M.A. Graduates

Secil Akinci

Graduate Student [EDUC]

Secil Akinci (2016) holds a B.A. in linguistics from Hacettepe University, Turkey. She has taught EFL courses at Izmir Institute of Technology for three years. While at Iowa State University, she taught English 101B and ESL courses in the Intensive English and Orientation Program to undergraduate and graduate students as well as worked on two research projects. Her interests are in corpus linguistics and CALL. Her goal is to continue teaching ESL courses and to pursue a PhD.

Major Professor: Bethany Gray

Thesis title: A cross-disciplinary study of stance markers in research articles written by students and experts

Samuel Ascoli

Assistant Teaching Professor [ENGL]

Samuel Ascoli (2015) graduated from ISU's TESL/AL master's program. He previously taught English 302: Business Communication. He still actively follows corpus linguistics, phraseology and formulaic language. His longer-term plans are to continue teaching ESL, EFL, and potentially composition/rhetoric.

Major Professor: David Oakey

Thesis title: A group of subject-verb agreements: Finding quantity in group and number

Rebecca Bae

Rebecca Bae (2015) earned her B.M. in Music Education at Texas Tech University in Lubbock.  She worked as a teacher in EFL in Korea and Japan and has taught all grade levels (K through adults).  Her primary interests include oral assessment, kanji acquisition, independent learning, and how humor influences motivation and attitude in the classroom. Her goal is to return to East Asia and teaching at the collegiate level.

Major Professor: John Levis

Thesis title: The effects of pausing on comprehensibility

Jenna Bertilson

Lecturer [ENGL]

Jenna Bertilson earned her MA in TESL/Applied Linguistics. She received her B.A. in Linguistics with a minor in TESL from Iowa State University. Her field of interest includes second language acquisition, pronunciation, and computer-assisted language learning. She hopes to work with adults learning English as a second language in the future.

Hannah Bingham Brunner

Hannah Bingham Brunner (2016) earned her B.A. in literature from Oklahoma Christian University with minors in TEFL and international studies in 2014. While at Iowa State, she taught English 150, 250, 99L, 99R, and 101C. Her interests include using literature for teaching ESL students and bringing global perspectives to the composition classroom. She is currently a visiting faculty member in Oklahoma Christian University’s Language and Literature department.

Major Professor: Tammy Slater

Thesis title: “The Giver” as content-based reading instruction: Student beliefs about using literature for ESL

Kelsey Campbell-Gagen

Kelsey Campbell-Gagen (2015) holds a B.A. from the University of Iowa in Linguistics and Spanish. Her experiences include volunteering as an English Language Instructor in rural Ecuador and teaching reading and writing to elementary students. Her research interests are Literacy and CALL. Kelsey intends to teach locally or abroad.

Major Professor: Volker Hegelheimer

Thesis title: The effects of metacognitive strategy training on ESL learners’ self-directed use of TED Talk videos for second language listening

Corry Caromawati

Corry Caromawati (2016) earned her bachelor’s degree in English (linguistics) from Indonesia University of Education. She passed her CELTA in 2011 and has worked for some English schools to teach ESL. She currently works at Insitut Teknologi Nasional (ITENAS) located in Bandung, West Java, Indonesia, where she is the chairperson of the International Relations bureau. She also teaches EFL to students in the engineering and design departments. Her research interests include CALL, CLIL, TBLT, teacher development, and spoken English.

Major Professors: Volker Hegelheimer and James Ranalli

Thesis title: A teacher development program on CALL materials evaluation: Teachers’ knowledge and attitudes toward technology

Cheick Sadibou Diagne


Cheick Sadibou Diagne (2021) holds an M.A. in TESL/Applied Linguistics from Iowa State University, and a doctoral degree in American Studies and two TEFL certificates from Cheikh Anta Diop University in Dakar, Senegal. While at ISU, his primary research focus was on English for Specific Purposes but he was and is still interested in every area of SLA research, which he can easily connect to his current position as EFL teacher educator. Prior to enrolling in ISU’s TESL/Applied Linguistics program, Cheick taught English in Senegalese middle and high schools for 16 years.

