Lab Staff

Lab Director

Melanie Soderstrom, Associate Professor

Dr. Soderstrom has been doing research and teaching in infant speech perception and early grammatical development for more than fifteen years. She came to the University of Manitoba in 2008 from a research position at Brown University. She teaches Child Development, as well as upper level courses on development, language acquisition, and related topics.

Postdoctoral Researchers

Ludivine Glas

Ludivine joined the lab in January 2021 as postdoctoral researcher, after a teaching and research assistant position at the University of Paris 8 Vincennes – Saint-Denis (France). She has PhD in language science at the University of Lyon 2 and studied biology and ethology at Montpellier 2 and Rennes 1 university for her undergraduate and graduate studies. She is interested in language development, especially early words acquisition, children everyday environment and methods to measure early vocabulary production and context.

Graduate Students

Karmen McDivitt

Karmen joined the lab in the Fall of 2014 after completing her Bachelor of Arts-Honours degree in Psychology at the University of British Colombia-Okanagan. She completed her Master of Arts degree in Clinical Psychology at the University of Manitoba, under the supervision of Dr. Melanie Soderstrom, in the Baby Language Lab. She is currently completing her Ph.D. in the University of Manitoba Clinical Psychology program. Her dissertation work in the lab examines the language environments of infants born to young Winnipeg mothers.

Sara Montazeri

Sara Montazeri is a Ph.D. student in Developmental Psychology at the University of Manitoba. She received her M.A. degree in Linguistics at the University of Tehran, Iran. She joined the lab in September 2019.

Mercedes Casar

Mercedes joined the Baby Language Lab in 2016 and completed her B. A. Honours in Psychology. She is currently working on her Master’s in Developmental Psychology examining how smartphone use impacts the amount of language mothers use when their infants are present.

Megan Gornik

Megan joined the lab in 2018 as a research assistant. She has completed her B.A. Honours in Psychology and is currently in the Clinical Psychology M.A. program, under the supervision of Dr. Soderstrom. Her thesis focuses on the impact of maternal depression and anxiety on mother-infant interactions.

Lab Coordinator

Trevor Sie

Trevor joined the lab in the summer of 2017 shortly after being accepted into the master’s of linguistics program here at U of M. Previously he completed undergraduate degrees in both psychology and linguistics (U of M). He is interested in cognitive linguistics and more specifically grammar measured in a multimodal context, i.e. grammar measured by gesture in addition to speech. Currently, he is working on his master’s thesis, in addition to the ACLEW project here in the lab.

Research Assistants

Kiana Chubey

Kiana joined the lab in the summer of 2019 as a research assistant. She is currently working on her B.A. Honours in Psychology. Her long-term goal is to get a M.A. in School or Clinical Psychology.

Sarah Ajao

Sarah joined the lab in Fall 2019 and has completed her B Sc. degree in Psychology. Fiercely passionate about all things kids, she works and volunteers with kids and families of all backgrounds, in various capacities. Sarah is fascinated by the cognitive development of children and the way they learn to interact and appreciate the world around them while attaining speech. She plans to further her education in the field and pursue a child-centered career.

Cindy Le

Cindy joined the lab in the beginning of 2020 as a research assistant and has completed her Honours thesis with Dr. Soderstrom as her advisor. Her interests include Developmental Psychology and Linguistics. Since completing her undergraduate degree, she is pursuing a future in Speech Language Pathology.


Madison Hardman

Madison received her Honours Bachelor of Science from the University of Toronto and has been conducting psychology research at the University of Manitoba since 2019. Her research focuses on mental health during the perinatal period, in addition to mental health information evaluation and information needs.  She hopes to continue her education and research training in psychology and obtain her Master’s and Ph.D. in clinical psychology.

Recent Alumni

John Bunce

John joined the lab as a postdoctoral researcher in the fall of 2017 shortly after completing his PhD in Developmental Psychology at the University of California, Merced. His undergraduate studies were in psychology at California State University, Dominguez Hills. He is broadly interested in language development, especially how infants learn the meanings of words. During his time in the lab, he worked on several projects exploring children’s natural language environments, and is a major contributor to the ACLEW project. He is currently an Assistant Professor at California State University, East Bay.

Sarah MacEwan

Sarah joined the lab in Summer 2017. After completing her undergraduate degree in cognitive science at Mount Allison University in spring 2019, she returned to the lab as a summer research student. In September 2019, she was hired full-time as the lab coordinator. In fall 2020, Sarah began her masters of Audiology at the University of British Colombia.

Abby Wilcoxson

Abby has recently finished Honours degree in Psychology under the supervision of Dr. Soderstrom, which explored music and language development in children.

Reagan Campbell

Reagan joined the lab in 2019 as a research assistant. She is currently working on her B.A. in Psychology. Upon completion of her bachelor’s degree, she plans on attending graduate school for speech-language pathology.

Kelsey Dyck

Kelsey completed her B.A. in Linguistics. Her involvement in the lab included the reception of the Undergraduate Research Award in the lab examining infants’ preferences for infant-directed speech (the ManyBabies project). Upon completion of her bachelors degree she has been accepted to graduate school for speech-language pathology.

Brenna Henrikson

Brenna joined the lab in September 2015 and completed her Masters with the Baby Language Lab in 2017 with her work on infant speech perception in preterm infants. She is now completing a PhD in Clinical Psychology here at U of M.