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Monday, January 21, 2019

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Jessica Barlow received a Faculty Monty in 2012. Jessica Barlow received a Faculty Monty in 2012.

7 Things About Jessica Barlow

SDSU professor and Sustainable Cities director Jessica Barlow has inspired students on campus for 16 years.

Jessica Barlow is San Diego State University's director of the Community Engagement for Sustainable Cities initiative. She's also a professor for the School of Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences.

Barlow is interested in phonology, phonological acquisition and disorders and bilingualism. She is a nationally known researcher whose work directly benefits children and language disorders. Her lab has been established for 15 years and aspects of her research have been supported by the National Institutes of Health.

1. What inspired you to do this kind of work?

Sustainability is a personal passion of mine and I strive to raise greater awareness about the interaction between the environment, social justice and the economy in how we live our lives. Working in a university setting, I have the potential to help others do the same, and reach a large number of students who will be the future leaders in our community.

2. How long have you worked at SDSU?

Sixteen years. I’ve been here since 1997!

3. What is the best piece of advice you ever received?

I am a linguist, and in graduate school my mentor once said, “Nobody dies doing linguistics.” My fellow students and I occasionally needed the reminder that the stakes for many things in life are not as high as they may at first seem."

This simple bit of advice helps me put the challenges of life into perspective and focus on what really matters in the long run.

4. What is your favorite thing about your job?

I love that I work in an intellectually stimulating environment, that I am constantly meeting new people and that I am constantly learning new things.

5. What about your field or position do you think would surprise people the most?

Probably what surprises people the most is the fact that my field of expertise is linguistics, but I have a university position related to sustainability. I think it is an excellent example of how sustainability is relevant to all disciplines — all things, really — and the fact that everything in this universe is interconnected.

6. What is the most interesting or surprising thing about you?
I’m sure that depends on who you ask. Perhaps that I play the viola? Or that for five years I drove a Vespa as my primary means of transportation (here in Southern California), or that I now drive an electric car? I think a lot of people outside of SDSU are surprised to learn that I have a Ph.D. Apparently, I don’t fit the stereotype, whatever that is.

7. If you could only rescue one thing from your burning office, what would it be?

Probably my SDSU Faculty Monty Award. That thing is awesome.


1. What is your favorite kind of music/what are your favorite bands?

I have a huge variety of tastes in music depending on my mood, spanning from big band to 60s garage rock, to Motown, to 70s classic rock, 80s punk, blue grass, alternative, African jazz, classical and so on. That’s probably enough to list here.

2. What is your favorite sports team or who is your favorite individual athlete?

It would be a crime if I didn’t say SDSU basketball! Indiana University basketball is a very, very close second (some days they are tied). My favorite athlete would be David Trezeguet, but that’s mainly just because I like his name.

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