Linguist Jamie Thomas Named Woodrow Wilson Fellow

Professor Jamie Thomas

Thomas was one of only 33 junior faculty members from around the country to receive a Career Enhancement Fellowship.

A career enhancement fellowship funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and administered by the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation will allow Assistant Professor of Linguistics Jamie Thomas to pursue career development opportunities during the next academic year.

Thomas, whose areas of expertise include language learning, second language acquisition, and the African diaspora, will serve as a visiting scholar in the department of linguistics at the University of California, Santa Barbara. While there, she will make revisions to her forthcoming book, Zombies Speak Swahili, which is about the dehumanization of certain languages and their speakers. Thomas also plans to begin a new project on discourses of biomedicine in manned space travel during her academic leave.

 "With the fellowship's guidance, I have reached out to a new mentor to develop further as a sociocultural linguist and ethnographer," says Thomas, who was one of only 33 junior faculty members from around the country to receive the fellowship. "I especially look forward to the mid-August retreat, which will bring fellows and mentors together to facilitate mentoring relationships, share insights on book publishing, and help fellows expand their academic networks."

The Woodrow Wilson Career Enhancement Fellowship program aims to further strengthen the pipeline to the humanities professoriate and support tenure progress for junior and adjunct faculty. Fellows receive up to $30,000 in a sabbatical stipend, mentoring, and tailored career advice at a development retreat.

Thomas, who earned her A.B. at Washington University in St. Louis and her Ph.D. in applied linguistics at Michigan State University, also maintains the #languagestory blog where she posts ethnographic videos and shares critical commentary on communication, intercultural learning, and her most recent international fieldwork.