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I recently earned my Ph.D. in Linguistics from the Department of Linguistics at the University of Southern California. My primary research interests are in multimodal speech production and perception, experimental phonetics and phonology, and the morphology/phonology interface. Most recently, I was a research assistant in the USC Phonetics Lab, and before that I was a  TA for LING 275: Language and Mind (I built a categorical perception website for the class – check it out here). I was also an editor of the USCLing Blog.

img_0384My dissertation, Effects of Speech Context on Characteristics of Manual Gesture, is on the topic of the coordination between the movements of the vocal tract and the movements of the hands and head during speech. I developed techniques that combine electromagnetic articulography, computer vision, and time-varying analysis to quantitatively demonstrate how bodily movements are timed with respect to movements of the speech articulators, and in particular, whether the details of this timing can help distinguish bodily movements based on the communicative tasks by which they are motivated. Although hand gestures and other bodily gestures during speech are idiosyncratic and non-obligatory, my dissertation demonstrates that there are some linguistically meaningful and predictable patterns in manual movement behavior that exist across speakers. My research shows that properties of manual gesture are frequently associated with speech prosody and with the semantic content of speech. This research represents crucial progress towards demonstrating that, whether merely conceived or actually enacted, bodily gesture is critical to the production and perception of speech.

As a research assistant in the USC Phonetics Lab, I was responsible for working with professors and other researchers on designing experiments, recruiting research participants, setting up and running EMA studies in the lab, organizing and analyzing acoustic and articulographic data, and writing up results for presentation at conferences and for publication in peer-reviewed academic journals. I was primarily involved in a project concerning linguistic convergence in dialogue, or how speakers begin to speak and act more similarly to one another during the course of a conversation. As a member of the Speech Production and Articulation kNowledge (SPAN) group, I have been a part of an interdisciplinary group including linguists, engineers, and computer scientists working on the cutting edge of imaging and signal analysis in speech and language. As the database administrator for SPAN, I helped organize recently-collected MRI data and make data available to researchers in and out of SPAN. I was also invited to give a tutorial on the use of some publicly available SPAN data at the 2016 Annual Meetings on Phonology. My other research interests include psycholinguistics, phonetics, phonology and morphology. More information about my research can be found on the Research page of this site.

img_0104When I find time away from school and research, I enjoy cooking and baking for my friends and family, reading about food and restaurants, seeing art and comedy shows, and going on travel adventures. I also volunteer as an Adult Literacy Program tutor at the Los Angeles Public Library, and I work with the East Hollywood Los Feliz Homeless Coalition, both of which have been extremely rewarding experiences. I like to see shows at all of Los Angeles’ ornate movie palaces and art deco venues, and I especially love going to the USC School of Cinematic Arts‘s screenings and taking classes with Leonard Maltin and Mary McNamara.

 

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