I am in my 5th year of doctoral studies in Psychology (Cognition and Perception) at New York University, where I work in the Neuroscience of Language Lab (NeLLab) with PIs Alec Marantz and Liina Pylkkänen. In my work, a main line of research is the neural basis of syntax—that is, the structure underlying any sentence or phrase. Why is this important? Find out here.
My work uses a two-pronged approached to investigate syntactic processing: (i) passive, non-invasive magnetoencephalography (MEG) recordings of brain activity, and (ii) experimental designs that capitalize on grammatical properties of different languages (such as Arabic).
As a Palestinian who grew up in Haifa, I have always been surrounded by a mélange of many languages and dialects. I believe this exposure piqued my curiosity about the faculty of language from an early age. I am fluent in four languages (Arabic, English, Spanish, and Hebrew) and I am an enthusiastic language learner.
Apart from sciencing, another major area of interest of mine involves language from a different angle—literature. I am an avid reader and a published author. I won the A. M. Qattan Foundation’s 2012 Young Palestinian Writer award for my collection of short stories “North of Andalusia, West of the Homeland” (original in Arabic: شمال الأندلس، غرب الوطن). I am also involved in a number of playwriting projects and have two poorly-maintained blogs: one for odds and ends and some translations, and another where I make up new words in Arabic for fun.
I also enjoy cooking, baking, and choral singing. Currently, I am a tenor in the New York University Chorale. (Previously, the University Singers [NYU; ‘16–‘17]; Ramallah-based Zaridash ensemble [‘13-‘16]).