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Entering Class of 2012


Janel Murakami (

My original home is a mountainous area near Albuquerque, New Mexico.  I received my B.A. in Psychology at the University of New Mexico, and spent a short time studying Cognitive Psychology at ASU. I completed my M.A. in English Language/Linguistics here at UA.  My primary interests are in the role of social interaction in adult second language learning, both physically co-present and mediated. I want to more closely define how and why social interaction helps language learning, and develop newer methods of utilizing those processes for adult learners. My second language is Japanese, which is also the language I like to focus on in my research.


picture3-197x263Elizabeth Hubbs (

My name is Elizabeth Hubbs and I grew up in Wichita, Kansas. I received my B.A. in Spanish and M.A. in TESL from the University of Texas at San Antonio. I have lived and traveled to many places in East Asia and Western Europe. As far as research interests, I gravitate towards sociocultural and sociolinguistic aspects of SLA. In particular, I am interested in EFL educational policies in East Asia, indigenous language policies in Taiwan, Brazil, and China, and the relationship between heritage language learners and church communities in the United States. I am currently a GAT in the Spanish department. I also avidly study Portuguese and Mandarin Chinese (in traditional characters via the Mandarin phonetic alphabet from Taiwan). When not working on classwork, I can be found swimming laps (I am a former junior Olympic swimmer), hiking, playing the flute, listening to Taiwanese music, or at church.
The picture here was taken on Huangshan (Emperor’s Mountain) in China.

img3501-600x400Alan Thomas Kohler (

Alan Thomas Kohler hails originally from Michigan and attended the University of Michigan where he earned a B.A. in Psychology. Post-undergrad life included nearly a decade of living, travelling, and working abroad, mostly in East and Southern Asia, before completing his M.A. in Applied Linguistics at the University of Massachusetts Boston.  Like many others, Alan was drawn to SLAT for its interdisciplinary nature; his current research interests include metonymy and metaphor, social semiotics, critical discourse analysis, and L2 writing. Outside of his research duties, Alan works in the UA Dept. of English Writing Program as an instructor and Placement Advisor, advocates for his graduate and professional student colleagues through GPSC, and tries to carve out precious time with his two boys, Henry & Charlie, and his partner, Kristy.

10380577101523091748884724048740160869459762o-450x300Sichon (Nat) Koowuttayakorn (

My nickname is Nat. Feel free to call me by my nickname (or first name, whichever is easier for you). I’m originally from Bangkok, Thailand where I earned my Bachelor’s degree in English. Then in the year 2007 to 2009, I was at the University of Pennsylvania pursuing my Master’s degree in TESOL. After graduation, I went back home and taught English language, mostly Foundation Courses, at Thammasat University for two years. Then I realized that what I’d learned wasn’t enough. That’s why I am here, thankfully by the funding from Thammasat University. My main interests involve curriculum design, materials development, and technology in language learning. As you can see, I’m quite on the pedagogy side, but I’d love to explore all the areas offered at SLAT because they are all so fascinating. Who knows where the experiences will lead me!

picture23-257x225Kristin Lange (

My name is Kristin and I started the SLAT Ph.D. program in Fall 2012. I grew up in a small village south of Berlin, Germany and received my B.A. and M.Ed. in English, German and Pedagogy from Freie Universität Berlin. In 2008-2009, I worked as a Fulbright Foreign Language Teaching Assistant (FLTA) at Saint Louis University in Missouri, where I taught German and coordinated the university’s German cultural program. I also took part in a work-and-travel program in New Zealand in 2004.
I am planning to major in L2 Pedagogy with a minor in German Studies and L2 Processes and Learning. I teach in the Department of German Studies and my research interests are mostly related to classroom teaching and learning. For example, I am interested in the role of culture and literature in the language classroom, the acquisition of language structures and vocabulary, and the role of feedback and motivation in L2 classrooms.

