Meet the team!

Group Photo, Fall 2016

Current Members

Joe Joe Toscano, Ph.D., Principal Investigator. Joe is an Assistant Professor in the Psychology Department at Villanova and the Director of the WRAP Lab. He received his B.S. in Brain and Cognitive Sciences from the University of Rochester in 2005 and his Ph.D. from the University of Iowa in 2011. From 2011-2014, he was a Beckman Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. His research focuses on questions about language comprehension and speech perception.


Cheyenne Munson Toscano, Ph.D. Cheyenne is an Adjunct Professor in the Psychology Department at Villanova. She also received her Ph.D. from Iowa, and she completed her undergraduate work at Oberlin College. Prior to joining the department at Villanova, Cheyenne was a Visiting Instructor in the Department of Psychology at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Cheyenne’s research focuses on perceptual learning in speech and effects of language disorders, such as specific language impairment (SLI).
Laura Laura Getz, Ph.D. Laura is a Mendel Science Experience Postdoctoral Fellow in the Psychology Department at Villanova. She received her B.A. in Psychology and Music from Elizabethtown College in 2009. Prior to graduate school, she was a research assistant at Goldsmiths College, University of London. She completed her M.A. (2012) and Ph.D. (2016) at the University of Virginia. Laura is interested in the perceptual organization of auditory and visual experiences, with research projects on topics including audiovisual cross-modal correspondences, rhythm perception in Latin salsa music, and top-down effects on perceptual processing.
Grad Students
Ben Ben Falandays, Lab Manager. Ben is a second-year grad student at Villanova. He graduated from University of Delaware with B.A.s in Psychology and Philosophy. Ben's research interests center on the cognition of semiotics in a holistic sense. He wants to understand how meaning is made through the interaction of brains, bodies, materials, and societies as a system. He is currently working on a project using the visual-world paradigm to investigate the intersection of speech perception and discourse processing.


Elke Nordeen. Elke is a second-year grad student and is part of the B.A./M.S. Psychology program. She is particularly interested in development, and she’s a MATLAB expert thanks to her work on a project studying computational models simulating changes in speech perception across the lifespan. Have you seen her hanging out with Sarah lately?


Jordan Rast. Jordan is a second-year graduate assistant in the M.S. Experimental Psychology program at Villanova University. Currently, his research includes examining how we form narratives of personally committed transgressions, as well developing word recognition tests that focus on individual variability in recognizing different word initial consonants. In the past, Jordan has worked on research at Lancaster General Health, Hershey Medical Center, and the Samaritan Center (Lancaster, PA). When not engaging in coursework and research, Jordan enjoys writing original music and playing old time fiddle.


Beach Brooks. Beach is doing his thesis work in the lab. Beach hails from West Palm, Florida, and graduated from the University of Florida in 2012 with a Bachelor’s in Psychology. A guitar player for over ten years, he is extremely curious about music perception and is investigating how people develop knowledge and expectancies about common music conventions. Lend him your ear and he’ll sing you a song and he’ll try not to sing out of key.


Abby Benecke. Abby is a first-year grad student at Villanova. She graduated with a B.A. in Psychology and Music from Susquehanna University where she did both cognitive and developmental research. Abby's research interests include language perception and music cognition. Beyond her interests in psychological research, she enjoys playing the flute, hiking, and getting far too involved in Netflix shows.


Courtney Thomas. Courtney is a first-year grad student. She graduated from Emory University in 2014 with B.A. in Psychology. She then spent two years gaining clinical experience working with children with mental and behavioral diagnoses before attending Villanova. Her research interests broadly focus on child psychopathology and developmental psychology. Courtney is currently working on creating new ERP measures to conduct tests related to infant hearing loss with our colleagues at Nemours duPont Hospital in Wilmington, DE.


