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Linguistics Grad Students to Pursue Doctoral Degrees
Colleen Davis will continue her studies at Brown University and Laura Tejada will study at USC

Story by Mimi Ko Cruz

June 15, 2006 :: No. 262

Colleen Davis and Laura Tejada, Cal State Fullerton graduates, won the Patricia Bruner Memorial Award, the top honor given to those pursuing a master's degree in linguistics from the English, Comparative Literature and Linguistics Department.

Davis, 25, and Tejada, 24, completed their master's degrees last month and, besides receiving the Bruner Award, which came with $100 that they shared, both women also were offered five-year fellowships to continue their studies as they pursue doctorate degrees.

Davis accepted a fellowship in cognitive and linguistic sciences at Brown University, starting in the fall. She will get a $22,000 a year stipend, plus all her tuition, student fees and health insurance will be paid for as part of the fellowship.

"I will be studying language processing — how we comprehend and produce language in real time using our various knowledge centers, and what the implications are for the neural organization of language," Davis said. "So, I will be concentrating on the subfields of psycholinguistics and neurolinguistics."

Davis served as president of the Linguistics Student Association this academic year and was the chair of the Humanities and Social Sciences Inter-Club Council last year.

Tejada accepted a fellowship, which includes a $19,500 a year stipend, plus health insurance, student fees and tuition, to study at USC, starting in the fall. She plans to earn a second master's degree and Ph.D. there.

"I hope to work as a researcher and professor after finishing," Tejada said. "I also hope to publish a grammar of the southern Quechua dialects spoken in the Ecuadorian province of Azuay."

She has been doing fieldwork on language contact between the South American indigenous language, Quechua, and Spanish, spending several weeks in December and January in Cuenca, Ecuador.

"Laura and Colleen were chosen for the Patricia Bruner Memorial Award because of their outstanding performance in our M.A. program in linguistics," said Franz Müller, associate professor and coordinator of the linguistics program. "Not only were the linguistics faculty here impressed with their work, but apparently so were USC and Brown University."

He said the award is named for a former graduate student who died in a snowboarding accident shortly after completing her master's degree in linguistics in 1992.


Media Contacts:

Mimi Ko Cruz, Public Affairs, 657-278-7586 or

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