picture5-279x279Trudie McEvoy

My name is Trudie I am originally from Findlay, Ohio. My love of languages began while teaching English to migrant workers in rural Northwest Ohio. I went on to study, teach and work with Spanish speaking communities in several U.S. locations as well as Mexico, Chile and Ecuador. I earned my B.A. from Austin College and later graduated with a Master’s in Spanish from Bowling Green State University. I plan to major in use and minor in Spanish. My research interests include: dual-immersion education, identity construction through language, code-switching, heritage language learning and mixed methods research design.  In my free time I love traveling, dancing, singing and yoga.

picture9-203x213Justin Parry (

My name is Justin Parry. I am married and have a daughter who was born in 2011. I am originally from Utah, where I completed my B.A. in Linguistics at BYU. After that, I went to UT at Austin where I received my M.A. in Foreign Language Education. Here in the SLAT Ph.D. program of the UA, my focus is in pedagogy. I have a variety of interests within pedagogy, but among them are motivation, task-based learning, heritage language learners, and language learning strategies. My language of focus is Modern Hebrew, so I am especially interested in how these areas can be applied to the Hebrew teaching context.


Christian Ruvalcaba (

My name is Christian Ruvalcaba. I’m a native of Cananea, Sonora and Sierra Vista, Arizona. Both my BA in linguistics and MA in ESL were completed at the University of Arizona.  My major in SLAT is analysis and my minor is processes. I have taught first-year college writing courses for two years as a Graduate Assistant Teacher at the UA. My interests, besides theoretical linguistics and language teaching, are philosophy and literature.


picture19-317x239Ben Schilaty (

My name is Ben Schilaty and I entered SLAT in Fall 2012. I have a BA in Latin American Studies and an MA in Hispanic Linguistics, both from Brigham Young University.  I have taught Spanish for the last six years at the middle school, high school, and college levels.  I learned Spanish while living abroad in Mexico and have also spent time living in Bolivia and Portugal.  I spent a year living in Ciudad Juarez on the US-Mexico border which got me interested in language contact and what the locals call “Spanglish.” My other interests include learner motivation and teaching Portuguese to Spanish speakers and Spanish to Portuguese speakers.  I love puns and my dream job would be to work as a tour guide on the Jungle Cruise at Disneyland.

picture13-262x224Joshua Tanner (

My love for language and language acquisition began while I lived in Argentina for two years as a service volunteer. After returning to the United States, I studied Spanish and linguistics for my undergraduate degree. Deciding to further my education and training, I pursued a Master’s degree in Hispanic linguistics, which I received in June 2012. My master’s thesis centered on the acquisition of Spanish phonology by native speakers of English. My research interests include the external factors on language acquisition. Specifically, I am interested in how cultural awareness, attitude, and acceptance can affect second language acquisition. I have presented my research in second language phonology acquisition at various academic conferences including the American Association of Applied Linguistics (AAAL).

imagesChristopher Vasquez-Wright (

My name is Chris and I am happy to be in the SLAT program. L2 pedagogy is my major and L2 use is my minor. I have always been fascinated with in the arts and humanities, especially language. I have two MA degrees from Texas Tech University (Spanish Literature and Applied Linguistics). I lived in Ecuador for two years and I taught college level Spanish for five years. As of fall of 2015 I became a PhD Candidate in the SLAT program. My dissertation research is on Mormon missionary language learner identity. I am working on a three article dissertation with a poststructuralist approach to better understand the unique L2 learning experience of Mormon missionaries. This research will have implications in other fields; such as study abroad, autoethnography, and family discourse.

samina-250x405Samina Yasmin (


I am Samina Yasmin and I am an international student from Pakistan. Having an MA in English Literature and Linguistics in my hand, I realized that my interests are nowhere near literature. It took me further couple of years to figure out what my interest was. Not too late, I decided to get a doctorate in Applied Linguistics/ TESOL and here I am in SLAT exploring the best of scholarship.
Teaching is my passion! I have been teaching English literature, linguistics and ESL courses for 7 years.  Currently a USAID sponsored graduate student, I have also worked as a Fulbright Language Teaching Assistant (2011-2012) for Urdu language at the University of Texas at Austin. I am proud to be serving Critical Language Program at University of Arizona as a tutor and examiner for Hindi language. I intend to major in pedagogy and minor in language ideologies, with an ambition to bring a positive change in teaching EFL in my home country.