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PhD Program Director: Camilla Vásquez

PhD Academic Advisors: Camilla Vásquez and Wei Zhu


Amanda Huensch

Amanda Huensch is Assistant Professor of Applied Linguistics in the Department of World Languages at the University of South Florida, where she teaches courses in second language acquisition, pronunciation pedagogy, and applied linguistics. Her research examines second language speech development in and outside of the classroom, including the relationship between perception and production, pronunciation attitudes of classroom foreign language learners, and fluency development during study abroad. Her most recent work has been published in the Journal of Phonetics, the Journal of Second Language Pronunciation, and Applied Psycholinguistics. She received her PhD in Linguistics and Second Language Studies from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.


Nicole Tracy-Ventura

Nicole Tracy-Ventura is an Assistant Professor in the Department of World Languages at USF. Her research specializations include second language acquisition, study abroad, corpus linguistics, and task-based language teaching. She is a founding member of the longitudinal Languages and Social Networks Abroad Project (LANGSNAP) which is described in the forthcoming co-authored book, Anglophone students abroad: Identity, social relationships, and language learning (Routledge, with Rosamond Mitchell and Kevin McManus). She also has a number of publications focusing on methods for analysing learner development, including learner corpus based approaches. Her work can be found in journals such as Applied Psycholinguistics, Bilingualism: Language and Cognition, Corpora, International Journal of Learner Corpus Research, Modern Language Journal, as well as several book chapters.At USF, she often teaches Introduction to Graduate Studies in Linguistics, Methods of Teaching English Overseas, Second Language Acquisition,and Corpus Linguistics.  Nicole received her PhD in Applied Linguistics from Northern Arizona University.


Camilla Vásquez

Camilla Vásquez is Professor of Applied Linguistics in the Department of World Languages at USF.  At the graduate level, she teaches courses such as Discourse Analysis, Sociolinguistics, and Pragmatics, and her research explores topics such as identity, intertextuality, and narrativity in genres ranging from gossip to e-commerce. Her primary area of research focuses on the linguistic features of online reviews (e.g., TripAdvisor, Amazon, and Yelp) – and related genres. Camilla’s work on this topic has appeared in Discourse Context & Media, Journal of Pragmatics and Narrative Inquiry, as well as in her monograph, The Discourse of Online Consumer Reviews (Bloomsbury Publishing, 2014).  Her research on review language has been featured in popular media outlets such as the New York Times, Outside Magazine, and FastCompany.  Camilla is currently researching linguistic creativity, humor, and play in social media, and collaborating with several students on related projects.   She welcomes inquiries from students who wish to pursue research in the areas of internet language, discourse analysis, sociolinguistics, and language/culture intersections. For more information about Camilla’s research interests, please visit her website ( or her blog (

Wei Zhu

Wei Zhu, currently Associate Professor of Applied Linguistics, received her Ph.D. in Applied Linguistics from Northern Arizona University. Since joining the University of South Florida, Dr. Zhu has been a core faculty member in the M.A. program in Applied Linguistics. She has taught a variety of courses at USF, including an undergraduate level course Grammar and Written Communication and graduate level courses such as Grammatical Structures of American English, Methods of Teaching ESL, Language Testing, Writing in SLA, and Writing for Academic Purposes.

Dr. Zhu’s main research areas include second language writing, writing for academic/specific purposes, and computer-mediated communication and writing development. Dr. Zhu’s work has appeared in journals such as TESOL Quarterly, Journal of Second Language Writing, English for Specific Purposes, and Language Learning.