Brody Dingel


Brody Dingel (2020) holds an M.A. in TESL/Applied Linguistics with an emphasis in Corpus/Computational Linguistics. Prior to starting his M.A., he received a B.A. in Linguistics and a B.A. in World Languages and Cultures with a minor in TESL from Iowa State University. He enjoyed teaching Spanish 101 and Computers and Language throughout his M.A. studies, and his primary research interests included L2 vocabulary acquisition and computer-assisted language learning. He now works as a Software Engineer at Hy-Vee.

Major Professor: Evgeny Chukharev-Hudilainen

Thesis title: Semantic relatedness in L2 vocabulary learning: Does it really matter?

Nicholas Driscol

Nicholas Driscoll (2013) now works as an English language lecturer at Kanda University of International Studies just outside Tokyo, Japan. At ISU he taught English 150 and 250, and worked on a script for the educational computer game, Meta!Blast. His research interests are in CALL and pronunciation.

Major Professor: John Levis

Creative component: Hatsuon Help: Developing a research-based pronunciation-learning website for Japanese learners of English

Luca Giupponi

Luca Giupponi (2013) currently works at Michigan State University as the Educational Technology Coordinator for the English Language Center (ELC) and as an Educational Technology Specialist for the Center for Language Teaching Advancement (CeLTA). While at Iowa State, he taught ISUcomm courses (English 150 and 250), and was part of the iApp Development Project. Before studying at ISU, Luca completed his undergraduate studies in Music at the Bergamo and Como conservatories (Italy) and at Arizona State University, where he also taught beginning Italian. He specializes in Computer-Assisted Language Learning.

Major Professor: Volker Hegelheimer

Thesis title: Imaginary friends, stalking, and curating the Web: An ESL student’s use of social media

Ellen Heddendorf

Ellen Heddendorf (2015) teaches ESL at the University of Iowa through the Iowa Intensive English Program. She currently teaches listening and communication skills courses. She is interested in extensive listening, extensive reading, and vocabulary acquisition.

Major Professor: Tammy Slater

Creative component: The Game’s Afoot: Creating an Interactive ESL/EFL E-Book Based on Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes Stories

Tongxuan Huang

Tongxuan Huang (2017) received his B.A. in psychology from China’s Southwest University in 2011. In his sophomore year, he went to Japan on a summer program about Japanese culture and language. After graduating, he worked as a teaching assistant and an English tutor in New Oriental in Beijing for almost four years. He pursued his MA to update his knowledge on teaching and to learn about linguistics. He enjoys watching movies, reading, and fencing.

Mijin Jang

Mijin Jang (2016) holds bachelor’s degrees in communication and culture and English. She also holds an M.Ed. in English education. Since then, she has taught EFL in South Korea and continued at Iowa State University as a teaching assistant teaching English 150, 250, and 101C. Her research interests include L2 writing/speaking and assessment. Her goal is to continue teaching EFL and to pursue a PhD.

Major Professor: Gary Ockey

Creative component: From independent to integrated writing and task development

Lea Johannsen

Lea Johannsen (2017) holds a BS in History from Iowa State University, with minors in German and Chinese Language. She has worked as a TA in the Chinese department, working with Chinese students to investigate issues of multicultural integration and language leaning, and also taught classes in the English department. She has also worked on the development and implementation of an online CALL teacher training course for the US State Department’s AE E-Teacher program. Lea’s current research is focused on the development of a vocabulary learning flashcard app that integrates principles of game-based learning and SLA theory. She would like to continue this work on game-based learning for CALL purposes in the future.

Kunhui "Connie" Kim

Graduate Student [ENGL]

Kunhui “Connie” Kim was an M.A. student in TESL/Applied Linguistics & Technology program. She received her B.A. in Portuguese & English as the 1st and 2nd majors from Hankuk University of Foreign Studies in South Korea. Her field of research interest includes second language acquisition, Computer-/Mobile-Assisted Language Learning (CALL/MALL), pronunciation, and English for Specific Purposes (ESP) for business English. She hopes to be a better and more competent English teacher with what she learned in this program.

Susan Lee

Susan Lee (2014) is interested in learning more about CALL as well as Project-Based Learning. She has been teaching English as a second language for six years at Des Moines Area Community College. Prior to teaching at the community college, she taught kindergarten and music for seven years. She has two bachelor’s degrees in elementary education and music education.

