Graduate Student Spotlight: Kirsten Hernandez – Master of Arts, Linguistics

Kirsten Hernandez got her start at CSULB as an undergrad. In 2019, she graduated from CSULB with a Bachelor’s Degree in ASL Linguistics and Political Science. She decided to stay at the Beach to pursue her Master’s in Linguistics, which she will complete in the Fall of 2021. Not only is Kirsten a member of the Linguistics Student Association, but she has spent some time with some “newly acquired pandemic hobbies,” which include “playing the drums, writing, and watching obnoxious amounts of baseball.”

We’re so happy Kirsten is a part of our Beach community! Learn more about Kirsten, her experience with remote learning, and what her plans for her future are.

 What made you choose CSULB for your master’s degree?

 I had two majors and a minor in my undergrad years, and it was easy to get lost in the shuffle. The staff in the ASL Linguistics/Deaf Cultures department, however, made a huge effort to get to know us all personally. It was that kind of energy that made me want to come back.

 What’s your favorite thing about your program?

 I love how tight knit our cohort is! I started the program during distance learning, and I was concerned about not having that “social” aspect of school, but it couldn’t be more different. We know each other by name, get excited when we see we have the same classes, and have zoom hangouts throughout the semester.

 How has your experience in graduate school changed since moving to remote learning?

 My first semester was Fall 2020 so I never went to in-person grad school, but I find I have way less distractions than when I had to physically be there. I’m never concerned about parking, can wear comfy clothes, and I get to go to class with my dog. Absolutely nothing could be better.

 What are your future goals or career plans for life post-grad?

 I’m hoping to make a career out of writing, which is what I do part time right now. My education in Linguistics has made me a more open-minded person, with different outlooks on the world which has positively influenced my work.  

 What’s your best advice for students looking into graduate school?

 Only come if you love what you’re applying to study! There will be long nights, huge assignments, and many frustrations, but your passion for the subject will keep you going. Don’t quit at the first sign of hardship, it’s part of the process that everyone’s gone through. Also, don’t be afraid to build relationships with faculty members; only part of the learning takes place in the classroom.