Kathy MinHye Kim

I am a pedagogy-focused psycholinguist. I have a strong desire to apply second language acquisition (SLA) research (informed by cognitive psychology) to pedagogy. Looking back, my research focus has developed naturally from my genuine interest in teaching and curiosity towards the human mind. I taught English and Korean in various contexts before joining the program; and I was also introduced to psycholinguistics in the Child Language Lab at Boston University.
Since I joined the Second Language Studies (SLS) program in 2015, I have had the privilege to explore both the worlds of SLA and cognitive psychology by pursuing a joint degree (graduate specialization) with the Cognitive Science program. I was intellectually challenged every day by brilliant minds who brought insights from multiple disciplines.
With the knowledge gained, in my qualifying papers I explored how second language (L2) learners develop implicit and explicit knowledge and what factors mediate their development. For instance, I have investigated the role of situational features (e.g., visual and aural input), sleep conditions (e.g., sleep and wake), and individual differences in cognitive aptitude and working memory capacity. These projects have resulted in two manuscripts so far, one of which was accepted for publication in The Modern Language Journal and the other of which is currently under revision.
Over the past years, I worked closely with Dr. Aline Godfroid and SLS students on a grant-funded test validation project on explicit and implicit L2 knowledge measures. We are currently writing up two manuscripts from this project. Dr. Godfroid and I are also exploring the association between cognitive aptitudes and knowledge types, a study presented at the 2019 American Association for Applied Linguistics conference. I was closely involved in the preparation of Dr. Godfroid’s eye-tracking methodology book through a three-year research assistantship and am currently managing the day-to-day activities of the SLS Eye-Tracking Lab. I was fortunate to have worked with Aline and my colleagues.
I am currently working on my dissertation project of which I was fortunate to have received a NSF Doctoral Dissertation Improvement Grant. In this project, I establish a link between processing (e.g., grammar-focused, meaning-focused) and the development of different knowledge types (e.g., implicit, explicit). This dissertation work is a large-scale, longitudinal study involving 120 international students at Michigan State University, whose linguistic development and daily interactions I am tracking over the course of a year. This project reflects the direction I hope to pursue as an SLA researcher: interdisciplinary collaboration with computer scientists and computational linguists to facilitate the longitudinal examination of L2 development (e.g., programming psycholinguistic measures on the web and automatizing oral production coding).
I recently visited a bookstore and stumbled on Dr. Seuss’s Oh, the Places You’ll Go. I recall the excitement thinking of the next chapter of my academic journey. I plan to graduate in 2020 and I look forward to all the places I’ll go.