We are excited to introduce our incoming Ph.D. cohort, who will be joining the department in the fall of 2023!  Please give them all a warm welcome—we’re so glad you’re joining us!

Below are the students’ self-provided profiles:

Grace Brown

I received a BA in Linguistics from the University of Michigan in 2022, where I developed a broad interest in psycholinguistics, sociophonetics, speech perception, and language and identity. Over the past year, I’ve worked as a postbaccalaureate researcher at the University of Maryland, switching gears a bit to focus on building a cognitive model of speech perception in autism that integrates neural and behavioral profiles of speech and sensory processing. Going forward, I’m excited to combine these interests by using a combination of behavioral and computational methods to investigate the intersection of linguistic and social cognition, and I aim to continue to explore the experiences of autistic speakers/listeners whenever possible. 

Melissa Cronin

I received my BA and MA in Linguistics from Southern Illinois University Carbondale, having also grown up in the Southern Illinois area. I have broad interests in semantics and syntax. The topics I have worked on so far are focus and argument structure; my MA thesis looked at ‘even’ among comparative sentences, a context where the semantics of ‘even’ is called into question. I’m excited to continue to explore these topics more deeply and pursue other areas of inquiry, namely tense and aspect, at Stanford.

Jasper Jian

I am joining the department after completing my BSc in Linguistics and Computer Science at McGill University. I am interested in how we can investigate representations of syntax in large language models and hope to incorporate insights from cross-linguistic phenomena in this research. I am also interested in linguistic fieldwork and have been working with Igbo (a language spoken in Nigeria) where I have been investigating the syntax and semantics of interrogatives. Outside of linguistics, I love exploring the outdoors and enjoy hiking and skiing, especially. I am excited to start as a graduate student at Stanford this fall!

Katie Johnson

I graduated from Harvey Mudd College in Spring 2023 with degrees in Linguistics and Computer Science. Most of my research focuses on syntactic theory, which I am excited to continue working on while at Stanford! My senior thesis was a theoretical analysis of a syntactic construction known as “hyperraising” in Tiriki, a Bantu language. Much of my research time is also spent on understanding and explaining why Minimalist models of syntax are successful at capturing so many grammatical patterns: I am currently working to explain this success through parallels between Minimalist syntactic derivations and children’s acquisition of language. I look forward to continuing and expanding upon these research interests as part of the Stanford community!

Samba Amadou Kane

I received my BA in Linguistics and Spanish/Portuguese Literature from UC Berkeley in 2021. My primary research interests concern the morpho-syntax interface of the Pulaar language. I am particularly interested in understanding how tense and aspect information is encoded in the Pulaar verbal domain. In addition to investigating the syntax and semantics of tense/aspect in Pulaar, I also hope to explore other topics such as dialectal variation and language contact. Because of its vast geographical distribution, Pulaar naturally raises intriguing questions in the field of sociolinguistics. Moreover, I would like to help improve Pulaar’s compatibility with new technologies in computational linguistics. I am looking forward to starting my journey at Stanford, envisioning a multidisciplinary approach in research that will allow me to contribute to the advancement of linguistic theory while supporting the wellbeing and development of a somewhat endangered language like Pulaar. 

Büsra Marsan

I received my BA in Translation and MA in Linguistics from Boğaziçi University. I am mainly interested in computational linguistics, formal semantics, and pragmatics. Tense and aspect semantics, information structure, and semantic ambiguities are some of the topics I am familiar with. During my MA years, I had the opportunity to gain research experience at a start-up, and Boğaziçi University Text Analytics and BioInformatics Lab. I participated in various research projects and development of linguistically informed NLP resources like UD-style treebanks. For my MA thesis, I explored De Re De Dicto ambiguities in Turkish through the lens of computational linguistics and psycholinguistics. I am very excited about joining the community at Stanford!

Jonathan WuWong

Before starting at Stanford, I completed my BA /MA in Linguistics and Art from the University of Chicago. Broadly, my interests lie at the intersection between contact linguistics and third-wave sociolinguistics. In examining contact induced changes on various levels of representation, I hope to better understand how style, personae, and social meaning are operationalized by linguistically diverse speech communities. Currently, I am interested in looking at American Chinatowns as a site to understand how multilingualism, language attrition, and variations in proficiency influence speakers’ production and perception of social meaning.


We have also written a profile for Siva Zhu:

Siva Zhu

Siva received her BA in Linguistics from Pomona College in 2022. Her senior thesis was a corpus study of the alternation between canonical word order and the ba construction in Mandarin Chinese.  After graduation, she was an intern in Jesse Snedeker’s Lab for Developmental Studies at Harvard in Summer 2022 and lab manager for Duane Watson at Vanderbilt University in Autumn 2022. At Stanford, she is interested in investigating the mechanisms underlying sentence processing.