01 September 2013

Welcome to our new students!

It is with great pleasure that we welcome our new graduate students to the department. We attach a picture and a short description of each one, so that everyone can start getting to know them a bit better.

Jesse Bisogni

Hi, I’m Jesse. Moving to Los Angeles is my first true West Coast experience, and I’m very excited to become an Angeleno and explore all the city has to offer. Prior to LA, I lived in Washington, D.C. for eight years during which time I finished my undergraduate degree in French and linguistics at Georgetown University and worked for the U.S. Government as a language researcher. My hobbies include running, hiking and bicycling which I’ll be able to enjoy year-round in Southern California.

At USC, I hope to pursue my interests in speech production and machine learning and expand my knowledge of computational research and analysis methods. I also would like to explore other areas of linguistics and related interdisciplinary fields while collaborating with my fellow graduate students.

 Reed Blaylock

I’ve lived all around the country, but my home is Ann Arbor, MI. I attended the University of Michigan in my undergraduate years, receiving a B.A. in Linguistics with a minor in Latin. My focus has been in phonetics, especially speech perception, and my senior thesis explored the nature of the glottal stop as a default epenthetic segment. Before coming to USC, I spent two years in the work force: one year as a speech data analyst for Google, and another as a sales associate with T-Mobile. In that time, I also cultivated my skills as a web developer and general programmer. In my spare time, I sing, ballroom dance, and pretend to be a drummer.

Mairym Llorens

Hello, my name is Mairym but lots of people call me Mai. I am from Puerto Rico.

While turning a Biological Anthropology minor into a major at SUNY Albany, a professor suggested I check out Linguistics, another track offered at the same department. I got hooked, and finished both tracks of the BA in Anthropology. After that I went home and got certified by the National Association for Interpretation and the National Parks Service and worked for five years as a nature interpreter and historical guide. My offices were the Caribbean National Rain Forest, both the smallest and most biodiverse ecosystem in the US Federal Forest system, the Bosque XerotĂ­fico de Guánica and the National Historic Site in Old San Juan, the oldest city in the US and its territories. I loved these jobs. But the complex ethology of human and non-human animals, my daily bread, got me itching to continue the journey into our species' mental life and its distinctive property, language. Hence the MA in Cognitive Science and Language from the U. of Barcelona. And now, here!

I am passionate about natural history and philosophy. In Linguistics, I am most interested in the nature and characterization of phonological content and its development. I am also curious about the development of other mental representations, such as morality and personal identity. To relax, I play piano, walk, read and interact with my dogs. To stimulate, I do digital signal processing to create electronic music (pictured here) and read other things. The most stimulating thing I know of is conversing with people, and that's already begun with you guys. I am very grateful to be here.

Charlie O'Hara

I grew up in a suburb outside of Chicago; Barrington, IL. It's a chill enough spot, Smash Mouth played at my high school, but it was during my freshman year at Oberlin College so I didn't get to go. At Oberlin, I majored in math and had as linguistics-heavy of a course load as you can have at a school without a linguistics department. I did a bit of work with Klamath, a Plains Penutian language that was spoken in Oregon, focusing on aspect and verbal morphology. I've also studied Latin, Greek, Arabic, Swahili, and Japanese. I may head down a semantic road here, but we'll see. I'm also pretty into music, I've played in bands with some consistency for the past ten years. At Oberlin, I worked as a DJ and staff member at the campus radio station, and I am interested in continuing that at USC. I'm also very into comedy podcasts, and I've been making my own for the past 5 years. I'm also super into the LA improv scene, and have been to probably like 6-7 improv shows in my 15ish days here so far. Between college and now, I worked IT for about six months, performed stand-up regularly for another six, and got into baking bagels.

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