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Featured M.A. Students
In its commitment to uphold Teachers College's mission of diversity and community, many of our students come from a variety of backgrounds, experiences, and interests. Within the AL and TESOL program, our students range from novice to experienced teachers, career changers to current practitioners, as well as native speakers of English to non-native speakers of English. Below, you can find profiles of some of our outstanding Master of Arts students.
Master of Arts (M.A.)
Anansa graduated from the University of Rochester with a B.A. in Linguistics in 2015. As an undergraduate, she was most interested in the linguistic connection between West African languages and liturgical languages used in African based religions in Latin America. For the past two years, Anansa has been working with 8th & 9th grade students in Providence, RI through City Year, an AmeriCorps education non-profit. She used this time to explore the connections between education and linguistics. Her academic interests lie in sociophonetics, psycholinguistics, language acquisition and pragmatics. Anansa is fueled by the power of language to include and empower, particularly when it comes to English Language Learners and speakers of non-standard dialects of English. She believes that nuances of language use are vital in humanizing, affirming, and validating our lives. Anansa also enjoys sudoku puzzles, card writing, reading memoirs, and playing pick-up basketball.
Marcus Cheung Yuen-Yiu
Marcus Cheung Yuen-Yiu graduated in 2017 from The University of Hong Kong with a B.A. in Chinese Language, Literature and Culture, minored in Chinese History, and a B.Ed. in Chinese Language Education. With his international insight, he had joined the exchange programs in Stanford University, Free University of Berlin and Beijing Normal University. His experience of being a research assistant for professor and a teacher in different local schools had inspired him to concentrate his attention on education technology. He worked in an education publishing startup which allows schools to customize books and different social enterprises for consolidating his business and computer science knowledge. Implementation speaks louder than passion and planning. He won in Startup Weekend and different innovation competitions with his ideas. Setting up Youltron, a newborn NGO with his friends, he aims at eliminating gender stereotype among grade school students. Campaigns related to society contribution in poor local districts are held also. He would like to equip himself with bilingual method after finishing the program and dedicate himself into related edutech industry. Get to know him more in marcuscheung.weebly.com and say hi.
Laurel graduated from Olivet Nazarene University with a double major in Spanish and Intercultural Studies. While in her undergraduate program, Laurel took several ESL classes and participated in several service trips, where she was able to put what she learned in the classroom into practice. In her last semester, she was a TA, which allowed her to get her feet wet in teaching. After graduating, she moved to Beijing, China, to work for a nonprofit organization training Chinese English Teachers through an English immersion program. During her time in China, she discovered her love for training others. In addition, her love for the language learning process grew through self-studying Mandarin.
She loves learning languages and traveling in order to truly get to know other cultures. Studying and completing several internships abroad has deepened her passion and interest in the many facets of language, especially language acquisition, code switching, and sociolinguistics. Language isn’t just a tool for communication, but also a window into the culture and history of a people group. Language isn’t just words, but also a way to find your voice. Teaching isn’t just something that happens in a classroom, but it’s also a tool for transformation.
Kelly Frantz graduated from Allegheny College in 2016, where she majored in International Studies and Spanish and minored in Education Studies. While at Allegheny, Kelly fostered her passion for teaching and love of languages by working as a Writing Consultant, ESL Tutor, and Spanish Teaching Assistant. Upon graduation, Kelly received the Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship Grant and moved to Ecuador to teach at an elementary school in the rural highlands. She is now pursuing her Master of Arts in Applied Linguistics at Teachers College. Her research interests include second language acquisition, syntax, and Spanish linguistics. When she’s not getting excited about languages, she enjoys running, yoga, bagels, and listening to podcasts.
Hong (Yiwen) Gao
Hong Gao holds a bachelor degree in English from Jilin University, China. She continued to pursue a master degree in English Language and Literature from the alma mater where upon graduation, she has worked for eight years as a college English teacher for non-English major freshmen and sophomores. Prior to attending TC in Fall 2017, she completed a two-year in-service English teacher training on Linguistics in Peking University, China. She has been the rater of the composition section of China's College Entrance Examination (Chinese Gaokao), College English Test Band 4 and Band 6(CET 4 & 6), and Public English Test System (PETS) since she embarked on a college English teaching career at Jilin University in 2007. She tutored students in FLTRP Cup "National English Speaking, Reading and Writing Contest" and National English Competition for College Students (NECCS) in China in 2015 and 2016. Her passions for language teaching and research led to her participation in the book of Professor Xiyan Liu of Jilin University, The Art of Fast Reading in English (2013) of which she collected psycholinguistic materials and helped edit four chapters. She attended the 7th International Symposium on EFL Writing Research & Teaching in 2010 and 40th International Systemic Functional Congress (ISFC 40) in 2013.
