People: Current Members of the Lab at UW

Jan Edwards, Principal Investigator

(608) 262-6768

My research aims to better understand phonological development - the process of learning to talk - in preschool children. Although most adults take the ability to speak for granted, children who are learning language must actually acquire and synthesize a complex system of sounds, words, and social understanding. Doing so competently supports future language development, reading ability, and academic achievement.

David Kaplan, Co-Investigator

My current program of research focuses on the development and testing of Bayesian statistical methods in experimental and observational settings.  My recent work has focused on Bayesian propensity score modeling to improve causal inferences in observational settings as well as Bayesian approaches to structural equation modeling.  I am also interested in the development of Bayesian informative hypotheses to guide model assessment in experimental studies.

Nancy Wermuth, Project Manager


As a  Speech-Language Pathologist, Associate Lecturer and, Senior Research Specialist in the field of Communication Science, my area of professional interest continues to be helping people communicate. As Project Manager for the Learning to Talk Lab my job is helping the Project Researchers as they work to better understand the process of learning to talk. Please contact me with questions about recruitment, study, or to participate in Learning To Talk projects!

Tatiana Campbell, Research Assistant

I am a recent UW-Madison graduate with a degree in Human Development and Family studies with an emphasis on Child Development.  I have become more interested in speech and language development with bilingual children and its relationship to literacy.  I am more than excited to explore further research in the Learning to Talk Lab! 

Franzo Law II, Post-Doctoral Researcher

My research in first and second language acquisition focuses on phonological processing, the structure of the lexicon, and interactions with phonological/phonotactic probability.  I am currently investigating the correlation between speech perception patterns and vocabulary size in children.  I am also exploring the perception and production of Canadian French vowels by English-dominant and French-dominant bilingual adults.

Matthew Winn, Post-Doctoral Researcher

I am an audiologist and also a researcher who focuses on speech perception. I am particularly interested in how listeners make use of many components in complex sounds such as speech. In my work at the Waisman Center, I apply this approach to better understand the experience of people with cochlear implants and young developing language learners.

Ruby Braxton, Graduate Student

I am currently a graduate student in the Master's program for Speech-Language Pathology.  In the lab I have been working on collecting language samples from a summer program looking at phonological awareness in preschool order to look at the development of vocabulary and language use in preschool age children.

Nicole Breunig, Graduate Student

I am currently a second year Masters student in the Communication Sciences and Disorders department.  I am interested in children's language development and how language development is related to later success in school.

Michelle Erskine, Graduate Student

I am a second-year Master’s student in the department of Communication Sciences and Disorders.  My research interests include phonological acquisition in children younger than age 5, and the correlation between early phonological development and later literacy skills.

Megan Flood, Graduate Student

I am currently a first-year Masters student in UW-Madison's Speech-Language Pathology program. My interests lie in comparing the effects of input level on language acquisition for children from diverse backgrounds, and using this knowledge to serve such populations.


Allison Holt, Graduate Student

Currently I am a second year Masters student in the Speech-Langauge Pathology program at UW-Madison. I am interested in the development of early literacy skills in children from diverse backgrounds and how these skills relate to performance later in school. I am also interested in investigating language development in children under 5 years old.


Allie Johnson, Graduate Student

I am a first year graduate student studying Speech and Language Pathology in UW's MS/PhD program. I am interested in the cognitive mechanisms (such as attention and memory) that underlie language acquisition, specifically for lexical and phonological processing. I am also interested in how socioeconomic factors influence early development of language and literacy skills. My role in the lab involves working on the administrative team and collecting data.

Kayla Kristensen, Graduate Student

I am a first-year Master's student in the Communication Sciences and Disorders program at UW-Madison. I am interested in studying the impact of early intervention on the language, speech, and literacy skills of children.  In the past, I studied the speech discrimination and sound localization abilities of toddlers with typically developing hearing and those with cochlear implants.  I am excited to continue working with toddlers in the Learning to Talk Lab and to explore new areas of research! 


Daria Lawrence, Graduate Student

I'm a second year Graduate student in the Communication Sciences and Disorders program. My research interests lie adolescent language and social use.  Because many youth present with language deficits both academically and socially with lasting effects, I enjoy understanding the process that has led them to their current functioning.


Tristan Mahr, Graduate Student

I am currently a third-year graduate student in the MS/PhD program for Speech-Language Pathology.  My research interests involve the computational aspects of phonological acquisition and the development of phonological abstractions. I am the lab's resident R guru and data wrangler.

Michelle Minter, Graduate Student

I am currently in my first year of study toward an MS in Speech-Language Pathology.  After spending the bulk of my undergraduate work in Communication Disorders researching the ability of adults to discriminate speech in noisy environments depending on native language, I'm excited to get involved in a study that more closely matches my long-term interests working with children with language delays.  As someone who is extremely fascinated with the ways children with various challenges--especially Hearing...

Bianca Schroeder, Undergraduate

I am currently a junior undergraduate student studying Communication Sciences and Disorders and Sociology. I am excited to learn about the process of language and phonological acquisition through research in the Learning To Talk Lab. I am especially interested in how socioeconomic status may affect language development and am looking forward to learn more on the subject.

Dana Duncan, Undergraduate

I am currently a junior undergraduate student studying communicative sciences and disorders with a certificate in gender and women’s studies. I am especially interested in exploring how dialect may affect a young child’s learning but I look forward to looking into other areas of research through the L2T team! 

Kelly Jorgensen, Undergraduate

I am a senior undergraduate student at UW-Madison in the communicative disorders department. In the lab, I assist graduate students with various projects and am involved in mailings and various administrative tasks. I am interested in language development and have enjoyed learning more about research through my work in the lab.  I will be investigating the effects of education and dialect on wordlikeness judgments for my senior thesis starting next summer.

Olan Munson, Undergraduate

I’m a sophomore undergraduate student at UW-Madison, and I’m excited to be learning about phonological acquisition through the research of the members of the L2T team! I’m passionate about literacy and bilingualism, and I’m looking forward to exploring other related areas.


Amy Muzynoski, Undergraduate

I am a senior undergraduate student studying Communicative Disorders at UW-Madison.  I am particularly interested the process of phonological acquisition in children with Autism and children with cochlear implants. 

Janet Schwartz, Undergraduate

I am currently a junior undergraduate student in the department of Communicative Disorders.  I am particularly interested in further studying the role speech-language pathology has in stroke rehabilitation as well as the speech disorders have on the development in young children.