Our Team

Current Members

Megan C. Gross

Megan C. Gross is the Director of the Bilingual Language Development Lab. She joined the Department of Communication Disorders at UMass Amherst as an Assistant Professor in 2018 and teaches courses on Evaluation Processes with Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Populations and Language Disorders in Children. She completed her Master’s in Speech-Language Pathology and her PhD in Communication Sciences and Disorders at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Dr. Gross’s research examines the development of bilingual children with and without communication disorders. Broadly, she is interested in the relationships among the linguistic, cognitive, social, and environmental factors that contribute to bilingual children’s ability to speak and understand both languages. Dr. Gross is also a certified, licensed speech-language pathologist with clinical interests in bilingual assessment and intervention. Dr. Gross values community-engaged research and welcomes opportunities to collaborate with community organizations and clinicians.

Adriana Almeida

Adriana is a graduate student in the Speech-Language Pathology Master’s Program at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, where she also attended for undergrad. In 2021, she graduated from UMass Amherst, triple majoring in Communication Disorders, Spanish, and Portuguese. She strives to use her language skills as well as her knowledge of communication disorders to become a bilingual SLP in a pediatric clinic or school setting after completing graduate school. Her passion for this field is driven by her experiences of growing up in a bilingual Portuguese-English family and working as a paraprofessional at the Early Learning Center in her hometown from 2016-2020. In her free time, Adriana loves traveling, exploring different cultures and cuisines, visiting art and history museums, attending plays/musicals, hiking, swimming, and spending time with her loved ones.

Maria Girardin

Maria is a graduate student in the Speech-Language Pathology Master’s Program at the University of Massachusetts Amherst where she also earned a Bachelor of Science in Communication Disorders, and a Bachelor of Arts in Linguistics and Spanish. During her undergraduate education, she completed an Honors Thesis within the Linguistics Department about treating pronoun usage deficits in children with autism spectrum disorder. Maria is working toward building the skills and knowledge she needs to assess and treat bilingual children in both English and Spanish as an aspiring Speech-Language Pathologist. In her spare time, Maria enjoys singing, dancing, cooking, watching Spanish movies, and learning ASL.

Johanna Salisbury

Johanna is a graduate student in the Speech-Language Pathology Master’s Program at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. She graduated from Emmanuel College, where she studied Spanish and English literature, in 2015, and earned a Master’s degree in Linguistics from Trinity College Dublin in 2019. Johanna is interested in how bilingual children with and without communication disorders learn and use their languages. She is currently working on a thesis investigating AAC (Augmentative and Alternative Communication) teaching practices in Catalunya, a bilingual Spanish/Catalan region of Spain. In her spare time, Johanna enjoys learning languages, travelling, practicing aerial acrobatics, and cats.

Madeline Hoffses

Maddie is an undergraduate student at the University of Massachusetts in the Honors Program. She is double majoring in Communication Disorders and Spanish and pursuing a minor in Education. In her first year at UMass, Maddie thought she wanted to be an elementary school teacher. However, after talking with family and friends, she discovered an interest in the field of Speech-Language Pathology. As an SLP, Maddie will be able to blend her passion for speaking Spanish and her love of working with kids. Maddie is currently completing her honors thesis with Dr. Megan Gross through the Español e inglés a la vez project. When not participating in school work, Maddie loves volunteering in her community and spending time with family and friends.

Thanh Nha Tran

Thanh Nha is an undergraduate student at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. She is majoring in Communication Disorders while also double minoring in Biology and Psychology. She wishes to use her biology minor background to further help analyze children’s speech and language disorders through a scientific lens of the human body. In addition, she wishes to use her psychology minor to help provide more insight on counseling children with their social and cognitive skills. Personally, Thanh Nha is trilingual (English, Vietnamese, American Sign Language). She wants to use her diverse knowledge of language to provide more accessible care within the Vietnamese and Deaf communities. Outside of the classroom she is actively involved in Students to End Alzheimer’s Disease (SEAD), Vietnamese Student Association (VSA), Asian American Student Association (AASA), National Students Speech Language Hearing Association (NSSLHA), and is a peer advisor for the Communication Disorders department. During her free time, Thanh Nha likes to watch movies, take photographs, hike, and spend time with her loved ones.

Skylar Unger

Skylar is an undergraduate student at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, majoring in Communication Disorders and minoring in Chinese. As an SLP, she hopes to work with Chinese-English bilingual children. Skylar is a member of the Honors Program, and she is completing her undergraduate thesis with Dr. Megan Gross through the Español e inglés a la vez project. Outside of Communication Disorders, Skylar is involved in the UMass Minuteman Marching Band, and she is the president of the Adopted Student Advisory Panel (ASAP).


Alumni

Kylie Dubé

Kylie graduated in 2021 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Communication Disorders and Spanish from the University of Massachusetts Amherst. During her time at UMass, Kylie was a member of the Commonwealth Honors College and had completed two honors independent studies while working as research assistant in the lab. Kylie also completed an honors thesis project with Dr. Megan Gross that investigated the language choices speech-language pathologists make when working with bilingual children who speak a language other than English at home. Outside of the lab, Kylie was a Comm Dis department teaching assistant, a coordinator of the Pal Project and is a Captain of Pulse Dance Team. She is looking forward to graduate school at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and becoming a certified Speech-Language Pathologist.

Allison Root

Allison graduated in 2021 from the Speech-Language Pathology Master’s Program at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, where she also received her Bachelor’s Degree in Communication Disorders and Spanish. She is interested in the language development of bilingual children with communication disorders. Allison enjoys traveling, learning about other cultures, singing, and finding ways to get involved in her community. She hopes to incorporate these interests into her practice once she is a certified bilingual Speech-Language Pathologist.

Jo Kalucki

Jo graduated from the Speech-Language Pathology Master’s Program at the University of Massachusetts Amherst in 2021. She also received her Bachelor’s Degree in Spanish and Linguistics in 2017 at UMass Amherst. Jo has a background in adolescent special education and massage therapy, and has a special interest in linguicism and bilingual language development as a multilingual and multicultural person herself. In her spare time, Jo enjoys running and biking around the Pioneer Valley, cooking with local veggies, and advocating for social justice.

Lily Clemente

Lily is an undergraduate alumna who assisted in research in the BLD lab for two years from 2018 to 2020. She graduated with a BA in Spanish and a secondary major in Communication Disorders. Involved with the BLD lab during its incubation phase, Lily helped with many stages of the research, including data organization, language transcription and coding, and building authentic connections with local Spanish-speaking community members. Lily learned a lot in the lab, but she is most grateful for the experience with engaging questions of race and class within the academic research setting. Lily is passionate about language-learning and hopes to work in culturally diverse settings throughout her career. She will spend the year after her graduation volunteering with Americorps in a public high school for immigrants and refugees. Following that, she hopes to spend a year living in Latin America immersed in a new culture before returning to the U.S. for graduate school in a service-related career.

Masha Levit

Masha graduated from UMass Amherst in 2020, double majoring in Communication Disorders and Public Health. She grew up in a Russian bilingual family, which is what fueled her interest in language. She pursued her honors thesis with Dr. Megan Gross on bilingual language development. She is now a graduate student at BU. In her free time, Masha enjoys working out, reading, spending time at the beach, and listening to music. 

Jiramis Gómez Guardiola

Jiramis is a graduate from the High School of Commerce going into her freshman year of college. Being bilingual herself and having grown up learning both English and Spanish she found the research the lab was doing really interesting. Jiramis enjoys reading, drawing, and spending time with people she’s close to. She hopes to become an Illustrator so she can bring stories to life through drawing.