Convocation, Profile

June 11, 2020

Student investigates her own research questions throughout BA

As a student at Fraser International College, Simone Kurschner decided to take a few Linguistics classes as electives. While she was not familiar with Linguistics before these classes, Simone knew that she wanted to be a teacher and felt these classes were the right fit for her.

After transferring to Simon Fraser University (SFU), Simone declared a major in Linguistics. She also quickly decided to apply for the Certificate in Teaching English as a Second Language (TESL) Linguistics in hopes of taking the right steps towards becoming a teacher.

“The class that shaped my career the most was Linguistics 363 – Practicum in Teaching English as a Second Language to Adults,” says Simone. “While I had been learning lots of theory relating to teaching English as an additional language, this was the stepping stone needed to get a job in the field.”

Throughout her time at SFU, Simone worked both on the course work required for her degree, but also chose to pursue her own research. Simone conducted her honours research with Professor Suzanne K. Hilgendorf. Her project, Communicative Language Teaching in the Elementary School: Theory and Practice for Teaching German, examines the theoretical literature surrounding second language acquisition and foreign language teaching to determine the best methods for teaching young children.

In addition to her honours research, Simone also completed a directed research course with Professor Marianne Ignace. The topic of this course, Indigenous Language Revitalization in BC, allowed Simone to think critically about the ongoing language revitalization efforts taking place across the province.

“A directed research and honours project allowed me to dive into these two topics in more depth,” says Simone. “They allowed me to really focus, hone my research skills, and most importantly develop my academic writing skills.”

This Spring, Simone is graduating with a Bachelor of Arts (BA) with an honours in Linguistics, a minor in English Literature, and a Certificate in TESL Linguistics.

With her degree now complete, Simone’s goal of becoming an elementary school teacher has not changed. She hopes to soon continue her studies at SFU in the Professional Development Program. In the meantime, Simone is taking advantage of opportunities to improve her teaching skills through teaching ESL and visiting elementary school classrooms.


  • LING 290: The Science of Speech
  • LING 363: Practicum in Teaching English as a Second Language to Adults
  • LING 410: Theories of Applied Linguistics
  • EDUC 465: Children's Literature
    This was my favourite non-Linguistics class of all time. In this class we read and analyzed dozens of children's books with respect to gender, equality, race and much more. It taught me lots.


My key to success was staying on the ball. Even if you don’t feel like it, do just a little bit of work, and you’ll be thankful later. Set short-term goals and keep with them. And go for lots of walks to process everything you have just read. The last thing you study before going to bed, you will remember the best, so choose wisely.

Don’t ask too much of yourself, some of these classes are hard and you won’t always be a top student. Have grace with yourself and don’t forget to buy good coffee.

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.