The amazing conference presenters! Please click on the photo to read his/her full bio.
As people often find their unknown or neglected passion out of left field, Yunhye found her love for teaching English through an ESL program. While meeting with people from all over the world, she discovered the fundamental function of language: communication. Being fascinated by the experience of being able to interact with more people, exchange thoughts, and experience various cultures through English, she decided to share this joy with other second language learners. She especially understood those who were overwhelmed and eventually demotivated by the burden of studying another language. Pursuing her M.A. TESOL degree at San Francisco State University has made her a teacher who is not only equipped with up-to-date knowledge on ESL and EFL teaching, but also who is able to facilitate learners to become fluent and independent communicators. After graduation, she is planning to employ her knowledge and experience into ESL and EFL classes to promote communicative language learning.
California native Cynthia Augsjoost has taught English to speakers of other languages throughout the SF Bay Area, in both community-based and higher education settings. Her path to the SF State M.A. TESOL program included undergraduate study at UC Berkeley, work with adolescent English language learners at a special education school in the East Bay, a TESL certificate at UC Berkeley Extension, and a bit of travel in Latin America. After these enriching experiences, Cindi realized that teaching ESOL to adults in California was her life’s work, and that she needed more education in TESOL theory and pedagogy to do so. Her areas of interest in the TESOL field include scaffolded writing activities, multiple learning modalities, and corpus linguistics. Cindi looks forward to teaching at a California community college or adult school after she earns her degree. She would like to wholeheartedly to thank all of her SFSU professors, as well as her parents− both California teachers− for imparting upon her the importance of a good teacher.
Aaron Brown started teaching not long after the ink had dried on a diploma conferring to him a degree in forestry, not exactly the kind of background that prepares one for a lifetime in education. By some miracle, he made it out of the swamps of L.A. (Lower Alabama) alive to the EFL classrooms of Japan and China, where he ultimately found his true passion and life’s calling. He’s now looking forward to the next adventure-just hopefully on dry land.
Mark’s career in teaching began as a teacher with Teach For America 11 years ago out of a belief in the transformative and equalizing power of education. Returning to graduate school to pursue his passion for literature, Mark taught university composition and earned his first master’s degree in English from The Ohio State University. He gained his first overseas experience as a teacher trainer with the Peace Corps in Mauritania, followed by two years teaching academic English and literature as an English Language Fellow at Yüzüncü Yıl University in Turkey. His experiences abroad convinced Mark that he wanted to continue working with international English language learners, leading him to the M.A. TESOL program at San Francisco State to strengthen his expertise in second language acquisition and pedagogy. In the future, Mark hopes to work in the U.S. and overseas, sharing his love for art, language, food and travel with his students.
Wani’s love and passion for education led her to become an elementary school teacher in Korea. After greatly enjoying working with children for fourteen years, she came to the MA TESOL program with a government fellowship, expecting to gain more insights and inspiration for teaching English to children. Thanks to the dedicated professors,wonderful classmates, and all the experiences here, she can now leave this program more confident in teaching with brilliant ideas for educational policies. She thanks her amazing family, friends, and cats for their support!
Inspired by her middle school English teacher, Yanmei started her teaching career at a public high school in China with a BA in English education. In 2009, she came to San Francisco with her family. After spending two years crafting home cooking skills, Yanmei decided to enroll in the MA TESOL program at SFSU to resume her journey of language teaching. She looks forward to inspiring more language learners after graduation.
Angela has always been interested in exploring language and culture, and after earning her BA in Journalism from SF State, she decided to join the Peace Corps. It was during this time that she found herself teaching EFL in a small rural town a few hours north of the Afghan border in Turkmenistan, challenging herself on a daily basis and becoming deeply stimulated with how language works and how it should be taught. Upon returning back to the US she began the MATESOL program and started to develop a deep passion for linguistics, including sociolingustics and pragmatics and found her niche working with vocational ESL classes, examining workplace communication skills. She is passionate about teaching and excited to implement her English teaching knowledge and skills wherever life takes her.
Minsun became a teacher after she met an amazing teacher in middle school who called her an ugly duckling which would turn into a beautiful swan in the future. After 4 years of teaching elementary and secondary school students in private institutes in Korea, she entered the M.A. TESOL program at San Francisco State University to improve herself as an English teacher. After graduation, Minsun wants to go back to Korea with her new knowledge and experience and continue her teaching career. She hopes to be an inspiring teacher like her old teacher.
Her curiosity about the English language and foreign cultures led Jungmin to pursue a career in English education. Embarking on her career as a secondary school teacher in Korea, she gradually realized that being a teacher is so special and rewarding. With an increasing passion for language learning and teaching, she enrolled in the M.A. TESOL program at San Francisco State University. After graduation, she plans to integrate her new knowledge and techniques into practice.
Misung enrolled M.A. TESOL at SFSU with a number of questions from her 10-year teaching experiences. Two years of studying and practicum has helped her be equipped with a deeper insight about learning language and possible, effective teaching methods in EFL context of Korea. She hopes to work with adult English learners, encouraging them to speak up in their own voice and to find their value through writing. She is ready to rush to the zenith of her teaching career.
Katherine (Corrie) McCluskey
Corrie came to TESOL later in life after working in social documentary photography. She felt drawn to teach English as a form of social activism and capacity building for adult learners; ESL became a calling, and literacies a focus. She has taught in community-based contexts in the Bay Area since 2009, including multilevel ESL at Canal Alliance in San Rafael, and with the Adult Literacy League of Sonoma County as tutor, tutor mentor and trainer, and board member. She plans to open a learning center for immigrant adults in her own community after graduation.
