People: Current Members of the Lab at UM

Ben Munson, PI

Ben Munson received his M.A. in speech-language pathology and his Ph.D. in Speech and Hearing Science from Ohio State University.  He joined the faculty at the University of Minnesota in August, 2000.  He is committed to conducting research that furthers our understanding of the factors that influence typical and atypical speech and language development, and, hopefully, improves the lives of children with communication disorders.

Maria Swora Project Manager

Maria Swora earned her BA in Linguistics from the Ohio State University, and holds a PhD and MPH from the University of Rochester, NY. Her research interests focus around qualitative research methods and analysis, health disparities, and social and cultural aspects of health and illness. She is responsible for the day to day activities of the Learning to Talk project.  Contact her with questions about the study or participation.

Jamie Anderson, Graduate Student

Jamie Anderson is a second-year graduate student in the Speech-Language Pathology program. She received her undergraduate degree from the University of Minnesota in Speech-Language-Hearing Sciences in the spring of 2013. This is her 5th semester conducting research in the Speech Research Lab. Her interests include early language intervention, motor speech disorders and dysphagia.

Sara Bernstein, Graduate Student

Sara Bernstein is a second-year graduate student in the Speech-Language Pathology program. Her clinical and research interests lie primarily in the language development of children with and without communication difficulties. Sara hopes to some day work with children who have hearing loss and their families.

Cara Donohue, Graduate Student


Cara Donohue is a second-year graduate student in the Speech Language Pathology Program. She received her B.A. in Speech Language Hearing Sciences at the University of Minnesota in May 2013.  Her primary research and clinical interests are working with children and adults who are Deaf/hard of hearing, who stutter, and who have...

Courtney Huerth, Graduate Student

Courtney Huerth is a second-year graduate student in the Speech-Language Pathology MA program.  She received a BA in Spanish and Speech-Language-Hearing Sciences from the University of Minnesota in the Spring of 2013.  She is involved in the Bilingual and Multicultural Emphasis program and is interested in bilingual language acquisition.

Rose Janecke, Graduate Student

Rose Janecke is a first-year graduate student at the University of Minnesota majoring in the Speech-Language Pathology Program. Rose the University of Minnesota for her Bachelor's degree in Speech-Language-Hearing Sciences...

Hannele Nicholson, Graduate Student

Hannele Nicholson is a first-year Master’s student in the Speech-Language Pathology MA program. She has previous degrees in Linguistics where she studied the interface between disfluent language and eye gaze during conversational interaction.

Kerri Thompson, Graduate Student

Kerri Thompson is a first year graduate student in Speech-Language Pathology at the University of Minnesota.  She has a bachelor’s degree in business and minors in Spanish and psychology from the University of St. Thomas.  She loves working in the Learning To Talk lab and aspires to work with young children as a Speech-Language Pathologist after completing her master’s degree. 

Haley Webb, Graduate Student

Haley Webb is a first year graduate student at the University of Minnesota. Haley attended the University of Minnestoa for her Bachelor's degree and is excited to continue her education at the University as a Master's student. Haley wrote her undergraduate thesis on accuracy judgments of sibilant fricatives. She is excited to continue researching in the Learning to Talk lab. 

Colleen Woyach, Graduate Student

Colleen Woyach is a second-year graduate student in the Speech-Language Pathology program. During her undergraduate studies, Colleen majored in Communication Sciences and Disorders and Saxophone Performance. At UW Madison, Colleen was an RA for the Ed Neuro Lab lead by Edward Hubbard. The Ed Neuro lab studies the intersection of education and neuroscience, focusing on the acquisition of mathematics. After graduate school, Colleen hopes to work with children as an SLP and eventually wishes to integrate music therapy into her...

Eileen Brister, Undergraduate Student

Eileen Brister is a senior undergraduate student in the Honors program at the University of Minnesota. She is pursuing a B.A. in Speech-Language-Hearing Sciences with a minor in Spanish and is studying ASL. She serves as the Undergraduate Liaison for the University of Minnesota Student Academy of Audiology and is planning on entering a graduate program for audiology in the fall of 2015...