Scientific Director

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Dr. Kaja Jasińska

Dr. Jasińska is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Applied Psychology and Human Development at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education at the University of Toronto. She is fundamentally interested in the neural mechanisms that support language (monolingual or bilingual, signed or spoken), reading, and cognitive development across the lifespan. Her research asks questions such as how early life experience changes the brain's capacity for learning. She uses MRI and fNIRS neuroimaging technology to gain new insights into the biological underpinnings of language, reading, and human cognition.

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Post-Doctoral Fellows

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Dr. Fabrice Tanoh

Research Coordinator for the Ivorian Team
Fabrice has a PhD in Economic Sociology from Félix Houphouët Boigny University (UFHB) in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire. His research focuses on issues related to children’s education in rural areas. His work on the Promoting Literacy Development in Rural Cocoa-Producing Communities project centers around the sociological and socioeconomic context of child literacy development. He is the country manager for Allô Alphabet and he also leads the Science Capacity Building collaboration with research partners in Côte d'Ivoire.

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Dr. Hermann Akpé

Hermann has a PhD in Social Sciences and Human Capital Development from the Institute Development and Anthropology (ISAD) at Félix Houphouët Boigny University (UFHB). He holds M.A. and B.A. degrees in developmental economy. His research focuses on education, and he has worked on projects concerning the quality of professional development at private institutions of higher education. His research interests also include professional integration strategies. He is a member of the National Committee for Early Childhood Integrated Development (CNDIDJE) and has a special interest in young children’s learning abilities.

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Dr. Henry Brice

Henry has a PhD in Cognitive & Brain Sciences from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem (HUJI). He holds an M.A. in Cognitive Science from the Language, Logic and Cognition Center at HUJI, and a B.A. in Linguistics and Cognitive Science. Henry is interested in how the structure of language, and of written language in particular, shapes the way we learn and process linguistic material, incorporating insights from the field of statistical learning. He has a particular interest in individual differences in these skills, and in cross-linguistic differences in how language encodes structure. His PhD thesis centred on a large-scale longitudinal fMRI project examining the neurocognitive underpinnings of second language literacy, in collaboration with Haskins Laboratories in New Haven.

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Graduate Students and Researchers

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Joelle Hannon

Joelle Hannon is a fourth-year doctoral student in Linguistics at the University of Delaware. She holds a B.A. in Anthropology from the University of North Texas and an M.A. in Linguistics and Cognitive Science from the University of Delaware. Her research interests are in literacy development and second language acquisition and how these relate to memory and other aspects of neurocognitive development. She is particularly interested in these issues within the context of lower and middle income countries.

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Shakhlo Nematova

Shakhlo Nematova completed an undergraduate degree in English Philology from The Uzbek State World Languages University, and a Masters in Teaching English as a Second Language (TESL) from the University of Delaware. She first became interested in child language acquisition and bilingualism when she was working in an international school with grades K-1. This teaching experience led her to apply to the Fulbright Foreign Language Teaching Assistant program where she was a Fulbright Exchange visitor in the Linguistics and Cognitive Science program at the University of Delaware. Currently, Shakhlo is a second-year PhD-student in the Linguistics and Cognitive Science program. She is working on a joint project between the SLAM Lab and the BOLD lab that combines eye-tracking and fNIRS to investigate brain and language development in young children with cochlear implants.

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Mary-Claire Ball

Mary-Claire Ball is a first-year PhD student in the Developmental Psychology and Education program at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education at the University of Toronto. She holds an M.A. in Linguistics and Cognitive Science from the University of Delaware and a B.S. in Diplomacy and International Relations from Seton Hall University. Mary is interested in children’s literacy development in multilingual contexts, where children are learning to read in a language they may not speak at home. Her current doctoral research explores how disruptions in children’s schooling may impact their second language and literacy development.

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Danyang Wang

Danyang Wang is a collaborator from the The Language Learning and Bilingualism Lab and is a doctoral student in the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders at University of Delaware. She obtained her master’s degree in Linguistics and Cognitive Science. She is currently working on a bilingual project that examines the influences of L1 cross-linguistics differences on L2 processing. Morphological Processing in Bilinguals vs. Monolinguals.

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Faryal Khan

Faryal Khan is a first year M.Ed. student in the Developmental Psychology and Education program at OISE. She has recently completed her Bachelor of Arts (Hons.) degree in Psychology at York University. Her research interests in cognitive development derive from working as a therapist for children with ASD. Faryal’s current work with the BOLD lab investigates the role of early life experiences on executive functions and literacy skills.

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Adji Thierry

Adji Thierry holds a masters in Linguistics from the University of Félix Houphouët-Boigny, where he has also studied law. He is the team’s Attie specialist and also administers French-language assessments as part of the Promoting Literacy Development in Rural Cocoa-Producing Communities project. He has now participated in four field experiments with the team and plans to continue his studies in linguistics.

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Hannah Whitehead

Hannah Whitehead is an M.A. student in the Developmental Psychology and Education program at OISE. She holds a B.Sc. (Hons.) in Psychology from the University of Western Ontario, where she was recognized for most outstanding honours thesis in Psychology in her graduating year. Hannah is passionate about using evidence-based approaches to improve academic outcomes in at-risk children. Currently, she is investigating the relationship between literacy and numeracy development in Côte d’Ivoire, where children are at high risk for illiteracy and innumeracy.

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Selin Goksoy

Selin Goksoy is a first year M.Ed. student in the Developmental Psychology and Education program at OISE. She has recently completed her BSc. (Hons.) degree in Psychology Specialist at University of Toronto. In addition to being a youth and adult ESL teacher for the past three years, Selin has extensive virtual and in-person classroom teaching experience. Her interests in early childhood in conjunction with education inspired her to pursue a masters within the field. Her current research work in the BOLD lab focuses on the methodological issues surrounding the discrepancy between parent and child reports of child labor in Côte d’Ivoire.

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Brooke Wortsman

Brooke is an M.Ed. student in the Developmental Psychology and Education program at OISE. During her B.Sc. (Hons.) in Psychology at Queen's University, her research was focused on adolescent development. Following her undergraduate studies she spent six years teaching English as a Second Language to students in kindergarten and elementary school both in classroom and online settings. Brooke is passionate about education, mental health, and child development. Her work in the BOLD lab focuses on investigating student dropout in Côte d'Ivoire using a risk and resilience framework.

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Anicet N'Goh N'Goran

Anicet N'Goh N'Goran is a PhD student in Sociology of Economy and Innovations and holds a Master's degree in Sociology of Economic and Social Development from the FHB University of Côte d'Ivoire. Anicet is an Associate Assistant to the "Promoting literacy development in rural cocoa growing communities" and "Allô Alphabet" projects, within the framework of the Transforming Education in Cocoa Communities (TREEC) Phase 1 Allô Alphabet programme. Anicet is also a Research Associate at the BOLD Lab and LAASSE. He is an expert and specialist in the use of MARP tools through monitoring/evaluation systems of social and community projects. He has expertise in social and environmental audits through ESIAs, PGEAs and the development of research protocols in social and environmental impact studies. In addition, his diverse interests include issues related to urbanisation, market transactions, social conflicts, resilience, etc. In this respect, he has collaborated with several research centres (IACC, UNICEF, SEARCH FOR COMMON GROUND, USAID and CERAP, EMEC-CI).

Jasodhara Bhattacharya

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Danielle Kablan