At the behest of the LSA Executive Committee, the Society is pleased to offer an online feature introducing the membership to our staff and interns. This "Staff Spotlight" feature will be published periodically as a complement to the LSA Member Spotlights and Student Research Spotlights that we already publish. The October 2017 spotlight features our Fall Intern, Tyler Kibbey.

What is your background in linguistics?

I received a BA in Linguistics from the University of Tennessee-Knoxville, where I became interested in Cognitive Linguistics and the study of conceptual metaphor in religious discourse. I have conducted research on metaphor systems in Westboro and Southern Baptist Church sermons and ISIS propaganda materials, exploring how extremist groups frame religious violence. I have also worked extensively with analyzing metaphor systems in Early Christian, Old English poetry. While I have presented on the subjects listed above both nationally and internationally, my time at UT as an undergraduate has also provided me with a strong background in Sociolinguistics and Historical Linguistics. In my postgraduate studies, I attended the 2017 Linguistics Institute at the University of Kentucky and took courses in Theoretical Linguistics and Philosophy of Language.

At the University of Tennessee, I was also involved with linguistic advocacy, writing in support of Gender Neutral Pronoun usage during a period of anti-LGBT policy by the Tennessee State Legislature and serving as an ESL teacher to vulnerable populations through the University of Tennessee’s University-Assisted Community Schools Program

How did you end up working for the LSA?

I have been a member of the LSA since my freshman year as an Undergraduate and have always been interested in the society’s workings. I have a strong sense of contributing to both the discipline and its major institutions as a means of building community within linguistics. Also, I have been fortunate to know many former LSA interns who have provided me with invaluable support and encouraged me to apply for the position.

How do you spend a typical workday?

I generally spend an hour each day managing the LSA’s social media accounts and responding to emails from members with various questions and requests. I often correspond with and coordinate joint endeavors with other organizations or members working in public linguistics. The remainder of my time is divided among special projects. One ongoing project is to establish an LGBTQ+ Special Interest Group within the LSA in order to promote community and communication among Queer and Transgender linguists. We have also been busy planning an anti-Sexual Harassment workshop for the upcoming Annual Meeting in Salt Lake City.

What are the biggest challenges facing the LSA?

I believe one of the biggest challenges facing the LSA is student outreach, especially considering the growing rate of undergraduate enrollment in linguistics programs according to the 2016 Annual Report on the Status of Linguistics in Higher Education. However, as COSIAC continues to support and promote student issues, the LSA seems to be meeting the challenge.

What is the most rewarding part of your job?

The greatest part of my job is being able to work with and alongside some of the most devoted professionals that I have ever had the good fortune to meet. From advocacy to academics, the LSA and its staff endeavor to promote the sciences and humanities in the public sphere in addition to advancing the scientific study of language. To be but a small part of this great project, nearly a century in the making, is incredibly rewarding.

What’s the one thing you would most like LSA members to know about the work you do?

Each LSA intern brings with them a different background and skill set which enables them to pursue different projects. However, in that the intern’s job requires the daily maintenance of public outreach initiatives and smaller programs such as the LSA Book Exchange, each LSA intern plays a small but important part within the organization.