Kathryn Campbell-Kibler is an associate professor in the Department of Linguistics at The Ohio State University. She received her BA in linguistics and computer science and MA in linguistics from the University of Chicago, and her PhD in linguistics from Stanford University. Her research investigates the social meanings of linguistic variation, asking how speakers and listeners use variation to manage their social business.  She focuses in particular on how listeners process individual variables and incorporate them into their social perceptions of speakers. She has two large projects devoted to integrating research with education and outreach: she is the outreach director for the "the Pod", a working linguistics lab embedded on the floor of the science museum COSI and she is the director of See Your Speech, an interactive website that gives users visual displays based on acoustic analysis of their own speech. 

The LSA Member Spotlight highlights the interests and accomplishments of a different LSA member each month. Click here to see previous Member Spotlights.

When did you first join the LSA? 

When I was in graduate school, I think in my first year, so that would have been 1998 or 1999.

How have you been involved with the LSA since you joined? 

I've attended and taught at many of the institutes and attended most of the annual meetings since the middle of my graduate school career. I'm currently on the program committee for the annual meeting and an associate editor for Language. I also attend the AAAS Family Science Days with Linguistics for Everyone, to do linguistics outreach to the public, and to the families of other scientists.

What are you currently researching/working on? 

I currently have an NSF-funded project developing and testing tools for capturing moment-by-moment changes in sociolinguistic perception. We're testing both explicit methods (e.g. asking participants to track their changing perceptions by moving a slider or pressing a button) and implicit methods (e.g. eyetracking reactions or "spillover" effects influencing social reactions to simultaneous stimuli). I'm also collaborating with Cynthia Clopper, in my department, on the impact of explicit instruction on phonetic accommodation in shadowing.

What is your personal favorite linguistic article or study?

I love telling non-linguists about studies documenting social effects on linguistic processing, like Strand (1999), Niedzielski (1999) and Hay & Drager (2010). They are such a neat "your brain is lying to you!" moment.

What advice would you give to students interested in pursuing a career in linguistics?

It's important to balance following your passions with being strategic about job planning. Keep an open mind, especially early in your training, about the career paths that might suit you. Find out as much as you can about your options and talk to people who have followed different paths.

What, in your opinion, is the most important service the LSA provides to its members? To the field? 

I think the meetings and institutes are the most important for both the members and the field, since they allow us to meet regularly and stay energized by seeing all the great research happening in the field. They also really help students learn about what's going on the field and help them to meet scholars from other institutions. There have been many times when I've felt burnt out and uninspired and been woken up by a great conference and all the amazing things my colleagues have been up to.