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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 and MA in Applied Developmental and Educational 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 socioemotional 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

Doctoral Student in the Human Development Program

Katie is currently a PhD student in the Human Development program. With a BA in Linguistics and Discourse Studies, and an M.Ed concentrating in Inclusive Education, Katie hopes to further explore the cognitive learning characteristics of bilingual students with and without learning disabilities in higher education. With this, she hopes to help contribute in making learning environments more accessible to all learners. When Katie is not in the lab you can find her snowshoeing on Mount Royal, spending time at the cottage, and perfecting the art of latte making.

Zoe Nadler

Research Assistant

Zoe is currently doing her M.Ed. in General Educational Psychology at McGill. She also earned her B.Sc. at McGill with a major in Psychology. For the past year, Zoe has been working as a reading coach at BJEC for kindergarten students with reading difficulties. She works on remediating students’ specific reading needs by reinforcing phonemic awareness and building fluency. Zoe loves working with children, and her research interests include bilingualism, reading, and development. Zoe is very much looking forward to exploring the different areas of research at the B.E.E Lab.  

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 English Literature. Currently, she is teaching English at the high school level to students with learning difficulties. Her areas of interest are bilingualism, language acquisition and teaching strategies. She is also passionate about creating student centered teaching materials, which she shares with the TESL community.

Yuennie Wong

Research Assistant

Yuennie is currently a masters student in the Educational Psychology program at McGill University. After completing her B.A. at York University, she took some time off to travel and to spend time with her family. She has plenty of experience working with children—having tutored her sibling, cousins, and students from a really young age. Yuennie can speak three languages and two different dialects and is now pursuing French as her next challenge. She is interested in bilingualism, multilingualism, and social and emotional learning. In her free time, Yuennie loves to try out new cuisines and dreams about visiting the Pyramids of Giza one day.

BEE Lab Alums

Justine Lacoste
B.Sc. (McGill)
Research assistant
Claire Susiman
B.Sc. (McGill)
Research assistant
Giovanna Casale
M.Ed. (McGill)
Research assistant
Hanyuan Zhang
M.Ed. (McGill)
Research assistant
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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