Linguistics 2022 Senior Profiles

Congratulations to the graduating class of 2021-2022! We are incredibly proud of this spirited, bright, creative, and all-around fun class of individuals! We are sure that great things await them as they transition to the next phase of their life’s journey.

Read on to see their thoughts and heartfelt reflections on their time at UW-Madison:

  1. What activities were you involved in during your time on Campus?
  2. What was your favorite college class?
  3. What is your favorite college memory?
  4. What are your hopes, plans, and dreams for the future?

Sakuni Egodawatte

Activities – I was an Undergraduate Research Scholars Fellow for the past two years, it’s an incredible organization and a genuinely tight-knit and caring community. When I was a Scholar in the program, I got to do Applied Linguistics research. I’ve also been privileged to be an undergraduate representative on the Computer Sciences Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee since last year. I was a Dean’s Ambassador for L&S for the past two years as well.

Classes – My favorite Linguistics class was ENGL 319: Language, Race and Identity with Prof. Purnell. Dialectal discrimination is something I’ve always been very interested in, and it was an incredibly informative course. I hope it’s a topic I can continue to explore in further education. One of my favorite classes overall was CS&D 424: Sign Language I with Prof. Free, not only for the opportunity to learn a language with a different modality, but also to learn more about Deaf culture.

Memory – Most of my favorite memories at UW involved looking out at Lake Mendota during sunset, whether it be walks to Picnic Point or sitting on the terrace with people I care about. Definitely going to miss this campus a lot, it is a really beautiful place.

The Future? – I’m going to be a software developer at Allstate for the foreseeable future, but I would eventually like to pursue graduate school. I want to aim for a master’s in computational linguistics, and maybe a PhD in a linguistics topic further down the line too. I hope to stay in Madison while I work.

Rachel Fedorchak

Activities – All of my non-academic activities in college were in comedy orgs on campus! I was Editor-in-Chief of The Madison Misnomer, the school’s satire publication (find them at and @madisonmisnomer on Instagram!), as well as being a member of Manhole Sketch Comedy. These orgs entirely shaped my time in college, and I’m thankful for the experience and the friends who made my stomach hurt from laughing so hard!

Classes – My favorite class was definitely Phonology with Professor Raimy. It’s so interesting and fun to realize all of the little phonetic intricacies we use daily without even realizing it! One of the best parts of Linguistics classes is when an interesting process is pointed out, and everyone in the class silently mouths it to themselves to test it out. Outside of Linguistics, I double-majored in Economics and really enjoyed my class on Environmental Economics!

Campus Memory – My favorite college memory was a tradition that my friends and I had where we would watch the sunrise on Lake Mendota on the last day of classes each semester. It was sort of a time of reflection and also a way to spend some of the last moments of the semester with friends. One semester, I forgot to set a sunrise alarm, and my friends called me nearly 30 times trying to wake me up; thankfully, their calls worked, and I sprinted from my dorm to Memorial Union in my pajamas just in time for sunrise.

The Future? – After graduation, I plan on moving to Chicago with a few friends! I’m hoping to get a research job related to environmental economics while also continuing to pursue satire and sketch comedy. I’m excited to explore a new home, but I’m definitely going to miss Madison and all of the people who’ve made my college experience so great!

Ilkyu Ju

Activities – I also majored in Computer Science, and I was a peer mentor for CS 571: Building User Interfaces which was my favorite CS course. Every second of my office hours and discussions was invaluable to me because they allowed me to share what I love with my fellow Badgers, such as building chatbots. In addition, I was a part of the ILC community during my freshman year, where I made friends that remain close to my heart to this day.

Classes – The class where I learned that being a word nerd is cool: English 413: English Words by Professor Wanner. I had a lot of fun creating an interactive quiz to explain the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis to the public for the Grammar Badgers group project. Although I am a terrible dancer, Dance 103: Modern Jazz Dance with Professor Ramos taught me how to keep my swagger when dancing. It was pure wholesomeness to embrace each other’s vulnerability, and that was possible because we all spoke the universal language of dance. Oh, and all those 101 language courses!

Memory – I’ll miss those classes I took in Van Hise, reading books and then drinking Spotted Cow with cheese curds at the Terrace, walking and jogging along the lakeshore path, and late nights studying (and crying) at the College Library. Then there was that time I nearly got kicked out of the States for missing a COVID-related visa requirement. My thanks go to Professor Shields and Raimy who helped me out right away, which is why I can graduate this semester🙏

The Future? – I will be joining Samsung this September as a software engineer to build user interfaces for their messaging app. Before that, I will be taking a course on teaching Korean (my native language!) as a second language, hoping to gain insights on how to make foreign language learning more enjoyable, using both linguistics and CS stuff I learned!

Anna Knudten

Activities – In 2020-2021, I worked with Dr. Larson-Guenette, Sophia Strietholt, and David Owen, to conduct a pilot study researching the native perceptions of fluency of non-native, written, productions of language. In May of 2021, we presented our work at the 2021 German Linguistics Annual Conference, hosted by UW Madison.

Classes – Favorite Class: My favorite linguistics class was Dr. Salmon’s capstone class on historical Algonquian linguistics. The class provided me with the opportunity to work with some of the leading researchers in the field, which was the absolute coolest. Outside of my major, I took a “Greek and Roman Monsters” class which was fascinating because I got to interact with stories and archaeological pieces that have been around for thousands of years.

Campus Memory – My favorite UW memory is standing with my friends at the top of Bascom Hill one night. We were exhausted from studying and on our way home, we had to stop to catch our breath at the top of Bascom. Looking down from the top, I could see right down State Street to the Capitol building. It’s cheesy and overly dramatic, but in the moment, I realized what all my hard work was for.

The Future? – I want to further my work with the linguistics of indigenous and minority groups, more specifically regarding the lack of documentation of indigenous languages and dialects. Whether it’s creating and distributing educational resources in more languages or organizing archives of academic resources; I want to make linguistic research accessible and inclusive to historically- and currently- marginalized groups.

Chong Vue

Activities – During my time on campus, I was mainly a part of KASPER and SEADO. I love dancing, so during my freshman year I was able to find orgs that helped me fulfill that passion of mine while I studied.

Classes – One of my favorite classes is probably my dance therapy course. It was super relaxing, peaceful and fun. That was such a memorable class for me because it allowed me to have fun while also discovering more about my body. Another course I really enjoyed is my Linguistics 427 Field Methods course. I was able to research and teach others about languages that I speak. It was a new and memorable experience.

Campus Memory – I definitely will miss the campus as a whole. Me being away from home and gaining my independence in Madison was something amazing. I will also miss my friends so much!

The Future? – I hope to be a successful and happy woman in the future! I am still a bit unsure of what I want, but for sure I want to be those two things.

Also graduating this year (Fall 2021, Spring 2022, or Summer 2022):

  • Joshua Busher
  • Caleb Diny
  • Kayla Duel
  • Yuxiao Fu
  • Allison Garbacz
  • Grace Hodgman
  • Bex Kane
  • Ryan Knapton
  • Noah Mumford
  • Aaron Mutka
  • Macy O’Malley
  • Lily Pleskovitch
  • Jianye Qiu
  • Samuel Thao
  • Brock Wroblewski

(If any of you still want to add a profile, just email Becky your info!)

All Ways Forward!