Sarah Vrabic. Sarah is a second-year grad student who is part of the combined B.A./M.S. program. She is primarily interested in developmental work. She has been working on a project using computational modeling to study changes in speech perception across the lifespan, and she loves watching Gaussian distributions learning speech sounds. When she’s not in the lab (or when she is), you can usually find her hanging out with Elke.
Anne Marie Anne Marie Crinnion. Anne Marie started working in the WRAP Lab during Summer 2016 after graduating from high school. She is currently a freshman at Harvard, planning to concentrate in Psychology on the Cognitive Science track. She's interested in computational modeling, especially when applied to speech categorization. When she's not thinking about Steiner trees, she loves cycling, running, and listening to country music.


Nicole Johnson. Nicole is a senior at Villanova and has been part of the lab since the Spring 2015 semester. She is working on her B.S. in Psychology with a Spanish minor, and her long-term goal is to pursue a career in Speech Pathology. She is also completing an internship this year at Nemours duPont Hospital.


Claire McCann. Claire is a senior, psychology major at Villanova University. She joined the WRAP Lab in Fall of 2016 and is excited to start working with the team! Outside of the lab she is involved in New Student Orientation and she works on admissions as a Student Ambassador. She has future plans to pursue graduate studies in clinical psychology.


Christina Nashed. Christina is a senior Biology major at Villanova. She joined the lab in the Spring 2016 semester, and she's a pro at setting up speech testing and audiogram experiments. Christina plans to attend medical school after graduating.


Marissa Pharel. Marissa is a senior with majors in the Psychology B.S. and Spanish with a minor in Cognitive Science. She joined the lab in Spring 2016 and is from San Juan, Puerto Rico. She can be found dancing with the Superlative All Styles dance group here at Villanova or at Onda Latina--the Latin Dance troupe at the University of Pennsylvania. After she graduates from Villanova, she intends to pursue a master's degree and then is interested in attending medical school.


Emily Tenuta. Emily is a senior Political Science major at Villanova, and she was part of the inaugural class in Joe’s MSE course. She’s on special assignment in the lab, working on an independent research project to study how dialect and talker characteristics affect both speech production and perception.


Sarah Welch. Sarah is a senior CBN major at Villanova, and she joined the lab in Spring 2016. She is particularly interested in bilingualism and using cognitive neuroscience techniques to study higher-level language processing. She's planning to go to grad school after she graduates from Villanova.


Carlin Welter. Carlin is an undergraduate research assistant from Pittsburgh, PA. She joined the lab in Fall 2016. Carlin is working towards a B.A. in Psychology with a minor in Spanish. She is particularly interested in bilingualism and child development. Following graduation from Villanova, Carlin hopes to attend graduate school to become a school psychologist.
Liz Liz Day. Liz is a junior at Villanova pursuing a B.S in Psychology with an Economics minor. She plans on going to graduate school in Speech Pathology to work specifically with children and adults who have social communication disorders.


Janice Puder. Janice is a junior Psychology B.S. major with an Education minor, and she joined the lab in Spring 2016. Janice is thinking about grad school, where she plans to study Special Education, after she completes her undergraduate work at Villanova.


Rakshana Selvarajan. Rakshana is a junior and loves working in the WRAP Lab! She is working towards a B.S in Psychology as well as a minor in Theatre. After graduation, she hopes to attend medical school and become a pediatrician. Outside the lab, she is a member of Chi Omega, Villanova Student Musical Theatre, and Nova Noise.


Katie French. Katie is a sophomore at Villanova and is working toward her B.A. in Psychology. She is just starting off in the WRAP Lab and is so excited to be a part of everything! Outside the lab, you can find Katie playing water polo for Villanova, hanging out with friends, or eating SNAP pizza.


Caroline Lee, Webmaster. Caroline is a sophomore at Villanova working toward majors in Spanish and a B.S. in Psychology with a minor in Peace and Justice. She is new to the WRAP lab (Spring 2017), but incredibly excited to start. She grew up in a small suburb in Germany, which sparked her interest for multilingualism and its effect on learning. Caroline is considering a career in Speech Pathology.


Tess Heinrichs. Tess is a freshman undergrad student who is studying Cognitive and Behavioral Neuroscience. She is very interested in how the brain perceives sound and hopes to learn more about this by working in the WRAP Lab and hopefully doing her own research someday. She is especially interested in how the brain perceives music as she has participated in many music activities throughout her life and wants to learn about what its effect is on us as human beings.


