Current Lab Members
Megan Woodbury, PhD

Megan Woodbury, PhD

Postdoctoral Research Associate

Megan is a Postdoctoral Research Associate with the Puerto Rico Testsite for Emerging Contamination Threats (PROTECT) Center as part of the NIH Environmental influences on Child Health Outcomes (ECHO) Program under the guidance of Drs. Emily Zimmerman and Akram Alshawabkeh. Her research with PROTECT primarily focuses on understanding the relationships of non-nutritive suck (NNS) with prenatal exposures and later cognitive outcomes. Megan earned a B.A. in Psychology and a B.S. in Biology from Northern Illinois University before pursuing a PhD in Neuroscience from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, where her dissertation work focused on the relationships of prenatal exposures to a class of endocrine disrupting chemicals called phthalates and acetaminophen with early language development and attention. In her free time, she enjoys spoiling her nephew, painting her nails, reading, listening to true crime and history or political/comedy podcasts, and spending time with her husband and their cat, Curie.

Alaina Martens, M.S. CCC-SLP

Alaina Martens, M.S. CCC-SLP

PhD Student & Researcher

Alaina is a 3rd year Ph.D. candidate in the Human Movement and Rehabilitation Sciences program under the supervision of Dr. Zimmerman. Prior to this, Alaina was the lab manager for the SNL for 2 years. She graduated in 2018 with her M.S. in Speech-Language Pathology from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and completed her B.S. in Speech-Language Pathology at Texas Christian University. During her dissertation work, Alaina plans to examine sucking and feeding development in special populations of infants with a focus on Down syndrome. She is passionate about improving developmental outcomes for infants with feeding disorders. Outside of the lab, Alaina continues to work clinically as an SLP at a private practice.
Hannah Phillips, B.S.

Hannah Phillips, B.S.

Study Coordinator

Hannah graduated from Northeastern University in December 2021 with a combined degree in Psychology and Linguistics, and a minor in Communication Sciences and Disorders. She completed two co-operative education experiences in the lab, and returned in a full-time capacity after graduation. Hannah enjoys the opportunity to have a hand in many aspects of the research process, including study participant recruitment, data collection and analysis, and dissemination of exciting findings in the fields of feeding and communication development. She is multilingual and very passionate about Language — how we acquire it, how we use it on a daily basis, how languages interact with one another, and how they evolve over time. Hannah plans to pursue a Master’s degree in Speech-Language Pathology in the near future.
Morgan Hatfield, M.S. CCC-SLP

Morgan Hatfield, M.S. CCC-SLP

Study Coordinator

Morgan received her M.S. in Speech-Language Pathology from Boston University. Morgan completed her clinical fellowship in the early intervention setting and is a licensed speech-language pathologist. In addition to the Speech and Neurodevelopment lab, she also works in the Speech Motor Impairment and Learning lab at Northeastern. She has both research and clinical interest in pediatric feeding disorders as well as early speech and language development. Outside of the lab, Morgan currently practices clinically as a speech-language pathologist at a local private practice. 
Morgan Hines, B.S.

Morgan Hines, B.S.

Research Associate

Morgan Hines is a research assistant in the Speech and Neurodevelopment Lab (SNL) who graduated in May 2019 from Northeastern University with a combined degree in Biology and English. Before joining the lab in a full-time capacity, Morgan completed two co-operative education experiences at the SNL. Morgan first encountered topics in child health through Epidemiology of Pandemic Diseases and Health Disparities in the African Diaspora, a course taught by Dr. Richard Wamai. Since then, she has had a strong interest in public health, and was drawn to the lab because of its offer of exposure to and understanding of all aspects of early development as it relates to feeding from clinical, social, and biological investigations.
Alicia Iizuka

Alicia Iizuka

Research Associate

Alicia is a recent graduate of Northeastern University with a degree in Health Sciences and a minor in Psychology. She worked as a co-op student under Dr. Zimmerman during the Spring of 2021, where she examined the interaction between sucking, feeding, and vocal development in infants, and continues to volunteer at the lab part-time. She is most interested in the field of public health; specifically, the effects of environmental contaminants on underserved communities. She plans to use the knowledge gained during her time at Northeastern and on her co-op to advocate for more emphasis on preventative measures against adverse health impacts on populations in order to reduce health disparities and inequalities. She hopes to become a strong proponent for environmental justice in the future. Outside of work, Alicia enjoys swimming, hiking, and reading poetry and books.
Alex Newman, B.S.

Alex Newman, B.S.

Mechanical Engineer

Alex is an engineering graduate of Northeastern University. He graduated in January of 2016 with a major in Mechanical Engineering and a minor in Technological Entrepreneurship. Alex hopes to combine his engineering skills with his entrepreneurial passions to start his own company someday. He has enjoyed designing for a variety of different projects including industrial capital equipment, research testing, and jet engine components. He embraces innovation and someday hopes his work will contribute to a greener, more sustainable future. Outside of work, Alex enjoys spending time outdoors hiking, bicycling, traveling, and taking photos.
Sophia Shaughnessy

Sophia Shaughnessy

ROUTES Co-operative Education Student

Sophia is the current ROUTES co-op student in the SNL lab. She is a 2nd year majoring in Behavioral Neuroscience with a minor in Spanish on the Pre-Med track. Her combined interests in language and how the brain develops drew her to the work being done in the lab. During her co-op, she hopes to explore various factors that impact neurodevelopment, and more specifically environmental influences that may affect developmental outcomes. Further, she hopes to learn about how Non-Nutritive Suck predicts speech outcomes and other developmental milestones. She plans on going to medical school following her undergraduate years. Outside of the lab, Sophia enjoys swimming, volunteering, and exploring Boston.

Former Lab Members
Meklite Belete

Meklite Belete

ROUTES Co-operative Education Student

Meklite is the current Co-op student in SNL lab. She is majoring in Marine Biology with a minor in Environmental Science on a Pre-Med Track. She is passionate about pediatric health, specifically in how environmental factors may affect development. This niche interest is what drew her to the work being done in the lab. During her co-op, she aspires to learn about the multiple intricate elements that play a part in infant’s development, and furthermore the potential in how Non-Nutritive Suck can be used as a measurement of early infant neurodevelopment. She plans on going to medical school and becoming a pediatrician following her undergraduate years. Outside of the lab, Meklite enjoys spending time in nature and reading books.
Amal Elmady

Amal Elmady

ROUTES Co-operative Education Student

Hi! My name is Amal and was the Spring 2022 co-op student! I’m a first-generation third year studying BNS and public health on the pre-PA track. I’m from Brookfield, CT, a small town in Fairfield County. Since my time in the lab, I became an RA (in 153 Hemenway), started working at the children’s center on campus, and continued my volunteerism with Americorps Jumpstart/Boston Children’s. I want to work in pediatrics when I become a PA, and I got a great experience working with infants at SNL! In my free time, I love thrifting and learning about sustainable fashion, and biking around Boston.
Taylor Extavour

Taylor Extavour

ROUTES Co-operative Education Student

Taylor is a current student at Northeastern University studying Marine Biology and plans on applying to medical school upon graduation. She was the ROUTES co-op student for the fall 2021 semester. Her interests in maternal and infant health care and her passion for environmental studies drew her towards this co-op position. Through this position she hopes to analyze and address maternal & infant healthcare disparities through an environmental perspective. Outside of the lab, Taylor is on the Executive Board for both the Caribbean Student Organization and the College of Science Student Advisory Council at Northeastern University and enjoys volunteering with these organizations.

Last updated: 1/24/23