Why did you choose to study for a PhD in English Language and Linguistics?

During my Masters (MSc Psychology), I fell in love with the psychology of language and in particular, the cognitive factors underlying children’s language acquisition. My research focuses on individual differences which impact the way in which children acquire their native language and also explores atypical language development. I was most fortunate to join the University of Birmingham as part of a specific research project investigating my research interests.

Why did you choose to undertake research at the University of Birmingham?

When I embarked on my PhD, I had specific research interests and was thrilled to find a PhD opportunity at the University of Birmingham that was just what I was looking for! I am part of a research group led by Professor Ewa Dąbrowska. As a team, we research differences in first and second language acquisition and attainment. This is part of a five-year project funded by the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation.

What are the best things about your course?

I have an excellent supervisory team with weekly meetings with my lead supervisor, and as a team we also have a weekly reading group in collaboration with academics at Fredrich Alexander University. It is such a supportive and immersive environment, and I am continually learning and being challenged. I enjoy working and managing my research independently but equally thrive on being part of a team and being able to collaborate on different projects. This year I am part of a voluntary committee coordinating ‘PG Tips’ which is a group of postgraduate researchers in our department. There is a great sense of community with online presentations, socials, and also the Birmingham English Language Postgraduate Conference. All of our events have been online due to the pandemic, but I look forward to more in-person events in the new academic year!

What is life like as a researcher at the University of Birmingham?

I thoroughly enjoy being a researcher at the University of Birmingham, it has a supportive, professional and friendly ethos. There are excellent facilities on campus which are also easily accessible online, this has been most beneficial during the recent lockdowns. The campus is absolutely beautiful too!

What support have you received during your PhD?

I receive a great deal of academic support from my supervisor as well as the invaluable opportunity to gain teaching experience in my department as a Postgraduate Teaching Associate. There are excellent, extensive and world-class academic resources available as a PhD researcher, from statistics workshops, open research groups and writing workshops to the annual Corpus Linguistics Summer School.

Outside of your research, what experience have you gained and how will it help you in the future?

I have enjoyed meeting fellow doctoral researchers and academics from whom I have learned a great deal, and I look forward continuing these relationships in the long-term. I am continually assessing my personal journey in academia, both from the perspective of my current research, and looking forward to the future and the steps I will take when I complete my PhD.