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Entering Class of 2016

Serdar Acar (

I am Ahmet Serdar Acar from Turkey. I hold a BA degree in Foreign Language Education from Middle East Technical University in Ankara, Turkey in 2001. Five years later, I earned my MA in Curriculum and Instruction from 9 Eylul University in Izmir (Turkey), where I also worked as an instructor of English at a foundation university for more than 10 years. My willingness for continuous professional development led me to complete the program of Diploma in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (DELTA) by University of Cambridge in 2013. Two years ago, I also had the chance to teach English in Saudi Arabia and in the Fall of 2016 I joined the SLAT program, which I feel fortunate about. I am also a Graduate Teaching Assistant for advanced Turkish courses at the Center for Middle Eastern Studies.

My research interests are teacher education in foreign/second language teachingx, post-method pedagogy, multiliteracies, identity and positioning. Outside of academia, I like hiking and playing the “saz” (a Turkish stringed musical instrument to perform Turkish folk music).

Drake Asberry (

Hello, my name Drake Asberry and I am from Morgantown, West Virginia. I am excited to begin my doctoral program in SLAT at the University of Arizona. I hold a Bachelor’s of Science in Landscape Architecture from West Virginia University, but decided to change career paths, which led to me obtaining my Master’s Degree in Linguistics and TESOL. I have been providing technical training and seminars since 2007 and have been teaching English as Second Language since 2013. My research interests include phonetics, phonology, and languages in contact. Outside of school and work, I enjoy any activities that help me disconnect from the digital world and can get me outdoors.

Joan_Portrait_2016-2Joan Palmiter Bajorek (

A Portland native, Joan Palmiter Bajorek is a first year doctoral in SLAT. As an Analysis Major, her research focuses include Romance Linguistics, speech/pronunciation acquisition, and educational technologies. At the University of Arizona, Bajorek received a Graduate College Fellowship for 2016-2017.  In 2013, she received a French BA with Honors and Photography BFA from the University of Washington in Seattle (UW). From 2013-2014, she worked for the French Ministry of Education in Toulouse, France. Beginning her graduate studies at the University of California, Davis (UCD), she holds an MA in Linguistics focusing on Second Language Acquisition. At UCD, Bajorek worked as an Associate Instructor of French and served on the Executive Council for the Graduate Student Association.  Through the language of art, she is a professional photographer whose work concentrates on abstracts and portraits. Her work has been featured extensively in Seattle: Jacob Lawrence Gallery, Skinny and Room 9 Galleries, and at UW’s website, Medical Center, Daily Newspaper, Art Building Lobby, and Health Center, Bricolage: Literary & Visual Arts Journal, as well as the Pence Gallery in Davis, CA. To view her photographic work, visit:


Cody Dees (

My name is Cody Dees, and I am new to the SLAT program here at the University of Arizona. My interests are in assessment and program language administration. Thought my life, I have encountered languages in a variety of environments, but had always thought that regardless of my interest, I was just one of the many who were not gifted in language acquisition. At 21 years of age, my language aptitude was tested by the USAF and I was assigned to the Defense Language Institute (DLI) at the Presidio of Monterey. There, my entire view of language pedagogy and usage changed fundamentally. Regardless of the seeming impossibility to learn the Korean language in as little as 63 weeks, the expectations of the instructors were always met. Since then, I have received my BA in Linguistics and Anthropology, my MA in Applied Linguistics, with an emphasis on learner centered pedagogy, and am well on my way to completing my PhD in SLAT. I cannot wait to graduate and go on to make real changes in the way we understand language pedagogy.

