Undergraduate Research and Travel Awards

The Undergraduate Research and Travel Awards were established in 2017 with gifts to the UCLA Phonetics Lab from former undergraduates Cheng Cheng & Loke Tan, and Vernon Austel, and have since benefited from an additional gift to the department from Joan Payden in honor of Kay Devonshire. They offer funding for undergraduate research and research/conference travel in the form of awards. Applications are jointly reviewed by the Phonetics Lab Director and the Director of Undergraduate Studies, and are accepted on a rolling basis through out the year.

To apply, please download and fill out the application form. Completed applications can be mailed to the Director of Undergraduate Studies or printed out and submitted to the UCLA Linguistics Front Office in 3125 Campbell Hall. Successful applications will include:

  • a project title and description;
  • a faculty sponsor and a supporting email from that faculty member;
  • a proposed budget and brief justification for research and/or travel expenses.

Examples of fundable expenditures include:

  • experimental subject compensation
  • travel and expenses for on-site fieldwork
  • conference travel and expenses to present your research

Please direct any questions about the awards or application to the Director of Undergraduate Studies.

Undergraduate Research and Travel Award Recipients







Eden Moyal (2023) — Eden Moyal is a junior at UCLA studying linguistics, and is especially fascinated with the intersections between language, society, and identity. Her project involved a case study of how an individual’s native fluency in English influenced their subconscious production of Hebrew as a second language at an advanced level. She focused on the production of word-initial obstruent clusters in this project, but is interested in expanding the scope of future work to further investigate the broader salience of rule transfer across languages. After graduation, she plans to go on to graduate school to obtain a PhD in sociolinguistics.

Mario Peng Lee (2023) — The Diverse Names Generator (DNG) provides randomly selected proper names with IPA transcriptions from a user-contributed, linguist-curated database of names from a wide range of languages and cultures. Generating names randomly helps users to overcome unconscious biases that may lead them to default to patterns like using Anglophone names or using male names as subjects and female names as objects.

Rainey Williams (2023) — Rainey Williams is a fourth year undergraduate Linguistics and Computer Science major who worked as a research assistant on the Diverse Names Generator project, a solution to the long-term Anglophone bias in the linguistics community. Funding through the Undergraduate Research and Travel Award allowed her to travel to Denver and present the project at the 97th annual Linguistics Society of America conference.

Sophia Luo (2019) — Sophia Luo received the Undergraduate Travel Award, which funded her trip and poster presentation at the joint 2018 Acoustics Week in Canada and 176th Meeting of the Acoustical Society of America. The project studied tongue posture under jaw perturbation, and was conducted at the Interdisciplinary Speech Research Lab at the University of British Columbia, under the supervision of Dr. Bryan Gick. She recently completed her undergraduate degree at UCLA with a major in linguistics, and is currently exploring both academic and career-related post-graduate options.

Suyuan Liu (2019) —  Suyuan Liu is an incoming M.A. student to the linguistics program at the University of British Columbia. She received her B.A. in linguistics from UCLA in 2019 with a minor in Asian Language Study (Japanese) and a specialization in computing. With the funding of the Undergraduate Research and Travel Awards, she was able to recruit 70 participants for her research project on perception and production of nasal codas in Shanghai Mandarin, under the guidance of Dr. Matthew Faytak and Professor Megha Sundara. This study was presented during the 2019 Undergraduate Research Week at UCLA and at the Linguistic Society of America (LSA) 2020 Annual Meeting.

Alyssa Arbolante (2019) — Alyssa Arbolante is currently attending Graduate School to pursue Public Health and wants to conduct research on the intersection between Public Health and Sociolinguistics/ Sociophonetics. She majored in Linguistics and Spanish with a minor in Global Health. The funding from the award allowed her to collect data for her ongoing sociolinguistic and acoustic research on Cibaeño Spanish, a dialect of Spanish spoken in the Cibao region of the Dominican Republic. Alyssa specifically looked at the lenition of /s/, a frequent and distinctive sound unit that can be found in the coda or final syllable position of a word. The award was used for travel and equipment costs.