Graduate Student Testimonials about IMS-Funded Events

Rima Elabdali, PhD student at Linguistics Department

“The Initiative for Multilingual Studies helped me obtain funding to attend a week-long intensive course on Linguistics and Environmental Justice (new window) in Oslo, Norway in September 2022. The course enriched my thinking on the transdisciplinary role of linguistics and introduced me to a new area of research where I could apply my linguistic expertise to support environmental justice. It also offered me opportunities to network and share my research with scholars from multiple universities in Europe and Africa. I gained a fresh perspective and built lifelong friendships.”

– Rima Elabdali, Ph.D. student (ALI-2018) at the Department of Linguistics, Georgetown University

The Initiative for Multilingual Studies fed my many curiosities about so many different themes within multilingualism and offered me an exciting space to ask questions and meet other junior scholars from around the world. During my doctoral studies, I was given the chance to travel to Brussels for HaBilNet1 in 2018 and Stellenbosch for an international partnership with scholars from South Africa and Norway in 2019. I learned so much about social, psychological, cognitive factors and beyond, and I found a strong community of peers and senior scholars, many of whom I still connect with and receive support from today. The IMS (and Dr. Ortega!) helped me build an awareness about social justice and language, taught me how to recognize and challenge ideologies, and exposed me to a range of pedagogical and community initiatives that inspired my earliest interests as a researcher and educator. From third language acquisition, to ecolinguistics, to lavender linguistics, I learned about multilingualism in the broadest sense, and it is largely thanks to the IMS that I finished my graduate studies with the foundation and motivation to start a multilingual initiative at my current institution. I couldn’t be more grateful for many communities and initiatives I was welcomed into through the IMS.

-Meagan Driver, Former PhD student at the Department of Spanish and Portuguese, Georgetown University (Currently Assistant Professor at the Department of Romance and Classical Studies & Second Language Studies Program at Michigan State University)

Seyma Toker Bradshaw, PhD student at Linguistics Department

“I was awarded two fellowships by the IMS to participate in an invitational academic conference on on Multilingualism and Vulnerability in South Africa in 2019 with 4 other graduate students, Dr. Ortega and Dr. De Fina and a week-long intensive course on Issues in Second Language Learning (with)in Marginalized Populations (new window) in 2020 hosted by MultiLing at the University of Oslo. In both of these events, I shared the research I conducted as part of my qualifying review at Georgetown with leading international scholars in the field and networked with Ph.D. students and faculty across three continents. It was fascinating to learn about different contexts of multilingualism and multilingual education and expand my understanding of language policies outside the educational context of the U.S. and Turkey. I left these events with lots of feedback, new ideas about my future research and a large global academic network. I am still in contact with many graduate fellows and faculty I met in these events and re-connected with some of them at academic conferences last year. Attending these IMS events was a tremendous opportunity that graduate students rarely get to experience during their doctoral education.”

– Seyma Toker Bradshaw, Ph.D. student (ALI-2018) at the Department of Linguistics, Georgetown University

We had an amazing time attending the International Workshop on “Multilingual Language Acquisition, Processing and Use” (new window) in Poznań, Poland, on 6-7 May 2017, and we owe the IMS a huge debt of gratitude for making that even a possibility for us. It’s hard to describe how much of a luxury it was to be able to simply attend the conference and soak things in, without having to worry about presenting, and instead just be able to fully engross ourselves in everything that was being said.  We witnessed lots of innovative and fascinating presentations, met some very interesting researchers from as nearby as Poznań (Magda Wrembel), and as far away as Chicago (Jen Cabrelli Amaro). […] We took copious notes, and the three of us have started a Google doc where we’ll be compiling some reflections in the interest of preparing an IMS event in the fall.”

– Will Travers, Former PhD student at the Department of Spanish and Portuguese, Georgetown University (Currently Visiting Lecturer of Spanish at the Department of Spanish and Portuguese at Emory College of Arts and Sciences