People

Meet Our Team

Principal Investigator

Gigi Luk

Associate Professor

Gigi Luk’s research on the cognitive and neural consequences of bilingualism extends across the lifespan. She leads a research program that examines how diverse language experiences shapes development and learning. Using neuroimaging and behavioral methods, Luk studies bilingualism as an interactional experience that shapes cognition. In addition to investigating the science of bilingualism, Luk has examined how to harness scientific findings on bilingualism to improve educational experience for children from diverse language backgrounds. In particular, she has established a research program investigating: (1) effective ways to examine bilingualism and learning; (2) how bilingualism and executive functions interact to influence literacy outcomes; and (3) brain mechanisms underlying learning new information in children and adults.

Dr. Luk obtained her Ph.D. in Cognitive Psychology from York University, Canada in 2008. She then completed a postdoctoral fellowship at the Rotman Research Institute at the Baycrest Center before joining the Harvard Graduate School of Education in 2011. In January 2019, she joined the Department of Educational and Counselling Psychology at McGill.

Graduate Students

Julie Oh

Doctoral Student in the School/Applied Child Psychology Program

Julie is a PhD2 student in the School/Applied Child Psychology Program. Julie completed her B.A. in Psychology at the University of British Columbia. She is part of the Bilingualism Experience Education (BEE) Lab and the Perceptual Neuroscience Laboratory for Autism and Development (PNlab). Julie’s research focuses on characterizing multilingualism by assessing the quality and the quantity of language experience of multilingual children. Her research seeks to better understand the challenges of evaluating language proficiency and academic functioning of students from diverse cultural and linguistic backgrounds and support diverse learners with evidence-based practices. Julie hopes to become a life-long learner who is well-versed in research and practice in child psychology, and a competent psychologist who helps children reach their potential in all domains of development.

Lauren Schellenberg

Doctoral Student in the Language Acquisition Program

Lauren is a doctoral student and course lecturer in the Department of Integrated Studies in Education. Inspired by her time teaching French immersion in Winnipeg, Lauren’s research focuses on teacher training in French immersion.

Justin Feng

Doctoral Student in the Human Development Program

Justin is currently a PhD3 student in the Human Development program. After completing his B.Sc. in Neuroscience and Psychology, Justin worked with English language learners both locally and abroad. His particular area of interest is how the bilingual identity and experience affects one’s development, specifically to understand how bilingualism influences Theory of Mind and empathy. Outside of his academic pursuits, Justin spends his time playing games, exploring new recipes, and spending his every moment with his lovely wife.

Katie Hartwick

Research Assistant

Katie is currently doing her M.Ed with a concentration on inclusion at McGill. She has a BA, Honours from Carleton University in Linguistics and Discourse studies with a minor in Psychology. A memorable part of her undergraduate studies, under the supervision of Dr. Iryna Kozlova, was presenting a  research project titled ‘The sociolinguistic functions of eh in Canadian English’ at AAAL in 2018. Katie’s work at the BEE lab currently with Dr. Gigi Luk focuses on further understanding bilingualism. Katie has a keen interest in making learning environments more accessible to all learners.

Nairy Kazandjian

Research Assistant

Nairy is an M.Ed student in Educational Psychology at McGill University. She holds an undergraduate degree in Teaching English as a Second Language and teaches at the high school level. She also works closely with children under 5 years old, at the daycare, which she manages.  Her main fields of interest are bilingualism, child development, school psychology and student motivation. She is passionate about creating student centered teaching materials, which she shares with the TESL community. In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with her children doing outdoor activities.  

Justine Lacoste

Research Assistant

Justine is a U4 Psychology major and an Education minor at McGill. During her last year as an undergraduate, she began as an Intern at Ometz in the Senior After-School Program to offer academic, social, and emotional support to vulnerable youth groups in Montreal. She worked as a camp counselor for her 5th summer in a row in 2020 and particularly enjoys working with preschoolers. Justine’s main fields of interest are Child Development, School Psychology, and Bilingualism. So far, her research experience has been centered around speech production. Nonetheless, Justine is looking forward to exploring various research areas at B.E.E Lab.

Claire Suisman

Research Assistant

Claire is a 4th year Psychology major and Social Entrepreneurship minor at McGill. From a young age, she has been fascinated by psychology and passionate about mental health. For the past 3 years, Claire has worked as a research assistant at the Raz Cognitive Neuroscience Lab, where she has helped with various studies involving placebos and expectations. Additionally, she has volunteered for a number of active listening services in Montreal. Claire hopes to go onto graduate school and pursue a career as a clinical psychologist. In her free time, she enjoys running, cooking, traveling, and reading.

Giovanna Casale

Research Assistant

Giovanna is an English second language teacher and Master’s student in Educational Psychology Inclusive Education at McGill University. Her research interests include bilingualism, social and emotional learning, and the development of executive functioning skills. Her goal is to promote inclusive and quality education for all. Giovanna can’t live without coffee and a good book. She is most passionate about learning, cooking, and traveling. 

Hanyuan Zhang

Research Assistant

Hanyuan Zhang is a M.Ed. student in General Educational Psychology. She earned her B.A. in Nankai University, and worked as a part-time ESL teacher teaching Chinese primary school students. Her research interests include bilingualism, multilingualism, executive functions and memory. In her spare time, she likes to go to the theaters, watch kitten videos and enjoy Asian food.

BEE Lab Alums

Sara Smith
Ph.D. (Oxford)
Current assistant professor at University of South Florida
Veronica Whitford
Ph.D. (McGill)
Current assistant professor at University of New Brunswick
Felicia Huang
M.A. (McGill)
Currently independent researcher
Sibylla Leon Guerrero
Ph.D. (Harvard)
Current postdoctoral fellow at University of California, Irvine
Sarah Surrain
Ph.D. (Harvard)
Current postdoctoral fellow at Children’s Learning Institute, Houston
Laura Mesite
Ed. D. (Harvard)
Current independent researcher
Rachel Hantman
Ed.M. (Harvard)
Current project coordinator, Center for Autism Research Excellence, Boston University
Valerie Woxholdt
Ed.M. (Harvard)
Current doctoral candidate at Temple University
Courtney Pollack
Ed.D. (Harvard)
Current senior researcher at CityConnects, Boston College
Daniel Busso
Ed.D. (Harvard)
Current research director at FrameWorks Institute

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