Michael Key: Linguistics Major at the University at Albany Seeks to become a Professor Himself
By Liz Filardi, freshman, English major/Spanish minor
“You can never max out when you are trying to absorb resources and experiences at the University at Albany; there is always more there for you. It is what you make of it.”
Mike Key, a modest but accomplished senior, is who you might refer to as the balanced student, realizing that “the challenge has to come from the student.” While he is not afraid to apply himself and work hard, likewise, he takes the time to get to know his colleagues. For instance, he has built a strong friendship with Linguistics Professor Lee Bickmore. In many ways, the intro course that Mike took from Bickmore during his freshman year pushed him to be where he is today.
In retrospect, Mike feels that the relationship he built with Bickmore is probably the strongest one of all his undergrad days, despite their fifteen-year age gap. He has come to understand that the greatest professors are the ones who are accessible, willing to communicate in their fields of study, and willing to include students in research. Speaking of his friend Bickmore, he expresses his appreciation for the tremendous opportunity to attend conferences with him. Mike maintains that “Professors and grad students are people. Respect them, but don’t worship them,” adding that if you spend a few extra minutes after class to meet with them or to attend their office hours, your experience can be very rewarding.
Speaking of rewards, Mike commented on the perspective he was able to maintain in the face of such world problems as terrorism. Being an anthropology minor, Mike felt he had an edge over many Americans in that he “sought understanding of other cultures and their motives before making close-minded judgments.” He added that it is difficult for many people to discover aspects of the world without the solitary use of television and CNN. Perhaps such open-mindedness derives from the heavy amount of field work that he has done with native speakers of various areas.
Testifying that he is “like any college student,” Mike enjoys going out with friends. His favorite destination in the city is the Albany Pump Station, near the river, that he frequents for its interesting atmosphere.
Looking toward commencement and his future, Mike has already been accepted to “four Ph. D programs in linguistics with full funding packages for 5 years,” but is finding that his decision on which program to enroll in is going to be tough. He vows to keep the strongest relationships that he has formed at UAlbany with professors and colleagues, but looks forward to moving on.