PEN Alumni

Dr. Diana Andriola
Gallaudet University

Diana Andriola, a fourth-year candidate in the PhD in Educational Neuroscience (PEN) program, works with Dr. Clifton Langdon (Advisor) in the Language and Educational Neuroscience (LENS) Laboratory at Gallaudet University.

Prior to Andriola's doctoral work at Gallaudet, she earned her Bachelor of Arts in Deaf Studies from California State University-Northridge, where she began to explore her research interests in second-language acquisition and literacy development in deaf children. 

Andriola has been a research assistant in Dr. Langdon's Language & Educational Neuroscience (LENS) lab since fall 2014. 

During her previous assistantship with Petitto's Brain and Language Lab for Neuroimaging (BL2), Andriola received certification in functional Near Infrared Spectroscopy (fNIRS).

In her doctoral research, Andriola uses fNIRS to investigate the cognitive mechanisms supporting spoken and signed language phonological awareness, and whether sign language phonological awareness supports reading development in deaf children. 

Findings from this research will provide insight into the impact of early language exposure and inform educational policy and practice for literacy instruction with deaf children.

This research is the first to use an interdisciplinary neuroscience approach to examine phonological awareness for both signed and spoken language in children and promises to shed new light on the brain’s capacity for language processing, regardless of the language modality. 

Diana is also passionate about science outreach and involving high school students — including minority, deaf, and female students — in the sciences.

Secondary Reader (Advisor): Dr. Gaurav Mathur