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Entering Class of 2014

pic2Wid Allehaiby

Hello! My name is Wid Allehaiby. I come from Makkah, Saudi Arabia.
I graduated with an M.A. degree in TESOL at the University of Northern Iowa in 2013. I have taught English as a Teaching Assistant at King Saud bin Abdulaziz University for Health Sciences for about 2 years. Additionally, I worked as a translator/ interpreter for an intensive English program for 2 years.
I’m currently a recipient of King Abdullah Scholarship to pursue a doctoral degree in Second Language Acquisition and Teaching here at the University of Arizona. After joining the SLAT program, I hope to major in ‘Pedagogy and Program Administration’ and minor in ‘Technology’. My research interests include vocabulary acquisition, incidental learning, CALL, and individual differences and learning styles in language acquisition.
My non-academic interests include traveling, trying out new food, reading non-fictional books, and taking long afternoon walks.

assaoui-250x375Hicham Assaoui

My name is Hicham Assaoui and I am from Casablanca, Morocco. Before I came to SLAT for my Ph.D., I was at the school of Middle Eastern and North African Studies doing an MA in Arabic Linguistics. I first came to the US as Fulbright foreign language teaching assistant in Arabic, an experience that sparked several research projects related to the acquisition of Arabic as a foreign language (AFL). My teaching experience includes two years of TEFL and over 6 years of AFL. The switch from teaching English to teaching Arabic has motivated me to examine how L2 learners do and do not process text in the same way as L1 learners.
In SLAT, I am intending to major in L1 Processes and minor in pedagogy. I am interested in various topics within linguistics including L1 and L2 reading, Arabic sentence processing, teaching Arabic as a foreign language, sociolinguistics and language acquisition, Arabic language, and pedagogy. Aside from my academic life, I like to play tennis, beach soccer, and swimming.

hashemiTara Hashemi (

My name is Tara Hashemi and I’m starting the SLAT Ph.D. program in fall 2014. I am originally from Paris, France, and moved to Tucson, Arizona in January 2012. I received an MA in children’s education from l’Univeristé Paris-Sorbonne in 2012 and an MA from the University of Arizona in French pedagogy in 2014. I am currently teaching French to undergrad students from the University of Arizona. I am fluent in French, Farsi, English and Spanish.
My interests are in material development for an FL classroom, language instruction in a study abroad context and cultural/intercultural instruction in an FL classroom.


rachellamance-250x312Rachel LaMance (

I was born and raised in East Tennessee. I received my B.A. from the University of Tennessee, with majors in French and Linguistics. After receiving my M.A. in French from UT, I taught English at a French university. I then returned to the US and served as a French lecturer. I decided it was time to continue my graduate studies, and I’m excited to be joining the SLAT family. My research interests include study abroad as well as technology in the second language classroom, specifically in hybrid course contexts. I’m currently a GAT in UA’s Writing Program. I enjoy learning new languages and traveling to new places whenever possible.


marielalopez-300x224Mariela Lopez (

¡Hola! My name is Mariela Lopez and I am from Hermosillo, Mexico.  My interest in language learning and acquisition began while I was pursuing my degree in English Language Teaching at Universidad de Sonora. Before starting the SLAT program, I attended Saint Louis University where I earned a master’s in Spanish Literature and Linguistics.  My language learning and personal experiences in the United States have increased my desire to learn more about the process of language acquisition.
I want to major in psycholinguistics and minor in L2 use.  Some of my research interests include: encoding and decoding processes by speakers and hearers, L2 identity construction, and perceptions of L2 learners by native and non-native speakers.

monzingo-300x423Jacob Monzingo (

My name is Jacob Monzingo and I am from Tucson, AZ. After graduating high school, I spent two years abroad in Italy, and came back to the U.S. having had all of my perspectives about the world changed. I completed a B.S. in Molecular and Cellular Biology and a B.A. in Italian at the University of Arizona and then taught Italian in the French and Italian Department at the U of A for two and a half years. In 2012, I left Arizona to complete my Master’s degree in Italian Studies at the University of Oregon and I have returned to begin my studies in SLAT. My current research interests include the effects of bilingualism on the cognitive processes of L2/L3 acquisition, game-enhanced L2 teaching, and the effects of cultural bias on L2/L3 acquisition. I love spending time with my wife and two kids as well as gaming and reading.

