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News & Press: AAALetter

2016 Graduate Student Awards

Monday, March 14, 2016   (0 Comments)
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The 2016 Graduate Student Awards were made possible by AAAL members’ contributions to the Fund for the Future of Applied Linguistics (FFAL), as well as the generous support of Educational Testing Service, Multilingual Matters, and the estate of Wilga Rivers. The GSA Committee, consisting of Kate Menken (chair, City University of New York- Graduate Center & Queens College), Elena Schmitt (Southern Connecticut State University), Sedef Uzuner Smith (Lamar University), Matthew Prior (Arizona State University) and Lynn Goldstein (Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey), has identified the following six graduate students as the recipients of this year’s awards.

 Geoffrey Pinchbeck, University of Calgary | The Educational Testing Service Award
“Developmental scales of L1 and L2 academic English vocabulary: Vocabulary test item difficulty indicates lexical sophistication and derivational morphology development”
Sunday, April 10, 8:00 to 8:30 am

“It is a tremendous honour for me to receive this award, particularly given the admiration I feel for so many scholars in the AAAL community, whose influence has been so important to my PhD work. The study I will present this year was actually inspired by a conversation I had with Stuart McLean at the 2015 AAAL in Toronto, where we were introduced by Professor Tom Cobb, who had just attended my presentation. I am so very grateful to have been mentored in this way by so many of you, and I look forward making connections within AAAL well into the future.”

Beth Dillard Paltrineri, University of Minnesota | The Multilingual Matters Award
“Lesson study in higher education: Mediating language teacher conceptual development through shared inquiry”
Tuesday, April 12, 8:35 to 9:05 am

“I am thrilled to be the recipient of the 2016 Multilingual Matters Award for my dissertation work with language teacher learning through shared inquiry. The AAAL conferences and community have been foundational in my growth as a young scholar, and I am appreciative of all the support I have received. Thanks to the entire AAAL community for mentoring and investing in graduate students!”

Alireza Sobhanmanesh, University of Ottawa | The Wilga Rivers Award
“Group flow: A valid concept in the ESL classroom?”
Tuesday, April 12, 8:00 to 8:30 am


“I am truly honored to be receiving this award, and I am very grateful to the GSA committee for it. The AAAL conference provided a stimulating environment for thought-provoking discussions last year, and I very much look forward to presenting my work on group flow this year in Orlando. I think it is very important to recognize positive emotions and their relationships with moments of simultaneous absorption for learners and the teacher in the ESL classroom. I am very pleased to share the findings of this study with the distinguished community of scholars in the field and receive their feedback.”

Virak Chan, University of Texas at San Antonio
“A critical examination of the medium-of-instruction policy in Cambodian higher education” Saturday, April 9, 10:10 to 10:40 am

“I am honored to be recognized by such a distinguished community of scholars with the Graduate Student Award to be presented at the AAAL conference in Orlando this year. I would like to thank the GSA committee and the AAAL organization for this. It has been a rewarding experience attending and presenting at this conference, and this year I am particularly excited to share important findings of my dissertation, which investigates the social, economic, and political contexts for the language policies in Cambodia.”

Andrea R Leone-Pizzighella, University of Pennsylvania
“Subtitles as linguistic and ideological metacommentary in Italian YouTube clips”
Sunday, April 10, 10:30 to 11:00 am 

“First, a sincere thank you to AAAL and the GSA Committee for continuing to acknowledge the work of graduate students. As a novice researcher, it is encouraging and exciting to be recognized for research that I find both intellectually stimulating and fun to do! As I prepare to embark on my dissertation fieldwork in Italian secondary schools, I'm feeling particularly appreciative of the opportunity to share some of my preliminary work and learn from scholars and other graduate students about academic discourse, ideologies around standard and nonstandard varieties, and other intriguing topics I see throughout the program.”

Laura Vilkaite, University of Nottingham
“Does distance matter?: Are non-adjacent collocations (receive any form of treatment) processed the same as adjacent collocations (receive treatment)?”
Sunday, April 10, 2:00 to 2:30 pm
“It is a great honour to receive the Graduate Student Award this year. As this is the last year of my PhD, the award gives me confidence that the research I was working on matters and is interesting to the international community of applied linguistics. It also gives me a boost of motivation to continue working on my projects. I am truly looking forwards to the stimulating talks and interesting new acquaintances in AAAL conference in Orlando.”

These awards will be presented on Sunday morning, just before the plenary by John Rickford. Please join us to congratulate these outstanding graduate students!

For more information about the awards, eligibility and guidelines, visit

We also encourage all members to consider contributing to FFAL, which makes these awards possible. For more information regarding FFAL, please visit

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