TESOL Newsletter, 2020 Fall
Student Spotlight: Jiayu Hou
"For both language learner and teacher, I think it is important to keep your mind open to every possibility and to keep a modest and motivated attitude."
Alumni Spotlight: Mariana Grassi
"As a graduate student, I found myself extremely inspired by the fact we had the opportunity to apply what we have learned from class discussions into practical assignments in all of the courses from the program!"
Recent TESOL Graduates
Congratulations to our Recent TESOL Graduates!
- Debora Amidani
- Tracey Derouen
- Ching-Yin Hsieh
- Zhiyu Wang
- Puming Xie
- Tianhan Yang
- Shuying Yu
- Hui Zhang
- Rachel Gordon
Read updates from recent TESOL graduates
After graduating this spring, Débora Amidani moved to Maryland with her fiancé. She knows she is privileged to have gotten a full-time job for a year despite the pandemic. Débora started working at The Family Place Public Charter School in DC this past August as an ESL teacher for adult beginners, the student population she is most fond of. Although she misses the in person contact with them, she enjoys teaching online and says she feels prepared for it because of the technology course she took in the last semester. Débora is very excited for her wedding this December and expects to continue working as an ESL teacher in the future here in the US. She also adds that a PhD is not out of question!
Immediately after graduation, Megan Fullarton began working as a Student Services Advisor in the International Accelerator Program at AU. She taught academic English skills and advised Master's level students. Over the summer, Megan changed teaching contexts and began teaching in Montgomery County Public Schools. She currently teaches 6th grade ESOL in Montgomery Village, M.D. and loves her school. In her free time, Megan has continued to serve as WATESOL Vice President and has started a small sewing business.
After graduation, Xiao Liang joined Columbia College and worked there as an academic coordinator. He was in charge of the ESL and TBE programs there, and his main job responsibilities included class observations, instructors’ conference management, and students’ & instructors’ evaluation. Then, he returned back to China and now works as an academic advisor at NYU Shanghai.
After graduating in May 2020, Tianhan Yang moved from D.C. to Los Angeles . She serves as a full-time Academic Consultant at Indeed Consulting Corporation in L.A., providing complete end to end consulting services to Chinese students attending U.S. Universities. In addition to providing consulting support, Tianhan also needs to help students analyze course data, monitor students' degree progress, and communicate, and explain school policies. As a former international student who majored in TESOL, she can better help students solve problems and ensure that students comprehend reading concepts.
Welcome the new TESOL Students!
Mason Feagan MA TESOL Student
Mason Feagan is from Cleveland, Ohio and recently moved to DC to join the MA TESOL program. In his free time, he loces exploring the nation's capital, and visiting the sites. He also enjoys reading fiction and sci-fi novels. Before the weather gets chilly, he would like to have a picnic at the national mall while reading a book.
Stacey Fersko Grant MA TESOL Student
Stacey Fersko Grant lives in Washington, DC with her husband and two children and is currently in the midst of changing careers. She is enrolled in the MAT (ESOL) program. Over the next two years she will be taking classes in both the Education and TESOL de- partments. When she finishes her studies, she hopes to teach ESL in the local public school system. She re- ceived her B.A. in History from the University of Wis- consin-Madison, and her J.D. from Indiana University- Indianapolis. She has taught English in Japan and volun- teered with the Literacy Council of Montgomery County, and found both to be extremely rewarding experiences.
Ruijuan Hu MA TESOL Student
Ruijuan Hu is from Inner Mongolia and just finished the one-year MAP program. She is never bored with trying new things ranging from cooking to drawing and hand- writing because she would like to prepare herself as an "interesting" and well-rounded English teacher. She used to teach primary students English in different provinces. They were featured with different personal and local characteristics, which enriched her ideas of education. Thus, teaching in different countries from a broader perspective is one of the attractive things for her to pursue in the future.
Emmanuel Osei MA TESOL Student
Emmanuel Osei is from Ghana, West Africa and lives in Richmond, Virginia. He is pursuing his MA in TESOL and would like to teach either in the US or anywhere abroad after the program. He is married with two kids; a boy and a girl. He is a Christian and very passionate about kids and helping people. He loves singing and politics.
Linmengyu Zhao MA TESOL Student
Linmengyu Zhao is from Tianjin, China. During her undergraduate years, she didn't study a major related to language or education, but then she realized that what she was really interested in was English language teaching, so it led her to the MA TESOL program. She felt very lucky to find what she really wanted to do. She is currently working as a conversation tutor at Washington English Center and she hopes she will have the opportunity to get an English teaching-related job at the AU IAP program in the future. She likes sitting in a coffee shop or dessert shop to chat with friends, and she also likes running and hiking.
