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A Warm Welcome to Our Incoming Students!

Please join me in welcoming some of our students who will be with us this fall!

They’ve each graciously agreed to write a short bio about themselves, so we hope you enjoy getting to know them.

Akane Ohtaka

Akane with Prof. Masayuki Ike-uchi.

Hi everyone, my name is Akane Ohtaka. I am from Japan, and I have been studying Syntax since I was a third-year undergraduate student at Tsuda University. I am happy that I could finally be a member of the Rutgers Linguistics family, which means Prof. Ken Safir is like my father, and Huteng Dai is like my (twelve years) younger brother…!?? Anyway, nice to meet you all 🙂

This is a picture of me with one of my former advisors, Prof. Masayuki Ike-uchi.

Meg Gotowski

Meg crossing the finish line at a race

My name is Meg Gotowski. I am originally from the Philly area– go Phillies!– but I have moved around quite a bit over the years. I am interested in language acquisition, and most of my research concerns topics within semantics and syntax. Before linguistics, I studied K-12 education, and teaching still has a special place in my heart. When I am not running experiments, I love to run miles. I have not missed a daily run since September 5, 2018!  I am looking forward to starting my 4th year at Rutgers in the Fall 🙂

Tadjou-N’Dine Mamadou Yacoubou

My name is Tadjou-N’Dine Mamadou Yacoubou and I am from the beautiful septentrional municipality of Tchaourou in Benin. I did my undergraduate at the University of Abomey-Calavi where I double majored in linguistics and English. My pursuit of graduate education took me to the University of Iowa for an MA in Linguistics with a focus on Teaching English as a Second Language (yes, that’s literally what’s written on my diploma) and then to Rutgers, and you know the rest of the story.

Coming to Rutgers, my goal was (and, well, still is) to specialize in Phonology but little did I know that I’ll put on all the possible shades of being a phonologist in the twenty first century, like being an experimental, computational, mathematical and theoretical phonologist (PHEW!). As it turns out, this is one of the very few places you can be all of that and much more. So, I couldn’t be any luckier to be a member of this great academic family.

I love having fun with everything I do but my top ranked hobbies will have to be soccer and dance (not necessarily in that order and please don’t make me choose). I also love writing poetry and LOOOVE performing them. I give bonus points for being allowed to write/perform in French. My life’s philosophy, when life was simpler, used to be: ‘Begin with the end in mind’ but now it’s ‘Begin with the end in mind and have fun along the way without losing sight of the goal and remember to pray and exercise.’ Actually it’s longer than that but for reasons of space… (the things grad school does to you, sigh!).

Anyhow, it’s nice to meet you all…again.


Dine jumping on stones through water
The perfect analogy of a graduate student’s life.

Poem: Unlock the clock

Let the clock sweep the 360 degrees,
Let it erase our memories
And nourish our horizons,
Loosening our chains, closing our prisons;
Let it give a walking-stick to the child
And a meaning to whatever, today, we build;
For there is neither a pause in the walk for life
Nor a break in the movement of stars.
But let the clock make us humans, not colors;
Dreams and candles, not rocks.
Let the clock’s tic… tac… toc…
Rock our restless walk,
Let it balance the scale of our differences,
Let it give birth to new sequences
In our wrestle for better,
For a piece of sky, for a smile that matters.






Happy April Fool’s Day!