Zhixing Guo graduated with a B.A. in English Literature from Renmin University of China. She interned in China in Foreign Language Teaching and Research Press as digital course editor, Hebei Winter Olympic Committee to bid for the 2022 Winter Olympic Games as foreign affairs assistant and Beijing Education First English School as teaching assistant. She has been a volunteer English teacher in Yushu, Dongbei Province in China, customizing teaching plan for local students and designing diverse classroom activities. She has also been a volunteer to introduce advanced English-teaching methods and ideas to the English teachers in Keshiketengqi, Inner Mongolia in China. Through all these internships and volunteer programs, Zhixing Guo finds her passion for second language acquisition and determines to promote the research in this field and help more ESL learners to achieve confident language proficiency.
Ryan Hata was born and raised in Honolulu, Hawaiʻi. He then moved to Los Angeles where he received his B.A. in Communication Studies from Loyola Marymount University. It was there where he discovered injustices for people of color, which prompted him to move to San Francisco where he received his M.A. in Asian American Studies from San Francisco State University. Upon graduation, he wanted to learn more about his ancestral heritage and decided to move to Japan while working on the Japan Exchange and Teaching (JET) Program. It was at Aoya High School in Tottori prefecture where he discovered his passion for teaching English to non-native English speakers and decided to pursue an advanced degree in TESOL at Teachers College. He hopes to continue to help people from minority groups with a particular focus on new immigrants and refugees by helping them learn and master English. Ultimately, he hopes to inspire these people by empowering themselves through their newly acquired second language skills.
Joel Henderson was born and raised in upstate New York. After completing his bachelors in Philosophy at Nyack College, he spent a year with the English Language Institute China, teaching English to elementary students in Beijing, while volunteering with university students. Then, he continued his career teaching for the next 7 years in South Korea. After completing the Cambridge CELTA, he transitioned to teaching adults in NYC, where he has spent the last year working at ASA College and the Empire State Building branch of Kaplan International.
Heather Himes is a 2014 graduate of Butler University in Indianapolis, Indiana, where she earned bachelor's degrees in German and Music. In 2014, she was an intern with the African Community Center in Denver, Colorado, where she helped refugees transition to life in the U.S. Since 2015, she has served Denver Public Schools through Americorps as a 9th grade Algebra teacher. Her goal is to advocate for and teach English to newly arriving refugees in the United States.
Kristine Nana Kamimura
Kristine Nana Kamimura is a California transplant with a sunny attitude. She is a native bilingual Japanese-American, who received her B.A. in Linguistics at University of California, Berkeley (Go Bears!). After her study abroad program at Doshisha University ended, she worked as an English teacher at international preschools in Kyoto and as a guest instructor for a summer program at a university in Kobe, where she was in charge of creating and teaching English classes for aspiring teachers.
Kristine then came back to her home in Los Angeles and started working at Tokyo Broadcasting System (TBS) Los Angeles News Bureau. While she was working there, she realized how much she missed teaching and remembered her burning desire to assist Japan in improving on their English educational system in this rapidly changing world. This realization led Kristine to pursue her M.A. in TESOL at Teachers College, Columbia University.
Kristine’s ultimate goal is to spread the benefits and beauty of learning a second language to the next generation in Japan.
Tommy Yonathan Kumala
Tommy Yonathan Kumala grew up in Jakarta, Indonesia. He graduated summa cum laude from Atma Jaya University in 2014 with a Bachelor's degree in English Language Education. In 2015, he moved and taught English in eastern region of Indonesia where good English language education is still scarce. The following year he was awarded with a full government scholarship from the Ministry of Finance of The Republic of Indonesia to pursue a Master's degree to any university of his choice.
He managed to invest much of his time and energy in leading committees and organizations. He was also the host and moderator of various educational events. In addition, he was a grand-finalist in The Outstanding Students Competition in 2012 and top 10 finalists in a very competitive Hitachi’s Young Leadership Initiative in 2013.
