Linguistic alumni

Graduates from the Linguistics Program at Wayne State University have used their education for a variety of career paths. Alumni are encouraged to send updated information to share with other linguistics alumni and prospective students.


Featured donors

A special thank you to Tom Wolff, M.A. 2002 and Pamela Hobbs, M.A. 2000 for their generous donations to the Linguistics Program. Their support allows us to help our students with their education and career pursuits. These gifts provide us with a tangible sense of the special relationship that the Linguistics Program enjoys with its community of friends.

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Featured alumni

Listed by first name.

A – D

  • Aaron Taylors, M.A. 2019: Pursued interdisciplinary Ph.D. in linguistics and informatics at Yonsei University in Seoul, South Korea
  • Abdullah Alfaifi, M.A. 2009: Pursued a Ph.D. in linguistics at George Mason University; Published a paper based on his M.A. essay, "First notes on the dialect of Jabal Faifa (Jazan Province, Saudi Arabia)", co-authored with Peter Behnstedt, in the Spring 2010 issue of the journal Zeitscrift für Arabische Linguistik [Journal of Arabic Linguistics]
  • Andrea Berez-Kroeker, M.A. 2006: Pursued Ph.D. in Linguistics at the University of California Santa Barbara in 2011 (dissertation: "Directional reference, discourse, and landscape in Ahtna"); Associate professor in the linguistics department at University of Hawai'i
  • Andrew Bray, M.A. 2015: Pursued Ph.D. in linguistics at University of Georgia
  • Abdulaziz Alzahrani, M.A. 2017: Lecturer at Jazan University in Saudi Arabia
  • Abdullah Aldawsari, M.A. 2020: Lecturer at Prince Sattam bin Abdulaziz University in Saudi Arabia
  • Ahmed Alahmary, M.A. 2012: Lecturer in linguistics in the College of Languages & Translation; Advisor for Knowledge Exchange & International Communication at Al-Imam Muhammad Ibn Saud University in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
  • Ammar Alammar, M.A. 2012: Pursued Ph.D. in linguistics at Stony Brook University on Long Island in New York; Presented a talk "Non-metrical vowel optimization and iambic unevenness in Arabic" at the 29th Annual Symposium on Arabic Linguistics, University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee
  • Ann Sawyer, B.A. 2008: Research project coordinator at the Linguistic Data Consortium, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia
  • Ashanti Alford, M.A. 2008: Pursued Ph.D. in African studies at Howard University in 2015 (dissertation: "National conflicts and international interventions in Africa: United States policies in resolving the two Sudans protracted wars"); Served as chair of the International Affairs Committee of the Washington D.C. branch of the NAACP
  • Bakri Almari, M.A. 2014: Lecturer of Linguistics at University of Bisha, Aseer, Saudia Arabia
  • Cherry Meyer, B.A. 2012: Pursued Ph.D. in linguistics at the University of Chicago
  • Craig Plesco, M.A. 2012: Product creation applications engineer and senior engineer in NLP at Ford Motor Corporation; Co-authored paper, "Applying automated language translation at a global enterprise-level" in the proceedings of the 24th Innovative Applications of Artificial Intelligence Conference
  • Dris Soulaimani, M.A. 2004: Teacher at San Diego State University; Pursued Ph.D. in applied linguistics at UCLA in 2012; Distinguished Teaching Award from the UCLA Academic Senate Committee on Teaching (2011); Teacher of Arabic at the University of Michigan and coordinated the UM Arabic Program

E – I

  • Essa Al Nashib, M.A. 2018: Lecturer at King Khalid University, Mohayel Aseer
  • Faisal Alharbi, M.A. 2015: Vice Dean of Al-Lith University College for Educational Affairs and Development at Umm al-Qura University in Mecca, Saudi Arabia; lecturer in linguistics
  • Frankie Johnson, M.A. 2013: Worked as an adjunct instructor at the English Language Institute at Henry Ford College in Dearborn, Michigan
  • Georgia Diamantopoulos, B.A. 2013: Stitched a syntactic tree into a tapestry
  • Haiyong Liu, M.A. 1998: Professor of Chinese linguistics at his alma mater Wayne State after having received his Ph.D. degree in linguistics from UCLA
  • Hayat Ferzouz, M.A. 2012: Pursued in Ph.D. in curriculum and instruction in the WSU College of Education
  • Ibrahim Asiri, M.A. 2014: Lecturer in linguistics (Department of English)/Vice-dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, King Khalid University, Mohayel Aseer, Saudi Arabia

