30 Grads in 30 Days: Ruth Kramer

Ruth Kramer (photo by Carolyn Lagattuta)

Name: Ruth Kramer

Age: 27

Degree: Ph.D.

Field of study: Linguistics

Faculty advisers: Professors Sandra Chung and Jorge Hankamer

Undergraduate education: B.A., Brown University

Hometown: Cheshire, CT

Most memorable experience at UCSC?

It's difficult to choose just one! I've had memorable teaching experiences that involve making a positive impact in a student's life and memorable research experiences that involve sudden, exhilarating breakthroughs.

Favorite spot on campus and why?

The dance studio. I have taken at least one dance class every quarter of every year I've been here--it's the best stress relief and the main ballet teacher (Lisa Norris) is wonderfully inspirational.

How has your UCSC graduate education shaped you professionally?

On the most basic level, it has given me excellent training in how to be a professional linguist. However, I think it is the faculty here who have had the most influence on my professional development by being role models, mentors, and friends through my graduate career.

What are your plans after graduation?

I have been hired as an assistant professor of linguistics at Georgetown University.


Kramer's dissertation focuses on Amharic, the national language of Ethiopia, and is based on original fieldwork. She investigates the structure of nouns and nominal phrases in Amharic, concentrating in particular on definite articles, gender, and plurality. Her work has ramifications for linguistic theory in terms of the relationship between the structure of phrases and the structure of individual words (the syntax-morphology interface).

Kramer has a forthcoming article in the journal Syntax and has presented at numerous linguistics conferences including at the annual meeting of the Northeastern Linguistic Society and at the North American Conference on Afroasiatic Linguistics. She was a Foreign Language and Area Studies Fellow in Amharic in 2007, and has received many grants for research and travel from organizations at UCSC including the Institute for Humanities Research.