Marissa Osowski. One of our two Marissa's in the lab, Marissa O. is a freshman CBN major at Villanova, and she joined the lab in the Spring 2017 semester. She's from a small town about 35 minutes south from Boston. She has two brothers, one who is a senior at Villanova, and one who is a junior in high school, and she also has two dogs.


Martina Vega. Martina is a freshman from Oregon who is majoring in Cognitive and Behavioral Neuroscience and Spanish. She joined the lab through the Villanova Match Research Program for First Year Students and is currently running an experiment aimed at developing a speech-based hearing test, which is part of a larger effort to improve hearing aids. Martina is also interested in bilingualism. Outside of her studies, she enjoys traveling and riding/jumping horses.
Ellis Ellis Toscano. Ellis is very interested in cognitive development, with a particular interest in language acquisition. His hobbies include drawing and reading (or, being read to). A big fan of public transit, Ellis enjoys riding the train to and from campus. Previously, he had the most “stars” in the lab thanks to his cuteness.


Kent Toscano. Kent is the youngest member of the lab, and he is keenly interested in how infants acquire the speech sound categories of their native language. He's been working hard on this problem for a year now, and now has excellent results!


Many of the lab members below still work on projects in the lab, and we now have WRAP Labbers scattered all around the country. They are listed below in order of the date they graduated from Villanova or the completed the program they were in while they worked in the lab.

