Our Research Team


​Christopher M. Conway, Ph.D.

Dr. Conway is the Director of the Brain, Learning, and Language Lab at Boys Town National Research Hospital. Dr. Conway completed his Ph.D. in psychology at Cornell University.  He received postdoctoral training at Indiana University. Dr. Conway held faculty positions at Saint Louis University and Georgia State University before joining the Research Hospital. His work, which focuses on the cognitive neuroscience of typical and atypical language learning, is currently funded by the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders.

Samantha N. Emerson, Ph.D.

Dr. Emerson earned her Ph.D. in Cognitive Psychology from Georgia State University in 2018 and is now a postdoctoral research fellow working under the supervision of Dr. Chris Conway and Dr. Karla McGregor. Her research focuses on pattern-learning both at​ the level of the individual (i.e., factors affecting statistical learning and the downstream impact of statistical learning abilities) and at the level of the system (i.e., the learning and processing of typological differences in expressions between languages). She examines these factors in adults with typical development and in populations with language impairments, especially Developmental Language Disorder.

Margo Appenzeller, Ph.D.

Dr. Appenzeller completed her Ph.D. in Specialized Education Services at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. Prior to completing her doctoral degree, she worked as a teacher of children who are deaf or hard of hearing and as an early intervention provider for their families.

Joanne Deocampo, Ph.D.

Dr. Deocampo is a Research Scientist in the Department of Psychology at Georgia State University. She earned her Ph.D. in developmental and cognitive psychology from Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey. Before joining Georgia State, Joanne held several positions, including as a hospital developmentalist testing infants and toddlers for developmental delays; as Director of Research, Outreach, and Children's programs at the Center for Child and Family Studies, U.C. Davis; as a research associate on the NIH Toolbox Assessment of Neurological and Behavioral Function at Emory University; as an instructor of Baby Signs®; and as the Learning Coordinator for a combined adult coworking and early childhood education program.

Leyla Eghbalzad, M.A.

Leyla is a Ph.D. student in the Developmental Psychology program at Georgia State University. She is interested in how individual differences play a role in language development. Currently, her research focuses on the neural bases of sequential pattern learning. Her research also focuses on how cognitive skills and social/environmental factors impact the development of language in children.