Moon Nguyen. I am a rising 4th-year student at UCI studying Political Science and Economics. I am bilingual in Vietnamese and English, and a first-generation immigrant. I find it very intriguing how bilinguals navigate their different identities between different languages. I’m looking forward to working with everyone in the lab and contributing to the process of knowledge enrichment.

Jomari Agustin

Hi, I’m Jomari Agustin. I am a fourth year Business Economics/Psychology at the University of California, Irvine. I’m very excited to be a part of this research lab especially due to my background as a bilingual immigrant from the Philippines. 

Remie Lou

Hello! My name is Remie Lou, I am a fourth year Language Science student. What sparked my interest in this field is my little brother who was born deaf. Living in a multilingual household that includes Arabic, English, French, and ASL, I was able to observe as well as participate in code switching. I am fascinated by different languages and want to learn as many as I can; challenging the critical period. I am looking forward to learning more while being a part of this team!

Shannon Syracuse

Hi! I’m Shannon Syracuse, a junior transfer student at UCI majoring in Language Science. I have always been interested in language acquisition and how the brain registers sound and forms a response to a stimulus. I grew up speaking English and have experience with American Sign Language. My career goal of becoming an audiologist combined with my interest in sign language led me to pursue research in this lab! Understanding how bilingual speakers interact with the world is incredibly interesting and I could not be happier to participate in the BMB lab.

Josue Mena

Hello! My name is Josue Mena. I am from Quito, Ecuador. Currently a senior, majoring in Psychology. As someone whose first language was Spanish and learned English as a second language, I am deeply interested in the cognitive processes involved in a bilingual brain. As someone that learned English through complete immersion as a child, I am fascinated by how the brain can learn a new language with a large amount of exposure and minimal amount of grammatical input.

Yiqun Zhang

Hello! My name is Yiqun Zhang, and I’m a fourth-year majoring in B.A. Psychology and minoring in Digital Information Systems at UC Irvine. Since I am bilingual in English and Mandarin myself, I have always been curious about the scientific mechanisms of bilingualism. I am interested in the functional differences between the brains of bilinguals and monolinguals when processing linguistic information and the cognitive process of bilinguals for their L1 and L2. I look forward to being a part of the Bilingualism, Mind, and Brain Lab and exploring bilingualism!

Anika Yu

Hi! My name is Anika Yu and I am a senior majoring in Language Science. Mandarin is my mother tongue and I can also speak English. I wish to learn Japanese and Spanish in the future. Studying bilinguals and multilinguals could build my knowledge of human brain functioning and help me understand how code switching works. I am excited about being part of the BMB lab and discovering more about languages and the brain functioning.

Kaitlyn So

Hi everyone! My name is Kaitlyn So and I am a second year majoring in Language Science. Growing up in a bilingual household, where we spoke English and Tagalog, I have always been fascinated by how bilingual minds work which drew me to the Bilingualism, Mind, and Brain Lab. I look forward to joining the lab and learning more about bilingual language acquisition and the different bilingual cognitive processes.

Ali Chak

Hi there! I’m Ali Chak, currently a third year English major looking to branch out into Criminology, Law and Society and seeking a minor in Creative Writing. I’ve taken an interest in this lab as my background makes me very curious about language, bilingualism, and how it affects us. As a child, I was surrounded by Cantonese speakers, my parents included. It was always interesting to see the shift as some of them swapped between the two fluidly. I hope that, through the lab, I can learn about such topics and explore bilingualism and how it affects the mind, as it hits so close to home!

Makeda Telahun

Hello, I’m Makeda Telahun! I am a junior majoring in Language Science. Growing up, I spoke Amharic and English with my family. Coming from a bilingual environment piqued my interest in speech production and language processing. I have gained some proficiency in Spanish and Swedish, which has also interested me in bilingual acquisition at all ages.  I very excited to be joining the Bilingualism, Mind, and Brain Lab.

Sungju Kim

I am a second year majoring in B.S Psychology and minoring in criminology. I speak English, Korean, and a little bit of Mandarin. I grew up learning multiple languages and interacting with people from different cultures. I never wondered about the brain process or its effect on cognitive behavior. Yet, learning in-depth about psychology and the cognitive process, I started to get interested in the process and effect of bilingualism. I hope to learn more aspects of bilingualism, and I am very excited to be part of the Bilingualism, Brain, and Mind lab!

