Recent Graduates

Congratulations Graduates!

Graduates by Degree

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Joan Esse Wilson

Degree:
PhD Linguistics

Completing my doctoral studies in the Department of Linguistics has been a special and meaningful experience, with the many people I’ve worked with and learned from at the forefront of that experience. As a speech-language pathologist, my research focuses on investigating interventions for social functioning and social cognition with individuals with autism spectrum disorder, including the use of transcranial direct current stimulation to boost intervention performance. Moving forward, I’ve accepted a position as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Communication Disorders at New Mexico State University (NMSU) where I will be teaching and continuing my research. In conjunction with my new position, I will also be working closely with NMSU’s new autism diagnostic center that is scheduled to open later this year.

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Anas Alkhofi

Degree:
PhD Educational Linguistics

I am an international student from Saudi Arabia, PhD In educational linguistics. I am interested in lexical access and vocabulary acquisition. In a few weeks, I will downheartedly leave the USA after 7yrs of love, enjoyment, and great education, and return to my beloved home country of KSA to start an academic career at IMSIU. I will miss ABQ and UNM. Love you all!

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LauriePrice

Degree:
MA Linguistics

I plan to continue my studies into narrative stance as expressed through grammatical elements and other constructions through the PhD program in the medieval studies program under the English department at UNM. This is an ideal base for my interdisciplinary approach. 

In my thesis I examined the linguistic aspects of historical present in narratives from Old Norse, Old French, and Old English, and this involved broadening the cognitive linguistic notion of construction. I will continue investigating narrative stance and culture construction through clusters of grammatical elements and nested constructions, and examining the grammatical tools involved in narrative expressions of historical, cultural, and social perspectives.

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Taegyeong Lee

Degree:
MA Linguistics

My name is Taegyeong Lee. I studied linguistics for my MA degree. I am particularly interested in typology, language documentation & description, and computational linguistics. For my MA thesis, I wrote my thesis on the cross-linguistic typology of 'take' serial verb constructions. Throughout my study, I was on the Amigo Scholarship. I was also active in presenting my works in various conferences/meetings including the Chicago Linguistics Society and the Annual Symposium on Language Research at UC Davis. To support the travels, I was also awarded a couple of competiton-based university fundings including Student Research Grant from GPSA. My plan is to study further in linguistics at a PhD level at UNM from Fall 2020.

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Alexandra McCann

Degree:
BA Linguistics

My name is Alexandra McCann, aka Sasha, and I am graduating with a BA in Linguistics, with a minor in criminology and a designation from UNM's Honor College. I am still deciding what I want to do for the rest of my life, but currently I am looking at the state department, forensic psychologist, or animal behaviorist.

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Anna Maurene SindelarJenkins

Degree:
BA Linguistics

Anna, an Albuquerque native, hopes to use her studies in linguistics to influence her future jobs and endeavors. Linguistics has played a vital role in not only Anna’s academic life, but in her work and in helping shape her world view. Her experience working as the Volunteer Coordinator at the Agora Crisis Center has influenced her studies in linguistics and helped inspire her to complete a research project about how metaphors influence the way that we think and talk about suicide as a society. She hopes to continue using her background in linguistics in whatever career she goes into it and is looking to work at a local non-profit after she graduates—specifically in a field that involves mental health. 

Honors: On the Dean's list for multiple semesters throughout my college career.

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Jacob Captein

Degree:
BA Linguistics

I am a double major graduating with a degree in biology as well. After graduation I plan on pursuing a career in the parks service. While linguistics may not ever be my job, it has given me an invaluable understanding of people and how they communicate that will help me greatly no matter where I go. 

Honors: summa cum laude

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Jacqueline Greene

Degree:
BA Linguistics

Jacqueline received a double major in Linguistics and German. Though her Honors thesis was in German on an art historical topic, she also opted for a LING495 independent project under Dr. Dawn Nordquist on the variability of Yiddish loanwords in personae constructions. She was recently awarded the Fulbright grant as an ETA to Germany, and depending on the unfolding of current global events, she will be spending the 2020-2021 academic year in Germany to teach English as a second language. Afterwords, she plans on pursuing an MA and PhD candidacy in either Linguistics, German, or Art History, or somehow a combination of these various interests.

