Receiving Walther support has profoundly changed my graduate experience here at UT. The difference that it has made for me can be summed up in one word: time. Instead of having to spend several hours a week holding tutoring hours or correcting quizzes as a TA in order to support my studies, I am able to focus more on my coursework in French linguistics; I am able to take on more credit hours each semester, thus accelerating my progress towards graduation; and I am also able to take more time to conduct my own research, which brings real experience, substance to my CV, and will hopefully build the reputation of the university.
I find it difficult to adequately express my gratitude for this opportunity. I only hope that someday I'll be able to give back, and extend this opportunity to another. Thank you for your support!
The program in French Linguistics brought me back to Texas, the state where I grew up, after eight years away. 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 (though I am particularly interested in French and Arabic). I received my B.A. in French from Bowdoin College in 2006 and then spent four years teaching foreign language – teaching English in Brittany and French in Virginia. I am very grateful for the Walther, which has allowed me the time to concentrate on my studies and to contribute to the graduate student organization by directing the annual French theatre production for 2 years. After several years of not having to teach, I am now teaching again, and I am reminded how much I love being in the language classroom. In terms of research, the Walther has been a wonderful help. It has enabled me to write a sociohistorical linguistics paper on variation between the verbs aller and être in the 19th century letters of a family and to travel to Belgium to present that paper. As I get closer to working on my thesis, I expect that the Walther will aid me in conducting fieldwork on the naturalistic language acquisition of North African immigrant women in France.
I was born in New York but have lived in many places: Austin, Vancouver, and, most recently, Houston, where I received a B.A. in French Studies and History from Rice University. I am thrilled to be able to return to what is without a doubt the best city in Texas to pursue my passion for French literature and culture at one of the best research institutions in the world. I am honored to be spending my first year at the University of Texas-Austin as a Walther Scholar. This generous scholarship has allowed me to focus entirely on my studies without the distraction of financial concerns or teaching. The ability to take an extra class this semester has also familiarized me with new methodologies and critical approaches that I look forward to incorporating into my research. Most importantly, immersing myself in my studies has helped me narrow my research interests; I will be studying immigration and expressions of the other in 20th and 21st Century French and Francophone literature.
Portrait of Julia E. F. Walther in Austin, TX, c.1927
Julia E. F. Walther at the University of Texas at Austin, 1944