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Mary Beth Spang

Mary Beth Spang


Undergraduate Student - Linguistics, Spanish, and English triple major

Fall 2018: Starting an M.Ed. program in Human Development and Psychology at Harvard University.


I am a rising senior majoring in Linguistics, Spanish and English. For the past two semesters, I have had the privilege of learning from Dr. John Lipski about research being conducted in Colombia regarding a Spanish-based creole language called Lengua Palenquera.

I will be traveling to Palenque, Colombia this summer to collect research regarding Lengua Palenquera. Then, I will take this data to Radboud University Nijmegen in order to analyze this data and complete my PIRE project, which will also form the basis for my Schreyer’s honor thesis. My research deals with sociolinguistic variation in Lengua Palenquera based on age, gender and neighborhood distinction.

Outside of the lab, I enjoy volunteering with Habitat for Humanity and promoting service through the Council of Lionhearts. I am the current Executive Director of Penn State Habitat for Humanity, as well as the Treasurer for the Liberal Arts Undergraduate Council and a Liberal Arts Envoy. I can’t wait to go abroad to the Netherlands to conduct my research and experience a new culture, and am so grateful to have been selected as a PIRE undergraduate fellow!

Pire Projects:

sociolinguistic variation in Lengua Palenquera


Pennsylvania State University, USA


Department of Spanish, Italian, and Portuguese