Flying Blind and Trying Times | #1

Hello there!  My name is Kelly, and welcome to my summer 2017 blog!  I’ll be updating here as I navigate through my research fellowship at the University of Michigan with the MCubed Scholars program, which is about half over but feels like it has (officially) just begun…

This summer, I’m working as a research assistant with my fabulous colleague, Annika, studying fluency phenomena in Spanish speakers of varying levels.  We’re working with faculty members from the departments of Linguistics, Psychology, and Romance Languages & Literatures for a truly interdisciplinary approach to this fascinating area, and Annika and I have been hard at work coding and analyzing data that was already gathered during previous iterations of this project.  We’ve also put in a lot of time (like, more than 30 hours!) to develop the actual experiment that our PI’s (that’s Primary Investigators, if you were wondering) will be using to gather data in the next month in Salamanca, Spain.

Now’s when the really exciting work begins!  Our research advisors will be contacting us through videochat, for the most part, as we receive and send back different datasets and added transcriptions/codes/annotations/etc to process as much as we can before we present at the UROP Summer Symposium on August 2nd.

Did that sound like a lot?  Typing that felt like a lot.  It felt daunting, but exciting at the same time, like the first hill on a roller coaster…terrifying, until you hit your groove, and then tons of fun as you race to the end! (That might sound completely off to you, but I’m sure you’re equally passionate about something else!)

This past month has been a bit of a learning curve, mainly because Annika and I have been familiarizing ourselves with the programs largely on our own time.  We’ve sent many frantic late night texts back and forth, worried that one of us is making a mistake or forgetting a crucial step in the process.  Sometimes, the pressure is getting to us, and that isn’t always something we can brush off.  The great part is that we have each other to trade ideas and questions with, as well as a lab full of people who are incredibly supportive and willing to help (at all hours of the night!), not judging us for our lack of knowledge.  We might feel like we’re flying blind in this whole process at times, but we’ve got so many people to learn from that we’re never too far from where we need to be.

‘Til next time!


My name is Kelly, and I am a junior majoring in Romance Languages and Literatures and Cognitive Science (language and cognition). In addition to English, I speak Spanish, Italian, and Portuguese with varying levels of proficiency. I currently work in Dr. Julie Boland’s Psycholinguistics lab as a research assistant, and I am working with Dr. Lorenzo García-Amaya on his 2017 MCubed project. My academic interests include bilingualism and foreign language acquisition.

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