Alexandra Lawson

PhD Candidate, Department of Linguistics: Data Analyst | Technical Communicator | Researcher | Organizer

Contact Ali!

About Ali

My name is Alexandra Lawson, but most people call me Ali.

I am a 6th year doctoral candidate in the Department of Linguistics of the University at Buffalo, SUNY.

I also work as a Researcher and Data Analyst in the College of Arts and Sciences' Office of the Dean, where I work on projects related to Planning and Analytics as well as Research and Sponsored Projects.

At the very core of my being I am an organizer, a communicator, and teacher. These are the roles I take on instinctively; they motivate how I interact with people and often characterize the kind of work that fulfills me. Beyond those traits, however, I am highly skilled in a variety of technical areas. As a researcher and data analyst, my strengths lie primarily in finding and telling the stories hidden in data. My skills in statistics, data wrangling, and and data visualization provide evidence that I have the chops to work in a variety of tech, quantitative, and data-oriented spaces. The projects that inspire me the most involve leveraging my communication skills in the world of data analytics. I am at my best when doing work that unites my passion for organizing and connecting people with my technical and writing skills.

Get in Touch!

Department of Linguistics

609 Baldy Hall

University at Buffalo, North Campus

Buffalo, NY, 14260

Office: 444 Baldy Hall

Email: aflawson (at) Buffalo (dot) edu


An industry-facing resume as well as full academic C.V. can be found below.


  • I am interested in how we construct meaning in English, and how we use things like names and pronouns to convey certain kinds of meaning.
  • Example: When you say "I am a linguist, how about yourself?" how is it different from "I am a linguist, how about you?" What are you trying to indicate when you chose "yourself" over "you"?
  • My dissertation examines the the different choice we have as English speakers when we refer to things (proper names, pronouns, and descriptions) as one that is responsive to speaker perceptions of social power and discourse formality, a feature that is reflected in speaker's choices between more and less informative options (i.e. repeating a name when a pronoun would be acceptable, using a non-reflexive -self pronoun (like the example above) when a personal pronoun is acceptable, etc).

  • I presented some of my dissertation research at the Linguistics Society of America Annual Meeting, January 3, 2019. Please find below a PDF version of my poster that you are free to download and reference/cite at will. Please keep in mind that this is a) a work in progress and b) part of my larger dissertation. Please feel free to contact me to talk about this or anything else related to my research!

    Useful Guides and Other Resources

    Here are some things that I think other people might find useful. The first two are handbooks or guide that I wrote myself to help other people. The second two are guides created by other people that helped me.

    Guides for grad students at UB

  • Guidebook for Graduate Student Teachers: A guidebook I compiled during the the 2018-19 school year as part of my responsibilities as TA Coordinator for the Linguistics Department at UB.
  • Grad Student Self-Care: A short guide on how to access on-campus resources for graduate student mental and physical health at UB. This was developed for the UB Help Desk Lab.
  • Running Experiments on Amazon Mechanical Turk

    For my dissertation, I ran a self-paced reading study. I built the experiment using IbexFarm and recruited participants via Amazon Mechanical Turk. I relied heavily on the experitse of others while learning how to execute these tasks. Below are some of the resources I found helpful while working on this project:

    • Sherry Chen's Website: Sherry has some excellent examples of Self-Paced Reading experiments and how to format them for IbexFarm.
    • Lauren Ackerman's Website: Lauren has created a very easy to follow tutorial for processing IbexFarm output using bash commands.

    As a final note, I built this website myself using the Bootstrap template. Please excuse any formatting weirdness as I'm still learning HTML and CSS. Any comments or suggestions are greatly appreciated!