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Wilfrid Laurier University Faculty of Arts
December 9, 2016
Canadian Excellence



Languages and Literatures

Dr. Schwieter receives grant for research lab upgrades

Apr 2/12

The Council for the Intellectual and Cultural Development of the Arts has awarded Dr. John W. Schwieter, associate professor of Spanish and linguistics, $2,400 to update equipment in the Psycholinguistics and Language Acquisition Research Laboratory (“The Red Lab”) located in BA415. The purpose of this grant is “to fund specific projects in the Faculty of Arts that benefit the students of the Faculty and contribute to their educational experience.”

Each year many students volunteer in the lab to obtain first-hand experience as research assistants—especially if they are interested in pursuing graduate studies in linguistics, speech language pathology, languages, psychology, among other areas. Overall, the lab is used not only to conduct research projects but also to personally train research assistants how to operate the experimental devices (e.g., response box, digital recorder, computer programs measuring reaction time and accuracy for speech, statistics programs, etc.). In 2011, Dr. Schwieter along with 13 research assistants collected speech data from approximately 175 human subjects.

In her letter of support, Gaby Klassen, a research assistant in the lab stated: “[working in the lab] was invaluable to me as a graduating student as it greatly increased my chances of acceptance to graduate programs in related fields. In fall 2012, I will begin an MA in Hispanic Linguistics program at the University of Toronto and my experience volunteering in this lab is not only largely responsible for my acceptance to such a prestigious program, but has also given me valuable analytical and technical skills that I will no doubt benefit from in future research opportunities.”

In another letter of support from research assistant Alice Jakubowski, she said: “[being a research assistant] has benefited me academically because it sparked an interest in language learning, foreign language acquisition, and the desire to know more about how language processing works in a human brain.”

The grant will help purchase new research equipment including two super-speed computers for linguistics experiments and statistical analyses. Future research assistants and lab productivity are sure to benefit from CICDA’s generous award.

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