| by Sierra Abukins


Chiesa, David
Dave Chiesa MATESOL ’10, who is a professor at the University of Georgia, was the chair of the two-day Georgia State TESOL Conference in October 2023, where Aida Walqui was a keynote speaker.

We’re always thrilled to hear career updates from our alumni. Here are some of the latest ones from our community.

Kalina Swanson MATESOL ’20 has taken a position at Ottoson Middle School in Massachusetts, where she teaches 33 multilingual language learners from 20 different countries around the world. Each day she teaches a beginner, an intermediate, and an advanced course, and then she attends science and civics classes to further support these students.

Samara Scharf Middlebury Language Education Semester ’22 is working in Madrid for the program Auxiliares de Conversación. She collaborates with various teachers to enhance students’ English conversation skills through a combination of lesson planning, small-group conversation practice, and overall classroom support. She also contributes to classes in the bilingual program, where subjects like biology, technology, and music are taught in English. Her role as an auxiliar involves fostering an immersive language learning environment through conversational practice and cultural exchange with students.

Dave Chiesa MATESOL ’10, who is a professor at the University of Georgia, was the chair of the two-day Georgia State TESOL Conference in October 2023. The first day was held in person, with 650 attendees, and the second day was held online, with 760 attendees, including people from Senegal, Uzbekistan, Nigeria, Brazil, and Spain.

David and Fay Rasmussen Bohn, who met in the TESOL program and graduated in 1984, celebrated their 39th anniversary in December 2023. Fay was a bilingual and English language teacher in Redwood City for 24 years before she retired in 2015.

Priscilla Downey MATESOL ’22 taught English in Taiwan for a year and then, in summer 2023, took a position as a Chinese language teaching assistant at Middlebury College, where she also completed her undergrad degree in Chinese. At Middlebury, she teaches drill classes to help students review grammar and vocabulary, and she organizes language and cultural events for students. Her full title is Chinese teaching assistant and resident advisor to the Chinese House for the academic year 2023–2024. She also lives in the Chinese House, where students adhere to a language pledge to only speak Chinese. 

Downey, Priscilla
Priscilla Downey MATESOL ’22

TESOL/TFL professor emerita Kathi Bailey and Cal Powers MATFL ’21 have had a chapter published in Language Teacher Leadership: Insights from Research and Practice. The chapter, “Diverse pathways into leadership in world language education,” involved a survey of 228 leaders in foreign language education in the U.S. MIIS grant funding allowed research assistants Austin Cashwell MATESOL ’22 and current MATESOL student Elisabeth Ampthor to help with the interviews and with the initial data organization.

Powers, Cal
Cal Powers MATFL ’21

Kathi Bailey has more news: the International Research Foundation for English Language Education (TIRF) has named a fund in her honor. The TIRF Kathleen M. Bailey Teacher-Research Award recognizes Bailey’s many years of service to and leadership at the foundation; she served as its president and as chair of its board of trustees from 2009 to 2022. Learn more about eligibility for the $1,000 award and how to apply. This year’s proposal deadline is June 20, 2024.

Mari Morooka MATESOL ’19 attended her first academic conference in Japan (JALT international conference) and gave a poster presentation about her first in-house journal publication. Morooka says she is glad she was able to attend this conference as a presenter and make some new connections with passionate teachers from different universities and institutions. She remembers attending the California TESOL conference back in fall 2019 when she was still a MIIS student and thinking then how cool it would be if she could be the one to present next time; now she has.

Morooka, Mari
Mari Morooka MATESOL ’19

Akihiko Sasaki MATESOL ’03 and Osamu Takeuchi MATESOL ’92 had a chapter published in Technology-Enhanced Language Teaching and Learning. It was titled “Study abroad from home: Development of L2 learner autonomy in an unprecedented online program during the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Lama Nassif MATESOL ’07, with Shawna Shapiro, associate professor of linguistics and writing and rhetoric at Middlebury College, published “Sociolinguistic awareness in L2 Arabic: A study of learners’ code use repertoires” in the August 2023 edition of Foreign Language Annals.

Minh Nguyen MATESOL ’17 met up with John Hedgcock, TESOL/TFL professor emeritus, in Hanoi, Vietnam, while he was teaching intensive short courses there in October 2023.

Nguyen, Minh and Hedgcock, John
John Hedgcock, TESOL/TFL professor emeritus, and Minh Nguyen MATESOL ’17

TESOL/TFL professor Netta Avineri, with Berkeley professor Patricia Baquedano-López, has a new book out: An Introduction to Language and Social Justice: What Is, What Has Been, and What Could Be. Avineri says she worked with six MIIS graduate student research assistants from the TESOL/TFL program throughout the writing process: Miranda Doremus-Reznor MATESOL ’21, Lauren Wilmore MATFL ’22, Sharon Situ MATESOL ’22, Maggie Kwasnik MATFL ’22, Isha Banks MATESOL ’23, and current MATESOL student Elisabeth Ampthor.

Kelly Donovan MATESOL ’17 is an English Language Fellowship (ELF) alum living in Shanghai and teaching English for academic purposes at New York University Shanghai. As an ELF, she held some in-service trainings for public school teachers in Inner Mongolia. Now, she routinely gives workshops at the Beijing and Shanghai American Centers on topics such as differentiation, writing fluency, using art in the ELF classroom, etc. This semester, she is helping with faculty observations, one-on-one consultations, and workshops on topics such as project-based learning and use of rubrics.

Heekyeong Lee, professor of TESOL/TFL, has been awarded a 2024 Conflict Transformation Faculty Research Grant for supporting intercultural citizenship for North Korean refugees. Lee was one of 11 recipients of the award, which each year distributes $500,000 in grant monies to Middlebury College and Institute faculty for conflict analysis and transformation research.

Thor Sawin, associate professor of TESOL/TFL, conducted a project in Serbia on the effective use of AI in educational settings. Through the English Language Specialist Program, Sawin conducted workshops for practicing teachers as well as an intensive course for trainee teachers at the University of Niš, a public university in southeastern Serbia. Participants examined potential benefits and limitations of AI in the classroom along with options for using ChatGPT to create instructional efficiencies and develop personalized content.

Grace Davis MATESOL/MAIEM ’21 has returned from a trip to Kenya, where she volunteered at a school that her friend and fellow MIIS alum, Jan Havlicek MANTPS ’20, helps run. She also met up with Ana-Maria Musteață MANTPS ’20 there. Davis says, “I spent most of my time painting classrooms, visiting orphans, dancing, singing, and learning from the kids. I did get a chance to teach them the hokey pokey and a memory game though.” She says the trip was a “truly life-changing experience,” and she plans to go back.

Grace Davis in Kenya