The Department of Linguistics celebrated the graduating class of 2023 on Friday, April 28. Students were joined by their families and friends to honor the accomplishments of the graduates. Each year we select speakers from our graduating class for their contributions inside and outside of the classroom. This year our Undergraduate Committee selected Cassandra Prokopowicz and Jacky He.
Cassandra is a double major in Linguistics and Mathematics, furthering her academic career by pursuing a Masters in Education at U-M. As our first student speaker at the ceremony, she spoke about the importance of linguistics no matter what students choose to do with their degree. Choosing a career that doesn’t automatically fit the mold most people associate with a degree in linguistics is where Cassandra finds it to be the most beneficial. She says that as a teacher she can use what she has learned about linguistics to ensure all her students are treated equitably in her classroom by working against linguistic discrimination that occurs in many schools across the country. To her this is the beauty of linguistics, “we can learn so much about so many kinds of people and about how the world works, and we can spread that knowledge to so many people.”
Jacky is a double major in Linguistics and Computer Science, and he was awarded Linguistics Department Honors for his in-depth research experience of writing an Honors Thesis. The intersection of both linguistics and computation has been an interest for him leading to his thesis on the psycholinguistic features of COVID-19 related tweets during the pandemic with Professor Jonathan Brennan. As a non-native English speaker, Jacky thought that his proficiency might hinder his ability to excel in linguistics. However, his academic journey revealed that being bilingual in English and Chinese was not a setback but an asset. He told us to “never be afraid to explore your interests and to challenge yourself, for it is in those moments that we truly grow and become the best versions of ourselves. Let us celebrate our unique journeys and the diverse perspectives we bring to the table, as we step forward into the next chapter of our lives.”
In addition to our standing honors thesis award, we have also introduced several other awards that broadly celebrate and recognize the accomplishments and contributions of our graduating class. Here are this years award recipients:
Outstanding Pre-Speech and Hearing Senior Award: Jaimie Krueger
Service to the Linguistics Department Award: Sarah Jia Qi Ong
The Matt Alexander Award: Dawn Lau
Outstanding Senior Award: Madison Tessler
Congratulations, Linguistics Class of 2023!
*Linguistics Minor **Linguistics Department Honors