I grew up as a third culture kid; my dad served in the U.S. Air Force. We lived in Ohio, the Washington D.C. area, and in Germany. I had the opportunity to start learning German when I was only 9 years old. Even at this young age, I noticed and was curious about the differences between English and German which could not be translated, such as humor, sentence structure, and ideas like noun gender. This introduction to foreign language sparked my interest in other languages.
By the time I started college at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville in 2003, I was convinced that I wanted to work in cross-cultural contexts. In May of 2004 I found Wycliffe Bible Translators on the web, and they introduced me to the term linguistics. I was fascinated by the analytical requirements of linguistics and motivated by the possibility of using linguistics in cross-cultural ministry. The next summer I took my first linguistic courses with SIL, a partner organization with Wycliffe. By fall 2005, I had switched majors in school from being a German teacher, to being a German major with linguistics as a minor.
During this time, I was invited to help research a topic on some Philippine languages with a Linguistics Consultant I had met in the summer of 2005. Being engaged in this process exposed me to the great need in the language development industry to share linguistic information. I am elated to use some of my skills to shape the way linguistic data is collected and shared via the web. The effective sharing of linguistic data is one of the ways that God is bringing Vision 2025 to pass.
My parents often hosted missionaries in our home, this opened up my heart and mind to the vast need in this wide world. Through church I participated in ministry which encouraged my walk with God and led me to attend Word of Life Bible Institute and later Philadelphia Biblical University. In 2001, I stumbled upon SIL’s linguistics and language development program at the University of North Dakota, and there I fell in love twice – once with Linguistics and then again in 2007 with Hugh.
Before joining Wycliffe in 2003, I had the opportunity to visit Haiti and Thailand on short-term mission trips. From 2004 till 2007, I worked with Wycliffe as a Translation Consultant Intern working under a partner organization, The Seed Company. Most of my time was spent in Nigeria assisting two translation teams in their effort to translate the Gospel of Luke which became the basis for The Jesus Film. In December 2007, I completed a Master’s degree in Linguistics at University of North Dakota.
Along the way I have discovered a passion for teaching, training and encouraging others in linguistic analysis and Bible translation. The University of North Dakota, the Nigeria Bible Translation Trust, and Payap University in Chiang Mai, Thailand, are some of the exciting places in which God has used my teaching experience to affect people doing Bible translation.
From September 2010 to August 2012, I served as the Professional Development Coordinator for the SIL Americas’ Area office based in Dallas, Texas. In the fall of 2012, I started a Doctoral program in Linguistics at the University of Oregon. This level of education will increase my capacity as a teacher and linguistics consultant. During the course work phase of my studies I will also be teaching linguistics at U of O. During the research phase of my studies, we plan to re-engage with the language development work going on in Nigeria.