I am a Linguistics and Cognitive Science joint PhD Candidate at the University of California, San Diego as part of the Mayberry Laboratory for Multimodal Language Development. Broadly, I am interested in sign language linguistics from psycholinguistic and neurolinguistic perspectives. My main research focus is on the effects of late first language acquisition on phonological processing in American Sign Language. I am also doing work in cross-linguistic sign language phonological typology. If you would like to learn more, please check out my research.
Shai was awarded a National Science Foundation (NSF) Linguistics Program Doctoral Dissertation Research Improvement (Ling-DDRI) grant to fund her dissertation research on "Late first language acquisition effects on phonological processing in American Sign Language". This grant will fund her behavioral and neuroimaging studies investigating how late first language signers produce, perceive, and process phonology in ASL.
Shai was awarded a National Institutes of Health (NIH) National Institute on Deafness and Other Communicative Disorders (NIDCD) F31 Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Awards Predoctoral Fellowship to support her doctoral training and dissertation work on "Effects of late first language acquisition on phonological processing in American Sign Language". This fellowship supports promising doctoral candidates and allows them to focus on their research and career development as they finish their PhD and progress into independent researchers.
Shai was accepted into the UCSD Cognitive Science Interdisciplinary PhD Program (IDP) and upon graduating will receive a joint PhD in Linguistics and Cognitive Science. This program has requirements beyond those of the home department including additional courses, further dissertation committee requirements, and the requirement for a truly interdisciplinary dissertation to receive the joint degree.
At the end of school year celebration, Shai received the Distinguished Achievement in Service Award from the UCSD Linguistics Department for her on-going work in anti-racist and inclusive linguistics pedagogy.
After much preparation, Shai successfully advanced to candidacy after submitting and presenting her dissertation proposal as part of the UCSD Linguistics Department qualifying exam.
Collaborative work between Shai, UCSD faculty Marc Garellek & Emily Clem, and UCSD Librarian Tamara Rhodes on the creation of a History of Phonetics course from a social justice lens will be presented as a poster at the 20th International Congress of Phonetic Sciences (ICPhS) conference in August 2023.
Co-authors Shai and fellow UCSD Linguistics PhD student Rachel Miles gave a stage presentation for their work on cross-linguistic distribution of handshape and presented a poster for their work on cross-linguistic markedness of handshape at the Theoretical Issues in Sign Language Research 14 conference in person in Osaka, Japan at the National Museum of Ethnography.
After all recorded presentations were submitted to the International Conference on Sign Language Acquisition 4, Shai received the Best Theory Presentation by a Student Researcher award from an independent review panel.
After completing the last course requirement, Shai received her Master of Arts (MA) in Linguistics at the end of the Spring 2022 quarter at UCSD, still on her way to get her Ph.D.
Shai was accepted for a presentation on her work looking at age of acquisition effects on the phonological system of ASL signers at the International Conference on Sign Language Acquisition 4, to be held virtually in June 2022.
At the 2021 Boston University Conference on Language Development (BUCLD46), Shai presented her latest research titled "Late First Language Acquisition Alters the Organization of the Phonological System of American Sign Language" in poster session 1.
After a (covid) year of data analysis and writing, Shai completed and passed her comprehensive exam in the UCSD Linguistics Department with her paper titled "Late First Language Acquisition Changes the Phonological System of American Sign Language".
Shai received the TA Excellence Award from the UCSD Linguistics Department for the 2019-2020 school year.
Shai is excited to announce her admittance to UCSD's Linguistics Department as a PhD student starting Fall 2019. She will be working with Dr. Rachel Mayberry and the incredible researchers in the Mayberry Laboratory for Multimodal Language Development.