Convocation, Profile

Volunteer positions help graduate Angelica Lai realize her interests

June 07, 2022

Angelica Lai was first introduced to Linguistics in her first semester at SFU when she signed up for LING 290 – The Science of Speech as an elective. Feeling intrigued by the subject, she enrolled in LING 220 – Introduction to Linguistics with Dr. Trude Heift the following semester. Dr. Heift’s organization of the course gave Angelica a snapshot of the field as a whole and lead her to pursue a major in Linguistics.

Throughout her time at SFU, Angelica dedicated herself to her volunteer work both on and off campus. As part of the SFU community, Angelica volunteered as a Peer Mentor with the Global Student Centre’s Global Connections Program and as part of the Centre for Accessible Learning’s Autism Initiative Program. In both positions, Angelica worked with SFU students from various backgrounds to ensure that they were supported in the academic and campus community.

Off campus, Angelica pursued volunteer opportunities in line with her desired career path, Speech-Language Pathology, alongside other education-based positions. She has been part of the BC Family Hearing Resource Society’s Surrey Early Speech and Language Program, After Stroke BC’s Canada-Wide Stroke Recovery Program, and Vancouver Coastal Health’s BLUSH Program. Getting to work in so many diverse volunteer positions is something that Angelica found helped her develop her abilities and realize her interests. She got to determine the kinds of environments that she enjoyed working in and the kinds of people she enjoyed working with.

Since Spring 2021, Angelica has also worked as a USRA (Undergraduate Student Research Award) student and Research Assistant in Dr. Henny Yeung’s Language Learning and Development Lab. Although she was nervous about getting involved in research, Angelica found the experience to be incredibly positive. As a research assistant, she saw how many different processes are involved over the course of experimental research, something that students don’t always get to see from course work alone.

The main project that Angelica worked on the Language Learning and Development Lab focused on bilingual children and the influence that exposure to the speech of bilingual caregivers has on language development. The project is still in pilot ages, but Angelica is excited to see how influence of caregivers’ speech may result in linguistic challenges for children living in multilingual and multicultural communities.

Angelica is now graduating with a Bachelor of Arts in Linguistics and Psychology and a Certificate in the Linguistics of Speech Sciences. She will be starting in the UBC Speech-Language Pathology Master’s program in Fall 2022.


  • LING 220: Introduction to Linguistics
  • PHIL 110: Introduction to Logic and Reasoning
    This course was not the easiest, but once I understood the concepts it felt super satisfying! It also helped me feel more confident when taking courses related to semantics and syntax.
  • LING 330: Phonetics & LING 401: Topics in Phonetics
    I felt that what I learned in both of these courses gave me a good background that helped me when participating in research lab work.
  • PSYC 354: Development of Children's Thinking & LING 350: First Language Acquisition
    These courses helped further my interests in child development & language acquisition
  • LING 480: Language Learning & Technology


Apply even if you are hesitant about whether things will work out. I think that many professors in SFU's Linguistics Department are very kind and willing to support your interests as long as you try your best and demonstrate a willingness to learn.


Interested in working in one of the department's research labs? Opportunities are posted on a semesterly basis. The application period for Fall 2022 wil be in mid-July.

Learn More →

Spring 2022 Featured Graduates

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