Symposium Attendee Biographies


Helen Aristar-Dry

Dr. Helen Aristar-Dry is a retired Professor of Linguistics at Eastern Michigan University and is now an Affiliated Researcher at UT-Austin. She was Principle Investigator on 12 National Science Foundations sponsored projects, including E-MELD.  She along with Anthony Aristar received the Victoria A. Fromkin Lifetime Service Award from the Linguistic Society of America in 2003. Her current research interest is in language technology and previously included Linguistic Stylistics, Pragmatics, and Discourse Analysis. She is a board member of Elsevier's Scirus Scientific Advisory Board and Advisory Board Member of the Linguistics Research Center of UT-Austin.  She and Anthony Aristar are the co-founders of the LINGUIST List and she was a Moderator on LINGUIST List for 23 years.  She is a member of the Linguistic Society of America.

Nancy Caplow

Nancy Caplow is an Associate Professor of Linguistics and Director of the TESL/Linguistics program in the English Department at Oklahoma State University. As a graduate student at UC Santa Barbara she began collecting data for a grammatical sketch of Tokpe Gola Tibetan (spoken in northeastern Nepal) and studied evidentials and epistemics in Diasporic Common Tibetan. Her research focuses primarily on Tibetan tonogenesis, which entails collection of data from dialects spoken across the Tibetan language area.

Shobhana Chelliah

Shobhana Chelliah is the Associate Dean for Research and Advancement for the College of Information and Professor of Linguistics at the University of North Texas.  She is the Principal Investigator of the US National Science Foundation (NSF) project to create a digital resources for Lamkang, a Tibeto-Burman language of Northeast India for which she conducts fieldwork and analysis with a team of six US students.  As a Program Director at NSF from 2012-2015, she instituted a data management plan for the Documenting Endangered Languages (DEL) grant program that ensured long term preservation and access of language data.  She established a partnership between DEL and the Tribal Colleges and Universities Program to encourage infrastructure and training for students in the US.   The DEL program is one the few federal sources of funding to record, analyze, and archive endangered languages. Professor Chelliah’s publications range for descriptive grammatical work (A Grammar of Meithei, Mouton 1997) to methodology (The Handbook of Descriptive Fieldwork, Springer 2011) and to morphological typology in Sino-Tibetan.  She is a series editor for Brill's Studies in South & Southwest Asian Languages, and an editorial board member for a number of journals including Himalayan Linguistics and Linguistics of the Tibeto-Burman Area.
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Willem de Reuse

Willem J. de Reuse, Ph.D., Linguistics, 1988, University of Texas at Austin. Occasionally Adjunct Professor at the Department of Linguistics, College of Information, University of North Texas, and presently working for The Language Conservancy (a non-profit organization based in Bloomington, Indiana). Specializing in the description and documentation of Native American languages, with an emphasis on Quechuan (Santiago del Estero, Ayacucho), Siouan (Ofo, Lakota), Eskimo-Aleut (Siberian Yupik Eskimo), Lule-Vilela (Argentina), Dene/Athabaskan (Apachean, Hän) and Keresan (Acoma). Review Editor of the International Journal of American Linguistics. He has written Siberian Yupik Eskimo. The Language and Its Contacts with Chukchi (1994), A Practical Grammar of the San Carlos Apache Language (2006), and, with Shobhana Chelliah, Handbook of Descriptive Linguistic Fieldwork (2011).

David Germano
David Francis Germano is an American Tibetologist and Professor of Tibetan and Buddhist Studies at the University of Virginia (UVa), the largest Tibetan Studies program in the Americas, where he has taught and researched since 1992. With dual appointments in the School of Nursing and the Department of Religious Studies, Germano currently oversees the work of over twenty graduate students. He is on the board of the International Association of Tibetan Studies and is Editor-in-Chief of The Journal of the International Association of Tibetan Studies (JIATS), a leading journal of Tibetology. In 2000, he founded the Tibetan and Himalayan Library, a digital initiative for collaborative building of knowledge on the region, which he continues to lead as Director. Since 2008 he has also been the co-director of the UVa Tibet Center. More recently, Germano acted as the founding director of SHANTI (Sciences, Humanities and the Arts Network of Technological Initiatives) at the UVa. Since 2011, Germano has also played a leading role in organizing the University of Virginia's Contemplative Sciences Center, which he currently directs.

