Skip to main content

Hello to Our New Faculty Members!

We’re excited to officially welcome three new faculty members to the department this year! To get to know them a little better, we’ve collected some information about each of them and added it below. Please continue reading for a closer look at the new members of our department!


To our new faculty: Welcome!


Mariapaola D’Imperio

I was born in Naples (Italy), and it is at the Federico II University of Naples that I started to get interested in phonetics and intonation, as an English and French literature major. My first intonation teacher was Alan Cruttenden, at the University of Manchester, where I spent a year as an ERASMUS (i.e., a European exchange student). I then went on to pursue a Phd in Linguistics at OSU, thanks to the obtention of a Fulbright Fellowship, under the supervision of Mary Beckman and Keith Johnson. Phonetics, Prosodic structure and intonational phonology have hence always been a major focus of my research, with a main interest in tonal alignment (how intonational pivotal points align with segmental structure). After spending time at Bell Labs to work on Italian speech synthesis, as well as Queen University in Canada, I got a CNRS researcher position in France in 2001. I was then offered a position as a tenured Professor of Phonetics, Phonology and Prosody at Aix Marseille University (AMU) in 2006. In this position, I built collaborations with other European researchers to achieve a comparative model of intonation across Romance languages as well as to enlarge the scope of our studies of intonation to include both articulatory evidence and perception studies.

Mariapaola with her daughter in Venice a few months ago
“Here is a picture with my daughter in Venice a few months ago.”

A further expansion of the scope of my research came in 2011, with my active contribution to the establishing of the Brain and Language Research Institute at AMU, which enabled interdisciplinary collaborations with colleagues in cognitive psychology and neuroscience laboratories, looking at L2 acquisition, especially prosodic learning and musical aptitude (Dittinger et al. 2016, 2018; Cason et al., 2019), as well as looking at individual variability in tonal alignment in production (e.g. Niebuhr et al. 2011, D’Imperio and German, 2016) and in perception (Estève-Gibert et al. 2016, in press). I am also very involved in the Laboratory Phonology association, of which I am a founding member and the current president. I also love to practice Ashtanga Yoga, I dance Argentinian tango (when I find the time) and I love spending time with my 17-year old daughter, Camilla, who is now attending the French high school in New York (Lycée Français de New York). Finally, I’m excited to join the Rutgers Linguistics community!


Peter Alrenga
Here's a picture of our cat-buddy Grover, savoring a treat. (He tends to appear in a lot of my example sentences, so folks around here will eventually hear about him anyway...)
“Here’s a picture of our cat-buddy Grover, savoring a treat. (He tends to appear in a lot of my example sentences, so folks around here will eventually hear about him anyway…)”

Hi!  I am a visiting faculty member in Semantics.  I was most recently a visitor at UMass-Amherst, and rather less recently, a PhD student at UC-Santa Cruz.  I have long-standing interests in the semantics of gradability, scale structure, and degree constructions, as well as the relationship between scalar comparisons (‘as tall as’, ‘taller than’) and identity/similative comparisons (‘same’, different’, ‘like’, ‘such’, ‘so’).  More recently, I’ve become quite interested in the semantics and pragmatics of scalar focus operators such as ‘at least’ and ‘at most’, and their implications for Grice’s doctrine of nondetachability, as well as the relationship between negative quantifiers (‘no’) and their polarity-sensitive counterparts (‘(not) any’, ‘(not) a single’, ‘(not) even one’).

Peter at the Eiffel Tower
“Me at the Eiffel Tower.”


It’s great to be here at Rutgers, and I’m looking forward to an enjoyable and productive year.  For the fall semester, I’ll be in Room 205A…stop by and say hello some time!



Adam McCollum

My work examines the properties of phonological patterns from experimental, formal, and computational perspectives.  Most of my work focuses on the role of gradience in phonology, the phonology-phonetics interface, and the typology of vowel harmony patterns.  Outside of work, I love the outdoors, especially hiking with my wife and three little boys, and landscape painting.

Adam's family in the Grand Canyon
Adam + Family at the Grand Canyon
Adam & wife hiking in Kyrgyzstan
Hiking in Kyrgyzstan!