Chair’s Message: Linguistics and Gordy Hall open up to the new green heart of campus

Published: August 8, 2023 Author: David Bell, associate professor and chair of Linguistics

After being closed for almost three years, the Linguistics Department office opened up again in fall 2022 thanks to our student workers: Olivia Demaree, Annie Tibbels and Mady Radle. They sat behind the desk in the front office and answered questions and directed inquiries.

The view from the office is as magnificent as ever, now overlooking the brand new Chemistry Building and the hills beyond. And if you look to your left, you can see the new grassy park were Scott Quad used to be. Gordy Hall is now just across from the new green heart of campus.

A Lollapalooza of Student Research

Our students have certainly been busy this year. Ten of our grad students won $500 travel grants to present their research in-person at conferences, including the Kentucky Foreign Language Conference at Kentucky University, Lexington; the Second International Conference on Literacy, Culture, and Language Education (ICLCLE) at Indiana University, Bloomington; the Illinois Language and Linguistics Society 15 (ILLS15) Conference at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; and the AAAL (American Association of Applied Linguistics) 2023 in Portland, Oregon.

Our students also presented virtually at numerous global online conferences. Back in Athens Dr. Michelle O’Malley’s research group — M.A. student Lynden Caldwell and B.A. undergrads Ian McGee and Lyric Jones — won first place at the Student Expo 2023 for their research on “The Glideless /aɪ/: A Reflection of Generational Language Shifts in SE Ohio.”

And Oussema Dhieb won $1,000 in graduate research funding from the College of Arts & Sciences to support his research into the pedagogical uses of VR (virtual reality) in Arabic language learning. Oussema used the money to buy VR headsets, which he has subsequently donated to the department.

 

Alumni Filipo Lubua  and Linye Jing, portraits
Alumni Filipo Lubua and Linye Jing

The Linguistics Colloquium Series Connects Alumni Across the World

Last academic year, our Linguistics Colloquium saw presentations via Teams by alumni and former faculty from as far away as Hawaii, Japan, Ecuador, Sri Lanka and Singapore. It was great to welcome back, if only virtually, Dr. Joe Lee, who is currently a professor at Dalarna University, Sweden.

And thanks to funding from the College of Arts and Sciences, we were able to bring Sam Bockoven ’15 from New York. Sam works in a new and expanding field for linguists as a content localization specialist, managing translation workflows for major news, documentary and media teams including the New York Times, HBO, VICE, Meta, and National Geographic.

Our  upcoming Fall 23 Colloquium Series will bring back to Athens Filipo Lubua ’14M, '19PhD, who as well as giving a colloquium talk, will lead a workshop in teaching Swahili for our TAs. Dr. Lubua  is a Teaching Assistant Professor and African Language Program Coordinator in the Linguistics Department at the University of Pittsburgh.

Also presenting in the colloquium series will be alumna Linye (Alice) Jing ’12M. Dr. Jing recently earned her Ph.D. in Communication Disorders and Speech Science from New York University and is now working as a postdoc at Columbia University. And also in the fall colloquium series, we are looking forward to the return our former faculty member and alumna Dr. Lara Wallace.

Please join us every Friday from 12:55 to 1:50 p.m. via Teams. And if you would like to present in the future, please contact me at belld@ohio.edu. I can’t overstate how inspirational it is for our present students to listen to the research of those who have gone before them through our M.A. in Applied Linguistics program and established themselves as professionals in the field of applied linguistics.

 

The M.A. class of ’23, from left: Gorrie B Jallow, Nour Maache, Sam Metzger, Claire Molitors, Lynden Caldwell,  Qinwen Pan, Miki Suzuki, Simon Egleh, Sara Abdelrahman, Josssy Mutisya, Afua Kwarteng, Merve Ocak, Oussema Dhieb, and Ayman Elbarbary.
The M.A. class of ’23, from left: Gorrie B Jallow, Nour Maache, Sam Metzger, Claire Molitors, Lynden Caldwell,  Qinwen Pan, Miki Suzuki, Simon Egleh, Sara Abdelrahman, Josssy Mutisya, Afua Kwarteng, Merve Ocak, Oussema Dhieb, and Ayman Elbarbary.

