Dissertation Acknowledgments

Below is the Acknowledgments section of my dissertation. I am publishing this here so that all of the incredible people below know how much I have valued their love and support throughout graduate school.

I feel incredibly grateful for the support, love, and guidance of so many individuals, who have helped me in many forms on the path to completing this dissertation. Below are a few of the many extraordinary individuals who have supported me immensely on this journey.

First, I would like to thank my dissertation adviser, Brenda Rapp, who has played a major role in all aspects of this project. Brenda taught me to think as a cognitive neuroscientist, to design analyses that answer challenging, deep questions about the mind and brain, and to tell a compelling story with data. I am deeply honored to have been Brenda’s student, and feel so grateful to be able to continue to work with her as we publish the results described here.

I would also like to thank my committee members - Susan Courtney, Mick Bonner, John Desmond, and Kyrana Tsapkini - for generously giving your time, expertise, and feedback to help make this project as good as it can be.

Additionally, although not on my committee, I would like to thank Michael McCloskey, who served as my master’s thesis adviser, and who taught me to think as a cognitive neuropsychologist, to think carefully about every detail of cognitive processes and representations, and I am forever a better cognitive scientist because of it.

Thanks to MDK and his wife N, who not only served as a case study for my master’s thesis, completing hundreds of experimental tasks over three years, but who became wonderful friends in the process. I am so grateful for your selfless desire to help my research and the field of cognitive neuropsychology, as well as your willingness to always grab lunch at Gertrude’s after an experiment. Thanks also to the many participants with aphasia whose contribution to this research in this dissertation is invaluable.

The graduate students in the Cognitive Science Department are some of the best people I’ve ever known, and I will miss interacting with them more than anything else. Thanks to Jane for being my CogSci soulmate from day one, for her kindness and her joy, for her tea dates and meeting Trae Crowder with me. Thanks to Rashi, one of the most wonderful people I know, who always knows how to put a smile on my face, even when things are tough, and who makes me feel like my most authentic self. Thanks to Nicole, a truly lifelong friend, who is unconditionally supportive, delightfully funny, and who can always make me laugh, whether we’re doing a ridiculous workout class or watching terrible TV. Thanks to Sadhwi and Najoung, who can always make me laugh with a good Harry/Cookie story, and who are always down to watch a fabulous Bollywood film. Thanks to Karen and Natalia, two wonderfully strong, brilliant women, who inspire me to be courageous and find my voice. Thanks to Donald, who is not only one of the kindest people I’ve ever known, but who has been incredibly generous in every possible way, whether it’s teaching me complicated neural network modeling or offering a kind, listening ear. Edit, you made joining the department so much easier with your kind smile and warm, easy friendship - thank you. To former graduate students in the department, especially Bob, Gali, and Miles, thank you for being role models to me - I learned so much about cognitive (neuro)science from all of you, and am so lucky to have you as friends as well.

I can’t thank the members of the Rapp Lab enough for their constant support, especially Jen, Jeremy, and Yuan. You have all always been there whenever I had any questions at all, whether it was finding a file on the server or thinking through a challenging analysis. You are absolute rock stars and this work would have been impossible without all of you. An extra-special thanks to Jen, who is not only the best lab manager anyone could ever ask for, but is a kind, generous, down-for-anything friend.

I am also incredibly grateful to Anna, Ro, Luba, and members of the Dissertation Support Group in the Counseling Center. You have provided me a place to center myself, set dissertation goals, and feel safe to be vulnerable when challenges arose.

To my friends outside of the department, you are the best. I cannot believe how lucky I am to have friends who love and support me the way you do. Rachael, your weekly Skype dates, complete with Netflix parties and giggling until we cried, made me feel better every single time we spoke. Jen and Julia, you two will always be my Rochester sisters, and I can’t thank you enough for your thoughtful conversations and your enthusiastic encouragement from day one. Ian and Chris, thanks for being too fantastic, goofy roommates who have made post-MIF life so much easier. Eva and Anne Lofton, you two saved me during the pandemic with our frequent FaceTime board game dates, and I am so glad that we’ve been able to grow even closer as “Bamboo Eaters” over the last year. Kristin, Korrina, Andrea, and Laura, thank you for encouraging me, for loving me, and for making me take breaks on the beaches of Cuba and Mexico. Mike, thank you for being a supportive, enthusiastic, kind, lifelong friend.

I would not be the scientist or the teacher that I am without the Goucher Prison Education Partnership (GPEP). Thank you to Amy, the entire GPEP staff, and the incredible GPEP students for reminding me why I did a PhD in the first place.

Finally, and most importantly, I am fortunate to have incredible support from my family. Birdie, Donald, Rich, Judith, Ester, Jorge, Mary, John, James, Linda, Sid, Ale, Analia, Michael, Joel, and beyond – thank you, thank you, thank you for supporting me, loving me, and making me an excellent home-cooked meal whenever I visited. Abby, thank you for being my best friend, my Hanabi teammate, and my confidante. Papi, thank you for your encouragement, for passing your love of math to me through Saturday morning math games, and for reminding me to take some time off to watch the Red Sox win the World Series. Mom, thank you for always answering the phone at any hour, for your passion, and for your love – you are truly remarkable. Layla, Darcy, and Theo – thank you for providing the best comfort, love, and companionship anyone could ever ask for. And Chris, thank you for your enthusiasm, for going on adventures with me all over the world, for always being willing to “talk math” with me, and for your love.

I feel like the luckiest person in the world to have had the above support system. This dissertation is as much theirs as it is mine.