Commencement 2023

UCLA Linguistics Commencement 2023 

 Sunday, June 18, 2023
5:30 PM
Royce Hall  

Ceremony Program
Class of 2023 List 


Keynote Speaker

Erika Varis Doggett
Senior Research Scientist, Disney Research Studios
BA in Linguistics & Spanish, UCLA Linguistics
PhD in Linguistics, USC

Dr. Erika Varis Doggett is a Senior Research Scientist at Disney Research Studios, focusing on a variety of topics within machine learning, with special attention to computer vision and natural language processing (NLP) techniques. Recent areas of interest include natural language generation, neural style transfer, inpainting, and anomaly detection. Prior to Disney Research, Dr. Varis Doggett managed an applied research and development AI/machine learning team at Walt Disney Studios and worked in a social media startup as a computational linguist. She received her PhD in Linguistics from the University of Southern California and lectured at the University of Nevada Reno before transitioning to industry in NLP.

Undergraduate Student Speaker

Roniyah Shasanmi

Roniyah Shasanmi is a second-year transfer student graduating with a B.A. in Linguistics and Anthropology and a Minor in French. She hopes to become a visual ethnographer because she is passionate about mixing creativity with education. She decided to pursue linguistics and anthropology because of her desire to understand people and cultures. She believes that learning about communication will help her understand why people behave the way they do and thus will help her better relate to people across cultures. Growing up, her family created an atmosphere that fostered a love of anything artistic. To this day, she enjoys drawing, dancing, singing, writing poetry, photography, and more. In her free time, she likes to do things with friends and family, from visiting museums to playing board games.

A Message From Our Chair

Dear Linguists from the Class of 2023,

Congratulations on receiving your UCLA degree. You triumphed over our rigorous and challenging program with all your hard work and talent! You crushed COVID zoom classes! You even triumphed over the awkward return to campus 18 months later! You are more than prepared for anything this universe can throw at you!

We – all your faculty, TAs, and staff – are thrilled to host the second Royce Hall Commencement ceremony for you. I hope to see you, and everyone who contributed to your success, at the UCLA Linguistics Graduation event.

We wish you every success in this world. And don’t be strangers. We want to know what you are doing with your degrees. So, please join us on the burgeoning UCLA Linguistics LinkedIn group. A fellow Bruin Linguist awaits, wherever life takes you.

With best wishes,

Megha Sundara
Department Chair and Professor

Link to View Commencement Video