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7th Annual Language Science Day

On September 30th, over 150 faculty, researchers, graduate students, and undergraduates from 17 departments and centers across campus gathered for the 7th annual Language Science Day (LSD). LSD is a great opportunity at the beginning of the academic year for language scientists to meet or reconnect and catch up on what’s happening in the community. This year the event focused specifically on creating and strengthening interdisciplinary research collaborations here at UMD.

Pat O'Shea gave the opening remarks on his last day as Vice President for Research at UMD, explaining why the university is invested in language science research and training. Over lunch, participants heard updates on ongoing language science initiatives, including several major grant proposals recently submitted by interdisciplinary teams, research and education activities at LSC’s Guatemala Field Station, and opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students

The core of Language Science Day is the research fair, where research groups present posters explaining their work to the broader language science community. Students and faculty have a chance to talk one-on-one about questions of overlapping interest. This year the poster session featured 22 posters from 10 different departments and centers on campus.

The event also involved two brainstorming and discussion sessions designed to promote interdisciplinary research collaborations.  In the session on the Art of Collaboration, faculty and students from across the language science community discussed and identified strategies to initiate effective cross-disciplinary collaborations and minimize practical obstacles to sharing information. The second session of the afternoon put some of the brainstorming on collaboration to good use. We heard from several faculty spokespeople who briefly described some big picture interdisciplinary research themes, including animal models of language, language comprehension in adverse conditions, speech recognition in humans and machines, language poverty and learner differences, low-resource languages and technology, and heritage languages.

Many participants came along to end the day with our now-traditional Science is Social dinner party, hosted by Colin Phillips and Andrea Zukowski.