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 application was born...


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.

Our Leadership

New York City

About Us

Our Team


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.

Rocio Raña, Ph.D


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


Evgeniya 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. Evgeniys is also an avid language learner, traveler, and enjoys taking dance classes during her free time.

Jane Maryutina


Olga Avram is the Accounting and Research Assistant at LangInnov. She has completed her Bachelor’s degree in Mathematics and Economics at Baruch college, and she was involved with the Financial Women’s Association as a mentee and hopes to return as a mentor. Outside of work, Olga enjoys learning about art, painting, and coding.

Olga Avram

Co-founder, CEO

Co-founder, COO

Linguistics and Educational Content Assistant

Accounting & Research Assistant

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Tavani Lawrence is currently pursuing her MBA in Global Business at Rider University, where she is also a graduate assistant for the residence life department. She recently recieved her Bachelor of Science degree in International Business from West Chester University of Pennsylvania. Working at LangInnov has allowed her to discover her passion for sales, education, and helping others.

Tavani Lawrence

Anya Srivats is pursuing a B.S. in Finance and Data Science at New York University. She is interested in leveraging new technology to bridge equity gaps in our community.

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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

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Maureen Grady is currently pursuing a MA at Middlebury College in Spanish Language and Literature with an emphasis on linguistics. She received her bachelor's in history from the University of Scranton and also holds a MA in International Education from NYU. Her most recent work was at FLS International in which she directed the company's English language center in Jersey City, and later as program director she both taught ESL and developed & oversaw new boarding school partnerships for the company's international student population. Her interests lie in second language acquisition, especially in the adult context, sociolinguistics, semantics, and phonology.

Maureen Grady


Emi Sato is a recent B.F.A graduate from Pratt Institute, where she studied Branding and Graphic Design. She has a strong passion for storytelling in design as well as illustration. She grew up in a bilingual household and attended bilingual classes throughout her childhoold. In her free time, she likes silkscreen and paint as a creative outlet. 

Emi Sato

Sales Assistant

Sales Assistant

Linguistics & Educational Content Assistant

Animation & Graphic Designer

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Elizabeth Garza ia an M.A. student of Linguistics at the CUNY Graduate Center. Her interests include computational linguistics, language acquisition, and learnability. She is also a research coordinator for the Second Language Acquisition Lab at CUNY, where she is in charge of coordinating the development of reading comprehension assessments for the Multilingual Literacy Development project.

Elizabeth Garza


Kaitlyn Gurinowich is currently pursuing a B.S. in Social Media Theory and Strategy at Kutztown University. She is excited for the learning opportunity LangInnov has provided her with and is eager to expand her knowledge. Her favorite part about social media is that she can be as creative as she wants.

Kaitlyn Gurinowich


Kelly Jiang is currently pursuing a BBA in Marketing Management at the Macaulay Honors College at Baruch College. On campus, she is involved in Ascend, a pan Asian professional development organization. She's interested in exploring the intersections of business, media, and technology, and in her free time she loves to listen to music and go on long walks!

Kelly Jiang

Linguistics & Educational Content Assistant

Marketing Intern

Marketing Intern