Major Professor: Tammy Slater

Thesis title: CALL-infused project-based learning: A case study of adult ESL students learning prepositions

Carla Martinez

Carla Martinez (2014) holds a BA in English Teaching and a BA in Education. She did her undergraduate studies in Chile at Pontificia Universidad Catolica de Valparaiso, where she graduated in 2008. While in Chile, she taught English as a Foreign Language to elementary and high-school learners and gave ESP lessons to adult learners. She taught English as a Second Language courses while at Iowa State University.

Major Professor: David Oakey

Creative component: Lexical phrase discourse organizers in multidisciplinary undergraduate lectures: An EAP supplementary course packet of materials for listening courses

Savannah Maynard


Savannah Maynard earned her MA in TESL/Applied Linguistics. She holds a BA in Linguistics and Spanish from Iowa State University. As an undergraduate, Savannah worked as a research assistant in the English Department at Iowa State. She also secured an internship as a teaching assistant at an English language academy in Spain during her semester abroad. There, she discovered her interest in second language acquisition. Her other academic interests include corpus and historical linguistics.

Jennifer Musgrove


Jennifer Musgrove (2017) Jennifer enjoys her work as a Spanish teaching assistant within the Department of World Languages and Cultures. Jennifer currently teaches two sections of Spanish 101 and plans to teach two sections of Spanish 102 next spring semester. Jennifer’s long-term goals include teaching university level Spanish and co-directing a study abroad program. During the course of her undergraduate career at ISU, Jennifer enjoyed several undergraduate assistantships through the WLC Department including collaborating with Dr. Kathy Leonard in Spanish 351 (Introduction to Spanish-English Translation) and Spanish 352 (Introduction to Spanish Phonology), assisting Dr. Chad Gasta in Spanish 323 (Spain Today), and writing a series of criminal justice topic related articles for Spanish 300 level coursework with Dr. Cristina Pardo. Jennifer was also selected her senior year for a special teaching assistantship position through the ISU on the Mediterranean-Summer in Valencia, Spain Program.

Anton Neretin

Anton Neretin earned his MA in TESL/Applied Linguistics. Before ISU, he earned a Master’s Degree in Legal Studies from a Russian Academy of Law and an “Interpretation/Translation” Certificate from an Iowa college. Anton’s passion is to help international students or other learners for whom English is a foreign language. Since 2017, he has been a mentor of students enrolled in the “Educational Technology in the English Language Classroom” course, provided by ISU, sponsored by the U.S. Department of State, and administered by FHI 360.

Theresa A. Orlovsky

Theresa A. Orlovsky (2014) holds a BA in English and Spanish from Southeast Missouri State University. Her research interests include literacy, Second Language Acquisition, pronunciation, and cognition. In the summer of 2012, Theresa co-taught English conversation at the Instituto Tecnológico y de Estudios Superiores de Monterrey in Querétaro, Mexico. She taught ESL writing classes at ISU. She hopes to teach either domestically or abroad.

Major Professor: Tammy Slater

Thesis title: Spanish/English bilinguals’ strategies for finding bias in historical texts

Todd Paben

Todd Paben (2013) received his B.A. from the University of Nebraska Kearney in Political Science and Spanish. At ISU, he studied CALL and taught listening/reading strategies for non-native speakers and working as a research assistant with the Research Writing Tutor program. His experiences include teaching Spanish at a high school in Nebraska, and teaching EFL classes in various contexts in Chile. His research interests include gaming applications for language learning, and use of emerging technologies for language learning.

Major Professor: Volker Hegelheimer

Creative component: “El Chiflon del Diablo”: An ASR-based adventure video game for learning beginning Spanish

Sockwun Phng

Employee [PREMP]

Sockwun Phng (2017) holds a B.A. in English from Iowa State University. After graduating, she taught IGCSE English in Malaysia. She is now back at Iowa State to pursue an M.A. in Applied Linguistics. Her interests include phonetics, phonology, and World Englishes. Currently, she is a graduate teaching assistant with the Department of English, and she plans to continue teaching–hopefully ESL at the college level–in the future.

Laura Raught

P&S Temporary [ENGL]

Laura Raught earned her MA in TESL/Applied Linguistics. She received a B.A. in Linguistics with a minor in Spanish from Iowa State University. Her interests focus on her love of grammar but she also wants to explore historical linguistics. Laura especially enjoys sharing her interests with others through teaching.

