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Our History

LangInnov started back in 2017, when Dr. Raña and Dr. Cao discussed their career goals. At the time, they were mothers of young bilingual children, which they believe is an incredible asset. However, they could see that bilingualism could be difficult to maintain when children start school and in certain cases, it could even hinder their school achievement if it is not well exploited. Both co-founders brainstormed for hours and decided they wanted to contribute their academic knowledge of linguistics to a societal cause. A few months later, the BLAST app was born...

Classroom view
purple blob
Timeline of BLAST's development and funding history
Meet Vincent, a character in the BLAST App

Our Leadership

LangInnov was founded by two entrepreneurial women:

Dr. Rocio Raña and Dr. Xuan-Nga Cao.

Dr. Raña and Dr. Cao met in New York City while pursuing doctoral studies in linguistics. Since then, they have collaborated in research, educational and business projects. LangInnov is the culmination of years of joint and independent work that allowed them to realize that there was a societal need for an app such as BLAST.

New York City

Our Team

Meet Dr. Rocio Raña, our co-founder!

Dr. Rocio Raña is the President and CEO of LangInnov. She has over 15 years of experience in linguistic project management and educational research. She earned her PhD in Linguistics at CUNY’s Graduate Center, and has extensive experience in bilingual literacy development and assessments, second language acquisition, and sociolinguistics. Dr. Raña has authored several publications in her areas of expertise.

Rocío Raña, Ph.D
Co-Founder, CEO
Meet Dr. Xuan-Nga Cao, our co-founder!

Dr. Xuan-Nga Cao is the COO of LangInnov. She is also the co-founder of Gazouyi, a parenting app. She has sustained several management positions in different startup companies. At present, she leads the Echolalia project, developed within the Cognitive Machine Learning team located at Ecole Normale Supérieure in Paris. She has co-authored several papers on speech tools and analysis of speech in child daylong recordings.

Xuan-Nga Cao, Ph.D
Co-Founder, COO
Meet Clarisse, our Project Manager

Clarisse Taboy is a recent graduate from the CUNY Graduate Center with an M.A. degree in Computational Linguistics. She speaks English and Tagalog natively, and is fluent in French. In her free time, Clarisse loves learning new things about the world, skateboarding, and traveling!

Clarisse Taboy
Educational Technology Project Manager
Meet Richie, our Full-Stack Programmer

Richie Budijono is a full-stack mobile developer enthusiast. With a degree in B.Sc. in Computer Science, he loves to self-learn and expand his knowledge in the world of software development. He may not talk much, but always stays communicative when approached.

Richie Budijono

Full-Stack Programmer

Meet Jane, our Linguistics and Educational Content Assistant

Evgeniya "Jane" Maryutina is a Ph.D student at Speech-Language-Hearing Sciences Department at CUNY Graduate Center. She also holds MA in Linguistics from CUNY Graduate Center. Her research focuses on bilingual children and phonology. She also works as a Russian instructor for children at Carousel of Languages and heads their research department. Jane is also an avid language learner, traveler, and enjoys taking dance classes during her free time.

Jane Maryutina

Linguistics & Educational Content Assistant

Meet Zaire, our Sales Assistant

Zaire Martinez has a B.A. in Arts and a MLIS from the University of Puerto Rico. She also holds an MFA from the University of Southern California. She loves the theatre. She is fluent in Spanish and a little bit of French.

Zaire Martinez Roldan

Sales Assistant

Meet Nick, our Machine Learning Assistant

Nicholas Uva is currently pursuing a M.A. in Computational Linguistics from CUNY Grad Center. He is interested in semantics, historical linguistics, information theory, and building language tools for under-served communities. He loves learning languages, and is fluent(ish) in Italian. In his free time he enjoys running, cooking, astronomy, and board games.

Nicholas Uva
Machine Learning Research Assistant
Meet Despina, our Sales Assistant

Despina Skartados is currently pursing a B.A. in Mathematics at Baruch College, where she is a member of the Baruch Actuarial Science Society and the Association for Women in Mathematics Baruch Chapter. During her free time she tutors children in the Modern Greek Language and in Mathematics. She enjoys traveling and learning new languages.

Despina Skartados
Sales Assistant
Meet Katy Salach, our Sales Director

Katy graduated with a bachelor’s in communications from UANL and a bachelor’s in education from Universidad Valle Continental in Mexico.
She has 14+ years of experience in different sales/marketing roles and industries, working with the multicultural market and its ever-growing need.

Being a mom of 2 kids in a bilingual household makes Katy passionate about LangInnov's mission and purpose. Her passion for work, positive attitude, enthusiasm to learn from others, and being part of a vibrant team are essential to her contributions and success. She is inspired daily by her family (at home or in the office!).

In her spare time, Katy loves to travel, learn from different cultures, try different foods as well as outdoor activities such as hikes, skiing, and long walks with her dog, Luna (goldendoodle)!

Katy Salach
Sales Director
Meet Krystina Wang, our Linguistics and Educational Content Intern

Krystina Wang is currently pursuing a double major in Education Studies and Applied Psychology as an undergraduate student at New York University. She is a native speaker of Mandarin and learned American Sign Language for two years before. In her free time, Krystina loves swimming and exploring dessert stores in the city!

Krystina Wang
Linguistics & Educational Content Intern

Cinthya graduated in 2018 with a bachelors degree in Business Marketing from The University of Texas at El Paso. A passionate mission-oriented marketing and sales leader with over 6 years of experience in the field, Cinthya uses her communications and customer service skills with a balanced and organized – yet still creative! – approach. She is also fluent in English and Spanish.

Cinthya Morales
Sales Specialist
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