Gallaudet presidential inauguration activities include VL2 presentation

September 16, 2016

As part of activities surrounding Roberta Cordano’s inauguration as Gallaudet University’s 11th president, the National Science Foundation and Gallaudet’s Science of Learning Center, Visual Language and Visual Learning (VL2), will provide a presentation about its research findings, translational activities, and their implications for education and policy.

The presentation is at 12:30 p.m. Thursday, September 29, 2016, in Elstad Auditorium. For those unable to attend, the event will be live streamed and a video made available online afterward.

Led by Dr. Laura-Ann Petitto, co-PI and science director, the VL2 team will present new scientific understandings about language and the young human brain. Dr. Petitto will lead off the event by addressing misconceptions and erroneous beliefs about the vital importance of natural language exposure in early life, the biological equivalence of signed and spoken languages in the human brain, and the child's developmental requirements to achieve optimal bilingualism and reading success.

Dr. Petitto will talk about how these misconceptions adversely impact deaf and hard of hearing children around the world, particularly those who are denied visual access to language while awaiting cochlear implantation. She will describe how findings from VL2 and her Brain and Language Laboratory for Neuroimaging (BL2) debunk these myths and offer solutions to enhance language learning in all children, deaf and hearing.

The presentation team will also cover activities by VL2's four resource hubs:

  • BL2 – Dr. Laura-Ann Petitto, scientific director
  • Early Education and Literacy Lab (EL2) - Dr. Thomas Allen, director (also co-PI of VL2)
  • Translation in the Science of Learning Lab (TL2) – Dr. Melissa Herzig, director
  • Motion Light Lab (ML2) – Melissa Malzkuhn, creative director, and Dr. Lorna Quandt, science director

The presentation will also include representation of Gallaudet University's Ph.D. in Educational Neuroscience (PEN) program; new faculty with the launch of three new neuroscience labs to PEN's BL2 neuroscience core, led by Drs. Langdon, Quandt, and Berteletti; and spot appearances from PEN's brilliant young neuroscience scholars!

American Sign Language and spoken English will be used and captioning (CART) will be provided. Tactile interpreting is available on request; please submit requests to by September 16.

Click here for more information about the Presidential Inauguration Celebration.