Major(s) and Minor: Major in Linguistics and Psychology
How did you decide on your major?
I found out about Linguistics as a major/field by taking Psychology of Language, taught by Professor Stromswold. I loved the blend of both fields, and decided to try it out. I never wanted to stop taking classes, so I made it my second major.
What did you like most about it?
I loved the smallness of the classes. My largest Linguistics class was about 40 students. Accordingly, every professor was extremely helpful; even professors I didn’t take would sit down and talk to me if I asked. Seeing how genuinely excited the professors would get about the material they were teaching was always motivating.
What is your current position, what do you do, and what do you enjoy most about it?
I am a Research Assistant in the Language & Learning Lab at MRRI (Moss Rehabilitation Research Institute) in Philadelphia. I run people with aphasia (stroke survivors, specifically) through linguistic experiments to assess their severity and type of aphasia, and also test current models of word retrieval. Other parts of my job are transcribing speech, analyzing speech errors, and aiding in experimental design. My favorite thing about this job is working closely with the participants and seeing the different manifestations of aphasia firsthand. I also love the way in which the institute encourages us to keep learning, such as having meetings about relevant papers in the field and attending frequent research presentations.
What was your first job after Rutgers and how did you get it?
My current position, Research Assistant at MRRI, was my first job after graduating. I was sent the job listing by my advisor, Professor Déprez, and she highly recommended that I apply. Visiting Rutgers Career Services and having them critique my CV and Cover Letter was a great tool. Some thorough letters of recommendation also helped. I was interviewed and got hired two weeks before graduation.
How did you move from that first job to your current position?
I’m still here!
Looking back, what classes or experiences at Rutgers would you point to as contributing to your successes?
The most influential experience overall at Rutgers for me was working with Professor Déprez in the Comparative and Experimental Linguistics Lab. In my second year, I studied the semantics of plurals in both French and English, which turned into an online pilot experiment that I presented for my Undergraduate Thesis. Although challenging, working on the projects in the CELL lab were truly rewarding, and have contributed to my overall work ethic and ability to collaborate. Professor Déprez’s guidance has been invaluable to my professional and personal growth.
In general, there are actually very few Linguistics classes (and Psych classes) that I don’t use pieces of in my current job. I remember in my Phonology class, a lot of students said, “what will we ever use this for?” Well, I use IPA every day. One class that made me think more critically about research design was Professor Syrett’s Experimental Methods course. The Communication Disorders course was also extremely relevant to my current position since, on a daily basis, I use the tests and see the populations we studied.
What advice do you have for our current Arts and Sciences students?
My advice is to continue taking classes in the field(s) you enjoy. I would also advise taking interdisciplinary courses to see what other areas related to your current field of interest are as intriguing and important to you. Keep exploring- there’s no reason to stop.