I’ve always been interested in language. I attended Purdue University in West Lafayette studying Spanish and Education (at first!) before finding my calling to Linguistics taking an introductory course as an elective. I immediately changed degree paths, and after graduation proceeded sought a Master’s degree in Linguistics from Purdue, as well. While at Purdue, I worked in both the Indigenous and Endangered Language Lab (IELLab) and the (newly formed during my time there) Purdue Experimental Language Lab (ExLing). The mentorship and experience I received during that time was invaluable for shaping my perspective on linguistics research – that the linguist fills many roles during their lifetime – teacher, scientist, activist, critic, artist, tourist, and philosopher.
I’ve since moved on to pursue my Doctorate in Linguistics at Northwestern, where I’ve gotten involved in the Syntax, Semantics, and Sentence Processing Group (SSSP) research group, Sentence PROcessing: Computation, Experiments & Theory Group (Sprocet), as well as NU Philosophy and Language workgroup (PhLing). The relationships and mentorship that I have developed (and continue to do so) by being a part of the Linguistics Department and the greater NU ‘cognitive science constellation’ (Departments of Psychology, CogSci, Philosophy, etc) have had a significant impact on my personal and intellectual growth – informing in many ways how I see myself as both linguist and member of the greater scientific community at large.
Though the questions I’m interested in and the methods I employ to investigate them have changed over time, they have consistently been part of a larger personal inquest – to understand the nature and source of our knowledge as human beings and to unravel even a few secrets about the workings of the mind. As a scientist, I see three promising frontiers open to investigation – outer space, the atom, and the mind. It’s my hope that by using language as a probe for investigating the latter of these domains, I am able to not just glean something of interest about myself as a language user, but that I can come to better appreciate Science as a humanistic endeavor – one which takes as its central object of study the nature of humanity, and its most important constituent (in my opinion), the mind. I see Language (Big ‘L’) and the greater scientific enterprise as things that unite us and divulge that many of us have more that we share than distinguishes us.
“We have created characters and animated them in the dimension of depth, revealing through them to our perturbed world that the things we have in common far outnumber and outweigh those that divide us.” -Walt Disney