B.A., '19, Linguistics, was recently in The New York Times. From the article, "I wish I had known how to separate my learning from my grades. My educational experience became profoundly better and more enriched when I learned how to start learning for the sake of learning, and not for the sake of monotonously turning in an assignment for the grade I would get in return."
Maria José Palacios Figueroa
Following graduation, Maria José Palacios Figueroa, '18, B.A., Spanish and Linguistics, took the summer to travel with her family and decompress. In the fall she presented "Sí se puede: Moving Toward Accuracy and Confidence through Early Phonology Intervention in Spanish-Language Classrooms" with her mentors Jordan Sandoval, Ph.D., and Kirsten Drickey, Ph.D, at the 116th PAMLA conference. In February 2019 Palacios moved to Brazil to work as a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant. Her work at the Universidade Federal de Uberlândia consists of running English conversation groups, translating materials for the Programa de Internalização, and hosting workshops and events. She also audits graduate linguistic courses and started a Spanish conversation group. Her recent travels included a trip to Florianópolis to visit friend and fellow Western graduate Elisabeth Bunch, '18, B.A., Spanish, Linguistics, and TESOL. Palacios Figueroa is preparing to trade açaí for london fogs when she returns to Washington this fall. She’s very thankful for the experience of being in Brazil and encourages anyone to apply for a Fulbright.
After graduating from Western, Carlos Nye, '02, B.A., Spanish and Linguistics, went on to complete his master's degrees in Spanish Linguistics and Communication Disorders. He taught college-level Spanish and worked as a speech-language pathologist before later pursuing his Ph.D. at The University of Texas at Austin. His research interest focuses on facilitating generalization of skills across languages in Spanish-English bilingual children with speech sound disorders. He currently works as an Assistant Professor at the University of New Mexico’s Speech & Hearing Sciences Department where he continues to teach and research how to assess and treat communication disorders in culturally and linguistically diverse populations.
Students who graduated in just the last year alone are pursuing graduate study in linguistics, speech language pathology, computational linguistics, and TESOL, both in the U.S. and abroad. Other students are making use of their linguistic expertise in less direct, but no less important, ways.
Here’s what our students and alumni are saying...
“It’s the best possible combination of fields – math, cognitive science, formal logic, anthropology, etc. It’s impossible to get bored and there’s always something to learn.”
“Linguistics has helped me to approach language scientifically, to appreciate the beauty of language, and to feel constantly surround by ambient language data that always leaves me with interesting questions to think about.”
“Language is such an integral component of how humans interact and engage with the world around us, and what better way to appreciate the people around us than by engaging in other languages?”
"It feels like it’s kind of a unique major; it combines a lot of aspects of different social sciences and humanities. Also, everyone has some sort of language and it’s unique to them, so it has application to every person.”
"It encouraged welcoming and understanding of all other language and their cultures without criticism of any kind, but rather analysis.”