Upon beginning my Ph.D. at IU, I served as co-chair of the Graduate Student Advisory Committee (GSAC) and expanded my research interests. In my first and second year I presented twice at the Second Language Research Forum with my advisor and mentor, Dr. Laura Gurzynski-Weiss, and we also recently published an article titled “Engagement and emerging elementary-level L2 Spanish: Detailing the status quo and identifying opportunities,” which involved community-based research in a local elementary school. During the third year of my Ph.D., under the continued mentorship of Dr. Gurzynski-Weiss and alongside graduate colleagues, we conducted a needs analysis and developed a task-based curriculum for Spanish K-6 students. Our research was recently accepted to the International Conference on Task-Based Language Teaching in Innsbruck, Austria.
Our department has also provided me with professional development and grant/fellowship opportunities. This past year I worked as the graduate assistant for our Director of Graduate Studies and for our Professionalization Workshop Series. My dissertation research focuses on how willingness to communicate (WTC) in Spanish and task-based interaction mediate instructed second language acquisition. During the Fall 2021 semester I received the Grant-in-Aid of Doctoral Research from IU, which provided me with funding to conduct my first pilot study for my dissertation. I also received a Future Faculty Teaching Fellowship to teach Spanish at Butler University during the 2022-2023 academic year. In Spring 2022 I received a Tinker Field Research Grant to travel to the Dominican Republic and collect another round of pilot study data with undergraduate students under the mentorship of Dr. Erik Willis and to interview Peace Corp Volunteers on how their WTC in Spanish influences their acquisition of Spanish. My dissertation research on WTC was also recently accepted to be presented at the International Association for the Psychology of Language Learning.
While our program has provided me with opportunities for personal, professional, and intellectual growth, the most valuable things this program has given me are relationships. Through relationships with my graduate student colleagues, I have collaborated on projects and learned new skills from my peers as we publish papers and give presentations together. I am also grateful to my advisor Dr. Gurzynski-Weiss and professors in Linguistics for sharing their time and expertise.