Alex is a student studying Hispanic Linguistics and Language Science in the department of Spanish, Italian, and Portuguese. His research focuses on how sound variation affects learning. His dissertation, “Does environment matter? Exploring the role of speech community diffuseness on perceptual learning”, focuses on how the number of dialects spoken in a community of Spanish speakers affects the learning of a previously unheard dialect. Alex hopes to show that diffuse dialect communities, and the experience gained from contact with members therein, has positive effects in learning to connect novel sound variation to novel lects.