Convocation, Profile

BA graduate on an accelerated path to complete a Master's degree

October 07, 2019

Although he is just receiving his bachelor of arts (BA) majoring in Linguistics with a Philosophy minor this fall, Lucas Chambers already has a head start on completing his graduate degree thanks to the Accelerated Master's Degree Program. 

Chambers is the first student to be admitted into the Department of Linguistics' newly formed Accelerated Master's Degree Program

"I didn't really have much direction during my second year," says Chambers. "But professor John Alderete thought that I would be a good candidate for the Accelerated Master’s Program and recommended me to join."

Through the program, Chambers was able to attend graduate classes and gain credits which counted towards both his undergraduate and graduate degree. This allowed him to seamlessly transition between a BA and MA degree. If all goes well, Chambers will complete his graduate program and cross the convocation stage again within a year. 

Chambers never thought he would be pursuing two university degrees in linguistics outside of his home country. 

Born and raised in Switzerland, Chambers spent eight years after high school working in various jobs as a cook, computer repair technician, and an English teacher before deciding to pursue higher education in Canada. With family in the area and having had stayed in Vancouver sporadically in the past, Chambers chose Simon Fraser University (SFU) to further his studies. 

The transition was challenging at first. The eight-year gap in his formal education meant Chambers had to readjust to student life again, and he had trouble deciding on a discipline to study. 

During his first semester at SFU, an introductory linguistics course caught his eye and Chambers found that he enjoyed learning about historical linguistics, sound change, and lexicography. That course was a turning point for him and sparked his interest in linguistics.

Outside of the classroom, Chambers volunteered with the Linguistics Student Union, and worked part-time at the Linguistics Department Writing Centre

"The most rewarding part of my undergraduate degree was participating at the Writing Centre as a writing tutor," says Chambers. "This opportunity really gave me the chance to get to know many undergrads and support them in their academic endeavours."

Now that he has completed his undergraduate degree, Chambers is putting all of his focus on his graduate research. Due to his strong interest in discourse analysis and speech writing, Chambers plans to write his MA thesis on text analysis with an emphasis on political speeches. 

During the last semester of my undergrad, I was asked by the president to take part in the union. I took over the duties of treasurer, and I helped out in a tutoring capacity at LSU study nights. For the annual LSU Summer Barbeque I took care of all the shopping and cooking.

FAVOURITE COURSES

  • LING 111: Introduction to English Vocabulary Analysis
    During my first semester at SFU, I took this course with senior lecturer Cliff Burgess. This is the course that spurred me on to continue taking more linguistics courses.
  • LING 309W: Sociolinguistics
    One of the most influential course during my undergraduate degree was this course with associate professor Panayiotis Pappas. Previously, it often seemed like linguistics was the study of the object ‘language'. However, through this course it became clear to me that language is an elusive phenomenon that has mostly to do with the process of making and sharing meaning.

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ADVICE TO NEW STUDENTS?

Aside from the usual suspects of attendance and handing things in on time, I think the key to my academic success has been knowing when to approach professors or TAs for guidance.

Getting ahead of problems before they spiral out of control is invaluable in academic success.

Fall 2019 Outstanding Academic Achievement Award Recipients

This fall convocation, the Department of Linguistics is recognizing a small group of graduating students for their outstanding academic achievements.