2010-2011 Walther Scholars
I grew up in Michigan and completed my B.A. in French at Michigan State University, with a minor in Linguistics. I decided to pursue graduate studies after becoming involved with undergraduate research opportunities at MSU and I am interested in many different aspects of linguistics, especially psycholinguistics, second language acquisition, sociolinguistics, and syntax. One of the main focuses of my undergraduate research was the use of tu and vous by learners of French and by native speakers. I also examined various discourse markers in the French language, studying both their functions and the populations that employ them. I am currently involved in researching the use of the inflected future in Montreal French.
I really enjoy living in Austin and attending UT-Austin because of the healthy lifestyle that the community promotes and I am very thankful for the Walther fellowship as it has allowed me to dedicate time not only to my studies but also to becoming involved in the community.
After receiving my bachelor's in French and Art History from the University of California at Santa Barbara in 2007, I left for a year abroad in Germany working as an Au Pair. During this time, I decided that upon my return I would continue my study of French literature by attending graduate school. I chose UT Austin for the program's dedication to inter-disciplinary studies, and of course, the wonderful location.
My first year at UT Austin has developed my interest in the nineteenth century, specifically questions related to technology and the arts, text and image relationships, and French cinema. The Walther fellowship has given me the opportunity to expand on my interests to include research topics that combine my passion for literature and the arts. Since receiving the award, I have begun research on nineteenth century bande dessinée and will be presenting my work at a conference this semester. I am very thankful for this award and the opportunities that it brings.
Firstly, I have confirmed my belief that my passions for French literature and teaching have led me into the correct career path for a future as a French professor. After having worked so far on the literature of the sixteenth, seventeenth, nineteenth, and twentieth centuries, I continue to marvel at the richness of French language, culture, and literature. Continuing my studies at the graduate level has been a dream come true.
Secondly, I have become acutely aware that receiving the Walther scholarship has given me the freedom to truly pursue this dream, without worrying about financial issues while in school or having to work several jobs. The award means that I will be able to focus on my interests in studying Seventeenth Century French literature and the role of women in French literature. I hope that someday, as a French professor, I will be able to share with my students the experiences and knowledge that I gained as a result of this generous award.
I completed my M.A. in French linguistics in December 2010. During my time at UT-Austin I specialized in French historical linguistics. However, after being introduced to the problem of endangered languages in a sociolinguistics course, I became so fascinated by the topic. I traveled to France to conduct personal research on Breton, an endangered language spoken in Brittany. I was able to experience firsthand how language activists are encouraging people to use the Breton language in addition to French.
My experience at U.T. was a rewarding one, as I was surrounded by quality courses and a talented faculty. Receiving a Walther fellowship meant a lot to me for many reasons. First, the pride and gratitude in having been chosen as a recipient was one of my motivating factors to work my hardest and be a good representative of my department. I am glad to know that there is support out there for foreign language students.
I hold a wine degree from the Court of Master Sommeliers, so I look forward to combining my wine knowledge and French skills in my upcoming career.
My hometown is Skokie, IL, just outside Chicago. In my spare time, I like to draw, dance, play and listen to music, and watch old movies. My academic interests include phonetics/phonology, second language acquisition, and psycholinguistics, and I hope to find a way to synthesize these three fields in my doctoral research. I'm so grateful to UT for offering me the Walther fellowship, which has allowed me to spend as much time as possible on my studies.
I am Californian by birth, Texan by address, and French by association. After having completed a bachelor’s degree in French and Comparative Literature at the University of California, Berkeley, I spent a year in the Norman countryside, consuming Calvados and Camembert and wishing myself back into the classroom. My graduate studies brought me to the French Department at UT where I completed a master’s degree in 2008. The knowledge, guidance, and support of the outstanding faculty continue to be a source of motivation in my teaching career and development as a scholar. Now I find myself on the brink of dissertating, grateful for the additional time and focus the Walther fellowship will afford me. Upon completion of my comprehensive exams, I will begin my dissertation in which I will explore the relationship between Libertine literature and the formation of the Novel in early modern France.
After learning French for a number of years, I first discovered my own enthusiasm for francophone culture while taking a field course on Parisian history at Paris XIII Saint-Denis. Though I had expected to learn strictly about Paris, those weekly classes in the streets of the capital city led to my reviewing the works of artists, playing the music of composers, and reading the books of authors who lived in the neighborhoods we studied. The passion for such art, music and literature led to my earning a B.A. in French, and now I have the privilege to continue studying and working with francophone literature here at the University of Texas at Austin.
I am naturally inclined to teach, and I often find myself helping others with subjects I know well, such as music theory, French language, or economics. I gained my most notable teaching experience during my internship for the Rectorat de Versailles in Puteaux, France, where I taught conversational English during the 2007-2008 school year, and I plan to teach in my future career.
In terms of literary study, I aim to specialize in the 19th century in France, which heralded the modern age of expression and yielded an inestimable wealth of cultural capital in the arts and letters. Also, I have long been interested in the histories and cultural movements of French-speaking cultures across the globe. The dissemination of francophone culture in an international context, as well as the anthropologies and literatures of these cultures, are of great interest to me, and I aim to incorporate these subjects into my work here at the University of Texas at Austin, so I may enrich my and other people’s understanding of them.
I have played trumpet for eleven years, and, in my spare time, I practice jazz music and seek out live performances of jazz and blues music here in Austin. I am an avid cook with a homegrown specialty in Italian-American food, though I do make a good duck à l’orange. And, of course, I like to read.
The program in French Linguistics brought me back to Texas, the state where I grew up, after eight years away. I studied French at Bowdoin College in Maine, and then spent four years teaching foreign language – teaching English in Brittany and French in Virginia. From personal experience of learning French at a young age in France, I am now interested in studying issues in bilingualism, relating to both language acquisition and language contact. The Walther has allowed me to concentrate on my studies and to contribute to the department by directing the annual French theatre production.
Portrait of Julia E. F. Walther in Austin, TX, c.1927
Julia E. F. Walther at the University of Texas at Austin, 1944