Honors:  Summa cum laude (overall 4.18); elected and inducted into the Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi

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Jenny Ivonne Vazquez

Degree:
BA Linguistics

Hello, my name is Jenny I Vazquez Castillo, and I am extremely excited about accomplishing my dream to finish my bachelors degree. My learning experience at UNM was amazing in every way, I meet wonderful people from students to faculty and now I can't imagine my life without UNM. Therefore, my learning experience doesn't end here, I'm planning to come back to get my teaching license to share my knowledge with my community.

Honors: I have a second major in Spanish

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Justine Leanne Archuleta

Degree:
BA Linguistics

I will be receiving a TESOL Endorsement. I am planning on getting an alternate teaching license and teach at elementary school level. In the near future, I will return back to UNM for my master’s in Linguistic.

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Kayla Ann Henshaw

Degree:
BA Linguistics

After graduation, I am taking a couple years off of school to save up for grad school. I’m hoping to one day work for Netflix as a language creator for their movies. My original plan was not to be a linguist, but I came to UNM August of 2015, enrolled in Linguistics 101 because it was one of the only electives still available, and fell in love with it. By spring 2016, I had changed my major to linguistics and it felt so good! I’m so proud to finally be done with undergrad after 5 very long years.

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Alisa Moortgat

Degree:
BS Signed Language Interpreting

Alisa Marie Moortgat will be graduating with a B.S. in Signed Language Interpreting and Intercultural Communication with minors in Psychology and Honors. She is eager to further immerse herself in the local Deaf Community after graduation.

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Benjamin Cardenas

Degree:
BS Signed Language Interpreting

After graduation, I want to take a nap! In all seriousness, I do want to achieve my goal of becoming a certified signed language interpreter working in the community of Northern New Mexico. I also want to continue my work as a playwright and music composer. And once it opens again, I will be Disneyland bound! 

Honors: I recieved the 2019 Dr. Phyllis Perrin Wilcox Scholarship.

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Felicia Lorraine Vigil

Degree:
BS Signed Language Interpreting

I have a quirky four-legged German shepherd named Luna, spend a lot of my free time climbing up rock walls and reading Roxane Gay novels. My future plan is to be a freelance interpreter by obtaining the skills and knowledge necessary to be the best interpreter I can possibly be for the Deaf Community.

Honors: cum laude; minor in Communications

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Glenn Louis Elvendahl

Degree:
BS Signed Language Interpreting

There was a time when I did not see myself ever being a college graduate. The last four years have been some of the most challenging, but most rewarding of my life. I'm so proud of myself and everyone in our cohort for how far we've come. Going forward I'll be applying for internships, looking for contract work, and spending my extra free time rediscovering old hobbies and interests.

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Jordyn Mason Webb

Degree:
BS Signed Language Interpreting

I am graduating with dual bachelor's degrees in Signed Language Interpreting and Business Administration. After graduation, I plan to start my career as an interpreter, continue growing my photography businesses, and travel as often as possible.

Honors: I will be graduating magna cum laude and with a designation in Honors/Interdisciplinary Studies.

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Juan Prieto-Archuleta

Degree:
BS Signed Language Interpreting

Juan is graduating with a BS in Signed Language Interpreting with a double major in Biology and a minor in Chemistry. He plans on continuing to provide communication access to the Deaf and Hard of Hearing communities after graduation. In the future, Juan plans on becoming a medical intetpreter/professional and will continue his education and professional career. Juan was accepted to the 2020 GTC cohort from the CATIE Center and will be taking his performance exam free of charge due to this gracious program.

Honors: Cum Laude (GPA 3.50 - 3.749) Dean's List (4 semesters)

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Katie LureeMonette

Degree:
BS Signed Language Interpreting

I'm from the New Orleans area, but I plan to stay here in New Mexico and get some experience - not to mention I love it here! I plan to return eventually for graduate school and study linguistics.

Honors: Dean's List Fall 2016, Spring 2017, Spring 2019

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Mary Brug

Degree:
BS Signed Language Interpreting

My double major in signed language interpreting and psychology, as well as my overall college experience, has offered me a broader worldview. I volunteered at Agora for over a year, participated in the UNM Mountaineering Club, and was the Vice President of Lobo Catholic. In the future, I am excited to pursue religious life. I would like to thank all my teachers and friends who have supported me throughout my time at UNM.

