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


I'm a third year graduate student in the PhD program in linguistics at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. I'm currently the chair of the Committee on Student Interests and Concerns (COSIAC) in the LSA.  My research focuses on questions in phonetics and phonology. The two major projects I'm currently working on deal with phonetic variation in voice onset time and phonological opacity respectively. 

Q: When did you first join the LSA?

I joined during my second year of the PhD program at UMass Amherst.

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

I've attended the 2015 Institute, been involved with the Committee on Student Interests and Concerns (COSIAC) and the Executive Committee. I attended the LSA Annual Meeting in January where I gave a talk and helped organize student events.

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

I think the LSA brings the field together in multiple ways. The annual meetings and institutes are extremely valuable as we get to exchange ideas with many different kinds of linguists. As a member, being able to go to these events has given me the opportunity to learn about other subfields and hear about brand new research.

Q: As the Bloch Fellow, what were your strongest impressions of the 2015 Linguistic Institute? What advice would you give other students applying for a fellowship to attend the 2017 Institute?

The strongest impression I got from the 2015 Institute was "our field is huge!" It's easy to get stuck in the small box of what you are researching and there are so many aspects of language being studied right now. Going to the institute was a great way to see what's going on in other parts of the field and learn from experts in those areas. 

For applications for the 2017 Institute, I'd recommend talking about how courses at the institute will specifically help you in your research and academic goals. If there's a certain type of training that you really can't get at your home institution but you could get at the institute, focus on that. 

Q: What is your personal favorite linguistic article or study?

It's hard to pick a favorite! I'll go with the first paper I remember coming across that really made me want to study phonology and phonetics. I read Feature economy in phonological inventories by Clements (2003) in an undergraduate class and I remember having so many questions about it. Some of them I'm still working on in my research now.