Laura Varner

Personal Information
Learning Sciences Institute, Department of Psychology, Arizona State University
Country of residence: 
United States
Short resume: 

I am a graduate research assistant in my third year working for Dr. Danielle McNamara at Arizona State University. I currently serve as the lead graduate student on an exploratory IES grant aimed at the testing of a writing strategy tutoring system, Writing Pal. My primary responsibilities include system development and testing, integrating and testing the system within ecological settings, developing study procedures and materials, performing literature reviews, conducting analyses, and disseminating results. The goal of my research is to leverage technology to enhance our understanding of the cognitive processes that underlie language comprehension and production. In particular, my research aims to develop technologies that can automatically detect (and ideally remediate) the effects of individual differences on students’ performance. My research background is interdisciplinary, covering numerous disciplines, such as computational linguistics, cognitive science, writing and reading strategies, intelligent tutoring systems, and dynamical methodologies. Currently, my projects involve investigating the cognitive individual differences that contribute to proficiency in reading comprehension and writing, as well as examining the specific effects of these differences through the use of natural language processing tools.

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