PhD Sisters Shirley C and Marina L passed their Viva

Our lovely PhDsisters — Shirley Cheung and Marina Loucaides passed their Viva with minor correction!

Congratulations to Dr. Cheung and Dr. Loucaides! 


For Shirley’s PhD, she explored phonemic perception in monolinguals and bilinguals using functional near-infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS).

Here is what she said after her viva:

This is a moment where I can truly say that I am so proud of myself for overcoming all of the struggles to achieve one of my biggest dreams. I taught myself computer and statistical programming, how to use fNIRS and process brain data, and tested over 200 infants and adults. I seriously worked my butt off for this and many tears have been shed!
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I’m very thankful that I decided to move across the world four years ago to independently pursue my interests in neuroscience. During the process I’ve built lasting friendships with amazing people and established a more solid understanding of myself. I guess the main point I am trying to make here is that I want to encourage everyone to go after whatever excites and sparks their curiosities, because you might very well be pleased with where you find yourself!


During Marina’s PhD, she investigated how children’s interaction with their environment affects their word learning by using head-mounted eye trackers.

Here is how she felt after awarded the title of ‘Dr’:

Today I defended my PhD thesis in cognitive and developmental psychology and was awarded the title “Dr.”
I am so proud to use this in front of my name now! In the four full years of hard work, with many tears and breakdowns in between, I tested 150 infants for my three empirical studies and did endless hours of coding and writing. I am so happy that I had spent 8 years of my life and earned 3 degrees in the beautiful city of Lancaster. Lancaster, you will be missed and you will always be my second home.