Sumshot Khular

I started out as a development worker, then I got trained in Human rights and I was an activist and a human rights defender advocating for women to be involved in decisions about land use and access to natural resources by promoting women’s leadership in the local leadership structures. While doing so, in working with the training and using my own Lamkang language as a resource material translating the Human Rights documents I realized the need to developed the language. Seeing language as central to promotion of traditional cultural values, I work towards the creation of pedagogical materials of Lamkang, the language of my community.

Susan Kung

Susan Smythe Kung, PhD, is the Manager of the Archive of the Indigenous Languages of Latin America (AILLA, at The University of Texas at Austin. AILLA is a digital repository dedicated to preserving multimedia materials in and about indigenous languages of Latin America and making these curated materials publically available free of charge via the Internet. AILLA was founded in 2001 and the dual language interface (English and Spanish) was launched in 2003. Kung is a documentary linguist who has extensively researched Huehuetla Tepehua, an endangered language of Mexico. Her dissertation, A descriptive grammar of Huehuetla Tepehua, won the Mary Haas Book Award of the Society for the Study of the Indigenous Languages of the Americas in 2008. Kung was an early depositor to AILLA, and much of the language data that she collected is preserved there. In 2012 Kung became AILLA's second manager; as such, she oversaw AILLA's recent migration from its original relational database into its current Fedora Commons/Islandora/Apache SOLR system and the redesign of the dual-language interface. Kung has a current NSF grant (BCS-1653380) to create a curriculum to teach language researchers how to curate and prepare their data collections for ingestion into a digital repository.

Alexis Palmer

Alexis Palmer is an assistant professor of Linguistics at UNT. Her current research focuses on computational linguistics for low-resource languages, with particular interests in a) developing methods to support endangered language documentation; and b) using typological knowledge to inform language processing tools. Prior to joining UNT, Alexis worked in postdoctoral positions at Saarland University (Saarbrücken, Germany) and the University of Stuttgart, followed by a position at Heidelberg University as junior research group leader. In these positions, her research focused primarily on computational approaches to discourse and semantics, including work on discourse modes, situation entities, short-answer scoring, and argumentation mining. Her 2009 PhD thesis "Semi-Automatic Annotation and Active Learning for Language Documentation" was completed at the University of Texas at Austin under the joint supervision of Jason Baldridge and Katrin Erk. She continues to serve as a co-organizer for the semi-annual Workshop on Computational Methods for Endangered Languages, the 3rd iteration of which will be co-located with ICLDC6 in March 2019.
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Gary Simons

Gary F. Simons is currently the Chief Research Officer for SIL International in Dallas, Texas and Executive Editor of the Ethnologue. He has contributed to the development of cyberinfrastructure for linguistics as co-founder of the Open Language Archives Community (OLAC), co-developer of the ISO 639-3 standard of three-letter identifiers for the known languages of the world, and co-developer of linguistic markup for the Text Encoding Initiative (TEI). He was formerly Director of Academic Computing for SIL International in which role he oversaw the development of linguistic annotation tools like IT (Interlinear Text Processor), CELLAR (Computing Environment for Linguistic, Literary, and Anthropological Computing), LinguaLinks, and the beginnings of FLEx (FieldWorks Language Explorer). He holds a Ph.D. in general linguistics (with minor emphases in computer science and classics) from Cornell University.

Christina Wasson

Christina Wasson is a linguistic anthropologist and design anthropologist who conducts ethnographic research for the collaborative design of new technologies. She has been applying principles of user-centered design (UCD) to language archives since early 2016, when she co-organized an NSF-funded workshop on the topic. In fall 2016, her design anthropology class conducted exploratory research with four user groups for CoRSAL. In spring and summer 2017, the research findings were used by classes at IIT’s Institute of Design to develop prototype interface designs for CoRSAL. This was a collaboration with Professor Santosh Basapur at IIT. In December/January, Wasson will lead a research team on a trip to northeast India to conduct further participatory research with language communities whose materials will be placed in CoRSAL. She is also collaborating with Daisy Rosenblum (UBC) on the development of a Kwak’wala language archive. Wasson’s long-term goal is to gain enough experience working with diverse language archives to initiate the development of “best practices” guidelines for the UCD of language archives. She maintains a website on this topic at Her website is at
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