Warm Welcome to Our New Grad Students

This fall five new grad students joined the family. Please take a look at their bios to get to know a bit more about them.

Welcome to our first years!

Sreekar Raghotham
SreekarI was born into a Telugu-Kannada bilingual family in Hyderabad, India. Naturally, as most South Indians are wont to do, I can (and do) consume copious amounts of coffee. Also naturally, I got an undergraduate degree in Engineering because that’s what you do if you don’t want to be a Doctor. After a few strange turns, I’m now preparing to be a doctor (not a “real” doctor, of course).

Sreekar2I work on (Morpho-) Syntax. So far, it has been limited to Telugu, but this is only the beginning (I hope!). I came to linguistics by way of logic, and Rutgers seems like a great place to keep that road active. Here’s hoping ‘Meaning’ gets added to the areas-worked-on list in these five years. When not doing linguistics, I watch University Challenge; and sulk when the season’s over. There are always older seasons, but waiting a week to watch a thirty-minute program is something else! When not doing either of those and not loitering around town, I sometimes work on my oldest project: getting through the collected works of P.G. Wodehouse.

The pictures are from two places I call home. The first is the view from my first linguistic home: Solang Valley, Himachal Pradesh.  The second is of some minarets in Hyderabad (You’ll find plenty of those over there).

Chaoyi Chen

Hello, I’m Chaoyi! (Waving my hands!)

I was born and grew up in Fuzhou, a beautiful small city located on the southeastern coastChaoyi of China. It is a cozy city where people pace slowly and enjoy their life and food. Raised in this city, I speak Mandarin Chinese and Fuzhou Chinese. Although Fuzhou Chinese has usually been regarded as a dialect of Chinese, it is not mutually intelligible with Mandarin, and there are many interesting linguistic phenomena not explored yet.

ChaoyiAfter high school, I moved to northern China to continue my study. I gained my BA at Nankai University and MA at Peking University, where I was increasingly interested in Linguistics. The areas I concentrate on are Syntax, Morphology and Syntax-Morphology interface. Especially, I am curious about what the syntax of the languages with few morphological markers is like, and what its differences from that of morphologically rich languages are.  In my spare time, I like watching modern dramas, through which I have access to a new world distinct from where I am and from which I can derive many reflections on my real life. I believe that it is a blessing for me to study at Rutgers and work with so many excellent linguists. I cannot wait to start my new journey here.

Jillian Harper

IMG_20180331_090607_484Hi! I’m Jill. I’m originally from a small town in southern California, but I attended undergrad at New York University where I very recently discovered my love for linguistics. I’m mostly interested in syntax, specifically, case marking and possession, and I hope to be able to pursue my research in the field through the documentation of endangered and understudied languages.

IMG_20180626_214223And I have two cats! Their names are Tim and Echo, and I have no idea what I would do without them. I love eating good food and reading high fantasy, in addition to playing the occasional video game. I’ve also done martial arts for roughly fifteen years.

I’m so incredibly excited to start the next chapter of my life at Rutgers, surrounded by awesome people who love linguistics as much as I do. I can’t wait to meet you all!




Wenyua Hua 

WenyueI was born and grew up in a warm city in the east coast of China, Yangzhou in Jiangsu Province. I went to UCLA for my bachelor degree. I was at first a philosophy major, but then I developed an interest in languages and philosophy of language, so I changed my major to linguistics & philosophy. And I always like mathematics, especially logic and algebra (and probability theory and measure theory etc. ). Now I’m mostly interested in formal semantics and computational semantics. I am really happy to come to Rutgers to extend my study of linguistics and experience the snowy and stormy winter in the northeast.

WenyuaExcept study, I like traveling a lot. I went to different countries (but mostly in Europe) during vacations at UCLA. I also like hiking all kinds of mountains and sightseeing. I also learned a bit of opera when I was in China and hope I could keep practicing at Rutgers.




Huteng Dai  (xù.tʰə̌ŋ.tâi; or Dai Huteng 戴虎腾)

My name literally means ‘tigers running at full speed’, so my friends sometimes call Hutengme Tiger. I’m a phonologist. My research is 70% phonology and phonetics, 10% computational linguistics theory, and 20% typology, statistics, and laboratory methods. This semester, I am going to digest some important works of phonology and phonetics, and self-study statistics and the foundations of computer science.

I’m leading Beijing P-side, a phonology and phonetics study group in Beijing, China, which is a study group working on introducing the most recent works on phonetics and phonology to Chinese scholars.

I love classical music, especially Bach and Chopin. I can play the piano and violin as an absolute amateur. I think I will continue the practice of instruments if I have time in the journey of Ph.D. If you are searching for someone to attend a concert together, whether classical music or the others, please definitely let me know!

An open secret is that I was born in 1998 and I am 20 years old now. I was at least one year younger than average when I was in primary school; then I attended an honor program in high school where I finished 6 years courses in 5 years. After high school, I went to Beijing to pursue my BA, and I was about three years younger than average. Now as a Ph.D. student, my friends are all at least five years older than me. The ‘age’ and ‘generation’ things for me has totally become a mess :).