Lab Director – Ruth Grossman
Dr. Grossman is associate professor at Emerson College where she teaches graduate and undergraduate classes in the department of Communication Sciences and Disorders. Her research is focused on various aspects of face-to-face communication in children with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD). She is specifically interested in how children with ASD integrate and produce verbal and nonverbal information, such as facial expressions and prosody. Dr. Grossman’s work has been published in several refereed journals, including Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, Journal of Nonverbal Behavior, Autism, and Autism Research.
Current Lab Members
Ruth Ashley – FACE Lab Research Assistant
Ruth is an undergraduate student at the University of Bath in England, studying Education with Psychology. She is working in the FACE Lab for a year as part of her degree with the goal of completing a Masters and PhD. She is particularly interested in the relationship between language development and autism.
Millie Smith – FACE Lab Research Assistant
Millie is an undergraduate student at the University of Bath in England, studying Psychology. She is working in the FACE Lab for a year as part of her degree, building on the skills she learnt from her previous research experiences. She hopes to use what she has learnt at the FACE Lab to work towards a Masters in Psychology.
Sarah LaFontaine – Graduate Student
Sarah received her undergraduate degree in Speech Language Pathology at Ithaca College in 2020. She is currently at Emerson for her Master’s in Communication Sciences and Disorders with a special interest in injuries and strokes.
Urvisha Shethia – Graduate Student
Urvisha completed her B.S in Audiology and Speech Language Pathology from India in 2019. She has clinical experience in working with children with Autism and has a special interest in understanding the nuances of their social communication. She is currently working towards her Master’s in Communication Science and Disorders.
Ashlyn Murphy – Graduate Student
Ashlyn received her undergraduate degree in Communication Sciences and Disorders from the University of New Hampshire in 2021. She is currently at Emerson for her Master’s in Communication Sciences and Disorders. She has clinical experience working with children and has a special interest in Autism.
Lauren Powell – FACE Lab Research Assistant
Lauren received her B.S. in Cognitive Neuroscience from Michigan State University in May of 2020. At Michigan State, she worked on a number of research studies involving stuttering, prenatal stress, and early human development. She is currently a part of Emerson’s Master’s in Communication Sciences and Disorders program.
Julia Mertens – FACE Lab Research Assistant
Julia joined the FACE Lab in June 2015 after receiving her Bachelor of Science from the University of Connecticut in Cognitive Science and Psychology. Her previous projects include transcribing the speech of children with autism spectrum disorder and designing computational models of spoken word recognition.
Emily Zane – Postdoctoral Research Associate
Emily received her PhD in linguistics at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York (CUNY). Her thesis explores the neural mechanisms involved in processing spatial language and the interaction of visual-spatial information during this process. She is particularly interested in how the brains of children with and without autism develop as they acquire language.
Anna Zembo – Undergraduate Student
Anna is a senior in the Communication Sciences and Disorders Department at Emerson College and plans to pursue a Master’s degree in Speech Language Pathology. Her special interest in children with autism led her to the FACE Lab, where she has been volunteering since January 2014. In addition to an interest in autism research, her personal passion for dance has inspired a focused interest in the field of performing arts therapies and autism.
Natalie Fenske – Undergraduate Student
Natalie graduated from Emerson College with a Bachelor of Science in Communication Sciences and Disorders in May 2016 with a minor in Hearing and Deafness. Natalie knows both Spanish and American Sign Language, and hopes to use both in her career working with people with autism and acquired neurological disorders.
Kiran Khalani – Graduate Assistant
Kiran worked as a Speech Language Pathologist in India before deciding to move all the way to Boston to come to Emerson! She worked as the FACE Lab participant liaison.
Kelly Mcclintock – Graduate Student
Kelly received her undergraduate degree in English Literature from the University of Arizona in Tucson, Arizona in 2008. She worked for several years in education and technology before enrolling in the Speech Language Pathology graduate program at Emerson College in 2015. She looks forward to growing as a clinician, learning about autism, and working to help others.
Aimee Garicano – Graduate Student
Aimee received an undergraduate degree in Biology from University of California, San Diego in 2010, and was matriculated into the Science of Communication Disorders Master’s program at Emerson in 2015. She intends on becoming a Speech Language Pathologist.