Hanyue Sha

Hi! I’m a first-year master’s student in the Bilingual/ Bicultural Education program at Teachers
College, Columbia University. I received my bachelor’s degree at the University of California,
Santa Barbara. I am native in Mandarin and proficient in English and German. My research
interests are bilingualism, and monolingual and bilingual child language acquisition.

Shiyang Guo

Hello! I am Shiyang Guo (Yolanda). I am a junior majoring in Education, and minor in Psychological Science. I am from Inner Mongolia, China. I am really interested in this research because I am bilingual who can speak and write in Chinese and English. I know there are many international students like me who have struggled in switching over and balancing the use of two or more languages in both daily and school life. I am really interested in the differences in brain functioning between monolinguals and bilinguals, and possible benefits behind it. I think this investigation is truly meaningful since K-12 students who are asked to learn and master another language for years are never told the benefits of doing so. I believe the finding of the lab can be applied to more educational interventions and programs. Looking forward to working with you all!

Daniel Yeung

Hi, I’m Daniel Yeung! I am a first year majoring in Linguistics with an Emphasis in Japanese.

In high school I studied American Sign Language for 4 years, and Japanese in community college through dual enrollment and self study. Learning these different languages has made me interested in language acquisition and how being multilingual affects our cognition, and the ways in which language connects us!

I’m looking forward to learning more about such things and answering some of the questions I have regarding them in this lab!


Claire Yim

Hello! I am Claire Yim, a fourth-year student at UC Irvine. I am majoring in Psychological Science. As a Korean-American, I grew up in a bilingual household speaking both Korean and English. I have taken multiple courses in linguistic sciences and gained a keen interest and fascination for language acquisition. I am excited to work for the Bilingualism, Mind, and Brain Lab and gain a greater understanding of how the mind processes language.

Paola Canseco

Hi! I’m a first-year Education Sciences major at UC Irvine. I’m looking to minor either in public health, or psychology. I don’t have much experience in research but I’ve always been interested in bilingualism, as a Spanish and English speaker myself I’ve wondered how both languages have affected my learning and skills. I’m excited to gain a greater understanding of how knowing more than one language can benefit cognition.

Tianyu Feng

Hi everyone! I’m Tianyu Feng, a second-year education science major. Chinese is my mother language and I have been learning my second language in English since grade 1. I think it is amazing that people with different languages stay together and learn and communicate by using one language. Since I clarify myself as an international student, I am not confused when informing others of my identity, but I am aware that some people are struggling with this.

Xiangqian Yu

Hi! I am a second-year majoring in Education Science. I am interested in how speaking a second
language can help people with their cognitive development. I am from China, we speak Mandarin
in our home. I didn’t learn to speak English until I was 13 years old. I want to know what makes the
difference between people who learn a second language when they were young and people who
learn a second language after their minds are fully developed. I hope to learn how learning
language and cognitive development interact with each other through this Lab.

Paula Saarentaus

Hi! I’m Paula, a speech and language therapist from Finland. I graduated from the University of Oulu, Finland in 2013 and worked full-time before moving to Orange County in 2019. My interest in
bilingualism comes both from my work and personal life since most of my clients in Finland were bi-or multilingual children, and our family is bilingual (Finnish and Swedish). It’s fascinating to see our daughter now acquiring her third language (English). I have been doing scientific research in the field of voice therapy, and now I want to pursue my interest in bilingualism as well. I’m excited and looking forward to working in the lab and meeting everyone!

Yawen Feng

Hello, my name is Yawen Feng, or Liya, and I am majoring in Economics and Education. I am currently a sophomore at UCI. I speak English and Chinese. I have always been interested in bilingualism and would like to know the correlation between switching styles and mastering two languages. What does our brain do when we switch languages? What is the information that allows me to remember and use both languages at the same time? I am so excited to be part of the Bilingualism, Brain, and Mind Lab. I hope we can all have a fun and meaningful time here! 

Mandolin Cai

I am a freshman and undecided student now, but I am really interested in Education and I am going to transfer to this major. I am bilingual in Mandarins and English. I grew up in China. Because I learned English from a young age, I want to learn more about the bilingual study for an international student who will use two different languages usually.

Jialei Luo

Hi, everyone! I am a second-year undergraduate student, and I am majoring in education sciences. I grew up in a trilingual environment, so my native languages are Cantonese and Mandarin, and I am also fluent in English. Today I am also learning Korean and hope to master this language. I joined the BMB lab because I am very interested in the effects of multilingualism on the brain. The research I am working on focuses on language code-switching, which is how people subconsciously use multiple languages in a single sentence. I am very interested in this research and I am very excited to be a part of the BMB lab!