Nami Miyashita has been interested in different cultures since she was a child. She was fascinated with leaning English as a tool of communicating with people in the world, which led her to become an English teacher. After teaching English in senior high schools in Japan, she entered the M.A.TESOL program at SFSU to become a more effective language teacher and broaden her perspectives. After graduation, she will resume teaching English in Japan. She is looking forward to applying what she learned in this program to her classroom.
Elissa K. Ouchida
Elissa K. Ouchida, more commonly known as Kiku, stumbled into the TESOL field after volunteering for an English conversation program during her undergraduate studies. She instantly fell in love with the passion and dedication of her students and fellow teachers in the field. After graduation, Kiku will pursue a career in public policy to provide support for the students and teachers she continues to admire.
After earning a B.A. in English education, Sanghee’s passion for teaching English began in 2008 with the experience of teaching middle school students in Korea. While teaching, Sanghee became intrigued and inspired by the practical components in the TESOL field and decided to hone her skills as an English teacher, which led her to SFSU’s M.A. TESOL program. Sanghee plans to continue teaching in Korea after graduation and hopes to make her language teaching experiences more fulfilling.
Ashley Peters has been enamored by linguistic and cultural exchange since she was a child, inspired by deep familial wanderlust. Several years after receiving her B.A. in English Literature at U.C. Berkeley, Ashley moved to South Korea to teach English as a Foreign Language for a year. This experience ultimately led her back to San Francisco and its multicultural heartbeat, to better understand and implement TESOL pedagogy. Ashley hopes to teach ESL composition to multilingual students after graduation.
Born in Mississippi and raised in Ohio, Brent moved to the Bay Area in 1993 where he was first exposed to teaching as a VISTA volunteer in the Oakland Unified School District. An honors graduate from UC-Davis, Brent previously worked in a research foundation at Thammasat University in Bangkok before returning to San Francisco for his TESOL studies. He currently lives in Orinda with his wife, with whom he shares a passion for international travel, oceans and beaches, global service, and watching their young son grow.
Aaron discovered his passion for teaching in Japan, where he taught for three years in public junior and senior high schools. Originally from the Great Northwest, Aaron moved to the Bay Area upon his return from Japan, and entered the M.A. TESOL program at San Francisco State University after teaching in several contexts in San Francisco and the East Bay. After graduation Aaron will return to Japan on a Japanese Ministry of Education, Culture, Science and Technology (MEXT) research scholarship. He will investigate role perceptions of Japanese Teachers of English (JTEs) and the Assistant Language Teachers (ALTs) with whom they co-teach.
Amber Wolak developed a love of TESOL while serving in the Peace Corps in the Islamic Republic of Mauritania, West Africa. Through her frenzied early days as a beginning teacher trying to inspire classrooms of 80 students, she realized that teaching was a calling that she simply had to pursue. After two years at a middle school in Mauritania, she spent a year teaching at a university in China. For the last three years, she has been the Program Services Coordinator for the English Language Institute of Skyline College, in San Bruno. Amber is passionate about teaching the whole student, by providing English language learners with the support needed to succeed in all areas of their lives. After graduation, she hopes to work with beginning-level ESL students closer to her home in Concord, Ca.
Leah embarked on her TESOL career in 2009, following many years as a project manager in Silicon Valley. She has always been interested in English and in how languages are put together. Her lifelong love of learning and teaching and interest in other cultures brought her to the MATESOL program at SFSU, where she is currently teaching oral communication and listening skills at the American Language Institute.
Emily’s interest in teaching ESL/EFL originates from her own experiences as a foreign language learner while studying in Cuenca, Ecuador as an exchange student in high school. Every day was a linguistic journey that led her onto a delightful path of new discoveries in the Spanish language. On this journey, it was the moments of elation and frustration that inspired her to help others in alleviating the daunting, yet gratifying, endeavor of learning another language. Since completing her BA in English and Spanish at the University of Nebraska at Omaha, she has had the pleasure to have taught English to refugees living in Omaha, multi-level adult immigrants in San Rafael, college students in San Francisco, and middle school children in Vietnam. She is filled with boundless energy to soon be fully immersed in her EFL career while sharing and exploring global cultures.
Bryan Siwei Zhao
Bryan started teaching EFL class in his hometown Wuhan, China in 2007. He taught IELTS (International English Language Testing System) preparation class for students from high school to working adults, mainly focused on speaking and listening lessons. In 2010, he entered the MA.TESOL program at SFSU and has improved himself in ways such as accumulating a varied teaching experience, learning from observing other ESL professionals’ classes, and integrating teaching skills and theories that he’s learned into his own lessons. Moreover, working with the top- notch professors and colleagues in SFSU has helped him consolidate faith in being a teacher who always respects the learner’s voices and always tries to make the class more communicative. He now teaches a vocational ESL class at Chinatown, San Francisco.
Claudia has worked internationally in Rome, Italy and other locations such as Sudan, Pakistan, and Indonesia. As a result of her experiences, she has been exposed to the varieties of English spoken around the world. She possesses a B.A. in Italian literature and a Masters in Educational Technology. The combination of her education and work experiences makes her excited to continue her work in the field of ESL.