Show The Graduate Center Menu




Richard G. Schwartz., Ph.D, Director (RSchwartz@gc.cuny.eduCV) Dr. Schwartz is a Presidential Professor of Speech and Hearing Sciences at The Graduate School and the University Center of the City University of New York. He attended McGill University, received his M.S. in Speech Pathology from the University of South Florida in 1974, and his Ph.D. in Speech Pathology and Developmental Psychology from the University of Memphis (formerly Memphis State University) in 1978. He is a certified and licensed speech-language pathologist. Dr. Schwartz has also held academic appointments at the University of Pittsburgh, Purdue University, Tel Aviv University, Weill Medical College of Cornell University Albert Einstein College of Medicine. He is currently the Director of Research for the Ear Institute: Hearing and Learning Center/Cochlear Implant Center at the New York Eye and Ear Infirmary. He has published widely on speech and language disorders in children in peer-reviewed scientific journals, contributed numerous chapters in academic textbooks and monographs, and has served as the editor of the Journal of Speech, Language and Hearing Research . He is the editor of the Handbook of Child Language Disorders published by Psychology Press. Dr. Schwartz’s research has been supported by grants from the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders of the National Institutes of Health since 1979. He has served as the chair/organizer of numerous national and international conferences. His current research interests include speech and language processing in children with Specific Language Impairment, children with Cochlear Implants, and children with Autism as well as the neurobiology of childhood language impairments.

Graduate Students


Dana Battaglia, M. Phil. CCC-SLP, TSHH ( received her Bachelor’s degree in Speech-Language Pathology from C.W. Post/Long Island University, and her Master’s degree in Speech-Language Pathology from St. John’s University in Queens, New York. Dana is a licensed Speech Language Pathologist and Teacher of the Speech and Hearing Handicapped in New York State. She holds the Certificate of Clinical Competence from the American Speech-Language and Hearing Association (ASHA). Dana has conducted presentations on autism and speech-language related topics at the local, state and national levels. Dana has worked in a variety of settings, including private and public schools, private practice, and Early Intervention. She is presently a Level III student. Her research interests include the following:

  • Language processing in individuals with autism

  • Semantic priming and Lexical Access in individuals with autism

  • Vocabulary development and associative language in individuals with autism

  • Phonological development in Autism Spectrum Disorders


Iris Fishman, M.A., CCC-SLP ( Iris Fishman, MA, CCC/SLP is a speech/language pathologist who specializes in the field of augmentative and alternative communication (AAC). Having received her Master's degree from Hunter College, she is a clinician with a wide range of experience with children with developmental disabilities as well as adults with stroke,TBI and progressive neuromuscular diseases. Iris has authored a text as well as a number of articles, presented at national and international conferences, taught graduate courses in AAC and directed a major assistive technology program. She served as President of the United States Society for AAC (USSAAC) and was a member of the Coordinating Committee for ASHA's Special Interest Group on AAC. Iris is currently the Lab Manager for the Developmental Language Lab and is doing research on language comprehension of girls with Rett syndrome at Montefiore Medical Center.

Karece Lopez, M.S. ( Karece received her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Speech-Language Pathology from St. John's University, Queens. She is a member of the National Student Speech Language Hearing Association and the Acoustical Society of America. In 2001 she presented a poster at the NYSSLHA Convention titled, "Grammaticality Judgments in past tense in William’s syndrome: A case study". Karece has also presented at the 2006 ASA Meetings in Honolulu and Providence. Those papers were "Perception and production of English vowels by native speakers of Mandarin" and "Factors influencing L2 vowel perception and production", respectively. 

Karece entered the Ph.D. Program in Speech and Hearing Sciences Program at the CUNY Graduate Center in fall 2007. She is a recipient of the CUNY Enhanced Chancellor's Fellowship. Karece was Recruitment Manager for two years and presently coordinates training and data management within the Child Language Laboratory, directed by Dr. Richard Schwartz. Karece is currently a Level II student working on a group eye tracking project examining lexical access in children with language impairments. Her research areas are semantic development and categorization with a focus on children with Autistic Disorder and typical language development.

Erin Reilly (ereilly@gc.cuny.eduErin Reilly CCC-SLP, TSLD received her undergraduate degree in Speech and Language Disorders at the State University College at Geneseo, NY and Master’s Degree in Speech-Language Pathology at Edinboro University of Pennsylvania. Erin is a New York State licensed Speech Language Pathologist and Teacher of Speech and Language Disabilities. She has provided therapy and evaluated students with a range of disabilities in Maine School Administrative District #49, Rainbow Preschool in Commack, NY, and the New York City Department of Education. Currently, she is attending CUNY Graduate center as a PhD student. Her area of interest includes language development in children with autism.

Emily Root- LaFemina, M.A. CCC-SLP ( Emily received her bachelor’s degree from the University of California, Santa Cruz, and received her Master’s Degree in Speech Pathology from New York University in 1999. She has been a Chancellor’s Fellow in the Child Language Lab at the Graduate Center since initiating her doctoral studies in the fall of 2008. Emily’s primary interests are language disorders in children with Autism Spectrum Disorders and Specific Language Impairment. Emily is the principal investigator in an eye-tracking study now entitled “Lexical Access in Children with Specific Language Impairment,” examining how children categorize objects linguistically. 

Emily has been a licensed speech-language pathologist since 2000, working in private practice in New Jersey. While she only works with children; she primarily treats children on the Autism Spectrum as well as treating children who stutter. In addition, Emily teaches Anatomy & Physiology and a graduate level Diagnostics class in the Communication Disorders Department at Brooklyn College.

Christine Rota-Donahue, M.S. CCC-A/SLP Undergraduate degree in Speech Language Pathology from the School of Medicine in Paris, France Master's of Science in Communication Sciences Disorders from Hunter College, New York. Certified and licensed in Speech Language Pathology and Audiology, area of expertise: Auditory Processing Disorders 
Level 3 Doctoral Student LISHA Doctoral Award 2009 

Area of research: Event Related Potentials, Selective Auditory Attention and Auditory Processing Disorders

Lidiya Tornyova, Ph.D. ( Lidiya Tornyova, Ph.D. joined the Child Language Lab in the fall of 2011. She received a Bachelor’s and a Master’s degree in Slavic Studies from the University of Sofia, Bulgaria, and a Ph.D. in Linguistics from the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. Lidiya is a recipient of a Doctoral Dissertation Grant from the National Science Foundation. Her research expertise is in the acquisition of questions by typically developing children. Lidiya is interested in applying her knowledge of typical syntax development to clinical populations such as children with Specific Language Impairment. She is currently working on a project using eye-tracking to investigate the role of working memory in the processing of complex sentences by children with and without language impairment.

Zara Waldman, M.S. ( Zara Waldman began the doctoral program in Speech-Language-Hearing Sciences at the Graduate Center in Fall 2011. Before starting the program, she earned her Bachelor’s degree in Communication Science and Disorders from Emerson College and her Masters’ degree in Speech-Language Pathology from Massachusetts’ General Hospital Institute of Health Professions (MGHIHP). At MGHIHP, Zara completed research on phonological awareness development in children using cochlear implants and hearing aids in conjunction with Children’s Hospital Boston. She is an avid signer and has also studied clinical applications of American Sign Language. Zara was also the 2011 recipient of the MGHIHP Award for Student Innovation. Currently, she splits her time between the Child Language Lab and NYEE, where she is working with Dr. Richard Schwartz investigating lexical access in cochlear implant users. Her research interests are in syntax development and sentence processing in pediatric cochlear implant users and children with hearing loss.