Check out our Fall 2020 Newsletter

(with updates on recent research projects)! 

The Little Athenians Lab is currently investigating the following research topics:


(Project 1) How do young children who are learning two or more languages at the same time assimilate these language skills and information about new cultures? How is their new language incorporated into their self-identity? Are there conflicts, for example, between a child's English-speaking self and their French-speaking self? An identity they express at school, and another they express at home, based on the languages spoken in those locations? With many new dual-language programs being offered in states like California and Texas, this line of research has important implications not only for conversations within the scholarly community, but for the ways that it may directly inform policy decisions about educational programs. For this study, we are currently recruiting 7- to 10-year old bilingual children from All Souls World Language Catholic School, a dual-immersion school system here in Los Angeles. We thank the directors, principals, and families at All Souls for their participation!

UPDATE: We'll be presenting a poster at the Society for Research in Child Development (SRCD) 2021 conference in March! Check out our poster for preliminary findings of this study!

(Project 2a) We are also exploring how different instructor's titles (e.g., Mrs., Miss, Professor, first-name) affects student's experience in the classroom, as well as the instructor's own reactions to how students engage with them, based on title differences. We have collected over 100 participants worth of data (both from students and from instructors) for this project. Two of our research assistants presented findings at WPA in October, 2020 and we are currently writing a manuscript for publication, based on this work

(Project 2b) In a follow up study to Project 2a above, we are also studying how college instructor's attire (i.e, outfit/what they wear) may impact student's evaluations of the instructor and classroom climate. We have collected over 100 participants worth of data for this experimental survey. I'm looking for a research assistant to take lead on this project and to analyze and present these data, so please consider joining our lab :)

(Projects 2c) In yet another follow up study to Project 2a above, we are also exploring how college instructor's language (e.g., use of humor and/or "slang") impacts student's evaluations, classroom climate, and retention of course material. Data collection for this study began in October, 2020. I'm looking for research assistants to help in continuing to collect data for this study, so please consider joining our lab :)


(Your new project) I am also open to building new lines of research with students at MSMU. Even if you are interested in a topic outside of language (though still within the realms of cognitive or social psychology), and you are a student at MSMU, I encourage you to consider joining our lab!

I am usually looking for students who are willing to commit to at least 2 consecutive semesters in the lab, and because much of the work that we will be doing is self-lead, I am also looking for students who are reliable, engaged, and intrinsically motivated. We may be designing a new research study "from scratch," reading research articles, submitting IRB applications, recruiting human participants for data collection, analyzing data (using R and/or SPSS), and/or preparing poster or oral presentations for local, regional, or international conferences. :)

Also, if you'd like to help with our child studies, you may need to travel to local preschools and daycares (e.g., the Doheny Campus Child Development Center or schools in the Los Angeles area) for data collection, and must thus have a reliable means of transportation. 

If you have any questions about the duties of being a research assistant or about what it is like to conduct research in our lab, please don't hesitate to email me

If you are interested in applying to be a research assistant in the Little Athenians lab, please download and complete this application then email it to Dr. Rojo at

Lab Team photos:

Screen Shot 2020-10-14 at 11.40.02
Little Athenians Lab
Fall 2020 (during COVID-19 quarantine)
(from left, top row: Vivian Boyer, me, Andrea Bernal
bottom row: Yesenia, Roman, Yasmin Carmona, and Lesly Soto)
Screen Shot 2020-08-03 at 12.52.11
Little Athenians Lab
Summer 2020 (during COVID-19 quarantine)
(from left, top row: Alyssa Ream, me, Francesca Gunther
bottom row: Yasmin Carmona, Andrea Bernal, Lesly Soto)
Little Athenians Lab
Spring 2020
(from left, top row: Francesca Gunther, Alyssa Ream, me
bottom row: Vivian Boyer, Kimberly Ganivet, and Carin Mangassarin)
Little Athenians Lab
Fall 2019
(from left: Vivian Boyer, Alyssa Ream, me, Kimberly Ganivet)