Tamara Schmeisser

Graduate Student [ENGL]

Tamara Schmeisser (2020) holds an M.A. in TESL/Applied Linguistics from Iowa State University, a B.S. degree in Finance and Banking from Buena Vista University, and a B.A. in World Languages and Cultures with a minor in Russian from Iowa State University. She has taught community-based ESL courses in Des Moines to adult refugees from various regions in the world and currently teaches English 101C. Her interests include literacy issues, L2 writing development, sociolinguistics, second language acquisition, and pedagogy.

Major Professor: Tammy Slater

Creative component: Using a blend of knowledge framework and project framework to develop materials to teach public speaking

Shamini Shetye


Shamini Shetye is an M.A. student in TESL/Applied Linguistics at Iowa State University. She holds a B.S. from Iowa State University in Liberal Studies and a B.Sc from the University of Mumbai, India in Physics, along with an Associate degree in Business Information Systems from Des Moines Area Community College. Some of her interests include learning about new cultures and languages. Her study abroad trips through Iowa State University to France, Spain, and Morocco gave her enlightening insights about diverse cultures. She has also actively volunteered in the community for several years. Some of her volunteering roles include serving as a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA ) for abused or neglected children in Des Moines, Iowa (for couple years) and engaging elementary and middle-school students in enrichment activities like robotics. Currently, she enjoys teaching English 250 at Iowa State University. Shamini’s research interests include literacy, corpus linguistics, and computational linguistics.

HyoJin Sim

HyoJin Sim  (2017) is from South Korea. She studied abroad in Texas as an exchange student. She loves cooking, watching movies, listening to music, and dancing. She also likes sports such as badminton and softball.

Victoria Turley

Victoria Turley (2016) received her M.A. in TESL/Applied Linguistics from Iowa State University. While at Iowa State, she was a TA within the English department. She received her B.A. in English (with a minor in Non-Profit Management) from Central College in December of 2011. While working towards her B.A., she began working with adult Iraqi refugees as a conversation partner. This work continued after college, and then she began to work with younger refugees from Burma as a tutor.

Major Professor: Tammy Slater

Creative component: Teaching adult ESL literacy and grade school enrollment using the knowledge framework

Amy Walton

Associate Teaching Professor [ENGL]

Amy Walton (2012) is a lecturer in the English Department at Iowa State University, teaching ESL, ESL methods, composition, rhetoric, and grammar courses. She studied both literacy and CALL. Amy has a BA in English and French Teaching from the University of Northern Iowa. Before coming to Iowa State, she taught French, English, and computer courses at Cedar Rapids Washington High School. Her interests include teacher education, cross-cultural communication, and curriculum design.

Major Professor: Tammy Slater

Creative component: Blending learning, language, and content: A unit for collaboration and academic writing with Google Docs

Jayme Wilken

Associate Teaching Professor [ENGL]

Jayme Wilken (2013) is currently the writing coordinator for the IEOP program. She earned speech communication and elementary education B.S. degrees from Iowa State University (ISU). She specialized in CALL, was a member of the Criterion Research Group, and was given the teaching excellence award. Jayme, now a lecturer for the English department, has taught speech, ESL (101D), and IEOP classes. She has published a chapter in a speech textbook. She has presented at domestic and international conferences, focusing on technology in the classroom.

Major Professor: Volker Hegelheimer

Thesis title: L1 feedback in automated writing evaluation: From learners’ perspectives

Kirk Wilkins

Assistant Teaching Professor [ENGL]

Kirk Wilkins (2015) received a B.A. in English from Iowa State University with a specialization in education in 2012. Licensed in K-12 ESL and 5-12 English, Kirk has taught in a variety of settings in the central Iowa area, including student teaching at East High School in Des Moines. Kirk’s research interests include sociolinguistics, second language acquisition, literacy pedagogy, multimodal instruction, and language program development and evaluation. Kirk intends to continue studying the intersections of culture, social inequality, and language learning.

Major Professor: Bethany Gray

Thesis title: The dynamic ecology of the writing process and agency: A corpus-based comparative case study of stancetaking among native speakers and non-native speakers of English in first-year composition conferences