Athena Hatfield '21

1. Why was it important to you to include a linguistics-oriented IIM or a Linguistics minor as part of your studies while you were at Luther?

Linguistics has always been really exciting to me, and I think it is an important area of study that is frequently overlooked. I wanted to bring a knowledge of linguistics (and in particular its teachings about diversity) with me to any career I end up with.

2. What sort of occupation or professional activity are you engaged in now?

I am serving as an AmeriCorps VISTA this year at the Duluth Community School Collaborative. I'm helping with grant proposals, volunteer recruitment, and community engagement in order to build the capacity of the organization to continue to implement the full service community school (FSCS) model at 3 schools. The FCSC model is about engaging the community and family in schooling and making sure that students' needs and their families' needs are met in order for them to be present at school.

3. In what ways has the knowledge you gained through studying linguistics contributed to how you engage with your current work and/or the world in general?

I learned to notice the way language impacts everything around us. There are a lot of assumptions we make about people simply based on how they speak, and taking linguistics courses made those assumptions more obvious to me. A person's use of language shouldn't have to be a barrier, but in many contexts it becomes one due to harmful assumptions that others make in response to someone's way of speaking. I am always keeping an eye out for opportunities to challenge this in my daily life when I notice it. On a less serious note, I also just get to have so much more fun when interacting with language due to my linguistics knowledge.