Welcome to Linguistics at Rutgers University

Jeremy YeatonMajor(s) and Minor: Linguistics and French (Majors) Chinese (Minor)


Why did you choose Linguistics as your major?

I had always been interested in learning languages, and, by extension, learning about languages.

What did you like most about it?

I found it even more rewarding to study language, that is, the human capacity to produce and understand sounds and signs produced by other people, and gain meaning from those arbitrary gestures. Linguistics provides us with significant insight into this amazing ability.

What is your current position, what do you do, and what do you enjoy most about it?

I am a first year Masters student in Cognitive Science with a focus in Linguistics at the École normale supérieure in Paris. In general, I study the way the human brain processes information, particularly linguistic information. In my current internship, I am conducting an EEG (electroencephalogram) study investigating the processing of natural speech in a native and non-native language. I also continue to conduct research about negation in collaboration with my undergraduate thesis advisor Dr. Viviane Déprez.

What was your first job after Rutgers and how did you get it?

I worked as a program assistant in the Evaluation and Measurement Unit of the US Department of State’s School of Language Studies, where American diplomats go to learn language in order to perform their jobs abroad. I was offered the position after I had spent a semester interning there. After about a year working there, I moved to Bulgaria to spend the next academic year as a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant.

How did you move from that first job to your current position?

After my year in Bulgaria, I decided I was ready to go back to school, so I applied to this program as a means to gain a more holistic understanding of the human mind, and how that might inform us about the human capacity for language.

Looking back, what classes or experiences at Rutgers would you point to as contributing to your successes?

Most notably, my work with Dr. Déprez as an Aresty research assistant and then through independent study and for my Honors project in Linguistics. Participating in the Aresty program, and research in general as an undergraduate was an extraordinary opportunity. I also sought guidance from other Rutgers professors such as Dr. Jenny Yang (Chinese), Dr. Nuria Sagarra (Spanish) and Dr. Cori Anderson (Russian).

What advice do you have for our current Arts and Sciences students?

Get involved. Look into the Aresty program. Reach out to your professors to learn about their research. If you’re interested in a particular topic or field, find a professor that works in that and go to their office hour to learn more about it and seek their wisdom about grad school and beyond.

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