Temple Infant & Child Laboratory | Graduate Students
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Graduate Students

Susan Benear

Susan is a third year graduate student in the Cognition and Neuroscience program. She graduated from Penn State in 2015 with a B.A. in psychology and public relations and went on to spend a year teaching middle school language arts in Nashville through Teach for America. After working the following year as a research assistant in Dr. Isabel Gauthier’s visual perception lab at Vanderbilt, she began her Ph.D. work at Temple in 2017 and is co-mentored by Drs. Nora Newcombe and Ingrid Olson. Susan studies memory development and is interested in the concurrent maturation of semantic and episodic memory in early childhood and the effects of socioeconomic status on development, from both neural and behavioral perspectives.



Curriculum Vitae

Elias Blinkoff`

Elias is a second-year graduate student in developmental psychology working with Dr. Kathy Hirsh-Pasek. He received his B.A. in Psychology and Educational Studies from Swarthmore College in 2017, where he worked with Dr. Daniel Grodner to investigate the roles of working memory and experience in relative clause sentence processing. He also served as a lab technician in Swarthmore’s Event-Related Potential (ERP) Lab, supporting several language processing studies under Drs. Amanda Elam and Les Sikos. Before arriving at Temple, Elias mentored 7th-grade students in the School District of Philadelphia through City Year. He is currently pursuing research at the intersection of developmental psychology and education with particular interests in language development and literacy, as well as the connections between developmental research and educational practice. His first-year project investigates how questions combine with playful learning to support pre-school students’ vocabulary development during a classroom literacy intervention. Elias also works on “The 6 C’s Go to School” project, which brings the 6 C’s of learning identified by Dr. Hirsh-Pasek and Dr. Roberta Golinkoff – collaboration, communication, content, critical thinking, creativity, and confidence – into K-12 classrooms through close collaboration with educational administrators and teachers in a public school district.



Natalie Evans

Natalie is a third year graduate student.  She received her B.A. in Psychology and English from Muhlenberg College in 2015.  She then went on to work as a project coordinator at the College of the Holy Cross with Dr. Florencia Anggoro and Dr. Benjamin Jee where she investigated children’s astronomy learning and spacial skills.  Natalie works with Dr. Kathy Hirsh-Pasek and is interested in playful learning and how to foster creativity in children.



Lillian Masek

Lillian is a fifth-year graduate student in developmental psychology.  She received her B.A. in psychology and Spanish from Smith College where she worked with Dr. Peter de Villiers investigating the relationship between early narrative skills and subsequent literacy development of bilingual children from low-income backgrounds.  She then went on to get a MAT from the University of Louisville while teaching middle-school Spanish at a persistently low-achieving school.  Working with Dr. Kathy Hirsh-Pasek, Lillian’s current research focuses on the role of parent-child interaction and child attention as predictors of language development for children from different socio-economic and linguistic backgrounds.



Ally Masters

Ally is a first-year graduate student in developmental psychology working with Dr. Kathy Hirsh-Pasek. She received her B.A. in Counseling Psychology from The College of Santa Fe in 2007, and then taught Montessori preschool and English as a second language in the Czech Republic, Vietnam, and the Ukraine. Under the mentorship of Dr. Margaret Friend, Ally received her M.A. in Psychology from San Diego State University in 2019, and her master’s thesis examined the quality of parent-child interaction and its impact on child expressive vocabulary in English- and Spanish-speakers. Ally’s research interests include how aspects of play support language development, and is particularly interested in how this varies across speakers of different languages.



Molly Scott

Molly is a Ph.D. candidate in developmental psychology currently in her fifth year working with Dr. Kathy Hirsh-Pasek. She received her B.A. in psychology from Barnard College in 2015 where she worked with Dr. Tovah Klein. Molly is also a graduate student fellow in the Temple Public Policy Lab. She is currently studying how the science of learning can help promote vocabulary growth in children from low-SES backgrounds. Specifically, she is interested in how we can create deeper, more meaningful vocabulary learning experiences for preschoolers.