Spring Celebration 2023

It has been a while since we have had our traditional graduation celebration in Jeff Hall. So it was wonderful to meet again and honor our graduates, and to taste the delicious international cuisine that our students prepared: Tunisian Kefta, Ghanaian Jollof, traditional Algerian potatoes, chicken and eggs, Brigadeiro (little chocolate truffles), Kimchi fried rice and Bulgogi (Korean beef), and many more dishes from all over the world.

As ever, it was a bitter-sweet moment as we both congratulated and said farewell to our graduating students. Graduating from the M.A. program were: Sara Abdelrahman, Lynden Caldwell, Oussema Dhieb, Simon Egleh, Ayman Elbarbary, Gorrie B Jallow, Afua Kwarteng, Nour Maache, Sam Metzger, Claire Molitors, Josssy Mutisya, Merve Ocak, Qinwen Pan, and Miki Suzuki. And from the B.A. program: Gabby Gramajo, Fawn Printz, Caitlin Sauvey, Abby Sundeen, and Isabelle Leimkuhler.

And we had some special awards: Qinwen Pan won the Outstanding Teaching Assistant Award, Claire Molitors won the James and Miriam Coady Phonology Award, and Isabelle Leimkuhler won the Outstanding Linguistics Undergraduate Student Award.

 

Claire Molitors, Edna Lima and Sam Metzger, group portrait
From left, Claire Molitors, Edna Lima and Sam Metzger

To round out the evening Claire Molitors and Sam Metzger, in Oscar-night style, hosted a fun awards ceremony. In the faculty section, Dr. Hiro Oshita won the coveted Most Considerate Professor Award; Professor Gabriela Castañeda-Gleason carried off the prestigious Nicest/Friendliest Instructor Award; Dr. Edna Lima won the Most Afraid to Turn in Late to Award, and Dr. Bell was the reluctant recipient of two awards: Least Likely to Use Technology and Most Likely to Give Homework over a Break.

 

From top, left-to-right: David Bell, Oussema Dhieb, Lynden Caldwell, Miki Suzuki,  Sara Abdelrahman, Simon Egleh, Gorrie B Jallow, Ayman Elbarbary.  Bottom left-to-right: Nour Maache, Hiro Oshita, Merve Ocak, Sam Metzger, Qinwen Pan, Claire Molitors, Josssy Mutisya, and Afua Kwarteng.
From top, left-to-right: David Bell, Oussema Dhieb, Lynden Caldwell, Miki Suzuki,  Sara Abdelrahman, Simon Egleh, Gorrie B Jallow, Ayman Elbarbary.  Bottom left-to-right: Nour Maache, Hiro Oshita, Merve Ocak, Sam Metzger, Qinwen Pan, Claire Molitors, Josssy Mutisya, and Afua Kwarteng.

The Sun Shines on Graduate Commencement 2023

With COVID fears receding, it was great to see the whole M.A. Applied Linguistics 2023 graduating class turning out for commencement in all their regalia at the Convo. The sun shone down on our super-talented group of students who are now furthering their professional lives in jobs and further study in Ph.D. programs. We wish them all the very best of success.

And one special mention for Sam Metzger. Sam has been with us in the Linguistics Department for six years as both a B.A. and an M.A. student. For most of that time Sam, who is First-Gen (the first person in her family to attend college), put herself through college working a series of part-time jobs. We are thrilled that Sam will still be continuing at Ohio University, not as a student but as an employee. She will be the Coordinator of First Generation+ and Scholars Programs in the Academic Achievement Center. Congratulations, Sam!

 

From left: Afua Kwarteng, Qinwen Pan, Jossy Mutisya, and Nour Maache
From left: Afua Kwarteng, Qinwen Pan, Jossy Mutisya, and Nour Maache

Thank You For Your Donations

The prize money for the Phonology Award comes from the James and Miriam Coady Fund. The fund also supports travel and registration costs of student presentations at conferences. Thank you Jim and Miriam for your continuing support of the department! And many thanks to all our alumni and faculty that donated this year.

If you would like to donate to the department and support our mission, please visit our Linguistics giving page.

David Bell, associate professor and chair of Linguistics in the College of Arts and Sciences at Ohio University