Dr. Marie Coppola
AAAS Science & Technology Policy Fellow
Division of Social and Economic Sciences
Directorate for Social, Behavioral and Economic Sciences
Class of 2023-24
Dr. Marie Coppola is a professor in the departments of Psychological Sciences and Linguistics at the University of Connecticut, where she directs the Language Creation Laboratory and the Study of Language and Math. Coppola trained in developmental psychology, cognitive science, and sign language linguistics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the University of Rochester, and the University of Chicago. Since 1994 she has investigated a new emerging community sign language in Nicaragua (Lengua de Señas Nicaragüense), and the micro-sign languages innovated by the majority of deaf people in Nicaragua who are not part of that Deaf community. These studies led her to examine the impact of language experience on cognitive development, specifically number cognition, in deaf and hard of hearing children in the United States.
Coppola’s experience as the hearing daughter of Deaf parents makes her research possible and motivates her national and international advocacy work. Coppola advocates for equal access to graduate and post-graduate training for Deaf and disabled scholars in the US. To combat the global crisis of language deprivation, in which 70% of deaf people worldwide lack access to early language and education, she founded Signs and Smiles, a U.S.-based nonprofit organization that works in Deaf communities internationally to ensure equal access to educational and vocational opportunities for children and young adults.