Trevor Driscoll, Student of Distinction

Trevor Driscoll

In high school, Trevor Driscoll found the study of foreign language fascinating. While pursuing his English as a foreign language degree at Chico State he took a few linguistic courses which invigorated a passion for the structure of language. After transferring to Fresno State he received his B.A. in Linguistics with an emphasis in teaching ESL and is now regarded as the top student his master’s program.

“Trevor Driscoll is not merely the best student of the year; he is certainly the best the graduate student we have seen in many years,” said Dr. Sean Fulop, Professor of Linguistics, Cognitive Science Program Director.

Driscoll has an outstanding academic record with four presentations at prestigious international conferences on phonology. He has published one conference paper and edited the Proceedings of the Western Conference on Linguistics at Fresno State. He also received the Picayune Rancheria Chukchansi Scholarship and conducted fieldwork on endangered languages in Montana.

“Trevor is a remarkable student with a very focused passion for phonetics, phonology, and native languages of the US. He’s one of the brightest students I’ve had ever, incredibly independent, sharp, and just driven,” said Dr. Chris Golston, Professor of Linguistics.  “A few facts say a lot: he has a 4.0 GPA and just passed his M.A. thesis proposal with flying colors. It became clear after 20 minutes that he knew more about his topic than any of us on his committee and that we’d be merely supervising.”

Driscoll has been hired as an adjunct lecturer by the Queens College in New York, Mercer County Community College, and instructional assistant at Fresno State and Fresno City college during his graduate study.

He plans to continue to pursue his Ph.D. and a career in academia.

Personal Narrative

My interest in language and linguistics began in high school when I took my first foreign language class. It was the first time I genuinely enjoyed a subject I was studying in school. While I was in high school, I took four years of Spanish and a year of German. When I got to college, I continued to pursue my study of foreign language at CSU, Chico by taking every Italian class the university offered.

At that point, I decided that I wanted to work teaching English as a foreign language so that I could spend the rest of my life in a foreign language classroom. However, while meeting the requirements of my teaching certification, things changed for me. I took a few linguistics courses which I found to be significantly more interesting than my language pedagogy coursework. Afterwards, I knew I was really interested in studying language in a more structural sense.

Because there was no linguistics major at CSU, Chico, I transferred to Fresno State for a BA in Linguistics with an emphasis in teaching ESL. While completing my undergraduate degree, the linguistics faculty invigorated my passion for theoretical linguistics. After graduating with my BA I changed my focus to theoretical issues in phonology.

Since I began Fresno State’s graduate program in linguistics, I have developed a much deeper understanding of language, which has provided me with numerous opportunities that I never would have had as an English teacher. I have done fieldwork on the Crow reservation in Montana; presented my research at conferences in Fresno, Canada, and the UK; and taught college-level ESL and linguistics courses. This semester I will be editing the proceedings of Fresno State’s linguistics conference, WECOL. These endeavors have been a much more enriching experience than I ever would have had just teaching ESL.

My education will not end with my master’s degree at Fresno State. After graduating this May, I will apply to doctoral programs to get my Ph.D. in linguistics, further pursuing my research interests in theoretical phonology and a career in academia.

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The College of Arts and Humanities provides a diverse student population with the communication skills, humanistic values and cultural awareness that form the foundation of scholarship. The college offers intellectual and artistic programs that engage students and faculty and the community in collaboration, dialog and discovery. These programs help preserve, illuminate and nourish the arts and humanities for the campus and for the wider community.

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