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UA Alumni - May Pik Yu Chan

May was a Highly Commended Entrant in the Linguistics category in 2020.

Since she was awarded, May has begun completing her PhD in Linguistics at the University of Pennsylvania.

What are you doing now and what has happened since the award?

I am currently a second-year PhD student in Linguistics at the University of Pennsylvania. My main research interests are in phonetics and phonology.

After submitting to the Global Undergraduate Awards, I continued to work on the project with my undergraduate advisor to do some extra analysis. The project has since then been developed into a peer-reviewed journal article.

Currently, I am still very interested in articulatory and acoustic aspects of performative speech (e.g. topics related to singing, public speaking, voice projection and vocal effort), and their mapping to listeners' perception. I’ve also been working on some other topics, e.g., the mapping between prosody and syntax.

What do you like the most about what you do?

I am really enjoying my PhD program for several reasons. For one, I get to work with amazing people here. I have amazing advisors (shoutout to Jianjing and Mark!) who support me in my research goals, and at the same time, I get to learn about (and work on) other subfields from other mentors in the department.

I have very nice classmates here, it’s great to be able to work on assignments and research together in the department, and go on excursions and have fun outside of the department.

Secondly, I also enjoy the types of research I get to do at Penn. It’s great that I get to work on both individual projects and collaborative projects because then I get to learn from my peers too. I’m also very happy that I get to do interdisciplinary research. It’s nice that I get to look at music-related topics from a scientific point of view. It’s also nice that I get to travel to different places to share my work at conferences.

Lastly, doing a PhD at Penn allows me to talk to people who are just as enthusiastic about these research questions as I am, and there’s no better feeling than to be inspired by new ideas and to be learning every day!

Has receiving an award for your hard work helped?

The Global Undergraduate Awards was a great place to share my work with other people outside of my undergraduate institution. It’s nice to know that other people also thought that my work was interesting. (Plus, it’s always nice to have an extra line to put on a CV!)

Why should students submit their work to the Global Undergraduate Awards programme?

Since you’ve already done most of the hard work in finishing your term papers, you might as well submit your work! You could use the opportunity to gather more feedback and learn to edit your writing.

You can check out May's website here.