Honors: Designation from University Honors College and Member of National Society of Leadership and Success

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Melissa Leslie-Urist

Degree:
BS Signed Language Interpreting

Mother to the most precious daughter. Lauren, thank you for giving me my future, both as a mother and my career. Wife to my supportive husband John, daughter to the two most hard-working parents, John & Barbara, sister to the best siblings ever, Johnny, Sondra, & Liz!! After graduation, my focus will be on living life to the fullest, embracing what is now our new normal and dedicating myself to a future in Signed Language Interpreting!

Honors: Summa Cum Laude, Pi Sigma Alpha, Phi Kappa Phi, The National Society of Leadership and Success

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Miranda Williams

Degree:
BS Signed Language Interpreting

7 years, 2 degrees, 3 feet of hair, and countless friends later, graduation is finally here. Behind me, all my memories. Before me, all my dreams. Around me, all who love me. Within me, all I need. I look forward to contracting with various agencies throughout Albuquerque and taking whatever challenges come my way—with a sense of humor, of course. Cheers to all of my fellow graduates! A world of possibilities awaits us.

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Shannon Garrison

Degree:
BS Signed Language Interpreting

Born and raised in Northern New Mexico I am proud to now officially be a UNM alumna! After graduation I am thrilled to have the opportunity to work with Rio Grande Community Access as part of their Bridge-to-Work internship and provide interpreting services throughout New Mexico while working towards certification!

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Venessa Martinez

Degree:
BS Signed Language Interpreting

After earning my first B.A. degree in 2018, I followed my heart to pursue signed language interpreting. After a summer immersion program abroad in Italy, a semester apprenticeship at the Rochester Institute of Technology, and many hours of hard work I'm ready to serve my community as an interpreter. After graduation, I will be joining RGC Access' Bridge to Work program as an intern. I owe a great deal of gratitude to my husband, my family, and my friends for supporting me through it all and above all, I plan to make them proud as I enter my professional career.

Honors: Cum Laude 

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Autumn Nicole Platero

Degree:
Minor in Navajo Language

I am Navajo/San Carlos Apache from To’hajiilee, New Mexico. I have also recently obtained a bachelor’s degree in Native American Studies. Throughout my academic career I had the chance to speak at Indigenous national conferences about Navajo language. Additionally, I had many opportunities to work within my Navajo community to help promote Navajo language use, for which I am thankful. Those opportunities encouraged my career path in Navajo language preservation and revitalization.

Awards

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Alyssa Walters

Degree:
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Award/s:
Robert Young Award

Yá’át’ééh, shí éí Alyssa Walters dashíjiní. Tł’izi’łaní nishłį́, Ta’neeszahnii báshíshchíín, Tódích’íi’nii dashicheii áádóó Mą’iideeshgiizhnii dashinálí. Na’neelzhiindę́ę́’ éí naashá. Naadiin táá’ shinááhai. My name is Alyssa Walters. I am of the Many Goats Clan, I am born for Tangled Clan, My maternal grandfather’s clan is Bitter Water Clan. My Paternal grandfather’s clan is Coyote Pass Clan. I am from Torreon, NM. I am 23 years old. I attended Cuba High School. After graduation, I attended Northern New Mexico College for two and a half years. In 2017, I decided to go to UNM in Albuquerque. I’ve always been interested in language since childhood, so I decided to major in Linguistics and minor in Navajo.

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Keiko Beers

Degree:
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Award/s:
Robert Young Award

Keiko Beers is a PhD candidate in linguistics. She is researching the possible impacts of severe language shift on the evolution of grammar in the southwest language Tohono 'O'odham which is spoken in Arizona (US) and Sonora (Mexico) and is currently classified as 'endangered.' This work evolved out of her long-term involvement in the 'O'odham Ne'ok Revitalization Project, a collaboration between members of the 'O'odham community on both sides of the US-Mexico border as well as students and faculty from UNM, past and present. She hopes to continue her involvement in this project beyond her studies at UNM.

During her time as a graduate student, Keiko has also taught Introduction to the Study of Language for which she received the Susan-Deese Roberts Outstanding Teaching Assistant Award. She also currently serves as a project assistant and mentor to the Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellows at UNM.

Keiko has been generously supported by a number of departments and institutions during her graduate studies at UNM. She has been the recipient of the Latin American and Iberian Institute PhD Fellowship, the Andrew Mellon PhD Fellowship, and most recently the Center for Regional Studies PhD Fellowship, and Graduate Student Success Scholarship.

