People

picture of Carrie JacksonCarrie Jackson. I direct the SLA lab. I am currently a professor of German and Linguistics at Penn State University. My main interests include psycholinguistics, language acquisition, and  foreign language pedagogy. Over the years I have spent time abroad in Graz, Austria, where I taught English and studied at Karl-Franzens Universität for two years; in Utrecht, The Netherlands, where I studied Dutch language and culture; and most recently at the Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, where I spent a yearlong sabbatical learning about neurophysiological (ERP) methods for studying language processing. My current research focuses on how second language learners process grammatical and semantic information in both their native and non-native languages and whether factors, such as L1 background, L2 proficiency level and other language learning experiences, have an impact on real time language comprehension and production. When I’m not busy being a professor (yes, occasionally we do get some time off!) you can usually find me playing my violin, running or spending time outdoors with my dog, Beau.

Graduate Students

Bianca Gavin. I am currently a Ph.D. student at Penn State pursuing a dual title degree in German and Applied Linguistics and Language Sciences. Before coming here I enjoyed living in the big city of Chicago where I received my M.A. in German with a concentration in Second Language Acquisition from the University of Illinois at Chicago. My research interests are second language acquisition, reading in a second language, vocabulary learning, and computer assisted language learning.

Valerie Keppenne. I am currently a Ph. D. student at Penn State pursuing a dual title degree in German Linguistics and Language Sciences. I received both my B.A. in English Language, Linguistics, and Literature and Media Sciences in 2015 and my M.A. in English Linguistics and English Literature in 2017 from Trier University. My main research interests are second language acquisition, especially the acquisition of morphosyntax, and psycholinguistics.

Katherine Kerschen. I am a Ph.D. student pursuing a dual-title degree in German Applied Linguistics and Language Science. I received my B.A. in German, Psychology, and Applied Linguistics from Washington University in St. Louis in 2010 and my M.A. in Applied Linguistics from the Technische Universitaet Dortmund in 2013. My main research interests are psycholinguistics, vocabulary acquisition, and foreign language pedagogy.

Undergraduate Students

Alison Kelly. I am an undergraduate student at Penn State, studying Agricultural Science and Philosophy with a minor in German. I have been a member of Dr. Jackson’s research lab since Spring 2017. This Summer 2018, I will be traveling to Braunschweig, Germany to conduct research at the Braunschweig Technische Universitaet under the advising of Dr. Holger Hopp through the PIRE research program. My project will look at the effects of cognate status and how that influences linguistic interference in L2 processing.

Former Students

Christine Gardner. I graduated with my Ph.D. in German Applied Linguistics in 2016. While at Penn State, I focused on research involving second language acquisition, phonetics, phonology, and prosody. Before coming to Penn State, I earned my M.A. degree in Language Acquisition and Teaching (specializing in German) as well as a Certificate in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah. My current research focuses on durational differences in clear and conversational speech styles in L1 and L2 German.

Alison Eisel Hendricks. I graduated with my Ph.D. in December 2014 and then worked for three years as a post-doctoral scholar in the Communication Sciences and Disorders Department at the University of South Carolina. I received my B.A. in Philosophy from Occidental College in 2008. My research focuses on child language acquisition, with a particular interest in the impact of variable and probabilistic input on the acquisition of morphosyntax across different populations, including bilingual children and children with specific language impairment. I am currently a post-doctoral scholar in the Communication Sciences and Disorders Department at the University of South Carolina. In Fall 2017 I started a new position as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Communicative Disorders and Sciences at the State University of New York (SUNY) at Buffalo.

Nick Henry. I graduated with my Ph.D. in May 2015 and am now a lecturer in the Modern Languages and Cultures Department at Baylor University. In Fall 2018 I will start a new position as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Germanic Languages at the University of Texas at Austin. Before coming to Penn State, I attended Texas Tech University, where I received a B.A. in German, and Master’s degrees in German and Applied linguistics. My research interests lie primarily in the areas of psycholinguistics and second language acquisition. Currently, my research focuses on the intersection between sentence processing, the acquisition of morphosyntax, and language pedagogy.

