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Entering Class of 2013

photo1-1-350x369Sara Al-Bahlani

My name is Sara Al-Bahlani, and I am a first-year SLAT student from Oman. My major is Pedagogy and Program Administration.  I have a BA in Education from the Sultan Qaboos University, Oman, MA in Arts/Applied Linguistics from the University of Queensland, Australia, and an International Diploma in Language Teaching Management. I taught English at the College of Applied Sciences-Nizwa in Oman for about six years. I also worked as an Assessment Coordinator in the English Department at the same college for three years. I am interested in second language testing and evaluation, and language teaching management. Aside from teaching, I’m interested in Self-Development and Leadership.

riyad-392x486Riyad Alhomsi

I am Riyad Alhomsi, Syrian, a first-year graduate student in the Second Language Acquisition and Teaching (SLAT) PhD Program. It is my third year in the US. Before coming to Tucson, I was in New York City teaching Arabic language at Manhattan College and Lehman College. I earned my MA degree in English Language Teaching at the University of Warwick in Britain; I then came back to Syria and started teaching at Homs University. I taught there for almost 8 years before coming to the US in 2011.
My research focus is in pedagogy, within which I have a variety of interests– among them are teacher training and development, and the use of technology in second language learning/teaching. Out of academia, I like walking, hanging out with friends, and hiking– but I haven’t tried it in Tucson yet!

luevano-261x348Laura Luévano

My name is Laura Luévano and I am from Chihuahua, Mexico. I have a Bachelor of Arts in English Language and a Masters Degree in Higher Education, both from the Autonomous University of Chihuahua.  I have been a professor at the undergraduate level in the Lengua Inglesa program at the Faculty of Philosophy and Letters, and taught courses in the fields of Linguistics, Pedagogy and Teaching a Second Language.  I also served as the Academic Secretary, where, in addition to regular faculty duties, I was in charge of six academic programs hosted by the faculty. I also supervised the department chairs, and was in charge of the registrar’s office. I am a first year SLAT student and I´m planning to have Pedagogy as my major and L2 Use and my minor.

macias-489x353Diego Fernando Macias

Hi! My name is Diego Fernando Macias. I was born and raised in Colombia. I completed my B.A. and my specialization in English as a Foreign Language Teaching at Universidad Surcolombiana in Neiva, Colombia. I received M.A. degrees in English and TESOL from Governors State University in the U.S. and from the University of Brighton in the U.K., respectively. I have worked as a Spanish language teacher in the U.S. and as an EFL teacher and teacher educator in my home country for about 15 years. My research interests include, but are not limited to, teacher education, training and development, the development and learning of oral skills through the use of web-based technologies, and the teaching of English as a Lingua Franca. I am also a Fulbright graduate student with a passion for languages, reading, and playing table-tennis.

2015-06-1820.10.31(2)Elyse Barbara Petit

My name is Elyse Barbara Petit, and I am originally from Perpignan, in the south of France. I came to the United States in 2005 to teach French as a second language in Louisiana. I graduated with a Masters in Francophone Studies at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette (2010), and a Masters in French at the University of Arizona (2013). I am currently a doctoral candidate and my research interests focus on the implementation of the multiliteracies pedagogy and the visual and media literacy frameworks to foster language learning and cultural awareness through the lens of social justice and human rights. I am also interested to implement  media productions such as digital storytelling in foreign language classrooms, and in study abroad contexts. The use, representation and production of the francophone language and culture through cinema, documentaries, and social media platforms take a big part of my French teaching classes.

shintaku-391x317Kayo Shintaku

My name is Kayo Shintaku, and I am from Hiroshima, Japan. I have two M.A. degrees from the University of Arizona, in Language, Reading and Culture and in Information Resources and Library Science. I also earned a graduate certificate in Digital Information Management from the University of Arizona. In Japan, I worked as a Japanese-English translator specializing semiconductors, IT, and business. Additionally, as a freelancer, I translated games and related entertainment materials and web contents. I am planning on majoring in Pedagogy. My current research interests include the media usage in education, particularly, using computer games and/or comic books, and the FL engagement programs in institutions like academic libraries. I am currently a GAT in East Asian Studies.

heatherHeather Smyser

My name is Heather Smyser. I received my M.A. in Russian from the University of Arizona and my B.A. in French from the University of Evansville. Being a volunteer at the International Rescue Committee starting in the second semester of my M.A. studies has led me to see the privilege basic literacy affords us, and makes me wonder how knowing how to read and write might facilitate language acquisition and how the assumption of literacy might color the SLA paradigm. For SLAT, I am hoping to major in process and minor in French, and I would love to study the similarities and differences in language acquisition and processing in individuals who are literate in their first language and those with no literacy in any language, perhaps focusing on studying writing as an external form of memory that can hasten the acquisition of certain aspects of language.

pic2Tanya Tercero (

I am Tanya Tercero from Tucson, and I am very happy to be a PhD student in SLAT, as well as a GAT in the UA’s writing department. I am officially a lifelong Wildcat!  Eons ago, I got my BA in both Spanish and Russian from UA, and shortly thereafter, I ended up living and working in southern Spain for four years. Living in Spain gave me the opportunity to travel throughout Europe, to Russia, and to Morocco, too.  I grew to love Spain and would like to retire there one day.
After several years of teaching ESL, ESP and SSP in Arizona, I decided to pursue an MA in ESL at UA.  I then taught in the United Arab Emirates at a women’s college for three years, and now I have returned, once again, to complete my PhD in SLAT.
My interests include L2 use, sociolinguistics and inter-cultural competence, and CALL.

elaineyee-200x267Elaine Yee

Hello, my name is Elaine Yee. I am in the SLAT program to research how American literature rooted in heritage narratives pertaining to non-English speaking cultures can help bi/multi-lingual college freshmen (both American and international) to better attain to a multi-register grasp of Standard American English. Especially interesting to me is fluency across critical domains such as domestic, political, technological, and romantic space(s). My BA in English/Sociology is from Arizona, my MA in American Lit/American Studies is from Duke University Department of English. I have spent time in Beijing and Berlin as a language student. In the next year, I expect to become fluent in Cantonese, as well. I love mountain running, cooking with friends, my dog, and my parents (I am a hometown girl.)