Maggie Sousa is originally from San José, California but moved to Massachusetts in 1997. Ever since she was little, she has had a fascination with languages which stemmed from her Portuguese background. Being interested in linguistic endeavors, she pursued different avenues in professional translation before attending the University of Massachusetts Lowell in the fall of 2009. There, she was an English major concentrating in Creative Writing while also minoring in Theater Arts. She graduated magna cum laude from the University of Massachusetts Lowell in May 2013. She is fluent in Portuguese and conversational in Spanish. She joined the Ayola Research Group in July of 2012 and has assisted in nearly every aspect of Ayola since then. She is the Database Maven and Communications Liaison for the project.
Nicholles Klevisha is experiencing his third year at UMass Lowell. He was accepted as a Biology major, but despite his interests in science, changed his major to English with a Journalism concentration to understand the human components of the world better, such as language and media. In the Fall semester of 2013, Nicholles played the Men’s Chorus Leader in Lysistrata and afterward, joined the OBP Club and the improv club Comedically Induced. He’s also contributed several pieces to the Connector and is currently taking classes based around visual forms of communication: lighting design, visual rhetoric, and TV studio production.
Amani Rahman was born in Cincinnati, OH but moved to Dhaka, Bangladesh (which is not India but right next to it) and recently moved back to Shrewsbury, MA. Apart from being fluent in English and Bengali, she picked up Hindi while watching Bollywood movies with her grandmother. She is currently majoring in Computer Science in UMass Lowell, but pursuing her love for languages by learning Arabic. Despite joining Ayola Organization recently and helping with research, she still considers being a geek her full time job.
Jon Kohen is a senior Music Business major at the UMass Lowell. Growing up, he learned Hebrew from his family, and found the language fascinating. He went to Gann Academy for high school, where he studied Hebrew, as well as biblical, and rabbinical studies—which very much pertain to the specific use of words and letters in both a pragmatic, and poetic sense. Jon is not religious. He loves Kurt Vonnegut, ice cream, and The Lion King movie. He also enjoys long walks on the beach, writing and playing music, and taking hobby suggestions from his mom.
Dr. Richard W. Stimets
Dr. Richard W. Stimets is Professor of Physics at the University of Massachusetts Lowell. He has taught courses in general physics, solid state physics and materials characterization, and has for many years taught an introductory astronomy course for non-science majors entitled ‘Exploring the Universe.’ His research in physics is in the field of characterization of materials by Raman/fluorescence spectroscopy and various methods of trace-element analysis.
Professor Stimets interest in constructed international languages dates back to a research paper on the subject which he wrote in high school. He studied constructed languages such as Esperanto, Interlingua, and Loglan but felt that all of these languages had significant shortcomings. Finally, in 1995, with the help of some students with foreign language backgrounds, he began the effort with grew into the Ayola language project. He has since enjoyed working with new groups of students and improved techniques of word lookup and vocabulary development. He is the Group Leader and Founder for Ayola.
Professor Stimets comments on the current status of the Ayola language: “The spelling, pronunciation, and grammar of the Ayola language are essentially complete. We are still adding to the basic word list and hope to bring its total number of words to over 20,000 in perhaps two years. However, Ayola is now developed enough to be made publicly available. We encourage those interested in Ayola to try to use the language by doing Ayola translations of existing text or creating original text in Ayola. Send us your Ayola creations for comment and correction along with needed vocabulary words. We will help you to learn Ayola and you will help us fill in existing gaps in the Ayola vocabulary.”
Professor Stimets enjoys spending his weekends at his house in the beautiful Rangeley Lakes region of Maine and enjoys hiking, bicycling, rowing, kicksledding, singing, and playing the piano and banjo.