Moving to New York City, he dreams to empower his country’s younger generation with the wisdom of valuing the cultural heritage but at the same time be able to adapt to a more internationalized and pluralized world. He has great passion in teaching and hopes to inspire Indonesians to be the agents of change through English education.
Alexii Lazaridis is a 2013 graduate from UNC-Chapel Hill (Go Heels!) where she majored in Political Science and International Studies. During her time at UNC and post-graduation, she blogged for several different freelance publications (Let’s Go! Student Travel, Huffington Post) with tips ranging from traveling on a college budget to healthy living tips for twenty somethings. She continued these projects via her own personal platform and published her first book, 21 & Counting. While writing on this platform, she found herself in a small village in Himachal-Pradesh, India in 2013. While there, she volunteered as an EFL teacher and returned home only to find herself looking for TESOL programs! Alexii loves the TC community as she is one of the current social chairs for TESOL/AL Roundtable and a Student Ambassador with the Office of Admission. She is especially passionate about the K-12 track that TC offers as the program highlights the importance of both the research and pedagogy in the K-12 context. Her MA project allowed her to focus on this balance as she researched the role of intrinsic motivation in the high school realm with specifically Latino, immigrant youth. She is extremely passionate about this demographic and hopes to be working with them in some way post graduating in 2018.
Cho-Hang (Jessica) Lei
Cho-Hang (Jessica) Lei is a second year TESOL student. She got her Bachelor of Education at the University of Macau, majoring in English Education. Before graduation, she had a two-month supervised teaching practice at a local English medium school. Through this practice, she realized what she learned in her undergraduate education was not enough to cope with the complexities of the modern classrooms and language teaching. She then decided to further her studies in an English speaking country. She had studied in the University of Michigan as an exchange student for a semester. She loved the cultural diversity and learning atmosphere in the U.S. Thus, she decided to pursue her master’s degree in the U.S. She had experience in teaching kids and adolescents English before she came to TC. She loves teaching and cooking.
Jia Li graduated from Beijing Foreign Studies University with a BA in German Language and Literature. Upon graduation, she worked as a Mandarin teacher in the Confucius Class and Albert Einstein School in Quito, Ecuador and then moved to Dusseldorf, Germany. Since she never had professional knowledge about pedagogy, she encountered some difficulties while teaching students. That is why she chose to study further and learn how to be a better teacher.
Chiaki Oda graduated from Keio University in Tokyo with a degree in American Literature. She was a competitive figure skater until she retired at the age of 22. She has worked as an English teacher in Japan for the past seven years where she grew her passion for teaching English to middle school and high school students. She also confronted with the many problems and issues that English education in Japan provides. Her eventual goal is to return to Japan and not only continue teaching middle school and high school students but to train teachers to be able to conduct effective English classes entirely in English. She also hopes to work with Ministry of Education to change and better the core parts of Japanese English education.
Angie Papageorgiou graduated from Binghamton University in 2017 where she earned a Bachelors degree in History and Spanish and a minor in education. Angie has done service abroad in Peru with two nonprofit organizations. Most recently, she has interned with a Bystander Intervention and Sexual Assault Prevention Program in Binghamton. She hopes to use her passion for culture and compassion to teach students language one day.
Chinnachart Poola-or was born and raised in Bangkok, Thailand and graduated with first class honors in English. After having graduated, he enrolled in a graduate degree in Linguistics at Chulalongkorn University where he discovered that he was more into the use of language rather than the theoretical perspectives of language. During which time, he also worked as an English tutor, helping his students preparing for IELTS and TOEFL test as well as working as a research assistant for the Director of Linguistics Department, Chulalongkorn University. His academic interest regarding linguistics are Pragmatics, (Critical) Discourse Analysis, Cognitive Linguistics and language use in general. He is also interested in Cognitive Psychology. He is particularly interested in how language could reflect our ways of thinking and how our ways of thinking can be seen from our choice of language use. He is also interested in how different people with different backgrounds process and interpret the meaning of language differently. He is hoping to conduct a research study and use a collaborative approach by combining theoretical perspectives in linguistics, applications of linguistics, and a state of the art in cognitive psychology in the future of his academic career.