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Leah Grover

Degree:
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Award/s:
Robert Young Award

Leah Grover, of European and Crow/Blackfeet ancestry, is very grateful to be given the Robert W. Young Scholarship. She has been studying Diné bizaad at UNM since the fall of 2018 and intends to continue for a lifetime so that she is better equipped to understand the goals and needs of the local Diné community. She hopes to graduate with a B.A. in Native American studies and a Navajo minor in May 2021.

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Lukas Denk

Degree:
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Award/s:
Robert Young Award

Yá'át'ééh shí eí Lukas yinishyé. Argentinian nishłį́ dóó Béésh bich'ahii dine'é báshíshchíín.

My first encounter with Native American languages was in textbooks during my undergrad in Regensburg, Germany. I came to appreciate the immense heritage and diversity that languages across the Americas exhibited, and this fascination led me to study one of the most documented ones: Navajo. Without any concrete plan for the future, the study of Navajo kept me engaged and intrigued due to its mesmerizing complexity, and I decided to work through a whole textbook by myself. After my Master's I decided to visit the NLA (Navajo language Academy) (my first stay in the US!) where I finally could gain more first-hand knowledge about the linguistic and cultural context of Athabascan languages and their speakers. This convinced me to continue my education at the institution that spoke the most to me: UNM. I applied the following year (2016) and was luckily admitted with the help of the Greenberg fellowship. This allowed me to deepen my understanding of my interests and think like a 'usage-based' linguist about complexity, functionalism and historical linguistics. My recent paper "Explaining the stability of non-layered morpheme structure in Athabascan languages" reflects this connection between Athabascan languages and usage-based morphology. I would thank Bill Croft, Melissa Axelrod, Mary Ann Willie for their multiple and helpful comment towards this publication. For my dissertation, I am addressing the question of verbal complexity in a broader-cross-linguistic perspective. After graduation I would like to continue my research on linguistic complexity, and closely work with researchers who conduct first-hand experiments on Native American languages such as Navajo, a scholarship necessary for the understanding of language and the strengthening of underrepresented speech communities.

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Devin Tankersley

Degree:
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Award/s:
Joseph Greenberg Fellowship

Devin Tankersley is a California native who has been living in Taiwan for the past nine years, where he has been studying various languages, including Taiwanese Southern Min and Taiwan Sign Language, as well as teaching English to students of all ages and proficiency levels. He received his Bachelor's from the University of California, Santa Cruz (UCSC) and his Master's from National Tsing Hua University (NTHU) in Taiwan, with both programs preparing him for analysis of spoken languages from a variety of perspectives. For his PhD, he hopes to acquire the knowledge and skills necessary to conduct the same quality of analysis on signed languages, as well as further refining his linguistic techniques. During his time at UNM, he will be joined by his two cats and (eventually) his partner, Hubert.

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Elizabeth Helf

Degree:
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Award/s:
Phyllis Perrin Wilcox Scholarship

Each year the Signed Language Interpreting Program presents a scholarship to an outstanding student that we believe will make a significant contribution to the interpreting profession. This scholarship was established to honor Professor Emerita Phyllis Wilcox for her dedicated work to the interpreting program for many years. This year’s recipient of the Dr. Phyllis Perrin Wilcox Scholarship is Elizabeth Helf. 

Born in Brigham City, Utah, and moving to Vanderwagon, New Mexico when she was two, Elizabeth was homeschooled her entire K-12 education before coming to UNM with the singular goal of being accepted into the Signed Language Interpreting Program. Elizabeth discovered American Sign Language when she was a sophomore in high school through her church, Grace Bible Church in Gallup, New Mexico. The youth group there had a small group of students who were learning ASL and signing songs with it. After being accepted into the group, Elizabeth signed up for an online ASL class. It was through this that she knew she wanted to pursue a career with ASL and become an interpreter.

Elizabeth has a sense of happiness and determination that she carries with her every day, helping her to make the most of her studies in our program. Her encouragement and positive attitude stands out as she dedicates herself to do the best that she can in everything she does. Elizabeth is a motivated student who demonstrates continual learning and growth in her studies and interpreting skills. Elizabeth represents our program with positivity and she embodies the values and ideals that we strive to instill. We are proud and honored to present the 2020 Phyllis Perrin Wilcox Scholarship to Elizabeth Helf.