Geoff Collins

Geoff Collins, Undergraduate student, Spanish, Computer Science, and Biochemistry

Deciphers second language acquisition

Hometown: Ankeny, Iowa
Faculty mentor/advisor: Dr. Becky Gonzalez
What is your degree program and expected graduate date? Spanish, Computer Science, and Biochemistry. Expected Graduation Date: Spring 2021.
Please describe your research: My research focuses on understanding where adverbs can be placed in a Spanish sentence and what linguistic factors influence their placement, as well as how second language learners of Spanish acquire the features that influence adverb placement and sentence structure more broadly.
In simple terms, why does this research matter? Adverbs are one of the most versatile parts of speech in regards to their possible placement in sentences. Unfortunately, they have not been extensively studied in Spanish leading to difficulties in characterizing their placement theoretically and teaching adverb placement in Spanish language classrooms. By further understanding adverbs, we can develop better teaching methods to improve second language learner fluency.
How soon after starting at the University of Iowa were you able to participate in research? I was able to participate in research my first semester at the University of Iowa.
How has being involved in research made you more successful at the University of Iowa? Research has allowed me to do a deep dive into certain areas I am interested in while preparing me for a career after university. It has developed my abilities to communicate, think critically, and connect various concepts together. Participation in research has provided me with a much more holistic education.
What are your career goals and/or plans after graduation? I am currently waiting to hear back from the Fulbright U.S. Student Program about being an English Teaching Assistant in Spain.

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