Undergraduate Research

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Mirna Reyna

Mirna Reyna
Major:
French Honors and History
“It has been really rewarding working with one of my favorite professors who I look up to.”

Faculty Supervisor: Dr. Barbara Bullock, French & Italian

Briefly describe your research project.

My research project focuses on second language acquisition and the pronunciation of French vowels by English-speaking learners of French. I am studying the pronunciation of particular vowels in different English dialects and whether or not English pronunciation has an effect on the French pronunciation of vowels. I am hoping it will have implications for future teaching of phonetics, in particular these vowels. Ultimately, my study will examine the effects of dialectal and social variation in second language acquisition. If there is distinction between different dialects of English, then we cannot look at all English speakers as the same when teaching them French.

How did you initially get involved in research?

Professor Bullock had asked her students if they wanted to help her with research, so I emailed her back saying I was interested and eventually started this project with her, and now it has turned into my honors thesis research.

What has been the most rewarding part of your research experience (so far)?

The greatest reward of working on this project is getting the feel for graduate school and whether or not it is something that I would like to do. I have really enjoyed reading a lot of the literature out there on second language acquisition, and it really helps to practice a language outside of the classroom.

What has been the greatest challenge that you have had to overcome as you worked on your research project?

The greatest challenge of doing research is that it is like having an additional course; so I have had to balance school work, research work, and my job.

What advice would you give to incoming and current students about getting involved in research?

My advice to any students who are thinking of doing research is to take the initiative and ask their favorite professor, or a professor that works on what they’re interested in. It has been really rewarding working with one of my favorite professors who I look up to and it has been an overall rewarding experience.

Research Week showcases the exciting work of undergraduates across campus and highlights opportunities for students interested in getting involved. Co-sponsored by the Senate of College Councils and the School of Undergraduate Studies, Research Week takes place in the middle of April each year. Take a look at the online schedule of events to find out more about Research Week events.