The City University of New York: Hunter College

695 Park Ave
New York, NY 10065

Research opportunities with faculty affiliated with CBMM: 

Hunter undergraduates find research experience particularly valuable if they intend to enter graduate school or work in a laboratory setting. The CBMM summer research program provides opportunities for undergraduates to conduct research in CBMM labs at MIT and Harvard. Hunter faculty affiliated with CBMM also offer opportunities for summer study and research during both the academic year and the summer. For more information, contact the individual faculty listed below.

The Computer Science Department at Hunter has faculty with interdisciplinary interests in vision, reasoning, linguistics and natural language processing, artificial intelligence, and machine learning. Computer Science offers a supervised research experience under the guidance of faculty with strong research programs in CBMM-related areas. The Psychology Department has faculty with interests in cognitive psychology, behavioral neuroscience, linguistics and language acquisition, and neuroethology. Doctoral work in computer science, linguistics, and behavioral and cognitive neuroscience is offered through the CUNY Graduate Center, and can be integrated with doctoral work in Molecular, Developmental and Systems Neuroscience offered by the Biology Doctoral Program.

Academic training for graduate study in the science of intelligence: 

To prepare for graduate work in the science of intelligence, students should develop background in a range of disciplines that include computer science, linguistics, neuroscience, cognitive science, and mathematics. A number of majors and concentrations at Hunter incorporate relevant interdisciplinary training, including Computer Science, Biology, and Psychology and Concentrations in Neuroscience within the Psychology and Biology departments. Hunter students interested in studying the science of intelligence should contact one of the CBMM-affiliated faculty below, as early in their academic careers as possible.


Martin Chodorow
Professor, Hunter College Department of Psychology and CUNY Graduate Center Doctoral Programs in Psychology and Linguistics

Martin Chodorow is a cognitive psychologist and a computational linguist. His research in cognitive psychology focuses on two areas – proofreading and implicit memory. Everyone has had the experience that it is harder to find errors in their own writing than in the writing of others, and that, after a delay, their own errors seem to be easier to detect. Prof. Chodorow studies the ways in which familiarity, expectation, context, and

word frequency interact to make misspellings and other errors easier or harder to find during proofreading. His second area of research in cognitive psychology is implicit memory, memory without awareness. It is typically demonstrated by measuring repetition priming – the facilitation of processing that occurs when a stimulus is presented a second time. His work looks at interference effects in implicit memory that result when newly presented stimuli are similar to an implicitly remembered stimulus. Prof. Chodorow's research in computational linguistics focuses on the development of automated systems for evaluating writing. He has worked on methods for detecting grammar and word usage errors that are particularly common in the writing of non-native English speakers, and on diagnosing problems involving discourse coherence which are common in both native and non-native writing. Professor Chodorow teaches undergraduate courses on Cognitive Processes and Cognitive Science, and graduate courses on Statistics.

Susan L. Epstein
Professor, Hunter College Department of Computer Science and CUNY Graduate Center Doctoral Program in Computer Science

Susan L. Epstein develops knowledge representations and machine learning algorithms to support programs that learn to be experts. Her current research interests include plausible recommendations and human-multi-robot teams for search and rescue. An interdisciplinary scholar, she has worked with and published for mathematicians, psychologists, geographers, linguists, microbiologists, and roboticists to identify important principles about knowledge and learning, and to help computers exploit them. She has published more than 130 peer-reviewed papers, and teaches artificial intelligence and machine learning at Hunter and The Graduate Center. Her lab includes both graduate students engaged in rigorous empirical research. She has chaired The Cognitive Science Society and is currently an officer of the Special Interest Group on Artificial Intelligence (SIGAI) for the world’s largest organization for computer professionals, the ACM (Association for Computing Machinery).

William Gregory Sakas
Professor & Chair, Department of Computer Science; Graduate Program in Linguistics

William Sakas is an Associate Professor of Computer Science and Linguistics at the City University of New York (CUNY) Graduate Center where he was the founding director of the Computational Linguistics Program. He is currently the Chair of the Computer Science Department at Hunter College, CUNY. Dr. Sakas’s research is focused on

computational modeling of human language: What are the consequential components of a computational model and how do they correlate with psycholinguistic data and human mental capacities? His work makes use of both corpora of child-directed speech as well as a multi-language domain constructed by his research group of 3,072 abstract, linguistically-motivated grammars designed as a testbed for computational models of human syntax acquisition. Research methods draw from computational linguistics, computational psycholinguistics, machine learning, probabilistic modeling, corpus analysis, psycholinguistics, linguistic theory and formal learning theory. He is also actively involved in several projects that bring computer science curricula into NYC public high schools.

H. Philip Zeigler
Professor, Department of Psychology

Professor Zeigler has been a pioneer in the comparative study of trigeminal system function, having published over 100 papers, many with international collaborators, focusing on his work with both birds and mammals, as well as editing a substantial number of Conference volumes. Zeigler’s work has focused on the way in which trigeminal sensory input is processed and integrated with the motor system during eating and drinking and the control of the whiskers for active sensing behavior in rodents. His laboratory has combined electrophysiology, anatomy and behavioral techniques for the study of “active sensing” (whisking) in rodents. Using novel, computer-assisted technology makes it possible to bring “active sensing” (exploration) under behavioral control and to monitor both behavior and single-unit activity in actively exploring rodents. A collaborative project with Prof. Feinstein of Biology explores the molecular genetics and development of the trigeminal system, and the behavioral and anatomical effects of gene deletion in this system.