Award Winning Linguistic Anthropology


University of Central Florida student Christy Box spent six weeks travelling Ireland, Scotland and England this summer, all in pursuit of words. She just won an award for her years of research on the subject.

Box is a senior in the Department of Anthropology. She spent this summer conducting research for her honors-in-the-major project about how institutional support of endangered languages helps them thrive. Her research has earned her the Distinguished Undergraduate Researcher Award from the Office of Undergraduate Research for the month of November.

DURA award recipients receive a $200 scholarship, a certificate from the Office of Undergraduate Research and recognition on the OUR website and newsletter. Only one award winner is selected a month. Box was also awarded the Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship through OUR and the Burnett Research Scholars Grant, both of which gave her $1,000 each to use for use for her research.

Box specifically studied Irish and Scottish Gaelic for the project, which she has been working on for years. She said that it was inspired by the fact that institutions have historically had a significant impact on suppressing languages through things like globalization.

“I wanted to explore the other side of that,” Box said. “What if these institutions purposely went about supporting these other languages and trying to ensure their survival?”

She wants to pursue linguistic anthropology as her career, which is the study of the role of language in society. UCF does not have a dedicated linguistic anthropology track, so Box designed her study in consultation with her advisor as a linguistic anthropology project. She set up the design, arranged the contacts and set up the field work on her own.


Christy Box traveled the United Kingdom this summer for her research project.

Assistant Professor Beatriz Reyes-Foster, Ph.D., mentored Box for the project, serving as a guide for the mostly independent research. She spoke highly of the Box’s initiative and passion for the work.

Reyes-Foster said “She has taken the initiative and seen it through. I’m thrilled and extremely proud of everything that Christy has accomplished. She’s a really great example of what our students can do.”

In her spare time, Box likes to write. She’s written, directed and shot some of her own short films. She intends to pursue her doctoral degree in cultural anthropology and use it to solve a broad range of global issues.

She loves anthropology just because of the expansive knowledge it gives her.

“Until I found anthropology, I never realized there was a discipline in which I did not have to choose between my interests,” Box said. “Anthropology is so wide-ranging in studying humanity that I can study so much all within the same field. I am excited to explore within my career.”

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