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Hearty welcome to the incoming first years!

A very warm welcome to this year’s incoming first-year graduate students! Here’s a little bit about each of them:

  • Helena Aparicio Terrasa was born in Mallorca, Spain. She earned a B.A. in Humanities and a one year MA in Applied Linguistics at Pompeu Fabra University (Barcelona). Before joining the linguistics department at the University of Chicago, she also completed an MA in theoretical linguistics at the City University of New York. Her research interests lie in formal semantics and its interfaces.
  • Gallagher Flinn is fresh out of a Master’s program at the University of Washington where his thesis explored the possibility of a pseudogap-like construction in Russian. His interests are primarily in Slavic language syntax relating to questions of ellipsis and scrambling, but he is hoping to branch out into more experimental syntax and semantics, as well as work with languages of the Caucasus.
  • Katie Franich joins the linguistics program after finishing her MA in applied linguistics at Boston University. Katie’s interests mainly center around phonology, and specifically in the areas of tone and language variation. She has spent the last two summers researching variation in the tone system of Medumba, a Grassfields Bantoid language spoken in Cameroon, assisting on an NSF-funded project headed by Professor Cathy O’Connor at BU. She looks forward to pursuing these issues further while at Chicago, as well as exploring whatever new topics may come her way. When she’s not doing linguistics, she enjoys seeing live music, kayaking, and watching the occasional episode of Project Runway.
  • Mike Pham is willing to call anywhere he lays his head home, having spent a good chunk of his life living in Saudi Arabia as the child of expatriate, US-naturalized, Vietnamese immigrants. He received his BA in Linguistics from Ohio State University, and then his MA in Humanities from the University of Chicago. He is currently interested in the morphosyntactic structure of idiosyncratic meanings, such as those in idioms; he is also hoping that his research interests in Vietnamese syntax and semantics will get him to speak (Vietnamese) with his family more. In his receding free time, Mike volunteers at a bicycle co-op, teaches himself photography and (classical and gypsy jazz) guitar, and tries not to injure himself with swords, sticks and knives practicing Filipino-Indonesian martial arts (kali-silat).
  • Joanna (Asia) Pietraszko is a first year grad student in the department. She received her MA degree in English Philology from the University of Wrocław, Poland, and studied linguistics at Utrecht University. Asia’s main interests are formal semantics, negation and polarity phenomena (Expletive Negation, Genitive of Negation, FCIs), the syntax and semantic of relative clauses (mainly free relatives, correlatives and amount relatives) in Polish and other Slavic languages, as well as scalar focus particles and the linguistics realizations of concessive meaning. Linguistics is not Asia’s only love. She very much enjoys classical music, jazz, wine, chocolate and watching soccer.
  • Diane Rak received B.S. degrees in Linguistics and Neuroscience from MIT and an M.A. from the University of Chicago. Her main academic interest is in psycholinguistics.
  • Tamara Vardomskaya received her B.A. in mathematics and linguistics at the University of Ottawa, Canada, and then spent some time working in industry before returning to linguistics. Her interests mainly lie in semantics, language acquisition, bilingualism, Slavic and Romance linguistics, and language modeling and computational linguistics. Her interests not quite in linguistics include singing and music performance, poetry translation, genre fiction, and photographing dinosaur exhibits.


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