Lisa Hundley. I graduated from Penn State with an M.A. in TESL/Applied Linguistics (2002) and an M.A. in German Applied Linguistics (2007). After graduating from Penn State, I served as an English Language Fellow with the U.S. Department of State in Mostar and Tuzla, Bosnia and Herzegovina (2009-2013). I am currently a full-time English teacher at the Gymnasium der Diözese Eisenstadt in Austria and I teach part-time tin the International Business Relations program at the Fachhochschule in Burgenland, Austria.

Courtney Johnson Fowler. I graduated from Penn State with a Ph.D. in German Applied Linguistics and Language Science in August 2017. My main interests are SLA, psycholinguistics, and bilingualism. I spent the 2014-2015 academic year in Salzburg, Austria on a Fulbright research grant, where I collected data for my dissertation. My research looks at the interaction of grammatical gender systems in German-Italian bilinguals from South Tyrol and Austria, especially with regard to the influence of the L2 on the L1.

Janice McGregor. Having spent five wonderful years at Penn State in the Department of Germanic & Slavic Languages & Literatures, I completed my Ph.D. and moved to Manhattan, KS in 2012 and am now an Assistant Professor of German in the Department of Modern Languages at Kansas State University. In Fall 2018 I will start a new position as an Assistant Professor of German at the University of Arizona. I teach German language courses at all levels, from German I to senior seminars in German linguistics and applied linguistics. I also teach graduate courses in the M.A. in Second Language Acquisition (SLA) and Teaching English as Foreign Language (TEFL) programs. My research interests include foreign language learning/use, identity, and study abroad. I am currently working on qualitative projects that investigate the role of emotion and desire in language learning and study abroad. I am also investigating conversational events in study abroad contexts and the discursive and social functions that metalinguistic L2 learner talk serves in these interactions.

Patricia Schempp. I graduated from Penn State with a Ph.D. in German and Language Science in August 2017. I received my MA in Applied Linguistics from Texas Tech and my research interests include psycholinguistics and second language acquisition. I am now a postdoctoral teaching fellow at Penn State and my longer term plans include pursuing a career in academic advising.

Erin Carpenter. I graduated in May 2018 with majors in Communication Sciences and Disorders and Spanish. I am very interested in different aspects of language, including bilingualism and how a second language is acquired past the age of seven years old. I am also concerned with acquired language disorders, mainly aphasia. In Summer 2017 I traveled to Granada, Spain, to conduct a PIRE study (co-supervised with Dr. Chaleece Sandberg at Penn State), where I used training methods adapted from previous research with people with aphasia, to look at how training abstract words can impact productive L2 vocabulary use. In Fall 2018 I will begin an M.S. program in Speech Language and Pathology at the University of Boston.

Jack DiMidio. I graduated with my B.A. in German in May 2017. I worked in the SLA lab with Dr. Jackson for 4 years. In my senior research project I explored the use of Processing Instruction to teach case marking to L2 learners of German. I also completed an undergraduate research project in Mannheim, Germany in Summer 2015 (funded through the NSF-PIRE program with the Center for Language Science at Penn State), in which I investigated the effect prosodic and morphosyntactic information on sentence comprehension among L2 German speakers.

Julia Hotchner. I graduated with a degree in Communication Sciences and Disorders in May 2015. In my senior project (funded through the NSF-PIRE program with the Center for Language Science at Penn State), I investigated grammatical gender and cognate usage in German with a target audience of Swedish and English speakers. In May 2017 I graduated with my M.S. in Speech and Language Pathology from the University of Jacksonville.

Abby Massaro. I graduated with a double major in German and Communications in December 2015. In my senior honors thesis (funded through the NSF-PIRE program with the Center for Language Science at Penn State), I looked at the effect of immersion and cognates on syntactic preferences among German L2 learners of English. Long term, I hope to attend grad school in Germany in the area of international relations and public policy. I spent 2015-2017 as an English Teaching Assistant in Austria and am now a teaching fellow with the Citizen Schools Program through Americorps in Boston.

