Linguistic alumni

Graduates from the Linguistics Program at Wayne State University have used their education for a variety of career paths. Make an alumni update 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

A – D

  • Anna Wilmanowicz, M.A. defended her M.A. thesis The semantic contribution of then in conditionals.
  • 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]
  • Agata Borowiecki, B.A. 2021
  • Andrea Berez-Kroeker, M.A. 2006: Pursued Ph.D. in Linguistics at the University of California Santa Barbara in 2011. Associate professor in the linguistics department at University of Hawai'i. Dissertation: "Directional Reference, Discourse and Landscape in Ahtna"
  • Andrew Bray, M.A. 2015: Defended his Ph.D. dissertation "A Hockey-Based Persona: The Sociolinguistic Impact of Canadian English on American-born Players" at the University of Georgia in 2022
  • 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: Received a Ph.D. in Linguistics at Stony Brook University in 2017; now working as an assistant professor at Mahmaah University Saudi Arabia
  • 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. Served as chair of the International Affairs Committee of the Washington D.C. branch of the NAACP. Dissertation: "National conflicts and International Interventions in Africa: United States Policies in Resolving the Two Sudans Protracted Wars"
  • 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: Manager of Technology Applied Research and Innovation at Ford Credit while also working as an AI/NLP Technical Specialist for Ford Motor Company; 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
  • Fahaad Alsubaei, M.A. 2022: Defended his M.A. thesis: Language Situation and Identity Conflict in Saudi Arabia in February 2022 with the late Prof. Abderrahman Zouhir as his thesis advisor
  • 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
  • Gavin Redding, M.A. defended his M.A. thesis in 2023: Evaluating Sino-Tai on comparative grounds. He has pursued his Ph.D. in Linguistics at the University of Wisconsin-Madison
  • 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. in Linguistics from UCLA
  • Hayat Ferzouz, M.A. 2012: Pursued in Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction in the Wayne State College of Education
  • Hope Kujawa, M.A. 2024: defended her M.A. thesis: Multiethnolects in context: Structural parallels in urban contact dialects as manifestations of sociolinguistic conditions, with Prof. Walter Edwards as the advisor
  • 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

  • Jackson Wolf, defended his M.A. thesis in 2023: A novel prosodic morphology account of Verlan. He pursued his Ph.D. in linguistics at Georgetown University
  • 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. 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
  • John Hyaduck, B.A. 2021
  • 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 Ph.D. in Educational Leadership at Eastern Michigan University
  • Laken Jones, M.A. 2021
  • Leah Esslinger, B.A. 2014: Pursued graduate degree at the University of Virginia
  • Liz Shar, B.A. 2014: Pursued M.S. 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. Assistant professor in the Department of Special Education and Communication Disorders at Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville. Dissertation: "Prosodic Features and Speech Naturalness in Individuals With Dysarthria"
  • Michelle Ocasio (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. M.A. essay: "The Puzzle of Ukrainian Third Person Possessive Pronouns: A Syntactic Analysis"
  • 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
  • Rebecca Cornejo. M.A. 2021
  • 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. 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: received a Ph.D. in Germanic Linguistics from the University of California at Berkeley in 2020 and is now an administrator at Northwestern University. His book "The Application of Peircean Semiotics of the Elder Futhark Tradition - Establishing Parameters of Magical Communication" is published by Peter Lang in 2022
  • Shannon Mckeown, M.A. 2020: Pursued Ph.D. in Linguistics at Arizona State University
  • Shannon Yee, M.A. 2021: Field linguist of Jimi, part of the Central branch of Chadic languages, which is spoken in Cameroon
  • Sultan Alharbi, M.A. 2018: Lecturer at Majmaah University in Saudi Arabia, teaching several English and linguistics courses; pursued his Ph.D. in Linguistics at George Mason University
  • Sultan Ali, M.A. 2015: Linguistics Program at the University of Newcastle
  • Sydney Queen, B.A. 2021
  • 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