In honor of Graduation Appreciation Week, UNM’s Graduate and Professional Student Association will recognize graduate students for their work at the university.

Brittany Kubacki

Originally from Indiana, Brittany Kubacki came to New Mexico in search of new experiences and higher education. She’s pursued the latter up to the PhD level in Linguistics, where she continues to work on community-based language revitalization projects. Brittany also taught LING 101 for several semesters, performed minor tech support for her department and for a time served as the Linguistics GPSA representative. In her spare time, Brittany enjoys Albuquerque parks, studying the Rules of the Internet and the company of two lucky-they’re-cute cats.

Hisako Moriyama

Hisako Moriyama was born in and grew up in Japan. After earning bachelor’s degrees from the Nihon University in Tokyo and the College of Art in San Francisco where she studied fine art and graphic design, she worked as a graphic designer in San Francisco and Albuquerque for more than 25 years. “What is art? Why do I thrive for art?” was a question throughout her graphic design career, and she finally decided to return to school searching for the answer in 2011.

During the course of Art Education taught by amazing faculty, she encountered the Reggio Emilia approach for Early Childhood Education. She then became interested in how she could incorporate the Reggio Emilia inspired approach in multi-generational art education.

She also served as a public relations officer for the Art Education Graduate Student Association (AEGSA.) She designed fliers and assisted on the advertisement for AEGSA events including organizing a talk by Dr. Gigi Yu about the Reggio Emilia Educational approach. Her involvement with AEGSA and working with enthusiastic colleagues seeded her leadership in community work and motivated my graduate study.

Laura Hirrel

Laura Hirrel is a PhD student in linguistics. She earned her MA in linguistics from UNM in 2011. In her time here at UNM, she has been involved in a number of different projects. She is a member of the O’odham Ñe’ok Language Revitalization Project which focuses on O’odham, a Uto-Aztecan language spoken in Arizona and Sonora, Mexico. Under the guidance of Robert Cruz, a PhD student in education linguistics and native speaker of O’odham, as well as other O’odham community members, the group assists with projects aimed at increasing O’odham language use and making language materials accessible to the community.

From 2011 to 2013, Laura Hirrel served as President of the High Desert Linguistics Society (HDLS.) One of her duties as president was to lead in organizing the 10th HDLS Conference at UNM, a conference attended by approximately 150 linguistic scholars from around the world. Following the conference, she served as co-editor of the peer-reviewed proceedings of the conference.

Laura Hirrel’s dissertation research explores the interaction between speech and gesture by examining functions of multimodal constructions involving cyclic gestures in four languages. She is looking for patterns in the distribution of cyclic gesture functions and the construction types in which they occur across languages.