The Weekly Newsletter of MIT Linguistics

Issue of Monday, September 19th, 2022

Industry workshop 9/21

Industry workshop external speaker: The industry workshop will have an external speaker each week. Everyone is invited to participate in this part of the workshop, even if they do not remain for the rest of the workshop session. Events will comprise mostly of a Q&A session with both pre-written and live questions, with almost all speakers visiting us remotely.
Who: Dr. David Q. Sun (Siri NL data science manager, virtual talk)
When: Wednesday 9/21 2-2:45
Where: 5-231 or on zoom (contact Hadas Kotek for a link)
What: David is a data science engineering manager on the Siri natural language understanding team. He has a PhD in System Engineering from UPenn. He has collaborated with Hadas on several publications and ongoing projects. He has worked on many NLP applications for Siri, and collaborates frequently with linguists. David will discuss the contributions of linguists to virtual assistants and other tech products, and the kinds of jobs/skills they can contribute to. As a hiring manager, he can also tell us more generally about the process of hiring full time employees and interns, as well as (perhaps) how to navigate the hiring process on a visa.

Experimental/Computational Linguistics RG

Experimental/Computational Linguistics reading group: This group will meet on Fridays from 2-3:30 (starting 9/23) in the 8th floor conference room (32-D831). This group is intended for graduate students, postdocs, and other members of the department and MIT community at large who are currently conducting research connected to experimental or computational linguistics. This is an opportunity for us to present current projects and get feedback, share ideas, and/or discuss papers relevant to our research interests. If you would be interested in presenting, please contact either Meg Gotowski or Forrest Davis, or add your name and topic to this spreadsheet. 

Passamaquoddy-Wolastoqey trip

Peter Grishin, Cora Lesure, and Norvin Richards spent the weekend of September 10-11 in Fredericton, New Brunswick, at the Wolastoqey Elder and Youth Gathering (“Nankomiptasu: Wolastoqewiyik Carry Language to Future Generations”).  We heard presentations related to language revival and maintenance, including discussions of several exciting projects that are under way; we also had a chance to spend time with the elders as they sat around a table telling stories in Passamaquoddy-Wolastoqey late into the night.  Many thanks to Roger Paul (MS ‘20) for telling us about this event!

Workshop announcement: Industry workshop

Instructor: Hadas Kotek
Wednesdays 2-3:20pm; 5-231 or virtual

The industry workshop aims to equip its participants with the knowledge required to apply for non-academic jobs.
Each meeting will be comprised of two parts:
an external speaker for the first 30-45 minutes of the meeting (see list below)
a discussion topic, review of participants’ material, and/or hands-on practice
We will cover topics such as: types of jobs for linguists, types of industries and companies linguists are employed in, transferable skills, internships and other ways you can prepare for the market, searching for jobs and networking, preparing a resume, interviewing, negotiating offers, and special considerations for international students. We will use Canvas alongside a communal course notes document to collect and disseminate materials and to share links to relevant web pages, job ads, and other resources among ourselves.

Anyone who might consider a non-academic job (i.e., everyone!) is invited to attend. It may be of particular interest to graduating students, but also to anyone who wants to plan a few years ahead and has the time to adjust their studies and projects to be better prepared for a diverse job market.

The expected workload for this workshop is quite low. I do not intend to assign any required homework or readings. Ideally you will leave this workshop after having done a bit of introspection into the types of skills you most enjoy using and the jobs and industries where you could put them to use, you will have a draft resume that has gone through at least one iteration of feedback+revising, and you will have practiced at least some basic interview questions. Where relevant, you will have also thought about what changes or additions you might make to your existing coursework and projects to become better prepared for a future career of interest.

External speakers:
David Q. Sun, Siri NL data science manager: 9/21 (in person)
Andy Zhang, Google Ads analytical linguist: 9/28 (virtual)
Afton Coombs, Spotify data science: 10/5 (virtual)
Ruth Brillman, Google software engineer: 10/12 (in person)
Alaina Talboy, author of “What I Wish I Knew: A Field Guide for Thriving in Graduate Studies”: 10/19 (virtual)
Sarah Clark, U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center (ERDC) strategic communications officer: 10/26 (virtual)
Katharina Pabst, educational developer, York University: 11/2 (virtual)
Khia Johnson, Audio@Meta UX researcher: 11/9 (virtual)
Kim Witten, career coach: 11/16 (virtual)
(11/23 – no class: Thanksgiving)
Sherry Yong, Alexa AI knowledge engineer: 11/30 (virtual)
Charlotte Prieu, Amazon data linguist: 12/7 (virtual)