I am Postdoctoral Researcher in the Department of Psychology at the University of Pennsylvania working with Dr. Liz Brannon. I earned my M.Ed. in special education and educational psychology in June 2010, and my PhD in developmental psychology in December 2014 from the University of Western Ontario in Canada under the supervision of Dr. Daniel Ansari.
I am interested in uncovering the cultural and neurobiological factors important for mathematical learning in typically developing children, and delineate how abnormal brain development is associated with severe learning difficulties. My graduate work in the Numerical Cognition Laboratory used behavioral and functional brain imaging to characterize the numerical deficits in children with persistent dyscalculia, a specific math learning disability, relative to typically developing children. My postdoctoral research in the Brannon Laboratory involves examining the relationship between preverbal nonsymbolic representations of quantity (sets of objects) and exact symbolic mathematics (e.g. 24 + 12) in adults and children using functional brain imaging and cognitive training methods. We are currently collaborating with Dr. Allyson Mackey to examine the neural substrates that support the development of number words and the environmental factors that interact with this process in preschool-aged children.
I hope to further test how trajectories of math growth are shaped by children’s experiences at home and school. I am additionally interested in individual differences in academic learning in children from diverse backgrounds, and the neural plastic changes that support knowledge acquisition. My long term goal is to conduct translational research that can inform both the identification of children at risk for developing severe mathematical learning difficulties, as well as remediation.