moser-300x224Janelle Moser

My name is Janelle Moser, a first year SLAT student. I hold a BA in International Affairs/Middle East Studies from the George Washington University. It was there that I developed an interest in Arabic language and culture. This led me to a short stay in Lebanon after graduation and eventually to an MA in Middle East Studies and Linguistics here at the University of Arizona.  I have studied Arabic in Beirut, Irbid, Jordan, and most recently on year-long fellowship in Cairo and Amman through the Center for Arabic Study Abroad. My research interests center on the challenges and opportunities for adult non-native learners of Arabic as a Foreign Language from both a Psycholinguistic and Pedagogical perspective. I am interested in learning more about the contents and arrangement of the non-native Arabic mental lexicon throughout the learning life cycle. I am also interested in Pedagogy, Program Administration, and Curriculum Design, which I got a bit of a taste for this past summer as Resident Director for the National Security Language Initiative for Youth (NSLI-Y) Program in Amman, Jordan as well as in my current position as a GA within the Arizona Arabic Language Flagship Program.

imagesTimothy O’Connell

My name is Timothy O’Connell. I was born in Yonkers, U.S.A. I chose L2 Pedagogical Theory and Program Administration as my major and Entrepreneurship as my minor. My time as an elementary school teacher piqued my interest in the connection between cursive handwriting and language acquisition. I examined this relationship while I studied for a M.Ed. Curriculum and Instruction from George Mason University. I spent the better part of the last decade serving as a Peace Corps Volunteer in The Kingdom of Lesotho and teaching in both The People’s Republic of China and The Republic of the Union of Myanmar. When I’m not busy studying and teaching, I like tinkering with solar technology, permaculture, and sustainable architecture; I earned a MSc. Environmental Management Systems from Pratt Institute in 2009 and hold LEED AP credential.

kristianputra-300x225Kristian Putra (

Hi, I am Kristian, an LPDP scholar from Indonesia. I received my B.A. in English Language Teaching from Universitas Lampung and M.A. in English Language / Linguistics from the University of Arizona in May 2014. I have taught English in different settings, from primary school to college, in Indonesia for 6 years before I started my graduate study in 2012. From these teaching experiences, I have learnt (1) the complexity of cultural and linguistic diversity in Indonesian society, (2) gap of education quality and the availability of academic and non-academic facilities between schools in urban and rural areas, (3) issues of in-service teachers in K-12 academic settings and pre-service teachers education and training in higher education institution in Indonesia, and (4) mismatch between the objective of ELT designed by the government, the curriculum, the teaching materials, the implementation in the classroom, and the evaluation materials. Therefore in SLAT, I am planning to major in L2 pedagogical theory and program administration, and minor in language planning and policy. My research interests include the integration of web-based technologies in ELT, language socialization and SLA, and indigenous language revitalization.

dunja-300x443Dunja Radojkovic

Zdravo! My name is Dunja Radojkovic and I come from Belgrade, Serbia. The second Serbian word you might learn from me today is vampir. Sounds familiar? It’s the only Serbian word that’s international! (And I humbly hope my name will share its fate.)
I am a first-year PhD student in SLAT, most likely majoring in Pedagogy, with a minor in Use. What pulled me into the area was Krashen’s differentiation between the notions of L2 acquisition and learning.  Having taught English in a Cambridge ESOL Exam Preparation Centre in Belgrade for four years, I came to Tucson swearing my vocation was that of a teacher. However, in the past three weeks I became very interested in L1 acquisition as well and reading the articles for SLAT Proseminar, I realised there might be more to life than teaching. I am not making any promises about that, but SLAT seems to be a huge bag of gold nuggets to discover and play with! If you love exploring mysteries of language, SLAT is definitely the place to be!

