I finished my degree in 1986 from Shimer College which was then located in Waukegan, Illinois. (It has since moved to Chicago, Illinois). Shimer is an unusual school with a Great Books curriculum. (To find out what Great Books are, check out the Shimer web site .At Shimer, I studied many different things with no particular major, so you could call my degree a BA in "Liberal Studies."
In the '90s, a researcher from the University of Wisconsin discovered that an extremely high proportion of Shimer graduates go on to earn PhDs-in fact, Shimer was third in the nation, quite surprising for such a small school--less than 100 students when I attended, and slightly more than 100 now. I am one of them, of course, but I wasn't even counted in the study because it was done in 1996 and I finished my degree in 1997.
Next, I studied Linguistics at Temple University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, finishing my degree in 1990. While at Temple, I started studying Japanese and became interested in semantics. I also did some volunteer work, teaching English to new immigrants, which started me along my current career.
I continued my graduate study in Linguistics at Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois, completing my degree in June 1997.At Northwestern, I took a wide variety of classes related to language, everything from semantic theory to computational linguistics and anthropological linguistics. As a TA, I taught English to foreign graduate students and linguistics to undergraduates.
After choosing my dissertation topic, Antonymy and Semantic Range in English, I read and collected data during my third year at NU, but I didn't actually start analyzing the data and writing until I got to Japan. I wrote my dissertation on weekends and during vacations while teaching at Waseda, corresponding with my advisor, Beth Levin, via e-mail .