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Shannon E

- Research Program Mentor

PhD at Duke University


child development, developmental psychology, child language development, parent-child interactions


Hi, my name is Shannon! I am a postdoctoral researcher at Duke. I received my PhD in developmental psychology from Duke University last year. In my research, I investigate early parent-child interactions and early language development. I'm interested in figuring out how babies and young children learn language from their caregivers and the world around them. My current project investigates In addition to child development and language, I'm also interested in and have experience with mindfulness, literacy development, and education. I am originally from rural north-central Pennsylvania, and I currently live in North Carolina. My hobbies include cooking, playing music, and watching baseball. I also love hanging out with my huskies, Shuri and Korra!

Project ideas

Project ideas are meant to help inspire student thinking about their own project. Students are in the driver seat of their research and are free to use any or none of the ideas shared by their mentors.

Why do some parents talk to their babies more than others?

Around the world, some babies hear lots of speech, while others hear relatively little. In some cultures, like Tseltal Mayan, parents rarely talk directly to babies. But in other cultures, like in the United States, parents often value talking with their baby. Even within communities, some parents may be more talkative, while others may not have much time to spend one-on-one with their baby. Let’s think about the ways that parents speak to babies across cultures and communities!

Why do girls have better language skills than boys?

Research shows that on average, baby girls say their first words earlier than baby boys. They also have bigger vocabularies throughout childhood! What drives this gender difference? Are girls “trained” to talk more by their parents (even unintentionally), is it innate, or something else?

Coding skills


Teaching experience

I have a Certificate in College Teaching from Duke University. I have experience working with students from elementary to college level, including as a teaching assistant for 4 undergraduate courses at Duke University. Additionally, I have worked with many students outside the classroom. As a lab manager and graduate student, I worked with a team of undergraduate research assistants, as well as high school student researchers. I also mentored two independent research projects, including an honors thesis. I worked with elementary and high school students through several community programs during college, including teaching at after-school music programs, co-teaching a music class at a local high school, tutoring reading at a local elementary school, and assisting with a public library summer literacy program.


Work experience

Duke University (2022 - Current)
Postdoctoral Researcher


University of Pennsylvania (UPenn)
BA Bachelor of Arts (2015)
Duke University
MA Master of Arts (2020)
Developmental psychology
Duke University
PhD Doctor of Philosophy (2022)
Developmental psychology

Completed Projects

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