scheidegger-300x337Adriana Scheidegger

I was born and raised in Brazil, where I earned my B.Sc. in Computer Science. I was a junior in college when I became a language teacher, teaching EFL in my extra time and designing a computer game to teach Portuguese as an additional language as an undergraduate RA. I embraced my teaching career full-time after graduation, and have taught in different contexts since then. I earned my MA in TESOL from The New School in New York in 2012, and for two years afterward I taught ESL to adult immigrants in New Jersey.   My experience working with immigrants has highlighted to me the importance of sociocultural learning and intercultural communication. My research goal is to study human cognitive, language, literacy and learning processes in both formal and informal instructional contexts so that I can design instructional procedures that enhance additional language learning. I am also a TA in the Spanish and Portuguese Department.
Adriana Scheidegger

laurelslatbiopic-300x635Laurel Schenkoske

My name is Laurel Schenkoske.  I recently moved to Tucson from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where I was working on a PhD in Linguistics, specializing in Second Language Acquisition.  While I miss Wisconsin’s weather,  UA’s SLAT Program is better suited to my research interests, where I can more closely focus on SLA, and at the same time work across various disciplines.
I am interested in second-language processing and statistical learning, especially at the morpho-syntactic level.  Another area of interest is L2 pedagogy – particularly in Computer Assisted Language Learning, where researchers and practitioners often stand across a great abyss.
I have taught German for several years, at all age and proficiency levels, as well as some university English Composition and Introductory Linguistics.

slinkard-250x267Jennifer Slinkard

My name is Jenny Slinkard, and I’m happy to be starting my PhD studies in Second Language Acquisition at the University of Arizona, where I also finished my Masters in ESL in 2014. I first began teaching composition while completing a Masters in English Literature and Language at the University of Missouri-Kansas City in 2004. After that, I served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Mauritania, then taught ESL and worked as Program Director in a non-profit adult reading program in Kansas City, MO. After tiring of administration, I re-joined the Peace Corps and taught English language arts in Liberia before coming to the UA to seek my PhD. I currently teach first-year composition to international students at the UA and copy edit for the Journal of Second Language Writing. My primary interests are in second language writing pedagogy and language policy and planning. Outside of language, I’m also interested in backpacking, bicycling, and urban community development.

sottoscritti-300x400Elio Sottoscritti (

My name is Elio Sottoscritti and I grew up in Florence, Italy. I received my BA in Foreign Languages and Literatures from the University of Florence where I studied English and Spanish. I lived and worked abroad in different European countries and I used my language skills as a freelance translator for screenplays, TV series and for PR companies. Later on, I started my experience as a language teacher and activity coordinator in American study abroad programs. As a result, I became interested in language learning in study abroad context and intercultural experience. Subsequently, I graduated from Florida State University at Tallahassee, FL with a MA in Italian Studies and a minor in Second Language Acquisition. At that point, I realized I wanted to keep on expanding my knowledge in SLA and make use of my field experience for research purposes in the pedagogy area so I joined the SLAT program at the University of Arizona. My research interests are L2 development in study abroad context, curriculum and material development and I am also teaching Italian classes as a GAT. I like to spend my spare time on electronic music and music production, movies, fitness and cooking.

chelseasteinertphoto-300x451Chelsea Steinert (       

Chelsea received her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and German Studies in 2012, and completed her Master of Arts in German Studies with an emphasis in Pedagogy in 2014 at the University of Arizona. She is currently a Ph.D. student in the Graduate Interdisciplinary Program in Second Language Acquisition and Teaching (SLAT).
She has taught several courses in the Basic Language Program, including GER 101, 102, and 201. She also taught GER 211 in Leipzig for the Arizona Summer Study in Leipzig Program, as well as GER 371, an online course on contemporary German culture.
Chelsea’s research interests include the use of authentic cultural media (i.e., music, film, Web sites, etc.) in the foreign language classroom, the common difficulties English learners of German experience with the German case and gender systems, and the ways instructors can alleviate those difficulties.