Grad Students
Emma Folk Emma Folk. Emma was a grad student and the first lab manager of the WRAP Lab. She is from Newtown, Pennsylvania, and she received her Bachelor's degree in Psychology and Spanish from the University of Delaware in 2013. Her primary research interests include questions about psycholinguistics and language comprehension, and her thesis is evaluating parallel vs. serial models of spoken language processing. She enjoys hiking, concerts, and managing the lab star chart. Emma is currently pursuing a Master's and PhD in Speech & Hearing Sciences at Indiana Univesrity with Tessa Bent.
Tifani Biro Tifani Biro. Tifani was a grad student at Villanova who completed thesis work in the lab. She graduated from the University of Delaware in 2012 with a degree in Psychology and minors in Cognitive Science and Japanese. Before coming to Villanova, she taught English as a Second Language at the English Language Institute in Newark, Delaware, connecting her with students and educators from around the world. She also worked as a research assistant at Delaware for Mary Dozier, Adele Hayes, and Beth Morling. Tifani's current research focus is on increasing external validity in psycholinguistic experiments through the use of video games and virtual reality systems. She is also interested in computational modeling and cognitive neuroscience, and she is completing her PhD in Communication Sciences & Disorders at the University of Kansas.
Olivia Pereira Olivia Pereira. Olivia was grad student at Villanova from 2014-2016. She received her B.S. in Psychology from The Richard Stockton College of New Jersey in 2014. Olivia did her thesis work with Chip Folk, studying visual attention. In the WRAP Lab, Olivia worked on an ERP experiment designed to evaluate which acoustic and phonological properties of speech sounds are indexed by the auditory N100 ERP component. She is now a reserach assistant at Nemours duPont Children's Hospital and the University of Delaware.
Dave Saltzman Dave Saltzman. Dave completed his thesis work in the lab, and he was the first grad student from the WRAP Lab to propose his thesis. He is from Smithfield, RI and completed his B.A. in Psychology at Providence College in 2013. He began working on his M.S. at Villanova University in 2014, and has a broad interest in the neurobiological underpinnings of speech perception. His thesis project examined the influence of speaking rate, amplitude envelopes, and neural oscillations (theta waves) on speech perception. Outside of the lab, Dave enjoys reading too much Wikipedia and having glorious long hair. He is currently the lab manager of the LAB Lab with Emily Myers at the University of Connecticut.
Lexie Tabachnick Lexie Tabachnick. Lexie was a grad student at Villanova who completed an independent research project in the lab. Lexie received her A.B. in Psychology from the University of Chicago in 2012. She then worked as a one-to-one aide for children with mental and behavioral diagnoses before joining the WRAP Lab as a Master's student at Villanova. Her research in the lab focuses on questions about hearing testing and measurement of ABR responses. She is now completing her PhD in Clinical Psychology with a focus on children and adolescents at the University of Delaware. Fun fact: In college, Lexie co-founded Project Harmony Israel, an English language summer camp for Arab and Jewish youth in Jerusalem—the camp still exists today and continues to build peace through shared experience.
Stephanie Vicari Stephanie Vicari. Stephanie is from Demarest, NJ and received her B.A. in Psychology and Sociology from the University of Delaware in 2014. She completed her Master's at Villanova in 2016. Her thesis work was completed with Irene Kan and examined the illusory truth effect in young and aging adults. Her general interests include cognitive neuroscience, neuropsychology, and working with patient populations.
Taylor Curley Taylor Curley. Taylor is from North Carolina and received his B.A. in English and Psychology from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington in 2012. He graduated from Villanova with his M.S. in Psychology in 2015 and is now working on his Ph.D. at Georgia Tech. His primary research focus is memory and aging, and he is also interested in computational modeling and unsupervised statistical learning.
Rebecca Garrison Rebecca Garrison. Rebecca is from Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, and received her B.A. in Psychology and B.S. in Cognitive Science from the University of Delaware in 2013. She is finishing her M.S. in Psychology at Villanova. Her research interests include visual attention and perception, particularly how the visual system is modulated by reward and how it resolves ambiguity. When she escapes the lab, she enjoys crocheting adorable amigurami, relaxing at Spruce Street Harbor Park, and hanging out with Mason.
Brad Stilwell Brad Stilwell. Brad, a born and raised Delawarean, graduated from the University of Delaware in 2012 with a B.S. in Psychology. He then made the hour long trek north to Villanova, where he received his M.S. in Psychology in 2015 working with Chip Folk. He is interested in Cognitive Psychology in general, with a particular focus on visual attention. His master's thesis investigated the effect of semantics on value-driven attentional capture. He is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Psychology with Shaun Vecera at the University of Iowa. Go Hawks!
Chris Burley Chris Burley. Chris was an undergraduate research assistant in the WRAP Lab from 2014 to 2016. A native of picturesque Dover, Ohio, Chris graduated from Villanova in 2016 with a B.A. in Psychology. His is interested in research on neurodegenerative diseases, with a focus on Alzheimer's. Upon graduation, he plans to work toward a Ph.D. in Clinical Neuropsychology. In his free time, you can find him playing football for the Villanova Wildcats, rollerblading, or singing along to some Jimmy Buffett.
Jackie Coelho Jackie Coelho. Jackie was an undergraduate research assistant in the WRAP Lab from 2015-2016. She is from Ossining, New York and graduted from Villanova in 2016 with a B.S. in psychology. Jackie is particularly interested in developmental psychology and the language acquisition, and is planning to pursue grad school to study development.
John Michael John Michael Kay. John Michael was a Psychology major at Villanova and graduated in 2016. His interests are in neuroscience, and he was an undergraduate research assistant in the lab from 2015-2016. He quickly became expert at running ERP subjects and coding acoustic data while working in the lab.
Brandon Henken Brandon Henken. Brandon graduated from Haverford College in 2016 with a double major in Linguistics and Cognitive Science. His interests are in Communication Sciences and Disorders, specifically in disorders of written and spoken language processing, retrieval, and comprehension. He worked as a research assistant in the WRAP Lab during Summer 2015, helping with experiments aimed at developing improved hearing tests, as well as an ERP study examining effects of intensity, frequency, and attention on the N100 and ABR.
Grace Kerrigan Grace Kerrigan. Grace was one of our very first undergraduate research assistants. She was a Psychology and Spanish double-major at Villanova and graduated magna cum laude in 2015. Grace is now working on her Master's degree in Speech Pathology at Marquette University.
Tyler Re Tyler Re. Tyler was also one of our first undergraduate researchers. He was a Psychology major at Villanova and graduated magna cum laude in 2015.