Joyhanna Yoo Garza


Ph.D. Linguistics (UC Santa Barbara) 2021 | M.A. Spanish Languages & Culture (CSULB) 2015 | B.A. Political Science (UCLA) with a double minor in Latin American Studies and Spanish 

College Fellow in Linguistic/Semiotic Anthropology
Department of Anthropology, Harvard University


How did your studies in language and culture prepare you for your current job? 

The training I received in the Spanish M.A. program at CSULB exposed me to crucial theories which helped me to think expansively about the way language functions when I entered a Ph.D. program in linguistics. I initially joined the program wanting to become a Spanish instructor at the college level (and I was definitely well-positioned to do so after graduating!), but my love of literary criticism and interest in the social life of language inspired me to pursue a Ph.D. after graduating from the program. 

Beyond the incredibly rich content I acquired in this program, what lingers in my memory are the relationships which shaped me, including the caring professors who mentored me.  This program has professionalization built into its structure, and I had numerous opportunities to better my teaching, interact with professors outside of my immediate program, and to present my work at academic conferences. 

Do you have any advice for students considering language and culture study? 

This program doesn’t just expose you to new information. The discussions you’ll have in classes and the readings you encounter will fundamentally change the way that you think. It will help you to think comparatively and historically; in short, it will help you think more expansively.