About Me

I work on the semantics of time,
the revitalization of endangered languages,
and the scholarship of teaching and learning.

When I was in elementary school, I discovered during choir that the sound "eye" (/a͡i/) was a diphthong, and that you could only sing one of those vowels at a time. Feeling very proud of myself, I wondered whether anyone else had ever realized this before. I decided that I would convince some university to let me study the inner workings of language, even if I had to make up the field myself.

It turns out that many universities are already fully on board with linguistics. In my undergrad degree at UC Santa Cruz, I learned to examine linguistic data and build theories from the ground up to explain the patterns therein. In my doctoral degree at UCLA, I developed my own research program into the semantics of time; we know a fair amount about how verbs spell out tenses (past, present, future, etc.) on verbs, but how do we communicate about how long other properties hold for, like those introduced by nouns (e.g. teenager) or adjectives (e.g., happy)?

At UCLA, I also grew my interest in teaching linguistics. I started to invest heavily in the idea that teaching and learning can be improved through research into and the use of evidence-based pedagogical practices. I have since worked on projects on equitable alternatives to traditional grading, the use of games in linguistics classrooms, and the use of diverse names in example sentences. I have applied these techniques in courses I have taught at UCLA, San Diego State University, and Swarthmore College.

Just as my interest in theoretical linguistics led me to teaching, it also introduced me to language revitalization. I use the data from my fieldwork with Hän, a critically endangered Dene (Athabaskan) language, as the groundwork for the Hän Revitalization Project, where myself, Blake Lehman, and our research assistants build language learning materials to help preserve the Hän language. It has been incredible to see that even things that we can create quickly, like flashcards and worksheets, can make a big impact for a community trying to save their ancestral language.

Outside of my academic life, I also teach tango and acroyoga in my free time!