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Cristina A

- Research Program Mentor

PhD at Harvard University


forensic linguistics, computational linguistics/NLP, linguistics/languages, cognitive science


Cristina has a Ph.D. and M.A. in Linguistics from Harvard, a M.S. in Cognitive and Decision Sciences from University College London, and B.A.s in Applied Mathematics and Linguistics from the University of Southern California. Currently, she does research in forensic linguistics and artificial intelligence, using statistical and machine learning methods to analyze text (e.g. suicide notes, threat notes) involved in crime. She additionally freelances as an editor and proofreader for non-native English speakers. Other than fighting word crimes, she loves traveling the world, connecting with people, acquiring new skills, working out, and partaking in adrenaline activities. Last year, she sailed across the Pacific Ocean on a 34-foot sailboat with two other women.

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.

Learn How to Do a Scientific Presentation

Being able to clearly communicate technical information, especially to non-experts (i.e. people in different fields), is one of the most important skills employers in academia and industry look for. Choose a topic within the fields of forensic science, linguistics, computer science, or cognitive science and get lost learning all about it. You will gain experience finding and reading scientific literature as well as comparing different research approaches. Not only will you deepen your knowledge in this area, but you will also learn how to effectively communicate this knowledge to others in a scientific presentation.

Criminal/Legal Case Study

Are you fascinated by crime? Pick a particular court case and dive into the evidence, trial transcripts, and case law. Or, pick a certain kind of crime and review the range of cases that fall under that verdict. You can share your findings in an investigative report or in a true crime podcast. You will gain experience reading legal texts, sorting through different kinds of information, checking the validity of sources, and learning about crime, law, and the justice system.

Authorship Text Analysis Project

Stylometry counts the occurrences of words and expressions in a piece of writing. These frequencies can reveal important information, such as who wrote the text. For example, J.K. Rowling was identified as writing under a pseudonym based on similar patterns of words in both The Cuckoo’s Calling and the Harry Potter books. There are many different applications of stylometry, especially in the fields of linguistics, computer science, forensic science, literature, and history. A project could be in any of these fields and could range from lighter computation (i.e. analyzing different word patterns produced by software) to heavier computation (e.g. calculating statistics, coding in Python to extract the frequencies yourself). You will gain skills in setting up a scientific experiment, conducting a quantitative analysis, reviewing scientific literature, and writing up your results.

Coding skills


Languages I know

Italian, intermediate; Spanish, conversational; French, beginner

Teaching experience

I have tutored elementary through high school students in all subjects and for the SAT/ACT and have also coached students through the college and grad school admissions process. During my PhD, I was a teaching assistant for 2 undergrad linguistics classes and created curricula for and taught my own 4 undergrad classes. I also mentored 7 computer science, math, and linguistics students in conducting research that contributed to my dissertation. Outside of school, I taught incarcerated women English, helped offenders on probation/parole study for trade school exams, coached undergrad and grad students in boxing, and coached a middle school boys soccer team.


Work experience

Université du Québec à Montréal (2022 - 2023)
Postdoctoral Fellow
Self-employed (2017 - Current)
Editor and Proofreader
Human Language Technology Center of Excellence, Johns Hopkins University (2022 - 2022)
Visiting Research Scholar
Human Language Technology Center of Excellence, Johns Hopkins University (2023 - Current)
Postdoctoral Fellow


University of Southern California (USC)
BA Bachelor of Arts (2011)
Applied and Computational Mathematics, Linguistics
University College London
MS Master of Science (2013)
Cognitive and Decision Sciences
Harvard University
MA Master of Arts (2017)
Harvard University
PhD Doctor of Philosophy (2019)

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