Ever since childhood, Whitney has been fascinated by all things relating to language and the mind, and especially with the process of taking thoughts once locked inside our own mind and communicating them to others using language.
She studied linguistics and computer science as an undergraduate at The Ohio State University, where she also earned a Masters in computational linguistics, with work focused on pronoun resolution in natural language dialog systems (think Siri or Alexa). From there, she turned her attention towards better understanding how humans communicate with language, and earned her Ph.D in 2014 from the Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences here at the University of Rochester, where she studied the memory and attentional processes that we rely upon during conversation in order to decide how to say what we want to say in a way that will make sense to the person to whom we’re talking. She loves helping students learn more about how their own minds work, and how their readers’ minds work, and helping them apply those insights to the work they do as writers.
She has been working with the WSAP since 2009 in various capacities, and is now an associate professor. She also supports faculty and students in the Hajim school with workshops on writing. She’s always excited to talk about pedagogy and linguistics (and knitting!).