I am a semanticist focused on pedagogy and a field researcher engaged in revitalization.
I grew up in the small, rainy capital city of Olympia, Washington. From my early childhood, I knew I wanted to study linguistics, even though I wouldn't know what it was called until I was 16. I remember sitting in choir, discovering diphthongs, and in Spanish class, pondering noun-adjective order, and wondering if anyone had ever thought about these things before. I decided then and there that I would convince some university to let me study the inner workings of human language, even if I had to make up the field myself.
Fast forward a bit--it turned out that many universities were already fully on board with the concept of linguistics--and I landed in Santa Cruz, CA, having my critical thinking skills sharpened by the pedagogists there. The way I was taught there to question and build abstract theories in syntax and semantics has inspired me for years and has guided my own expedition into pedagogy.
Now that I am at UCLA, as a PhD candidate with students and RAs of my own, I strive to use my theoretical knowledge of communication and meaning to enhance the learning experience for those I teach. I am now producing my own formal pedagogical research and have many plans for more in the future.
Just as my interest in theoretical linguistics led me to teaching, it also introduced me to language revitalization. Through my fieldwork with Hän, an extremely endangered Athabaskan language, I found a passion for helping the communities I work with. As linguists, we have so much to offer the communities of endangered languages. Even things that we can create quickly, like flashcards, lessons, and worksheets, can make a big impact on a community trying to save their ancestral language.
Outside of my academic life, I also teach tango and acroyoga in my free time!