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Field of Study: BS in Asian Studies and Neuroscience
Graduation Year: 2010
Adina Williams is a graduate student researcher at the New York University Department of Linguistics, focusing on how the brain represents meaning. She has traveled around the globe to present work on the Syntax of Mandarin, most recently to Budapest, Hungary and Beijing, China. Her work on Mandarin focuses on the syntactic structure of zai and its use both as the locative preposition and in progressive constructions, with an emphasis on how positing one underlying meaning can derive both uses.
Additionally, she volunteers as a translator with the National Language Service Corps (NLSC), a non-profit organization which organizes translators for disaster relief efforts. She also worked for two years as a contractor with STEELE CIS Investigation and Analysis Group performing corporate investigations in Mandarin.
She has drawn on the exemplary training she received in the University of Michigan's Department of Asian Languages and Cultures for both her academic career and her interest in volunteering and translation. The department provided her with extensive opportunities to acquire her language skills through a wide range of interesting and challenging courses, including Business Mandarin and Classical Mandarin, and to fine-tune them through copious extra-curricular activities, such as movie nights and lecture series. The department also supported her application for the United States State Department Critical Language Scholarship, which she received in 2009. This scholarship funded her to study abroad at Soochow University in Suzhou for a full summer semester. After she completed her BS at the University of Michigan in 2010, Adina went on to receive an MA at Michigan State University, where she presented a corpus project on Beijing Mandarin dialect and how certain phonological features correlated with political affiliation. Her training with ALC also enabled her to fully fund her graduate studies with a teaching position at MSU, where she designed and taught an interdisciplinary undergraduate course: Literature, Culture, and Identities (East Asia). She completed her Masters in 2013, and joined the PhD program in Linguistics at NYU. Even now, her avid love of Mandarin continues to grow, and her graduate work relies heavily on the Mandarin language training she received from the Department of Asian Languages and Cultures.