National Science Foundation REU Site

Building Digital Tools to Support Endangered Languages and Preserve
Environmental Knowledge in Mexico, Micronesia, and Navajo Nation
(Award #1461056)

NSF REU Linguistics Field School 2016 Announcement

The Linguistics Department of Swarthmore College and Haverford College will host a 5-week Linguistics Field School consisting of two weeks at Haverford College and three weeks of community-based work in Mexico (with Prof. Brook Danielle Lillehaugen) or in the Navajo Nation (with Prof. Ted Fernald).

Host Institutions:  Swarthmore College and Haverford College. In Oaxaca: Biblioteca de Investigación Juan de Córdova and Centro de Estudios Tecnológicos, industrial y de servicios (CETis) #124.  In the Navajo Nation: Navajo Technical University (NTU)

Dates: May 23 through June 25, 2016

Locations: Haverford, PA; Oaxaca, Mexico; Crownpoint, New Mexico

Description: The program will recruit a cohort of 12 undergraduates who have shown a strong interest in and commitment to linguistics, digital tools, and/or related fields. Students will begin the program at Haverford College, where they will receive ten days of intensive training in linguistic field methods, digital recording, data analysis, field ethics, and allied disciplines. Students will then join local community language revitalization projects in Oaxaca, Mexico and the Navajo Nation for three weeks (6 students at each site), where they will work closely with language activists and scholars on a variety of projects. For the Navajo project, students will work on programming and testing a web-based application for generating Navajo verbs. The last 5 days will take place at Haverford College where students will receive follow-up training and process their field data.  

Interested students may find the NSF REU Linguistics Field School Facebook group useful in getting a sense of the experience. The Twitter hashtag is #LingFieldSchool.

Funding: All travel and living expenses will be covered, and students will also receive a generous weekly stipend. This project is funded by the National Science Foundation's Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) program (grant #1461056). 

Qualifications: Applicants should be currently enrolled undergraduates who have completed at least one year of college level studies, and who are US citizens or permanent residents. Students who will complete their B.A. by June 2016 are not eligible.  We especially welcome applications from students of community colleges, tribal-affiliated colleges in the US, and institutions where no linguistics major is available. Fluent or heritage speakers of Zapotec or Navajo are especially encouraged to apply.  Students should have experience (such as course work) in at least two of the following areas and demonstrated interest in others: linguistics, languages indigenous to the Americas (including Zapotec and Navajo), programming, web design, and digital humanities. For Oaxaca: applicants must have a valid passport at the time of application; competency in Spanish is necessary and programming experience with Android apps or iPhone apps is an asset.  For the Navajo Nation: an introductory computer science course or data structures course is desirable, or programming experience with Python or a web framework like Django.

Application Instructions: The application is available here.  Applications will require one letter of recommendation which must be emailed directly from the recommender to by the application deadline.  The selection process is highly competitive and detailed letters that address the student’s potential for success in this type of program will be most helpful in determining the final cohort.

Application deadline: Closed for 2016  

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