Cheng (Mason) Zhou MA TESOL Student
Cheng (Mason) Zhou is an international student from Zhejiang Province, China. He studied English in China and holds a BA in English Language Literature. After several experiences of part-time tutoring in undergraduate years and as a full-time English teacher in primary school and institution after he graduated from college, he found the interest of being an ESL/EFL teacher. So, he chose to study in the AU MA TESOL program since it’s convenient to know more information about English language itself while living in an English-speaking environment and helpful for future teaching.
Milica Bojovic TESOL Certificate Student
Milica Bojovic comes from Zajecar, Serbia and is currently studying international studies. She is fluent in Serbo-Croatian, English, Spanish, and has survival skills in French. She is currently learning Arabic in her free time, and hopes to soon begin learning at least one Native American language. While volunteering and working with various communities around DC, she realized that teaching and learning different languages particularly helps build community and improve societal cohesion and interaction. As you can see, languages are a big portion of her life and she hopes to transmit onto her students her love for language and culture, as well as passion for connecting with the rest of the world through language.
Sasha Plotnikov MA TESOL Student
Find out our TESOLers’ new stay-at-home hobbies!
Margaret Johnson, Washington, DC, USA
When the pandemic started I dusted off my sewing machine to make masks for my family and a local hospital. I really enjoyed working with colorful fabric again and decided to make something for friends and family to let them know I was thinking about them. Over the spring and summer I have made about a dozen tote bags. I try to match a person's favorite color. It has made me so happy to have a creative outlet and make something that is useful, environmentally friendly and, hopefully, brightens someone's day.
Chen Wan, Shannxi, China
I have been staying at home since I started my online course, which has made me play mo- bile games again with my friends in China. This is a team game, there are 5 people in each team, we always play together with 5-10 people, and talk about our lives, which makes me feel that I am very close to my hometown.
Emmanuel Osei, Ghana, West Africa
During the pan- demic, irrespective of how uncomfortable it’s made most people worldwide, I have picked up a new hobby of compos- ing songs. I am already a singer at church but have never written songs. The isolation and loneliness of the season has made it possible to string lyrics together and I do love every bit of it.
Linmengyu Zhao, Tianjin, China
I have started to do puzzles, which I have always wanted to do before but has no time. I found a very interesting 4D cityscape puzzle. It consists of three layers. The first layer is a regular puzzle, the second layer is a foam puzzle, and the third layer is a 3-D building model. In two months, I completed the panorama of the Washington DC puzzle. I felt a great sense of achievement, and most importantly, it helped me pass a lot of time.
Carlye Stevens, Cleveland, Ohio, USA
Since the start of the stay-at-home order back in March, I have been completing crossword puzzles to pass the time. This all started because I purchased a gossip magazine that had a pop culture crossword puzzle in the back. Now I complete one crossword puzzle every day on a free app on my phone! I’ve also bought a cross- word book and sometimes I will take it with me to a park and enjoy the fresh air and unplug from the world for a little bit.
Amy Sleep, Chicago, Illinois, USA
In the height of lockdown, I revived a childhood hobby — making yarn bracelets. I found it was a great way to disconnect and relax. It settled my mind and even made me more productive! Plus, it allowed me to flex my creative muscles. I love taking time to pick out the colors I want to use. Well now, I've leveled up a bit. I've just procured a woven beaded bracelet kit. With this one, I have to thread beads and use a mini loom to weave the bracelets!
Deborah Araujo, Natal, Brazil
When the stay-at-home order went into effect, I started taking my three little kids on neighborhood bike rides (carrying with me a backpack with picnic- worthy snacks and a book or two to read with them under a shady tree.). By May the kids had built their endurance to cover 5-8 miles a day and we had explored every street nearby, finding hidden creeks, secret playgrounds, dirt obstacles for bikers, and lots of good places to picnic and read a book. It kept us all sane and showed us that we don't need to go far to have fun.
Cheng Zhou, Zhejiang, China
I started my quarantine formally after May since I moved from Friendship Heights to the Arlington area, I finally had time to research my favorite cooking instructions. I always have an American man to be a "lab mouse" and eat my food. I loved cooking before when I was in China because I could feel achievement but always had no time to cook since I was too busy. I'm very skillful now and I hope I can cook more kinds of meals in the future.
Paul Shumaker, Washington, DC
I took advantage of my extra free time to do some vegetable gardening. I made another raised bed garden in my backyard, built trellises for squash and bean plants to grow up, and added some short fences around my raised beds to keep critters out. (There are lots of rabbits in the neighborhoods around the AU campus and they like nibbling on unprotected let- tuce plants!) The time I spend gardening is very relaxing and I love cooking with all of the fresh ingredients I can harvest from my backyard.