News & Announcements

New faculty spotlight: Robin Karlin

Aug. 22, 2023

This is part of a series of Q&As introducing faculty who have joined the College of Health Sciences for the 2023–24 academic year. Meet all of our new faculty members.

Robin Karlin

Assistant professor, Department of Speech, Language and Hearing Sciences

What classes are you teaching this semester?

I won’t be teaching any courses this semester, but I look forward to working with students in the classroom soon!

Tell us about yourself. What is your background?

I was always interested in languages as a child. I wanted to learn how they worked and how humans could even produce them at all.

I did my undergrad at UW-Madison and pretty much right off the bat knew I wanted to major in linguistics and psychology. In my last couple of years there, I got really interested in how people coordinate all the movements necessary for speech in a way that balances physical constraints from our actual muscles and nerves with the abstract constraints handed down by how our language works.

I’ve basically continued with this line of research ever since: I did my Ph.D. at Cornell University, where I focused more on those abstract constraints. I then returned to UW-Madison for a postdoc looking at more of the physical and neurological constraints.

What brought you to Mizzou? To your field?

Mizzou offered a great opportunity to continue my existing line of research and blend all my previous training.

What is your favorite thing about your job?

I really like it when people get excited about their interests and share that with me, and when I get to do the same. Academia is a great place to be for that! There are so many people working on problems that I just never thought about before.

What has you excited for this semester?

I’m excited to get to know Columbia and Mizzou — my colleagues, my students and some new favorite places.

What is a fun hobby or activity that you enjoy outside of work?

I’ve accumulated several hobbies over the years, including ballet, horseback riding, cooking, knitting, climbing and gardening. I’m looking forward to filling my office with plants!  

Could you share a memorable moment from your time teaching?

I once learned that I have an unusual pronunciation of the word “thought” (only as a verb) when I used it for transcription practice and all of my students had a different answer than me. I now use several words that I have unusual pronunciations for as an in-class exercise on transcribing what is actually said, as opposed to what is typical, in part because the incredulous look on their faces when they hear me pronounce all my odd words is priceless.

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Robin Karlin

Robin Karlin

Assistant Professor