J – M

  • Jahanvi Narkar, M.A. 2020: Pursued Ph.D. in linguistics at UCLA
  • James Kirchner, M.A. 1995: Vice president of the Michigan Translators/Interpreters Network (Michigan chapter of the American Translators Association); Full-time translator (Czech, Slovak, German, and French into English); Part-time ESL instructor in the Detroit area
  • Jinhan Yu, M.A. 2014: Pursued Ph.D. degree in Speech-Language Pathology at Wayne State
  • Joaquin Newton, B.A. 2013: Pursued M.A. in education with an emphasis on ESL at Northcentral University
  • Josh Linden, M.A. 2020: Pursued Ph.D. in linguistics at Georgetown University
  • Khalid Almasnaah, M.A. 2008: Principal of Bridge Academy West in Detroit; Pursued a doctoral degree in Educational Leadership at Eastern Michigan University
  • Leah Esslinger, B.A. 2014: Pursued graduate degree at the University of Virginia
  • Liz Shar, B.A. 2014: Pursued M.S. degree in sociolinguistics at Georgetown University; Intern at the Linguistic Society of America office in Washington D.C.
  • Marie Klopfenstein, M.A. 2006: Pursued Ph.D. in applied language and speech science at the University of Louisiana at Layfayette in 2012 (dissertation: "Prosodic features and speech naturalness in individuals with dysarthria"); Assistant professor in the Department of Special Education and Communication Disorders at Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville
  • Michelle Ocasio, formerly Michelle Forbes, (B.A. 1998): Assistant professor of Spanish and TESOL in the modern and classical languages department at Valdosta State University in Valdosta, Georgia; Pursued Ph.D. in Spanish and Afro-Hispanic linguistics at University of Missouri-St. Louis in 2011(dissertation: "Garifuna: the birth and rise of an identity through contact language and contact culture")
  • Michelle Taylor, M.A. 2008: Presented a paper based on her M.A. essay, "Finding white voice: linguistic elasticity in black comedic performance" in a panel organized by the American Humor Studies Association at the May 2010 American Literature Association meeting in San Francisco
  • Moira Saltzman, M.A. 2014: Awarded a Fulbright Grant for research in Korea for 2014/15; Pursued Ph.D. in Linguistics at the University of Michigan
  • Molly Alampi, B.A. 2011: Pursued M.A. in speech-language pathology at Wayne State University

N – Q

  • Naomi Palosaari, formerly Naomi Fox, M.A. 2005: Pursued Ph.D. in linguistics at the University of Utah in 2011 (dissertation: "Topics in Mocho' phonology and morphology")
  • Nicola Work, M.A. 2000: Associate professor in the languages department at University of Dayton; Pursued Ph.D. in modern languages at Wayne State University in 2009 (dissertation "Argument realization in second language acquisition of French and Spanish: a view from the syntax-pragmatics interface")
  • Olexandra Pakula, formerly Olexandra Gedeon, M.A. 2004 (in memoriam): Olexandra died peacefully on May 7, 2015 following a short battle with cancer. Her excellent M.A. essay "The puzzle of Ukrainian third person possessive pronouns: a syntactic analysis" is available in the program office
  • Pamela Hobbs, M.A. 2000: Pursued Ph.D. in applied linguistics from UCLA after studying at Wayne State and working as a successful attorney; Lecturer at UCLA Department of Communication Studies

R – V

  • Rachael Brzys, B.A. 2008: Teacher of English in China and Thailand: Pursued a master of philosophy in English linguistics and language acquisition at Norwegian University of Science and Technology in Trondheim, Norway
  • Ruth Crabtree, M.A. 2015: Pursued Ph.D. in linguistics at Purdue University
  • Saad Alshahrani, M.A. 2016: Pursued Ph.D. in linguistics at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
  • Samar Taibah, M.A. 2017: Adjunct faculty member in the Linguistics Program at WSU, teaching English grammar
  • Samuel Owen, B.A. 2011: Teacher of English at King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals, Saudi Arabia
  • Sami Alghamdi, M.A. 2014: Pursued a Ph.D. degree at Arizona State University
  • Sara Couture, B.A. 2012: Pursued M.A. degree in computational linguistics at Indiana University: Publications team manager and books editor at Linguist List, also worked on the MultiTree project and as part of the Reviews Team
  • Sarah Murray, M.A. 2004: Pursued her Ph.D. in linguistics at Rutgers University in 2010 (dissertation: "Evidentiality and the structure of speech acts" based on fieldwork she conducted on Cheyenne) and has since worked as an associate professor in the linguistics department at Cornell University
  • Scott Shell, M.A. 2014: Pursued Ph.D. degree in German linguistics at the University of California at Berkeley
  • Shannon Mckeown. M.A. 2020: Pursued Ph.D. in linguistics at Arizona State University
  • Sultan Alharbi, M.A. 2018: Lecturer at Majmaah University in Saudi Arabia, teaching several English and linguistics courses
  • Sultan Ali, M.A. 2015: Linguistics Program at the University of Newcastle
  • Thomas J. Wolff, M.A. 2002: Claims manager at Michigan Municipal League

W – Z

  • Xiayimaierdan Abudushalamu, M.A. 2017: Pursued Ph.D. in linguistics at Michigan State University
  • Yamei Wang, M.A. 2017: Pursued Ph.D. in linguistics at George Mason University
  • Zeina Lubus, B.A. 2014: Pursued M.A. degree in translation and interpreting at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign