My research focuses on varieties of spoken American English and dialect discrimination, with an emphasis on Southern dialects, African American Language (AAL), and English creoles.
I incorporate methods from both laboratory phonology and phonetics to understand how micro-acoustic cues in speech production map to listener perceptions of ethnicity.
- Charter member of the Linguistics Society at the University of Georgia
- Inaugural cohort of UGA Diversity and Inclusion Graduate Fellows
- Linguistics Society of America
- American Association of Applied Linguistics
- Society of Pidgin and Creole Linguistics
- American Dialect Society
- Association for the Study of African American Life and History
- North American Research Network in Historical Sociolinguistics.
As an adjunct instructor, I taught Math at the University of North Georgia for over ten years.
Prior to discovering teaching, my work spanned several fields
In chronological order:
- Product and production design/manufacture in bio-tech industry (specifically, over-the-counter monoclonal antibody diagnostic products)
- Competitive intelligence and mathematical modeling for forecasting and rate setting in the health insurance industry
- Co-owner/operator Bessac-Waters Gallery and studio
- Executive Director of artist colony hosting scientists, writers, painters, sculptors, potters, and poets from around the world.
2023 Ph.D., Linguistics. University of Georgia.
Sounding Southern: On dialect ideology, listener attitudes, and linguistic profiling in the United States, Dr. Margaret Renwick, Chair
2013 Certificate in Spanish. Middlebury College Language Institute.
2012 M.A., Linguistics. University of Georgia.
1995 M.A., Healthcare Administration. Georgia State University.
1994 M.B.A., Healthcare Operations. Georgia State University.
1982 B.S., Industrial Management. Georgia Institute of Technology.
1979 A.S., Physics. Gainesville Jr. College (University of North Georgia).
- Dissertation research | Linguistic profiling
- intricacies of interactions between speech production, perception, and listener attitude
- language regard
- attitudes toward Southern-accented English
- Field work in the Gullah-Geechee communities Darien and Hog Hammock, Georgia; and Charleston, South Carolina
- An assessment of Gullah-Geechee linguistic landscapes; fieldwork on St. Helena Island, South Carolina
- A study of intonation in Gullah-Geechee creole
New sustainability text features several contributors from UGA. Published this month by Lexington Books, an imprint of Rowman Littlefield, Climate Consciousness and Environmental Activism in Composition: Writing to Save the World (Ecocritical Theory and Practice) edited by Dr. Joseph R. Lease.
Now more than ever—in a time when Americans still do not believe that humans are the primary cause of Earth's climate change crisis, the burden on educators to inform, challenge, and motivate students about sustainability is greater than it ever has been. On college campuses, writing intensive courses, often located within First-Year or General Education curricula, are an ideal place to take up this charge because of the flexibility of their content and the high volume of students that they reach. In this volume, a varied group of composition instructors with wide ranges and types of experiences provides best practices for bringing issues surrounding climate change into the writing classroom. From literature-based composition and creative writing courses to design thinking workshops to seminars "against sustainability," the authors in this volume lay out a multitude of possibilities for blending writing and environmental concerns that fellow practitioners can easily adopt or modify for their own use. Contributors from the University of Georgia include, Dr. Deborah L. Miller (ret.), Dr. Ron Balthazar, Dr. Lindsay Tigue, and doctoral candidate Kim Waters. Dr. Joseph R. Lease (ed.), English Department Chair, Wesleyan College, is also a contributor.
Awards, Honors and Recognitions
University of Georgia Graduate Student Funding
Seven-year funding package including
- Graduate TA-ships
- WIP-PP (Writing-intensive-program-Phonetics/Phonology)
- Writing Center consultancy
Ron Baxter Miller Graduate Award recognizing excellence in the study and scholarship of African American and Multicultural literature, May 2019 ($1000). The English Department, University of Georgia.
Innovative and Interdisciplinary Research Grant, April 2017 ($2500). The Graduate School, University of Georgia.
Willson Center Short-term Visiting Scholar Fellowship award to bring Dr. Neal Lester to UGA for a linked series of diversity and inclusion events for DIG Fellowship capstone project, Fall 2016 ($5000). Willson Center for Humanities and Arts and the Graduate School, University of Georgia.
Support for Dr. Neal Lester’s Willson Center Fellowship, August 2016 ($1000). Franklin College of Arts & Sciences Office of Inclusion and Diversity Initiatives, University of Georgia.
Support for Dr. Neal Lester’s Willson Center Fellowship, August 2016 ($500). John Wharton Lowe, Barbara Methvin Professor of English Literature, University of Georgia.
Support for Dr. Neal Lester’s Willson Center Fellowship, August 2016 ($500). Creative Writing Program, University of Georgia.
Support for Dr. Neal Lester’s Willson Center Fellowship, August 2016 ($700). English Department, University of Georgia.
Support for Dr. Neal Lester’s Willson Center Fellowship, August 2016 ($500). Grady College of Journalism, University of Georgia.
Support for Dr. Neal Lester’s Willson Center Fellowship, August 2016 ($1000). The Graduate School, University of Georgia.
Travel funding for field work on Sapelo Island, Georgia, July 2016 ($575). The Graduate School, University of Georgia.
In-kind support for Dr. Neal Lester’s Willson Center Fellowship, Spring 2016. Georgia Chapter of the NAACP, Atlanta, Georgia.
In-kind support for Dr. Neal Lester’s Willson Center Fellowship, Spring 2016. Special Collections Libraries, University of Georgia.
Support of Dr. Neal Lester’s Willson Center Fellowship, Spring 2016 ($50). Linguistics Society, University of Georgia.
Research Travel Grant for travel to St. Helena Island, SC, Fall 2015 ($800). Willson Center for Humanities and Arts and the Graduate School, University of Georgia.
Diversity and Inclusion Graduate (DIG) Fellow, inaugural cohort ($250). University of Georgia.