Aloha to the page of a wanderlusting writer juggling college life and several other hobbies into an eternally-short 24-hour day. I hope to shed light on the Dartmouth experience as I explore the brave new world of Hanover, NH and everything going to college here has to offer. In my free time, you can find me trying to learn a new language or building the perfect Spotify playlist (alternative/indie, anyone?). I hope you enjoy!
Taught by Gordon Henry, an Anishinaabe poet and author, this class taught me to explore Indigenous storytelling within digital contexts. I took this class with only seven other classmates, allowing us to really engage with films, comic books, and television shows in Indigenous languages or produced by Indigenous artists.
Taught by Timothy Pulju, this class taught me how to identify and understand how languages evolve over time and why. I analyzed and reconstructed fictional languages of imaginary nations in order to understand the link between language and culture, and ended up having such an appreciation for the complexity and beauty of language's place in history!
Taught by Lindsay Whaley, this class let me discover a newfound love for ancient apocalyptic literature. We analyzed ancient texts and compared them to modern apocalypses, looking at the zombie apocalypse phenomenon and other apocalypses in pop culture and comparing them to the ancient tradition of writing apocalypses. Additionally, I learned the Greek alphabet and now I can even stumble through ancient Greek passages.
Taught and organized by David Peterson, this class let me get into the shoes of a real linguist as we did fieldwork (virtually!!) with the Zophei language. I learned how to describe a never-before-learned language's phonology (sound system), how to characterize its grammar and words, and ultimately got to present my research to experts in the language family around the world in a workshop at the end of the term!
Taught by N. Bruce Duthu, this class taught me how Native literature can provide lens by which to evaluate, critique, and ultimately revise Federal Indian Law. During this class, I read works by Native authors like Tommy Orange and Louise Erdrich '76 alongside the opinions of definitive case opinions in American law and explained how literature can be a catalyst for Indigenous sovereignty.
Supervised by N. Bruce Duthu, I spent this off-term performing research after being awarded a Sophomore Research Scholarship to study contemporary Hawaiian cultural and linguistic revitalization. I studied 19th-century newspapers and contemporary Hawaiian texts in order to understand how Hawaiian language revitalization both past and present has advanced and continues to enable a contemporary bodied Hawaiian politic of sovereignty.
Taught by Laura McPherson, this class taught me about how languages create meaning through words. During this class, I learned how to analyze different languages' morphological processes and compare different approaches within the field as to morphological structures.
Taught by N. Bruce Duthu, this class offered me a glimpse into the lived realities of Native people in Indian Country Today. I learned about the economic, social, cultural, and historical roots for the struggles of Indigenous people today within the United States, and was able to write about the contemporary battle for Native Hawaiian visibility and Hawaiian sovereignty.
Taught by Laura McPherson, this class taught me how to engage in language documentation and how, as a linguist, we can put our skills to use to help communities seeking to document and revitalize their languages. I worked on the Satawalese language, spoken on the island of Satawal in the Federated States of Micronesia. Ultimately, my team created two dictionaries - one in English, one in Hawaiian, a website, and several materials that focused on the Satawalese tradition of wayfinding and non-instrumental ocean navigation.
How do you build relationships with professors at Dartmouth?
Relationships with faculty at a school like Dartmouth can be intimidating. I'm happy to share a bit about how I've developed relationships with professors here!
If you're a student at Dartmouth, I think it's critical that you take smaller classes to help ease you into making relationships with faculty. The smaller class size means you'll have plenty of opportunities to interact not only with your classmates, but your professor too! Spending more time actively engaging in class, which happens with seminars, mean more time you're acclimating to the people around you, and it just makes it easier to schedule a meeting with a professor and if you're anything like me, to ask more questions! The good news is that every department has smaller classes of maybe 5 to 10 students — you just might have to take them after you've taken introductory or prerequisite courses. Especially in departments like linguistics, the introductory class is medium-sized (usually from 15 to 40 students) but after that, intermediate classes stay in the teens and advanced seminars and the like are under 10 students each.
But meeting faculty doesn't need to only happen in your major! You should absolutely take advantage of all the departments Dartmouth offers to browse through interesting sounding classes, especially those that have few students in them. A low enrollment is absolutely not a reason to not take a class. By all means, I think you should consider that an invitation! Some of my favorite Dartmouth classes had very few students enrolled, and remain ones where I made stronger connections with my classmates and my peers alike.
After you've met faculty, you're probably wondering how you can get to know them better outside of class. Some of the ways that I've gotten to know my professors better are through taking on research projects with them. Though you can totally ask professors to get coffee or lunch, and I've done that exact thing before, I think working with professors in one-on-one research projects is a great way to get to know them better, get to know their work and experience better, and also jump into their field headfirst. Professors I've had weekly meetings with for my research projects remain my advisors and I find myself leaning more and more on them as I jump into the process of writing an undergraduate thesis. They're the ones I go to for recommendation letters and any questions I have, whether academic or personal regarding Dartmouth where I think their advice is critical.
At the end of the day, professors at Dartmouth are so much more accessible than any teachers I had in high school. They're super welcoming and warm and especially after you've had a smaller class with them, they become so much more accessible! As a freshman, trying to talk to professors and get to know them better to work up the confidence for a recommendation letter request was nerve-wracking, but through smaller classes and working with them on projects, I truly ended up creating a little squad of amazing scholars who have positively impacted my time at Dartmouth and will absolutely continue to do so after I graduate. Hope this helps!
I wanted to make my last blog post for this academic year about the places in the Dartmouth community that I will deeply miss and have made amazing memories with the wonderful members of this community.