Bridging the Word Gap (BWG) Emerging Scholars Program

The Bridging the Word Gap Emerging Scholars Program is a mentorship program designed to enhance the ability of emerging scholars to enter into productive careers focused on carrying out research that will help understand the word gap and develop interventions to reduce the gap.

During a two-year fellowship, scholars carry out a proposed research study related to the word gap under the guidance of BWGRN mentors. Scholars later then present their research.

Click here to learn more information about the Emerging Scholars Program. We will begin recruiting new scholars in Fall 2019.  

Questions about the BWG Emerging Scholars Program can be directed to Alana Schnitz, or Judith Carta,

Meet our current Emerging Research Scholars: 

Joshuaa Allison-Burbank, M.A., CCC-SLP (Diné/Acoma Pueblo) is a speech-language pathologist and research project coordinator for the Culturally Responsive Early Literacy Instruction: American Indian/Alaska Native (AI/AN) personnel preparation program at the University of Kansas (KU) in Lawrence, KS. He provides mentoring to trainees in the Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental and Related Disabilities interdisciplinary training program at KU Medical Center. Joshuaa is pursuing his doctoral degree with an emphasis on neurodevelopmental disabilities and public health. Joshuaa is a lecturer for the KU Speech-Language-Hearing Department and holds an adjunct teaching position in the Communication Sciences and Disorders program at the University of Vermont. Joshuaa is the former co-chair of the Native American Caucus within the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association.  As a Bridging the Word Gap Research Network Emerging Research Scholar, Joshuaa will examine the use of shared storybook interventions to promote early language and literacy amongst young AI/AN in Tribal Home Visiting programs.

Marianne Elmquist, BA, is a PhD student in Educational Psychology – Special Education, at the University of Minnesota. She also completed her undergraduate degree in Speech – Language – Hearing Sciences at the University of Minnesota. Marianne has over 10 years of experience working in a variety of different settings with children and adults with developmental disabilities. Her research interests include early language development and parent-implemented communication interventions, particularly for children with developmental disabilities who use augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) strategies. Additionally, she is interested in the use of technology to deliver interventions and its utility in capturing and measuring adult-child language-based interactions. As a BWG Emerging Research Scholar, she will conduct a small observational study examining parent-child interactions for children with complex communication needs (CCN) who use AAC strategies.


Maria Cristina (Cricket) Limlingan, Ph.d is a Postdoctoral Fellow in Classroom Intervention at the Developing Language and Literacy Lab at Teachers College, Columbia University. Her research interests focus on improving the quality of educational experiences for linguistically and ethnically diverse young children in the United States and in low- and middle-income countries. She is particularly interested in the environmental and cultural influences on immigrant children’s experiences and interventions that may improve their school readiness outcomes. Cricket received her Ph.D. in Child Development from Tufts University in 2016. Her dissertation examined the relations between teacher-child interactions, classroom context and Latino dual language learners’ (DLLs) school readiness. As a Bridging the Word Gap Emerging Research Scholar, she will examine the impact of an online teacher professional development program on the use of high quality teaching strategies for promoting DLLs’ language skills in preschool and kindergarten.

Danielle Erkoboni-Wilbur, MD is a general pediatrician who was raised in Central New Jersey and attended Wheaton College in Massachusetts for her undergraduate training. Following college, she worked as a Research Coordinator at the Center for Injury Research and Prevention at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. During her time there she designed and implemented several technology-based interventions to promote child passenger safety across the United States and in China. Her work and publications on the translation of public health interventions across cultures has been adapted by research teams across the country to adapt existing tools to meet the needs of diverse communities. Danielle did her undergraduate medical training at The Chicago Medical School and her Pediatric training at St Christopher’s Hospital for Children. She is currently a National Clinician Scholar at the University of Pennsylvania, investigating how media can be used to promote parent-child scaffolding around early learning, literacy and health.


Former Emerging Research Scholars:

Danielle Erkoboni-Wilbur, MD

Maria Cristina (Cricket) Limlingan, Ph.d

Carrie Gillispie, M.Ed.

Jennifer Cunningham, M.Ed.

Constance Beecher- Iowa State University

Elizabeth Fuller-

Lauren Cycyk- University of Oregon

Lauren Head- Emory University (doctoral candidate)

Naomi Rahn

Natalie Brito- Columbia University