Destined for language?
I was born in Rhode Island to a Greek and Armenian mother and Aramaean father. With over five languages spoken at home daily (English, Greek, Syriac, Turkish, Western Armenian, etc.), I soon realized that language is an intrinsic aspect of forming an identity. At seven years old, my family moved to New Jersey, where I experienced my first encounter with dialect ideologies asking for the "bubbler" on my first day of school. The other students' laughter made me aware that language is not uniform, and that people can develop specific associations with different varieties. This was reinforced in high school when I realized my maternal familial dialect of Greek (from Istanbul) was different from how my Greek-American friends spoke.
Fast forward to my undergraduate education at Rutgers University, where I learned that linguistics is an actual discipline. I double majored in linguistics and Spanish linguistics with a minor in Modern Greek. From there, I worked in diverse fields before finding my way into publishing as an editor. I completed an accelerated master's program with NYU in Madrid, living in Spain for a year while working, taking classes and conducting research.
I spent the summer of 2014 in Greece and Turkey on a research fellowship studying endangered Greek dialects of Asia Minor. This was really cool since, although my Greek grandmother was born in Istanbul in 1918 (technically still Constantinople and the Ottoman Empire), her parents were Cappadocian Greeks from Gelveri (formerly Καρβαλη/Karvali and now Güzelyurt) and Nigde (Νιγδη/Niğde). I loved being able to connect with my ancestors in some way. The Centre for Asia Minor Studies is a great resource for anthropological, sociological, historical and linguistic accounts of Greeks from Asia Minor.
In addition to Cappadocia, I've also visited Mardin, where Syriac has historically been spoken in the Tur 'Abdin region. I was able to visit Midyat, the village where my father was born. Click here for more info on the Syriac Aramaic language of my father's heritage.