Meet the team!

Current Members

Joe Joe Toscano, Ph.D., Principal Investigator. Joe is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences 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 Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences 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 Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences 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


Agnes Gao. Agnes is our Lab Manager and first-year grad student who just graduated from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign with a major in Linguistics and a minor in French. Agnes is very interested in all things going on in the lab, but is most excited about cue integration, speech perception in natural environments, and pitch tracking using ERPs. If she's not in the lab, you might find her at Disney World.


Elke Nordeen. Elke is doing her thesis work with Janette Herbers and working in the WRAP Lab as 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?


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 second-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 compuational modeling. 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 second-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 grad student who is doing her thesis with Janette Herbers and working in the WRAP Lab as 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.


Zach Oxford-Romeike. Zach is a second-year grad student at Villanova. He graduated from Gonzaga University in 2016 with a B.A. in Psychology and Sociology where he performed research on gratitude, prejudice, and policy. Zach is currently examining the effect of nationalism and race on early face perception in the lab, as well as if nationalism may alter race categorization.
Liz Liz Day. Liz is a senior 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 senior 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 senior 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. Rakshana is also conducting an independent research study looking at individual differences in top-down effects in language processing. Outside the lab, she is a member of Chi Omega, Villanova Student Musical Theatre, and Nova Noise.


Katie French. Katie is a junior at Villanova and is working toward her B.A. in Psychology. She started working in the lab in Fall 2016. 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 junior at Villanova working toward majors in Spanish and a B.S. in Psychology with a minor in Peace and Justice. She started in the lab in the Spring of 2017, and has been involved in running ERP and behavioral subjects. 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.


Nicole Feeley. Nicole is a junior from Long Island, and working toward a B.A. in Psychology with minors in Political Science and Cognitive Science. She joined the lab this semester and is very excited to learn from and work with everyone. Nicole is interested in going to graduate school to study Speech-Language Pathology and, ultimately, hopes to become a speech teacher for children. Outside the lab, Nicole can be found leading her Pom team this year at Villanova.


Pankhuri Walia. Pankhuri is a junior pre-med Biology major with a minor in Spanish. This is her first year in the lab, but she is excited to learn the ins and outs of speech perception. Outside the lab, Pankhuri stays busy with Club Tennis, volunteering at a hospital, and cheering on Nova basketball. After graduation, she hopes to attend medical school and continue traveling the world.


Olivia Hacker. Olivia is a junior pursuing her B.A. in Psychology with minors in Spanish and Counseling. She plans to get her Masters degree in Speech-Language Pathology where she hopes to work with children who have speech-related disabilities. Back home in Chicago, she is actively involved with the Western Dupage Special Recreation Association, a program to support kids with intellectual disabilities at summer progrmas. On campus, she is a member of the Special Olympics Committee, Chi Omega, and Blue Key Society.


Cara Colao. Cara is a junior at Villanova and is working toward her B.A. in Psychology. She started working in the lab in Spring 2017. Cara loves staying active, hanging out with friends, & drinking coffee!
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 sophomore 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.


Tess Heinrichs. Tess is a sophomore undergrad student who is studying Cognitive and Behavioral Neuroscience. She is very interested in how the brain perceives sound and is learning 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.


Martina Vega. Martina is a sophomore 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.


Mackenzie Jorgensen. Mackenzie is a sophomore from Seattle, WA studying Computer Science. She is pursuing a concentration in Cognitive Science, and minors in Honors, Philosophy, and Peace & Justice. She is interested in Machine Learning and how to train computers to think more like our brains. She plans on getting her PhD after undergrad, before going into the industry. She hopes to use technology for social good.


Gwen Saccocia. Gwen is a sophomore undergraduate student from Massachusetts, majoring in Biology with a potential concentration in Cognitive Science, and a minor in Honors. She is excited to be in the WRAP Lab, and to study how humans perceive sounds. Gwen is very interested in the technology that can produce better hearing tests and, therefore, more effective hearing aids--eventually helping people live happier lives. After graduation, she is interested in attending graduate school for Public Health and Nutrition.


Nabiha Shahid. Nabiha is a sophomore Biochemistry major with a minor in Psychology. Within the lab, Nabiha is very interested in how people perceive different sounds. After graduation, she hopes to attend medical school and become a psychiatrist. Outside the lab, Nabiha loves volunteering, hanging out with friends, and exploring new areas.

Ani Javardian. Ani is a sophomore from the Philadelphia area. This is her first semester helping out in the lab, and she is pursuing a B.A in Psychology and a Cognitive Science minor. She plans on going to graduate school for Speech Language Pathology to work in either a school or hospital. Outside of the lab, she is involved in Club Basketball and NOVAdance.
Ellis Ellis Toscano. Ellis is very interested in spoken word recognition, and recently, he's been busy thinking up lots of rhymes and cohorts. 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 second youngest member of the lab. After working out how infants acquire speech sounds, he's now moved on to more complex linguistic structures. He's been working hard on this for a while now and has excellent results! You can usually find him wherever you find Ellis (they're kind of a team).


Susan Toscano. The third researcher (subject?) in our long-term longitudinal study of cognitive development, Susan is the youngest member of the team. She just arrived this year, and she's already off to a great start! We're expecting some motor and language milestones in the next year. Stay tuned...


Many of the lab members below still work on projects in the lab, and we now have WRAP Labbers scattered all around the country.

Click here to read about our lab alumni.