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.
Taught by Charles Eastman fellow Sunaina Kale, this class taught me about the role of sound in delineating, conceiving, and comprehending relations between people and the land in Indigenous musical traditions. Over the course of the class, we discussed Indigenous musicians, listened to music from Native peoples around the world, heard from masterful Indigenous musicians, and ultimately presented a project that creatively analyzed a song of our choice. My project focused on the song "Ask Yourself" by Foster the People, and I wrote a poem that integrated aspects of Indigenous languages and worldviews to answer questions posed by the song.
This term, I formally began the research process for my upcoming honors thesis in the Linguistics department on Hawaiian semantics! While living in Hanover, I also began working as a Senior Fellow with the Admissions department—a position I will be holding for the entirety of my last year at Dartmouth.
This is a great question and I'm so glad you asked! As a Linguistics and Native American and Indigenous Studies (NAIS) double major, research programs are such fantastic ways to work closely with Dartmouth's brilliant faculty while tackling projects of personal interest that truly broaden your skillset and diversify your learning. I'm a junior now and have engaged with two different research programs over the course of my Dartmouth career — let me tell you about my experiences!
During my sophomore spring term, I received a Sophomore Research Scholarship (now known as Undergraduate Research Assistantships at Dartmouth, or URAD — read more here!). I did my one term of this program under Professor N. Bruce Duthu, the chair of the NAIS department and an incredible legal scholar. With his advice, I designed a project that would allow me to explore the role of Hawaiian language in the contemporary Hawaiian sovereignty movement. I wanted to see how language revitalization and the increased number of people learning Hawaiian has impacted how current generations of Native Hawaiians conceive of and describe Hawaiian sovereignty. I looked at archival materials like newspapers and novels, and did a broad survey of the current scholarly literature available on the topic. Professor Duthu and I met weekly over the term, and by the end of the project I had a much greater understanding of my chosen topic and am thinking about how to potentially integrate what I learned into my undergraduate thesis.
During my junior fall term and my junior spring terms I worked with Professor David Peterson in the Linguistics department on South Central Tibeto-Burman languages for my James O. Freedman Presidential Scholarship (read about the program here!). We met weekly to establish goals and action items for the week, and then I'd jump into the weeds independently, surveying grammars and different sources to compare and contrast dozens of different languages. At the time of my writing this answer, it's still ongoing, but I will say that working closely with a world expert (as many Dartmouth faculty are) has been such a great way to get into the thick of research in my field as I approach my senior year.
All in all, research has really broadened my skillset and taught me so much more about my chosen topics. Sometimes, you get really into a project or topic in a class you take but when the end of term approaches, you feel constrained — with a term-long research project, you can really get into specifics on a topic of your choice paired with the guidance of an expert researcher. I cannot recommend applying for one enough! We have several, all of which you can read about over on the Undergraduate Advising and Research website. Hope this helps!
One of the coolest things about Dartmouth is the D-Plan! It is an amazing and flexible system that allows your academic life to flow seamlessly around your future plans. Here is an international student's perspective on it.