The NSF Research Experience for Undergraduates ILLC Site Program


The 2nd cycle of the NSF-REU ILLC ended in June 2023. A number of limited ILLC fellowships are available for 2023-2024: please email for more information.

More about the next cycle will be posted in Fall 2025.


We select undergraduate students residing in the New York area and match them with faculty mentors across several New York City campuses to gain research experience in various language-science fields (theoretical linguistics, first- and second-language acquisition, sentence processing, and bilingualism; speech, language, hearing and communication sciences, and developmental/acquired language disorders; signed and understudied languages; and others). The program benefits from the tremendous ethnic, linguistic, and cultural diversity of New York, and our mentors offer state-of-the-art research facilities, such as the Molloy Speech Perception, Speech Production, Language Intervention and Processing and Brain Bases of Communication Research Laboratories and Speech, Language and Hearing Center, LIU Downtown Brooklyn Speech-Language-Hearing Clinic, the Brooklyn College Linguistics Laboratory and Sociolinguistics Laboratory, the CUNY Graduate Center’s Developmental Neurolinguistics Laboratory and the YVY Research Institute (located in a Head Start program that serves 3,000 children who speak 15 languages).

We are funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF), and we aim to recruit a substantial amount of students from historically disadvantaged groups, such as minorities, veterans, students experiencing financial hardship, and others. Two cohorts of 14 students each partake in the part-time, year-long research program, a program that also provides workshops to help them prepare for the next step in their educational journeys. Our selected students are awarded a generous stipend for the year, for 6-8 hours a week in the fall and spring semesters, culminating in a conference in the late spring/early summer. For more information about applying and eligibility, click here.

Our Motivation and Mission Statement

Our aim is to serve two purposes: The first is to involve undergraduates in research projects that can be expected to contribute publishable results and novel data sets that will be made available to the field through open-access websites. The second is to simultaneously encourage and prepare minority students to undertake graduate work on diverse languages and cultures. In our experience, it is not uncommon for students to reach the graduate level with limited understanding of foundations like research-question scope, and further, historically disadvantaged students can be more likely to find themselves in such a situation.

Our program has both scientific and societal benefits, in that it integrates research and education. Furthermore, we aim to fill a gap in the language-sciences: Even though the general goal of work in the language sciences is to provide universal explanations for language phenomena, the bulk of research—despite growing awareness of the need for diversity—is still conducted on English and other majority languages. This is problematic for two reasons: First, findings are not representative of the increasingly diverse U.S. population, and second, neither are researchers, clinicians and educators. In addition to recruiting minority students, we are also focused on recruiting students who know lesser-studied languages, spoken and signed, and non-mainstream varieties of English. We aim to show students who are heritage speakers of non-English languages—or native speakers of socially under-valued English dialects—how to expand and exploit these valuable resources to help construct their careers.

Testimonials from previous cohorts

“This program is exceptional, and my experience has been unforgettable. Unfortunately, exclusion becomes the norm when you are part of a marginalized community. However, seeing myself and others represented in spaces where we are the linguistic/cultural minority was incredible. Everyone deserves to feel that sense of belonging. I am delighted to say that inclusion and respect were at the forefront of all my interactions throughout this process. I entered this program nervous and unsure of the concluding outcome. I’ve left this program hopeful and assured that my voice and contributing research are impactful to this field. Now, I’m recommending it to peers and am eternally grateful to my mentor and everyone who supported me along the way. -Nariba Cintron

“The ILLC program was an absolute great experience! The mentors were all supportive and my phonetic and acoustic knowledge in the field of linguistics was broadened as well as my technical skills in excel and voice analysis software.” -Faizeh Hammood

“This program was an excellent first stepping stone into the field of research as an undergraduate in college.” -Victoria Torregrossa

“As a minority in a field that is predominately white, this program was a great experience for building a sense of belonging to the academic research community at large. Overall, I have definitely been able to improve my research skills, and build my confidence in being an emerging scholar. From this program, I have solidified my aspirations to complete my masters in SLP and then pursue a PhD.” -Anonymous

“The Intersection of Linguistics, Language and Culture program marked a before-and-after in my academic journey. Whereas I knew my heart I wanted to pursue Linguistics at the graduate level, this program allowed me to explore and learn about the technology I hope to be implementing in my future project. Not only that, I also feel more empowered and confident in transitioning into graduate school; the hands-on experience of working in a laboratory will certainly ease the transition into graduate studies. The program also allowed me to further explore aspects of my mother tongue in ways that I had not considered before. ” -Daniela Castillo

“I enjoy having this research experience while being an undergraduate student at CUNY Brooklyn College. Not many students have the opportunity to deepen their academic knowledge about their native language. This program has brought me into a stage where I could publicly and proudly introduce my mother tongue without awkwardness, and I had never considered researching it. I thank the Program for granting me this opportunity to deepen my academic knowledge of Cantonese… What the NSF-REU Site also provided for me is not success and accomplishments as an individual researcher, it’s also how about the teamwork experience, and the unique relationship with our research partner(s) and mentor. These are people that we probably would not have a chance to talk to after class… I think that has been unforgettable for me and it certainly increases my confidence in public speaking skills.” -Sarah Feng

“I remember mentioning in my interview that I felt this program could be the ‘foot in the door’ to my career and future, and it has been all of that and so much more.” -Harmony Graziano

“This was a whole new experience for me! I really appreciate the opportunity to be in this program where I have researched and acquired experience with bilingualism… I also really appreciate the opportunity to do something new in the realm of Speech-Language and Communication… I have definitely learned a lot and I am looking forward for continuing to do so! Thanks again!” -Elyanna Moskowitz

“This program is a once-in-a-lifetime chance to prove to yourself that you can be very professional and learn from something you are doing in a professional setting that is outside of school. I am very happy that I had the opportunity to be a part of this amazing group. I’ve made friends here that have helped me through my research and have helped me become more confident in myself and my research. You really won’t regret doing this after all the hard work you put into it because you’ll see the results, and no one can take that away from you. With this program I learned a lot about myself, my peers, my research, and life.” -Daniella Shimoonov


  • We are primarily housed at both Molloy College, Long Island, and the City University of New York (CUNY) Brooklyn College campus
  • The program is funded by the NSF and the AFOSR- ASSURE Program