Our Research Team


Faculty & Staff Biographies

Karla McGregor  is a Senior Scientist and the Director of the Word Learning Laboratory in the Center for Childhood Deafness, Language, and Learning at Boys Town National Research Hospital. She is Professor Emerita at the University of Iowa, an Honorary Professor at the University of Sydney, and a Fellow of the American Speech, Language, Hearing Association.  Dr. McGregor's full curriculum vitae can be viewed here.

Favorite words: shenanigans, waft

Tim Arbisi-Kelm is a Senior Research Associate in the Word Learning Laboratory. He earned his Ph.D. in Linguistics at the University of California, Los Angeles, and completed a postdoctoral training in the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. His research interests are in phonological and lexical development, and the role of prosody in language disorders.

Favorite word: so'sol ch'iich'

Nichole Eden is a certified speech-language pathologist with a background in early language intervention. She has been employed as Laboratory Coordinator in the Word Learning Laboratory since 2006. Nichole thoroughly enjoys her work, and loves that it continually provides her with opportunities to interact with, and learn from, students, faculty, and research participants.

Favorite word: mischievous​

Jacob Oleson is an Associate Professor in Biostatistics, Director of Graduate Studies, and Director of the Center for Public Health Statistics for the College of Public Health at the University of Iowa.  He conducts both biostatistical methodologic research and collaborative clinical research for a variety of research ventures.  He has served as the lead biostatistician on numerous hearing, speech, and language related projects working closely with team members on study design, statistical methods, analysis, and results.  This experience includes longitudinal, spatial, spatio-temporal, mixed models, growth curves, Bayesian models, missing data, and functional data analysis.  Visit Dr. Oleson’s website.

Favorite word: merry

Erin Smolak is a postdoctoral fellow with experience in research in early language acquisition. She obtained her B.A. in psychology from Ohio University and her Ph.D. in Language and Communicative Disorders from San Diego State University and the University of California San Diego. Her research interests are in the early developmental trajectories of linguistic skills including word learning and language processing in both typical development and children with language disorders.

Favorite word: ephemeral

Meaghan Foody is a certified speech-language pathologist with a background in listening and spoken language and early language intervention. She has been employed as a Research Assistant in the Word Learning Laboratory since August of 2018. Meaghan enjoys working in research because it allows her to access both her intellect and creativity. She loves working and developing relationships with the children and their families as well as the World Learning Lab team.

Favorite word: amazing