I am a cognitive scientist, science policy advocate, and a leader in the academic labor movement.

My primary research interest is the mechanism of high-level cognitive processes, such as language and complex motor planning. For my graduate work, I studied Electrical Engineering under Prof. Steve Levinson at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. In my master’s research, I simulated the language differentiation in phonetic perception during infancy. My doctoral dissertation was on the dynamics of topographic map forming neural networks of spiking neurons and an application to the learning of hand-eye coordination on a humanoid robot. I did my postdoctoral work in neuroscience at UC Berkeley, working with Prof. Jack Gallant. I use an fMRI voxel-wise modeling approach to study the representation of syntactic features in subjects listening to natural narrative stories. In addition, I am interested in the decoding of imagined speech and possible differences between language production and perception, as well as using brain imaging to test hypotheses from theoretical linguistics.

I am active in making science a better place for scientists, which in turn strengthens the research enterprise. I have been a leader in the academic labor movement for a decade, first as a head steward for Electrical and Computer Engineering in the UIUC Graduate Employees Organization, and now as an elected Trustee on the Executive Board of UAW 5810. UAW 5810 is a democratically run organization of postdocs in the UC system and Lawrence Berkeley Lab, and we are soon to be joined by Academic Researchers in the UC system. Together with my colleagues, I’ve fought for positive change in areas such as gender equity in academia, enforceable minimum postdoc salaries, fair immigration policy for researchers, and a green economic transition.

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