Have You Met Rutgers-Newark?

Expert in Language Acquisition and Bilingualism

Thanks to its linguistic diversity, New Jersey is one of the best places in the United States to study bilingualism. Dr. Jennifer Austin, the chair of the Department of Spanish and Portuguese Studies and an associate professor at Rutgers University-Newark, researches how bilingualism affects language development and cognition in children and adults. Her work focuses on the acquisition of syntax and morphology in bilingual Spanish/English and Basque/Spanish speakers, and has been published in journals such as Bilingualism: Language and Cognition, Morphology, Lingua, and the International Journal of Bilingualism. She has collected data for her research in the United States and Spain.

Austin shares her expertise throughout the Rutgers University system. In addition to the Department of Spanish and Portuguese Studies at RU-N, Austin is a member of the graduate faculty in psychology at RU-N and in Spanish and Portuguese at Rutgers University-New Brunswick. She is also a member of the Bilingualism and Second Language Acquisition Lab at RU-New Brunswick.

For her research, teaching, and outreach work with bilingual communities in New Jersey, Austin was awarded the Rutgers-Newark Provost’s Award for Community Service in Teaching and Learning in 2007. Austin is also a co-founder of HoLa, a dual-immersion (English and Spanish) K-8 charter school in Hoboken, New Jersey, that opened its doors to students in September 2010. HoLa was designated a model World Languages program in 2014 by the state of New Jersey.

Austin received her doctoral degree in linguistics from Cornell University, with a minor in cognitive science, and her bachelor’s degree from Earlham College. Before coming to Rutgers University-Newark, she taught at Williams College.