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Three graduate students receive Maryland Language Science Center's 2018 Student Leadership and Service Award


At this year’s Language Science Day on October 5, 2018, two graduate students and one recent graduate were the first recipients of the Language Science Center 2018 Student Leadership and Service Award, in recognition of their exceptional contributions to the community.


Paulina Lyskawa is a PhD student in Linguistics and a participant in the Language Science Fellows program. She holds a graduate fellowship from the Canadian Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council. Her most visible contributions to the community have been her tireless efforts for outreach--mobilizing graduate and undergraduate students at UMD to communicate with local high school students and younger children about how language works, and why it’s useful to study language from a scientific perspective. As co-chair of the student Outreach Committee in 2017-2018, she coordinated the planning of outreach activities at a range of different events, from Maryland Day and the USA Science & Engineering Festival to Takoma Park Elementary STEM night.

Paulina has also played leadership roles in research and mentorship. She helped launch a cross-departmental research group on heritage language. Since 2016 she has been a regular visitor to LSC’s Guatemala Field Station to pursue fieldwork on Mayan languages, helping to build the research community there by mentoring less experienced students and contributing to the Field School blog. She currently mentors undergraduate researchers on an NSF-funded project on Mayan languages.


Michelle Erskine is a PhD student in Hearing and Speech Sciences and a participant in the Language Science Fellows program. Very soon after arriving at UMD in Fall 2016, she became deeply involved in the language science community, participating in the student Outreach Committee, the Winter Storm 2017 planning committee, and the new Policy and Advocacy Committee. She led the group that put together Winter Storm 2018, a 7-month process that incorporated contributions from dozens of students and faculty.


Michelle has now launched another project to examine the impact of dialect diversity in and out of the classroom at UMD. She and her collaborators are planning focus groups to better understand the experiences of students who speak non-standard dialects of English, and eventually develop materials to train instructors to support those students more effectively.


Lara Ehrenhofer completed her PhD in Linguistics in summer 2018; she was also a Language Science Fellow and held a Flagship Fellowship during her time at UMD. She was very active as a leader in the language science community throughout her studies. This included leading the expansion of outreach efforts in 2015-2016, leading the design and implementation of Winter Storm 2017, including the Language Science Day of Action held on January 20, 2017. She was the founder of the student Policy and Advocacy committee that has helped to raise student engagement in connecting science to real-world policies, and in exposing students to diverse career pathways.

Friday, November 2, 2018