Margaret Griesmer – Graduate Assistant
Margaret’s interest in social communication and autism in particular lead her to join the Face Lab as a Graduate Assistant in the Fall of 2015. She previously worked in the S2S and WoRD Labs at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Margaret received her Masters of Science in Communication Disorders in 2017.
Alexandra majored in Communication Sciences and Disorders at Emerson College. She has clinical experience with children with autism, Deaf individuals, and people learning English as a Second Language. She is particularly interested in eye tracking.
Amy Schapiro – Undergraduate Student
At Emerson College, Amy majored in Communication Sciences and Disorders. Her interests are in autism, aphasia, and traumatic brain injuries. Additionally, she worked on research involving asking for information in children with autism.
Kayla Neumeyer – Graduate Assistant
Kayla Neumeyer received her BA in Cognitive Science from Vassar College, where participated in research surrounding categorical perception. Her interests include embodied cognition, interpersonal understanding, autism, speech-language pathology, disability rights, and competition cooking shows.
Diana Frenze – Undergraduate Student
Diana graduated from the Communication Sciences and Disorders Department at Emerson College and plans to pursue a degree in Speech Language Pathology. She minored in psychology and wanted to learn more about autism in the FACE Lab. She is particularly interested in facial expressions and eye-tracking.
Grace received her undergraduate degree in Communicative Sciences and Disorders in 2014 from Saint Mary’s College and is a graduate student at Emerson College. Prior to joining the FACElab, she was a research assistant at the F.U.N. Lab, a lab interested in how individuals with autism spectrum disorder understand language. Grace will receive her Masters of Science in Communication Disorders in 2016, and plans to become a Speech Language Pathologist.
Sarah was our Research Assistant from 2013 – 2015, helping to build the lab from the ground up. Sarah received her undergraduate degree in Psychology and Spanish from Endicott College in 2013, where she worked in placebo and embodied cognition research. She previously worked as an ABA therapist with young children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorders. In the fall of 2015, Sarah began a Master’s in Social Work at Boston University.
Aaron Shield was a postdoctoral research associate at the FACE Lab from 2014-2015. Prior to coming to Emerson, he was a postdoctoral research fellow at the Center for Autism Research Excellence at Boston University and in the Psychology Department at the University of Chicago. An expert in autism spectrum disorders in deaf children, he has published peer-reviewed articles in the Journal of Communication Disorders, Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, Cognition, and Seminars in Speech and Language. Aaron joined the faculty of Miami University of Ohio in fall 2015 as an Assistant Professor of Speech Pathology and Audiology.
Sandra received her undergraduate degree in Biology and Neuroscience in 2012 from Dickinson College, where she participated in research on learning and behavior. In 2015, Sandy was awarded a Masters of Science degree from Emerson College in Communication Disorders. As part of her Masters, she completed a thesis examining the effect of partial face motion on interpreting emotions from animated and human faces.
Marlee was awarded the Bachelor of Science in Communication Disorders at Emerson College in 2015. Previously, she participated in a teen performing arts program, The Miracle Project, for children with Autism. Her interest in autism and communication eagerly brought her to the FACE Lab.
Rebecca Baker – B.S., Communication Disorders, Emerson College ’15
In 2015, Rebecca was awarded the Bachelor of Science in Communication Disorders from Emerson College with a minor in Health Communications and Psychology. Since graduating from Emerson she has moved back home to Los Angeles and plans to get her master’s degree in clinical social work.
Dr. Hedley was a postdoctoral research associate at the FACE Lab from 2013-2014, and is currently a Research Fellow at the Olga Tennison Autism Research Centre (OTARC) at LaTrobe University in Melbourne, Australia, where he works on the transition to employment of adults with an ASD, focusing on social impact of the transitional process and the factors related to a successful transition. Prior to joining the FACE Lab, Dr. Hedley was a postdoctoral fellow in Clinical Pediatric Psychology at the Ohio State University/Nationwide Children’s Hospital Child Development Center, where he specialized in assessment and diagnosis of children with intellectual and developmental disability, including ASD.