Convocation, Profile

June 08, 2020

BA graduate proves that sometimes the long way is the right way

Taylor Ferguson’s time at Simon Fraser University (SFU) proves that it is okay to take things slow when you need to. Despite her degree taking longer than she originally planned, the extra time Taylor took to finish her major in Linguistics helped her realized the importance of carefully considering her academic path.

After a shaky first year in the Department of English, Taylor decided to enroll in the SFU Back on Track program. This program combines consultations, group meetings, and online learning opportunities to help students with academic difficulties develop skills and strategies for future academic and personal success. When meeting with an advisor to discuss the courses she planned on taking, Taylor expressed an interest in languages. The advisor recommended that she try Linguistics 220 – Introduction to Linguistics.

Taylor loved the course so much that undeterred by a failing grade the first time she took it, she took the course a second time. In the second offering of the course, Taylor improved her grade and decided to work toward declaring a major in Linguistics.

“When I first started university, I did not even know that Linguistics existed,” says Taylor. “Linguistics challenged me in ways that English would not have.”

Throughout her degree, Taylor found that the courses she enjoyed the most were those where the instructors and students around her made the course interactive and engaging. She particularly enjoyed courses with Assistant Professor in Linguistics, Ashley Farris-Trimble and Associate Professor in Archaeology, Ross Jamieson.

This Spring, Taylor is graduating with a Bachelor of Arts (BA), majoring in Linguistics with a minor in Archeology and a Certificate in the Linguistics of Speech Science.

Now that she has completed her degree, Taylor is taking online classes in order to get a 120-hour TEFL certificate. With this certification, Taylor will begin to apply for TEFL jobs and hopes to teach English outside of Canada starting in 2021.


  • LING 220: Introduction to Linguistics
  • LING 321: Phonology
  • LING 350: First Language Acquisition
    We did a project with Science World where we got to interact with children and perform informal experiments to understand how children under 6 use language, it was incredibly fun and informative.
  • MBB 302: Energy: From Cells to Society
  • ARCH 332: Special Topics in Archaeology
    This class was where I decided to minor in Archaeology. I LOVED this course! Honestly, the thing I remember the most about this class was learning about banana ham rolls.


My key to success has been taking it slow, especially at the beginning. When I first started university, I pushed too hard and I became disheartened. By taking it slow, I was able to think about my decisions and find courses that I actually enjoyed taking. Give yourself some time, especially when in Linguistics and try to get on the waitlists.

My advice to others is to talk to advisors, they are there to help you, but cannot unless you ask. Also, do not feel the need to stick to your original plan; you can change your mind as many times as you want. Take every course as a learning experience, even if it is just that you never want to take another Linguistics course again!

Spring 2020 Featured Graduates

This spring convocation, the Department of Linguistics is recognizing a small group of graduating students for their accomplishments in the department.