The MATESL and Linguistics/SLATE programs provided me with theoretical and practical knowledge that could easily be applied to the real world. Diverse teaching and researching opportunities I had under the guidance of amazing mentors have been invaluable (e.g., teaching ESL writing, administering the EPT), and these helped me grow professionally.
- Currently, I'm developing a new business writing course called "ESL 525 Elements of Business Writing" in collaboration with my colleagues in Illinois ESL. It is targeted at upper-level international students who needs a single course sequence to fulfill their graduation requirement and wants to study business writing rather than academic writing for their career goal. I'm excited about bringing this course to life soon!
- The University of Illinois has a vast array of resources, including clubs, the extensive library system, webstore, etc. that are useful no matter your position. My time as a MATESL student allowed me to make valuable, cross-campus connections and meet many folks who have become important research partners and friends.
- One of my current projects is on the acquisition of Russian word order by second language learners and heritage speakers of Russian. This work was recently presented at the Boston University Conference on Language Development. It's a collaborative project that involves two current Linguistics students (Maria Goldshtein and Sofya Styrina) as well as an alumna of our department (Tatiana Luchkina).
- Assistant Professor, Northeastern Illinois University -- Doing a degree at the University of Illinois Champaign-Urbana gave me plenty of teaching opportunities and also introduced me to the Academic world, which inspired me to further develop my research agenda.
- In addition to working on updating and improving the curricula of the Arabic program, I am actively pursuing several projects that focus on teacher development. More recently, I am preparing my students to participate in national competition QatarDebate. I am working with a team of students from advanced Arabic language classes for this upcoming debating event. This championship will take place at Harvard University by the end of October.
- The Linguistics program at UIUC is well-rounded and rigorous with innovative and supportive faculty. My outstanding advisor, Professor Rakesh Bhatt, has unwaveringly encouraged my work as a military sociolinguist and actively ensures that I am gaining the tools that I will need to be successful both now and after graduation.
- I often reflect on the knowledge I learned and the pedagogical guidance I received during my time in the MATESL program, and I realize that my degree from Illinois made it possible for me to be where I am today. My first teaching job at the Intensive English Institute -- when it was in a house on Nevada St. -- was the start of a very enjoyable, rewarding career.
- The MATESL program offers high-quality coursework in language assessment and a variety of opportunities to apply this knowledge in the real world, e.g., as a Teaching Assistant and EPT rater. The mentorship of talented professors such as Dr. Xun Yan has also been invaluable in helping me succeed.