Although I started to study French in middle school, I first became interested in French Linguistics only in college through an introductory course on French phonetics and pronunciation. This expanded into a general interest in linguistics, and I graduated in 2011 with a B.A. in French and Linguistics from the University of Florida. As an undergraduate, I was involved in research on Canadian French speakers in Florida, and my future research interests lie in other varieties of French in North America, particularly in regards to language variation, contact, and change.
I’m very grateful for the opportunity to pursue my studies at UT with the Walther Fellowship, as it will allow me to concentrate my time and effort on my coursework and research. I very much look forward to developing my academic career here and, of course, to exploring the wonderful city of Austin!
Whenever I think back over the course of events which have brought me to the University of Texas, I am rather amazed. I could not have guessed that my enthusiasm for the French language—beginning with middle school French, continuing with renewed enthusiasm after several trips to France as a teenager, and advancing to the point of a bachelor's degree from Truman State University—would eventually bring me to the city of Austin. And I'm thrilled to be here.
Growing up in mid-Missouri, travel and foreign language tend to be things which do not play an active role in the lives of many of my friends and acquaintances. Through my mother's love of the French language (although having herself studied Spanish in high school), I began my French studies earlier than many Americans and had the benefit of a wonderful teacher who came from Michigan State. My parents both encouraged me to travel, allowing me to further enhance my skill in foreign language.
After graduating from Truman State University, where I completed a BS in Linguistics and a BA in French, I received a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant fellowship to teach English in Russia during the 2010-2011 school year. While fulfilling this commitment in Omsk, Russia (in south-western Siberia), I renewed my application to UT Austin and was thrilled to learn that I would receive a Walther Fellowship thanks to the Julia Emerson Fisher Walther Endowment. I am very grateful for this funding, which makes further studies a real possibility for me. With it's support, I intend to make real contributions to the field of French linguistics, wherever that may take me.
Portrait of Julia E. F. Walther in Austin, TX, c.1927
Julia E. F. Walther at the University of Texas at Austin, 1944