I began teaching myself Japanese on a whim when I was around age thirteen. At first, it was a way to understand the more obscure episodes of Sailor Moon that I found at the library, but I found myself extremely interested in how the language reached the point it was in current times. My original interest was in etymology, but I realized that my true passion was in language learning and studying the various ways of expressing it.
Applied Language and Intercultural Studies allows me to study both language and computer science, helping me move towards my goal of working on translation technology. We all know that there are issues with the current means of translation, and I was attracted to the major because of the versatility it allowed me in tackling those problems from different angles.
In the summer of 2016, I participated in the School of Modern Languages' Japanese LBAT program in Beppu, Oita Prefecture, Japan. The LBAT program is a two-and-a-half-month intensive Japanese language program. We were in a rural area of Japan, and as a result had the great opportunity to hear different dialects of native Japanese and experience daily life, visit factories, schools, and so much more.
I am also involved in research with Associate Professor Kyoko Masuda. Professor Masuda introduced me to the field of cognitive linguistics. Her mentoring has played an important role in my options for the future.
“The language courses in the School of Modern Languages always try to incorporate a technological aspect. Even courses that do not specifically concern language provide opportunities to read and study more about what I wish to learn.”
My goals for the future definitely involve working at the intersection of language and technology. I especially would like to work in the fields regarding translation or speech recognition, and the Ivan Allen College of Liberal Arts here at Georgia Tech has afforded me various opportunities to follow that path.
The language courses always try to incorporate a technological aspect, and even courses that do not specifically concern language provide opportunities to read and study more about what I wish to learn. For example, several of the psychology courses I have taken have allowed me to explore the relationships between cognitive psychology and language learning, and I have written many papers delving into that topic.
I am interested in music, cooking, art, and motorcycles! I will save my passion for motorcycles story though for another time. Because my major places an emphasis on ‘Intercultural Studies’, these hobbies allow me to integrate aspects of foreign cultural practices in music, cooking, and art into the skills I already possess. My family is originally from Jamaica, but even our cuisine has roots in Asia and Europe, as well as other Caribbean nations. I conduct my hobbies in a way that extends my knowledge of other countries’ practices into what I already know.
I would advise future liberal arts students to not be discouraged by Georgia Tech’s reputation as an engineering school. Though the school does have a heavy focus on engineering, there are still a lot of opportunities for liberal arts students! During my time here so far, I have been able to work in multiple research positions, study language in Japan, and develop research and communication skills that will no doubt help in my future wherever I go. There is definitely a lot of value to be found in the liberal arts program here at Tech, especially for driven students who are passionate about what they study.
For questions about students featured, photography, or to recommend a new undergraduate profile, contact Elizabeth Miller. Interview: Roshini Malde, Photography: Elizabeth Miller