Sara A. Smith received her Doctorate in Applied Linguistics and Second Language Acquisition from the Department of Education at the University of Oxford, followed by postdoctoral research in the Brain.Experience.Education Lab at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. In 2017, she joined the University of South Florida as an Assistant Professor in ESOL and Foreign Language Education and Faculty in the Technology in Education and Second Language Acquisition (TESLA) doctoral program.
The broad aim of her research program is to gain a better understanding of the diversity of language experience and how linguistic diversity relates to language, cognition, speech, and literacy and academic achievement. Her research interests include: differences related to the individual and the language environment; vocabulary, literacy/biliteracy, and achievement outcomes; and technology enhanced language learning, including digital environments and immersive virtual environments.
Dr. Smith is the creator of the Multimedia Augmented Reality Vocabulary Learning (MARVL) application, an augmented reality (AR) application that uses the latest technology and research-based best practices to support learning vocabulary words in a new language. The MARVL project has received a Bull Ring Accelerator Grant from the USF Foundation, was a finalist for the 2020 Cade Prize and was one of 13 women-led technologies selected for the Tampa Bay Wave’s 2020 TechWomen Rising Accelerator. MARVL was also featured in the Radio Cade episode "A Better Way to Learn New Languages." To learn more about MARVL, visit marvllanguage.com.
She is passionate about developing new technologies for supporting language learning.
National Science Foundation Innovation Corps is a national movement of innovators designed to prepare scientists and engineers to extend their focus beyond the laboratory.
The Excellence in Innovation Awards annually recognizes USF faculty who have demonstrated exceptional achievement in innovation and research. Nominations are peer reviewed by members of the USF Academy of Inventors.
2020 Fibonacci Finalist for the Cade Prize, celebrating Florida-based inventors and entrepreneurs who demonstrate a creative approach to addressing problems in their field of expertise.
One of thirteen promising female-led technology companies from around the state of Florida selected to participate in TechWomen Rising, the newest accelerator program offered by Tampa Bay Wave.
California State University East Bay Provost’s Award for Outstanding Researcher.