Becca Pred-Sosa is a 2011 graduate of Grinnell College in Iowa with a B.A. in Spanish and a concentration in Linguistics. After graduating, she spent a year in Miacatlan, Mexico as a caregiver and English teacher with Nuestros Pequeños Hermanos. She lived and worked in Washington, DC for 5 years, most recently at the Center for Applied Linguistics (CAL) where she was a Research Assistant on the Test Development team. Her work at CAL included developing rubrics and rater training materials for English writing assessments, and writing test items for reading and speaking English proficiency tests.
Veronica Salas comes to the AL/TESOL program after teaching 5-6 grade English Language Arts in Phoenix for three years. She entered the classroom in 2014 as a Teach for America Corp Member and holds a standard Arizona elementary teaching certificate. Before her time in the classroom, Veronica earned a B.A. in International Relations from Claremont McKenna College. As an undergraduate, she studied comparative education in South America and worked as a tutor at the Center for Writing & Public Discourse, where she coordinated outreach at Pomona High School. Her most recent community activities include facilitating ESL classes for aspiring citizens and advocating for district policies that better protect immigrant families.
Zoé Schroeder earned her B.A. in Spanish and Geography from the University of Wisconsin - Madison in 2012. Upon graduating, she joined the Peace Corps where she taught ESL in Lesotho for over 2 years. It was there that she committed herself to a career in language education. She has experience in a variety of teaching roles, and prior to joining the TC community, worked as a teaching assistant in a Montessori school. Her goal is to work with young non-native English speakers in a bilingual or multilingual school.
Chander Kuo-Yi Tseng
Chander Kuo-Yi Tseng graduated from National Taiwan University with a Bachelor’s degree in Foreign Languages and Literatures. He also completed the Educational Program for Secondary School Teachers. During his undergraduate studies, he worked closely as a teaching assistant and a research assistant with his professors of linguistics and education. After he graduated, he taught EFL as a student teacher in a local public high school in Taipei. Now he holds an official certificate issued by Ministry of Education of Taiwan as a secondary school teacher of English. Most recently, he started teaching in more diverse settings. He worked as an ESL instructor for adults at Elite language institute. Before attending Teachers College, he enjoyed teaching adults ESL in an interactive setting online at AMC Tutor4U. This experience not only enhanced his proficiency in communicative language teaching and English speaking assessment, but also accumulated his first-hand observations of linguistic discourse. He’s looking forward to the new journey ahead at Teachers College in New York City, where he aspires to pursue his passion for applied linguistics at the graduate education level.
Deepika Vasudevan graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Computer Science in 2012. During her short stint in the software industry, she had the opportunity to develop lesson plans for a not-for-profit endeavor by the organization to teach their security personnel day-to-day English. This sparked an interest in her, and she went on to obtain a certificate in teaching English (CELTA) offered by Cambridge ESOL and the British Council. Deepika then became a full time teacher of English at the British Council in Chennai, India, where she taught a variety of courses to both adults and children for two years. It was here that she explored through experimentation some of the aspects of teaching; materials development, classroom strategy and level assessment. More recently, Deepika volunteered as an ESL tutor at the public library in Charlotte, NC, where she taught international students and immigrant workers general English on a one-on-one basis.
Deepika enters Teachers College with the aspiration to learn from the best and elevate her teaching techniques to create an impact in the ESL community. Eventually, she intends to work towards improving awareness in India about the importance of English and make the learning of the language more accessible to adults.
Yuanheng (Arthur) Wang
Yuanheng (Arthur) Wang comes from Kunming, Yunnan, China. He graduated from the Behrend campus of the Pennsylvania State University in 2017 with university honors in English. For three years, he has been an ESL teaching assistant at Penn State Behrend’s English Language Study Center, working closely with numerous international and multilingual students to improve and advance their academic English skills. He has won 12 academic/leadership/service honors and awards both from and outside Penn State, including the most recently Erie’s 40 Under 40, a professional recognition honoring 40 individuals under the age of 40 for their outstanding accomplishments that promote the prosperity of the city of Erie, PA. Because of his unwavering passion for the study of language, teaching, and communication, Arthur has been a frequent presenter at varying academic panels in such institutions as Penn State Behrend, Yunnan Normal University, and Sichuan Normal University, China. He also assisted his former Chinese mentor in composing a monograph about secondary Chinese education, published by the Sichuan University Press in 2014. He’s thrilled to be able to further his adventures at the M.A. in Applied Linguistics program, and hopes to pursue his future Ph.D. in Applied Linguistics with a specialization in second language writing and pedagogy.