Evan Bradley is Assistant Professor of Psychology at Penn State Brandywine in Media, PA. He earned his undergraduate degree (in Cognitive Science) from Northwestern University, and his graduate degrees (in Linguistics) from the University of Delaware.

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?

in 2004, when I was an undergraduate student submitting my first abstract to the Annual Meeting. 

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

It evolved slowly from attending my first Annual Meeting in 2005, to later presenting at the meeting as a graduate student and volunteering at the meeting. Next, I began serving on committees (Student Issues and Concerns, Higher Education, Public Policy), and eventually serving as chair of the Public Policy Committee. This led me to a whole new perspective on how science works in our society, which I never considered as a student entering the field.

What are you currently researching/working on?

My longest running research project involves the nature and role of pitch perception in the interaction between language and music perception. My latest project is investigating how pronouns - especially gender-neutral and nonbinary pronouns like singular 'they' - are used and understood by speakers, why speakers accept or reject them, and how we can encourage them to use more inclusive language.

What do you think is the biggest challenge facing the field of linguistics today?

I'm not sure it's the biggest, but a challenge I've been considering a lot lately is that within the natural and social sciences, linguistics still has a lot of work to do to educate our colleagues in neighboring fields about how language works, and to convince them that language is an important consideration whenever we're investigating any other social or cognitive variables.

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

Try not to write off any subfield or methodology - you never know where your interests may lead you. Don't be afraid to ask questions simply because they interest you, but also don't be afraid to pursue research with the goal of solving real problems; some might view linguistics as an esoteric subject, it has real value to our everyday lives.

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

This is likely different for every member, but I think what most members I talk to value is the shared sense of community that the LSA, through both its meeting and other initiatives, fosters among its members. There is a strong notion of collegiality in the LSA, more than in most other professional organizations I've participated in. There is a strong interest in promoting and celebrating each other's professional accomplishments, a zeal for networking which has led to meeting numerous new colleagues I would have never otherwise connected with, and a commitment to developing students into full-fledged colleagues, which sustains the entire field.