Jeroen Gevers (

Jeroen Gevers is a doctoral student in SLAT as well as a writing instructor in the English Department. Trained in the humanities, Jeroen obtained a BA and an MA in Musicology at Utrecht University in his home country, the Netherlands. Before coming to the University of Arizona, he taught music history and writing as a TA at UCLA, where he was a doctoral candidate in musicology. He has also briefly taught at the University of Amsterdam and worked as a lecturer in English for Academic Purposes (EAP), academic writing, and pronunciation at the University of Twente. His research interests span the fields of sociolinguistics, translation studies, and second language (L2) acquisition; at the moment, specific interests include L2 identity politics, L2 writing, study abroad, multilingualism, and English as an academic lingua franca. In his free time, he enjoys Mexican food, bicycle rides, camping in the mountains, beer tasting, and intimate live concerts.

  Lauren Harvey (

Hello! My name is Lauren Harvey and I am originally from St. Louis, Missouri. I did my undergraduate work at Ohio Wesleyan University in Delaware, Ohio where I earned my BA in English and Spanish with a minor in Sociology/Anthropology. After college, I served in the Peace Corps in Panama as a Teaching English volunteer, where I fell in love with language teaching. Upon my return from Panama, I earned my MA in the English/Applied Linguistics program here at the University of Arizona. I am a Graduate Associate in Teaching in the Writing Program here at the university and have enjoyed teaching a variety of courses, particularly those for students for whom English is an additional language. My research interests include curriculum development, specifically in K-12 EFL settings, Second Language Writing, and the intersection of these two fields with the concepts of Global Englishes.

IsmailAhmad Ismail (

Hi, I’m Ahmad Ismail from Egypt, and I’m a first-year SLAT student. Before joining the U of A, I taught Arabic at the French Cultural Center in Egypt and at Leiden University in the Netherlands. I also have an MA in applied linguistics from The American University in Cairo (AUC), and my research interests include sociocultural approaches to SLA, corpus linguistics, cognitive linguistics, and heritage language pedagogy. I speak English, German, French, Spanish, and Italian at an advanced level, Dutch, Hebrew, and Japanese at an intermediate level. Outside of academia, I like playing the piano, hiking, and badminton. I also enjoy practicing mindfulness and Arabic calligraphy.

katikhinapic-small-framedAnna Katikhina (

Born in Chelyabinsk (Russia), earned bachelor’s degree in Linguistics at People’s Friendship University of Russia in Moscow. Worked as an EFL teacher and translator/interpreter of English and French. Founded a translation agency with offices in Moscow and Prague (Czech Republic) in 2008, studied simultaneous interpreting, became a member of the Union of Translators of Russia. In 2012 moved to South-East Asia (Vietnam, then Thailand) to work as a translator and interpreter for an oil refinery project. In 2013 moved to Berlin (Germany) and spent six months there studying German and working as a freelance translator. Was admitted to Kent State University’s Master’s program in Translation in 2014 with graduate appointment as Teaching Assistant in Russian.

Member of the American Translators Association (ATA), ACTFL, and ATSEEL. Languages are my life and passion. As a professional translator & interpreter with more than 10 years of experience, as well as teacher, and a lifetime language learner, I possess first-hand knowledge of how languages are taught and learned, and how they interact, and I strive to apply this knowledge and experience to practice when I teach.

My research interests include second language acquisition, language processing, and technology in second language education.

EmilyPalese-SLATphoto 2Emily Palese (

As a recent graduate from UA’s M.A. ESL program, I’m thrilled about continuing my studies in SLAT alongside all of the wonderful students and faculty I’ve met here. In addition to my M.A. ESL degree, I have a B.A. in Spanish and a B.A in Anthropology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Before moving to Tucson, I worked as a Program Director for the Boys and Girls Club of Austin, and I taught high school ESL in the Philippines as a Peace Corps Volunteer. Currently, I teach English composition to international students here at the University of Arizona, and I work as a Graduate Assistant with the Writing Center on campus. After graduation, my goal is to continue working with underserved EAL communities in an administrative capacity, so I hope to focus on teacher training, curriculum design, L2 pedagogy, and program administration while in SLAT. In my free time, I enjoy bike rides with my fiance, playing with our dogs, raising chickens, and exploring Tucson with my friends.