Beth Mormer. I graduated from Penn State University in 2013 with a Bachelor’s of Science in Communication Sciences & Disorders and minors in Linguistics and Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages. With funding and support from the Center for Language Science NSF PIRE grant, I had the opportunity to investigate the production of subject-verb agreement in Swedish L2 speakers of English using a sentence-fragment completion task. After graduating, I spent a year teaching ESL in South Korea. I then pursued an M.S. in Speech-Language Pathology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, graduating in 2016.

Leah Pappas. I graduated in May 2014 with a double major in French and Francophone Studies and Linguistics (through the Bachelor of Philosophy Program). I worked with Dr. Jackson throughout my undergraduate career and have been interested in foreign languages and bilingualism for as long as I can remember. For my senior honors thesis (funded through the NSF-PIRE program with the Center for Language Science at Penn State), I studied the acquisition and processing of  L2 grammatical gender in German-French and English-French bilinguals. In 2014-2015 I was an  English Teaching Assistant in French Guiana and in Fall 2016 I began pursuing a graduate degree in Linguistics at the University of Hawai’i.

Kaylee Roupas. I graduated in May 2014 with a degree in Classics & Ancient Mediterranean Studies and Linguistics (Bachelor of Philosophy) and minors in French & Francophone Studies and International Studies. I had the great experience of serving as a research assistant in the German Department for one semester and in the CLS lab for four semesters.For my senior honors thesis (funded through the NSF-PIRE program with the Center for Language Science at Penn State) I studied the influence of L1 notional concepts and grammatical gender on L2 language production among Dutch-English bilinguals. In addition to linguistics, I am quite the bookworm and Ancient Greek history buff. I spent the 2014-2015 year as a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant in Romania. Long term, I hope to continue studying linguistics through a PhD program and possibly become a professor.

Neil Shook. I graduated in May 2018 with majors in German and Math and a minor in Linguistics. I worked in Dr. Jackson’s lab from 2016-2018. In summer 2017, I traveled to Braunschweig, Germany to conduct a PIRE experiment investigating the relationship between prosodic cues, morphosyntax, and real-time L2 sentence comprehension. While there, I also conducted my own experiment involving the use of the English singular they. In Fall 2018 I will head off to Austria, where I will be an English teaching assistant through the USTA program.

Ben Simonson. I am a Biology and Spanish major. In the summer of 2016, I traveled to Tarragona, Spain, as a PIRE fellow to study the prosodic encoding of English among native Spanish speakers. I have worked with Dr. Jackson as well as Dr. Marianna Nadeu since the fall of 2015 in examining the effectiveness of Processing Instruction in teaching anaphoric deaccenting to L1 Spanish-L2 English learners. In addition to continuing work on this research, I am currently working as a research assistant in Dr. Paola Dussias’ lab studying the bilingual mind.

Jalyn Taylor. I graduated in May 2017 with a B.S. in Communication Sciences and Disorders. I recently started a Master of Arts program in Speech Language Pathology at Longwood University. I am also an alum of The Women’s Leadership Initiative and the McNair Scholars Program. My favorite hobbies are watching T.V. shows and leisurely reading.

Joey Bail. I’m studying Mechanical Engineering and German. From November 2015- December 2016 I worked with Dr. Carrie Jackson as a research assistant for a few of her applied linguistic experiments, and I traveled to Braunschweig, Germany in the summer of 2016 to conduct an experiment of my own. My research examined how German and English speakers accept subject and object first sentences in alternating discourses in both German and English.

Additional Former Students/Postdoctoral Scholars
Dr. Laurel Brehm (Postdoctoral Scholar, 2016-2017)
Dr. Aaron Albin (Postdoctoral Scholar, 2015-2016)
Edwin McMillan (M.A., 2009)
Rebecca Leimkuhler (B.S., 2012)
Luke McDermott (B.S., 2010)