About Us

Lab Director: Rebecca M. Alper, Ph.D., CCC-SLP

Dr. Alper is a licensed speech-language pathologist and an Assistant Professor in the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders within the College of Public Health at Temple University. Dr. Alper completed her M.A., Ph.D., and a  Graduate Certificate in biostatistics at the University of Iowa, where she was a Presidential Fellow under the co-mentorship of Drs. Karla McGregor and Richard Hurtig. She also completed a postdoctoral fellowship in the Temple Infant and Child Lab with Dr. Kathy Hirsh-Pasek. Dr. Alper’s research focuses on understanding and improving language and academic outcomes for children who are at-risk as a result of learning environment and/or communication disorder status. This work includes clinical behavioral assessment research, as well as research on the development, implementation, and evaluation of clinician and caregiver-mediated early language and literacy interventions. Additionally, Dr. Alper is interested in research methodology and data analysis for speech-language research.


Lab Coordinator: Julia Jaen

Julia is a lab coordinator working with Dr. Alper on language, literacy, learning, and parent-child interventions in early childhood. She earned her B.S. in Interdisciplinary Health Services and Autism Behavioral Studies with a minor in Psychology from Saint Joseph’s University. She is particularly interested in learning and behavior as it relates to child and teen development. Julia plans to pursue a master’s degree in public health with a focus on health disparities.

Research Team Members

Maura O’Fallon, M.A., CCC-SLP

Maura is a doctoral student in the Communication Sciences and Disorders program at Temple University. She received her B.A. in Psychology and Spanish from the University of Virginia, and her M.A. in Speech-Language Pathology from the University of Maryland. After graduating from the University of Maryland, she worked as a school-based speech-language pathologist providing therapy to students with a variety of communication needs. She is interested in early intervention for children who are at-risk for later language disorders, as well as ways that speech-language pathologists can work with caregivers or teachers to improve children’s language outcomes.

Jessica Fajardo

Jessica is a Senior at Temple University with a double major in Speech, Language, and Hearing science and Spanish. She is also pursuing a certificate in American Sign Language. She hopes to get her master’s degree in Speech Pathology and work as a Speech Pathologist with children and bilingual families.

Josh Knappenberger

Josh is a Senior speech-language-hearing science major.  He also is pursuing minors in cognitive neuroscience and political science as well as certificates in American Sign Language and linguistics. In the future, he plans to go on to be an SLP as well as advocate for policies that would allow children greater access to education and language learning tools.

Celeste Lameira

Celeste is Senior at Temple University studying Speech, Language, Hearing Science. She is also pursuing a minor in cognitive neuroscience and two certificates: American Sign Language and linguistics. She plans to obtain a master’s degree in Speech Language Pathology in hopes of working with children and their families.

Omer Levi

Omer is a Junior in Temple University’s College of Public Health, studying speech, language, and hearing science. Due to her vast interest in language, she is also pursuing an American Sign Language certificate and a linguistics certificate. She is planning on receiving her master’s degree in speech-language pathology. Asides from her major and certificates, Omer is an officer of Temple’s NSSLHA, an intern for the Jewish Heritage Programs and a member of the CSD student-faculty committee. Omer is hoping to learn more about language acquisition, as she would love to work with children and their families in the future.

Michaela Peel

Michaela is a Senior at Temple University studying speech, Language and Hearing Science. Michaela has done previous research on bilingual children in the Multilingual Research Lab at Temple, and also has experience working with children and adults in other volunteer positions. Michaela plans on applying for graduate school and working with children and families in the future to help improve their communication skills!

Caitanne Robinson

Caitanne is a Senior at Temple University studying Speech, Language, and Hearing Science in the College of Public Health. She is currently participating in the Philadelphia Aphasia Community at Temple, and is working towards a certificate in American Sign Language. She plans to pursue a masters degree in Speech-Language Pathology. Caitanne is interested in childhood language disorders and hopes to one day work with children and families.

Jessica Zbytniewski

Jessica is a Senior in the College of Public Health at Temple University studying Linguistics with a minor in Spanish. After her undergraduate career, she intends to continue her studies and achieve her master’s degree in Speech-Language Pathology and obtain a certificate in American Sign Language. She hopes to work with bilingual Spanish-English children in the future or to teach English abroad as a second language.

Lab Alumni
Clare Corbett
Samantha Curran
Jovanna Penza
Janessa Hughes

Sarah Kautz