Julie McGory’s retirement from the Linguistics Department this summer will mark the end of an era. Julie has been a department member since 2005, serving as Undergraduate Coordinator for the last 17 years. “Julie is the heart and soul of the department,” says chair Cynthia Clopper, “through her unwavering commitment to the success and well-being of our undergraduate students; her boundless thoughtful contributions to our curriculum, course offerings, and program assessment; her creative proposals and enthusiastic implementation of departmental social events; and her perpetually-positive attitude and smiling face.”
Julie received her Ph.D. in 1997 from the department of Speech and Hearing Science. She was hired on as a temporary staff member by then-chair Peter Culicover, and then shifted into a permanent position. Former chair Beth Hume says, “Julie was the department’s first full-time staff member devoted entirely to advising and supporting our undergraduate student population. She has worked tirelessly to support our students, creating a fun and welcoming undergraduate community.”
As undergraduate coordinator, she was responsible for advising all non-honors majors and minors on their course selections and career plans, teaching an array of courses including 1100 (Language for Language Learners) and 4100 (Undergraduate Phonetics), contributing to undergraduate course and curriculum development and leading a variety of outreach efforts at the high school and college level. Andrea Sims, the Undergraduate Program Director, says "I am so appreciative of the expertise and efficiency that Julie brings to running the undergraduate program. Usually even before I realize that a job needs to be done – whether that is a report to the College, meeting with a prospective student, a course proposal submission, or one of the myriad other tasks that keeps the program running – Julie has already done it. Especially these past two years, when we have been planning for the new General Education system and developing two new certificates, I have relied on her curricular expertise, which has been nothing less than essential. She has made the GE process run smoothly, and has played a leading role in curriculum changes that improve and update the department’s undergraduate curriculum. Her efforts will have a lasting positive impact on the undergraduate program. She will be missed."
Julie’s work in teaching, advising and course development has made her popular among our undergraduate majors. “As the faculty advisor of the UnderLings group, Julie has been committed to organizing events that benefit the club's members, most of whom are undergraduate students new to the department. From social events to events that promote knowledge about linguistics-related careers, Julie has been integral in helping the UnderLings executive board provide support and resources to members of the club,” says UnderLings president Kate Kinnaird. Andrea Sims adds, "She gets to know students personally and puts in so much effort to help them find their way through their studies, and also in life. It is hard to pick a single example of the way she goes above and beyond in her advising role (there are so many!), but her Life After Linguistics initiative is an excellent example. A now-annual event that Julie created, Life After Linguistics connects current students to Linguistics alumni to talk about possible career paths. It has become one of the most popular events of the year. Linguistics majors and minors frequently comment that they feel well supported by Linguistics, and more than for any other reason, that is because of Julie."
Julie’s contributions were also critical to creating the department’s Summer Linguistic Institute for Youth Scholars, or SLIYS. Beginning in 2009 with 14 students, SLIYS now runs three sessions each summer, attracting high schoolers with an interest in linguistics from across the United States. SLIYS scholars live on campus, meeting OSU scholars and conducting a fieldwork analysis project with a consultant who speaks a non-English language. Julie developed the concept for SLIYS, and still organizes the program every summer with the aid of a team of graduate students who serve as mentors and consultants. Beth Hume, who was chair during the inception of SLIYS says, “She turned the idea for this summer program into a reality. It has introduced linguistics to high school students from across the country, and given our graduate students opportunities to teach over the summer.”
Daniel Puthawala, who has worked in SLIYS in various roles over the years says, “It's been a pleasure and a privilege to work alongside Julie for a number of years in SLIYS and innumerable other linguistics outreach events. She is always up to mentor new teachers and science communicators, and to shield her charges from wrath of overbearing parents with unreasonable expectations. Her infectious energy and indefatigable dedication towards our high school SLIYS and OSU undergraduate students inspired me through her example to be a better teacher and mentor.”
Julie is also greatly appreciated as a member of the department and as a resource for faculty and students. “She is as essential a member of departmental staff as there is -- that person who is ultimately reliable, sensible, energetic and available,” says former chair Shari Speer. Faculty member Björn Köhnlein adds, “Julie has been extremely helpful and kind to me from the day I started working at OSU. I could (and still can) always come to her with questions about more or less anything, and her advice is invaluable."
While nobody could ever really replace Julie, a search for her successor is already underway. As for Julie herself, she plans to spend more time with her family, especially her five grandchildren. Cynthia Clopper sums up: “I cannot begin to describe how much she will be missed, and I wish her the very best in her retirement!"