Dec 2023

Laleko Awarded 2023 Mentor of the Year


SUNY New Paltz’s Research, Scholarship, and Creative Activities (RSCA) office named Oksana Laleko, the 2023 Mentor of the Year. Laleko, whose commitment to truly independent undergraduate research, according to her chair, “is truly unparalleled in the English Department and its adjacent disciplines.”

She has supported dozens of students as they explored a diverse range of topics in linguistics, often with diverse methodologies — from archival research on linguistic typologies, to sociolinguistic research on language diversity and endangerment, to computational linguistics for smartphone app design.

What stands out is her customized approach to each student, giving them the freedom to identify topics and the guidance needed to succeed. Several recent graduates are now pursuing advanced graduate degrees in theoretical or applied linguistics. Two of them, Yana Miroshnychenko and Kianu Schwerdtfeger, shared that Oksana has “had the most profound impact on the people we are today.” They continued, “Her support of us in both life and academia was unfaltering. Oksana was our biggest cheerleader during our successes, small and large. The habits she has instilled in us has helped us navigate our first year in graduate school for linguistics, and her undying support still propels us forward.”

Reprinted courtesy of Corwin Senko, RSCA Director.