Sarah Steele is the resident superhero at the Department of Modern Languages and Classics at the University of Alabama. Before beginning on the PhD journey in Tuscaloosa, Sarah completed her Master's in Education with an emphasis in Spanish and ESL at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Her passion has carried her far in the classroom but with her new path as a PhD student, Sarah's interests have expanded, leading her to pursue more cross-disciplinary focus in research, specifically working with anthropological linguistics. Our conversation with Sarah is a special summer episode of the GradLings podcast for our listeners who may be preparing for a new adventure in academia or transitioning to graduate study. Sarah gave us some wonderful insight into how her experiences have shaped her motivation and skills that have been key to her success so far. She also gives us a bit of a preview of the process of getting a research project off the ground while working on finding that graduate school niche, which in her case is just being a superhero.
While Robbie is away, the boys will...learn some linguistics (of course)! Mark is a PhD candidate at THE Ohio State University who has worked with a number of research projects over the course of his career so far. Currently he is investigating the phenomenon of mood alternation in Rioplatense Spanish in certain future-framed contexts. Mark is such a fun linguist (Yes, they do exist!) and takes the GradLings through his experience collecting data using a great mix of sources. In addition to his research, Mark's take on #LessonsLearned left the guys really inspired in their own work paths as well as maybe a little worried about being on the job market at the same time. Check out more about Mark's work at https://markhoff.jimdo.com!
Yes, you read that correctly. Join us as we talk with Sabine and Diane in the first episode of our second season of GradLings! Being two native German students finishing their programs here at the University of Alabama, the GradLings wanted to get their take on the American education system with respect to their experiences being students in Germany (#Bavaria!). Of course in good GradLing fashion, we diverge a little into culture clashes, the fear of the PhD, some karaoke, and the girls school Justin in movie culture. Put your feet up and start off your weekend by giving Season 2 a listen!
This week, the GradLings (especially Robbie) are very excited to be welcoming their fellow grad student Tommy, a French doctoral student researching the evolution of the negation marker in the French language. Tommy has been with the the department here at UA for...quite some time. In his time first in the Master's program and now on the verge of completing his dissertation, Tommy has accumulated a lot of wisdom and has been wonderful enough to share a bit of advice with us budding linguists. Of course, Justin and Boden manage to sneak in some pedagogy shop talk with Tommy.
Given the opportunity and the necessary resources, studying abroad comprises a very important phase in the foreign language student's relationship with the target language. As the design of the typical study abroad experience has evolved over time to the demands of modern language education, the potential obstacles have evolved along with it, particularly the shock of arriving in a new environment with its own (very) different culture.
Giovanni has not only conducted extensive research into culture shock experienced in studying abroad, but he has produced a virtual reality program that enables students to better prepare themselves for what is awaiting them abroad. This episode is definitely one for our technology-enthusiasts! Now if only there was a virtual reality program that prepared you for the culture shock of the academic job market...
If you are interested to learn more about Giovanni's great work, check out his website: www.readysteadyspain.com
Our colleague Alyssia is finishing up her last year with us at Alabama. Her dissertation focuses on a system of her own innovation - the five A's - that addresses student motivation in the language-learning process. She gives us some excellent insight into what it's like to be in the final phases of the dissertation and getting herself ready for the job market. To no one's surprise, during Alyssia's time in the studio the GradLings get into a multitude of topics including, but not limited to: communities of practice, what "fall" means in the South, publishing, Dr. Bill VanPatten, goals, time management and a little bit of harmonizing. Interested? Check out our episode with Alyssia and let us know if the GradLings may also have a promising back-up career path in the making.
GradLings here with our third episode of the season! This week, we sat down with two PhD students, Sandra and Giovani, who are in their final stages of data collection and will begin down the scary path of analysis! In their episode, they give us some insight into what their experiences have been in graduate school while raising a family and managing international research. We also get into the age-old research debate - if there is such thing - weighing the (dis)advantages of quantitative and qualitative research methods. The GradLings also have the pleasure of being joined by Sandra and Giovani's daughter, a budding linguist herself!
This week, the GradLings sit down with Sara Finney, a PhD candidate here at UA finishing up her dissertation on the use of role-play in language acquisition. Her incredibly interesting work focuses on implementing real-life situations - specifically, interactions along the Mexican-US border - to encourage her students to develop characters and use their character design to navigate their presentation in the target language. This curriculum design extends into the wider implications of modern world power and political dynamics in the classroom environment. During this episode, the GradLings also discover a few things about ourselves that, well, we will probably spend many nights discussing over a pint of ice cream...or six.
Jana Thomas Coffman is a PhD student at the University of Alabama studying Spanish Applied Linguistics. Her research focuses on bringing historical linguistic knowledge into the classroom and using it to enhance the typical learning experience of the foreign language student. In the podcast, the GradLings discuss with Jana the perspective of being in the world of academia with the advantages (and pressures!) of having family in the field.