Spotlight on Social Sciences Alumni:Elisabeth Ginsburg

Name: Elisabeth Ginsburg
Age: 25
Occupation: Student
Major while at UR: Linguistics
Current city/state of residence: Madison, Wisconsin
Community activities: Volunteer for Humane Society (I play with cats and do laundry); Volunteer for world languages day

Why did you choose to attend the University of Rochester?

I loved the idea that I could study whatever I wanted without having to take core classes.  It allowed me to really take advantage of all of the classes I wanted to take and I pushed myself in my classes more because I was so interested in the material.

When and how did you choose your major?

When I discovered that there was a field dedicated to understanding language I was hooked!  I quickly changed my major from pre-med/psychology/japanese to linguistics and I loved every minute of it.

What activities were you involved in as a student and what did you gain from them?

As a student, I was most involved in juggling and swing dancing.  I gained lasting friendships, a sense of community and physical activity that never felt forced.

Who were your mentors while you were on campus? Have you continued those relationships?

My two primary mentors in the Linguistics department were Joyce McDonough and Scott Paauw.  The two of them were always there for me when I had any questions and were very open about helping me to network, even overseas.  I have continued both relationships, and hope to keep them well into the future.

What did you do immediately after graduation? How did you decide to take that path?

I had a whirlwind year after graduating from the University of Rochester.  I presented a paper with Scott Paauw in Indonesia, then I attended the LSA Summer Institute in Berkeley, CA and finally I began my MA program at SOAS in London.  With the help of my mentors I was able to choose programs and activities which are taking me far in my linguistics career.

What skills, tools, or knowledge from your major have been most useful to you since graduation?

I continue to use the skills I gained in two consecutive Field Methods courses in all of the research I have done with native speakers since graduating.  Additionally, the analytic skills I gained from my theoretical classes continue to influence my perceptions.

Where would you like to be in five years?

If all of my wishes come true, then in five years, I would like to have graduated from the Australian National University with a PhD in Linguistics and be nearly finished with a post-doctoral position working with the Max Planck Institute.  Then I would like to either become a full time researcher or a professor.