William and Mary

Rachael Tatman

Murray 1693 Scholar

HometownRachel Tatman

I don't really have a hometown—my father is in the Army, and as a result I've lived everywhere from Seattle to Hong Kong. I graduated from Fluvanna County High School in rural Fluvanna County, Virginia where my family owns and lives on a small organic farm.

Why W&M?

William and Mary really appealed to me because of the attitude the professors here have towards their students; teaching undergraduates is a pleasure for them, not a burden. That translates into a great academic experience, both in the classroom and beyond it. The atmosphere here is also exceptional. Students are here because they want to learn. William and Mary nurtures self-discipline and hard work, but in a refreshingly non-competitive way. I've had the support and encouragement to really throw myself into research here, and that's something that I feel I was very lucky to receive as an undergrad.


Linguistics and English. Within the field of linguistics, my studies and research focused on the sounds of language. I'm particularly interested in laboratory phonology (and phonetics), the phonetics/phonology interface and production and perception of natural variation in speech sounds.

Extracurriculars at W&M
  • National Novel Writing Month Club Co-Founder and President
  • Esperanto Club Founding Member
  • Science Fiction and Fantasy Club (Skiffy) Treasurer and Book Discussion Coordinator
  • Williamsburg RealFood Community Cooperative 
  • Fencing Team Minister of Finance and Minister of IT
  • Avid knitter, spinner, crocheter, weaver
Research at W&M
  • Perception of Non-Phonological Stop-to-Flap Reduction in English: Marker or By Product of Conversational Speech? Honors thesis in linguistics. (Ongoing)
  • Assisted in Dr.'s Jack Martin and Matthew Gordon with a phonetic study of the Koasati language, recorded native speaker for audio dictionary (Summer 2011)
  • Eliciting Reduced and Shortened Stops: A Comparison of Laboratory Techniques, Ottawa's Conference for Linguistic Undergraduates (December 2010)
  • The Evolution of the Singular Child Protagonist in Children's Fantasy Series, Colonial Academic Alliance Undergraduate Research Conference (May 2010)
Where Am I Now?

I'm in graduate school working on a funded Ph.D. in linguistics at University of Washington in Seattle. I love being a Teaching Assistant. Check out my blog on linguistics. I'm in the middle of wrestling with code for an experiment right now. This year I'm going to be doing a combination of teaching and research. The research is on a grant that looks at how the distortion hearing aids introduce into the speech signal affects intelligibility. I'm enjoying the work and learning far more about statistical computing than I ever suspected I would.