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​Queens College Junior Alessa Farinella Awarded Prestigious Beinecke Scholarship

-- The Linguistics and Anthropology Double Major Is One of 18 Recipients Nationwide Encouraged to Fulfill the Award’s Charge to Be Courageous in Their Fields of Graduate Study --

Queens, NY, April 22, 2019--Queens College junior Alessa Farinella has been awarded a prestigious Beinecke Brothers Memorial Scholarship for graduate study.

This highly-competitive award provides substantial scholarships for the graduate education of students of exceptional promise and motivation. The program encourages them to be courageous in the selection of a graduate course of study in the arts, humanities, and social sciences. Each scholar receives $4,000 immediately prior to entering graduate school and an additional $30,000 while attending graduate school.

As a linguistics and anthropology double major with a 4.0 GPA, extensive research experience, and a deep commitment to social change, Farinella fulfills the program’s goals. Broadly speaking, she intends to use a PhD in linguistics to study the social implications of language.

Through coursework and research, Farinella explores how language allows us to understand and pass along our sense of identity, to create community, or to erect barriers between ourselves and others. She is particularly interested in studying languages on the verge of extinction and in combating the stigmatization of particular languages or speech patterns. 

“Alessa could have found no better laboratory for her important research than Queens College,” says Queens College President Félix V. Matos Rodríguez. “Our students, who trace their origins to some 120 countries and speak some 140 different languages, have complex social and economic histories. We are inspired by Alessa’s commitment to social change and look forward to her future achievements.”

Farinella says her initial fascination with language came, in part, from her interactions with her Italian-speaking grandparents: “I was always trying to speak with them in Italian. I saw how much of a connection there was between language and your culture, your heritage.”

A brief stint studying vocal performance at the Berklee College of Music in Boston followed by years of travelling and living abroad reinforced her interest and eventually coalesced in her decision to study linguistics.

Farinella is currently working in the lab of Bill Haddican in the Queens College Linguistics Department on research that focuses on variations in how English is spoken in New York City.

“In Queens,” she observes, “we probably have more languages spoken than anywhere else in the world. It’s a great place to be studying language. We’re looking at variations in pronunciation in New York City, and we’re looking at the social factors behind it, how that affects how you produce language, whether it’s ethnicity or gender or socio-economic background.”

Farinella is one of 18 Beinecke Scholars for 2019 and the fourth to be selected from Queens College since the program’s inception in 1975. In that time, it has awarded scholarships to more than 646 college juniors from more than 110 undergraduate institutions to support their graduate study.

About the Beinecke Scholarship Program
The Beinecke Scholarship Program was established in 1971 by the Board of Directors of The Sperry and Hutchinson Company to honor Edwin, Frederick, and Walter Beinecke. The Board created an endowment to provide substantial scholarships for the graduate education of young men and women of exceptional promise. The program seeks to encourage and enable highly motivated students to pursue opportunities available to them and to be courageous in the selection of a graduate course of study in the arts, humanities and social sciences. Since 1975 the program has selected 646 college juniors from more than 110 different undergraduate institutions for support during graduate study at any accredited university.

Each scholar receives $4,000 immediately prior to entering graduate school and an additional $30,000 while attending graduate school. There are no geographic restrictions on the use of the scholarship, and recipients are allowed to supplement the award with other scholarships, assistantships and research grants. Scholars are encouraged to begin graduated study as soon as possible following graduation from college, and must utilize all of the funding within five years of completion of undergraduate studies.

About Queens College
Queens College graduates the most teachers, counselors, and principals serving in New York City public schools. The college contributes to the local talent pool as a powerful economic engine and a leader in tech education, with more computer science majors than any college in New York City. Students from across the country and around the world are attracted to study at the Aaron Copland School of Music. Its renowned faculty and alumni include nationally recognized composers, conductors and performers who have received over 100 Grammy Awards and nominations.

Queens College enjoys a national reputation for its liberal arts and sciences and pre-professional programs. With its graduate and undergraduate degrees, honors programs, and research and internship opportunities, the college helps its nearly 20,000 students realize their potential in countless ways, assisted by an accessible, award-winning faculty. Located on a beautiful, 80-acre campus in Flushing, the college is cited each year in the Princeton Review as one of the nation’s 100 “Best Value” colleges, as well as being ranked a U.S. News and World Report Best College and Forbes Magazine Best Value College thanks to its outstanding academics, generous financial aid packages, and relatively low costs. Visit our homepage to learn more.

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