I received my Ph.D. in Linguistics at the University of Maryland, specializing in first language acquisition. After graduation, I worked as a postdoctoral researcher in the Department of Speech, Language and Hearing Sciences at Boston University, and then in the School of Philosophy and the Department of Linguistics at the University of Southern California. I then joined the Brain and Mind Institute at the Chinese University of Hong Kong as a Research Assistant Professor, before taking up my current post.
As a researcher, I study the human language---how it is structured, how it is learned by human babies, and how it is used by human adults. I consider language as a window into the human cognitive system. The field I am in is by nature interdisciplinary, driven by wisdom from linguistics, psychology, philosophy, neurosciences, computer sciences, communication sciences, and many others. This is why I have made several stops at different departments/institutes. In my work, I always take an interdisciplinary approach, and I always look forward to interdisciplinary collaboration. Expertise from different areas makes one and one greater than two.
As a teacher, my goal, at the broadest level, is to increase the wisdom of both my students and myself. I hope to share with students my knowledge, my thoughts, and also my questions and uncertainties. As much as teaching enlightens the students, it enlightens the teacher as well. Through teaching, my knowledge often gets solidified, thoughts deepened, and questions clarified. While I'm teaching, I am also happily learning.