About Lauren

Professional life

My work revolves around explicating patterns in the ways that people use language to communicate with one another, with companies, and with machines. In 2016, I graduated from UCLA with a PhD in Linguistics. Since then, I have taught graduate and undergraduate Linguistics at USC and kicked off an ESL program for refugees with the International Rescue Committee. I also use my linguistic training in less conventional domains, like working as a consultant for branding and naming agencies.

Personal life

I am a California native living in Venice with my husband, Oliver. I enjoy all things creative: cooking, decorating, doodling, baking, planning, organizing, etc. I also enjoy spending time with the cutest kids on the planet, my nephews.

See more pictures from my life.

Why I left academia

Since so many people ask me why I left academia, I thought I would write up a little about my decision here.

I spent more than a decade studying linguistics at some amazing universities. It was in Santa Cruz where I first fell in love with how linguistics couples analytical thinking and creativity. I found my way to this field through my passion for learning languages. This journey took me on some fun adventures, including being evacuated from Egypt after a military coup.

As I think is the case for many people, dissertation writing had many ups and downs. Much of the research process is an isolated activity. I was in this cycle: I would spend long stretches of time alone reading, writing, or thinking about a very intricate puzzle, then I would share my work my advisors or colleagues to get feedback, and then back to the isolated working stage. My drive to explore my research program kept me working, but I craved work that was more collaborative and moved at a quicker pace. In the summer of 2016, I finished my PhD and I got a job teaching in the linguistics department at USC.

After one year of teaching, I declined to stay for a second and decided to pursue a career outside of academia.