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Student Bios


Lila Jensen

Lila Jensen ('22)

Since she was young, Lila has been fascinated by the beauty and mystery of different cultures, which has drawn her to live in a few different countries, including Hawaii, Japan, and Korea. While attending junior college, she learned Japanese and French, and taught Chinese to Japanese and American students in exchange for learning more about their peoples and cultures. Later, she completed her undergraduate degree in Fine Arts from Brigham Young University-Hawaii. Currently, she is a full-time, 3rd grade Chinese dual language immersion teacher in Cache Valley, Utah. During her spare time, she enjoys cooking different ethnic foods, hanging out with friends and family, hiking, and practicing yoga.


Josh Lamping 20

Josh Lamping (‘21)

Josh was first introduced to Spanish in secondary school but fell in love with it and the second language culture while on his two-year mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in Mexico City. Upon arriving home, he obtained a Bachelor of Arts in Spanish from Utah Valley University. He spent one of his semesters at UVU studying cognitive aspects of second language acquisition, and this furthered his passion for teaching and trying to find the best practices to help students learn efficiently. As he studied, he was able to participate in volunteer opportunities such as interpreting for the Give Kids a Smile Foundation, assisting with parent-teacher conferences, tutoring, and helping at the university's dual language immersion fair. He is excited to be a part of the MSLT program at Utah State, and hopes it propels him forward in his goals of not only teaching Spanish, but in helping to create a smoother transition for those who are integrating into an English-speaking country. He enjoys being outdoors and traveling with his family, making authentic Mexican food, serving others, playing with his two little girls, and teaching his wife Spanish.


Emma Duncan

Emma Duncan ('21)

Emma graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Linguistics with a Russian minor from the University of Utah. She then moved abroad for two years, living in Lithuania, Germany, and Sweden studying sociolinguistics and multilingualism while also learning the local languages and volunteering as an English tutor. When she discovered that she enjoys teaching languages as much as learning them, she decided to enroll in the MSLT program. After she graduates, Emma plans to teach ESL to adults.


Aline Allen

Aline Allen ('20)

Aline is from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Aline completed her undergraduate studies at Utah State University, graduating with a bachelor’s degree in International Studies in May 2018. Upon completing the Masters of Second Language Teaching degree, Aline plans to teach Portuguese at the university level. Aline enjoys music, traveling with her husband and son, learning about other nations and cultures, and making friends with people from around the world. 


Hyrum Hansen

Hyrum Hansen ('20)

Hyrum grew up in a home where it was mandatory to learn French as a second language.  Traveling to France and other parts of Europe several times, Hyrum developed a fondness for language learning and cultural exchange. After graduating from BYU-Idaho with a major in International Studies, he taught English as a second language at an elementary school in China for a year. He discovered how much he enjoyed teaching languages and, having been inspired by his sister who previously earned the MSLT degree at Utah State, Hyrum decided to enroll. He is a big tennis nerd and loves to travel and learn languages.


Becca jackson

Becca Jackson ('20)

I graduated from Brigham Young University-Idaho with a degree in Health Science. I opted for a career shift after discovering my love for teaching. I have volunteered at a school in India, taught ESL classes to immigrants, and am currently teaching English online. When I am not in school or working, you can find me reading, baking, or hiking with my husband Kaden, and our big goofy dog Hank. 


Bracken Lind

Bracken Lind ('20)

Bracken graduated from Utah State University with a degree in International Business, and a minor in Spanish. While working on his degree, he worked with English language learners in a local high school and discovered a desire to teach and help others bridge language barriers. He discovered the MSLT degree at USU and applied to join the program with desires to learn how best to help those learning a second language. After finishing his MSLT degree, he would love to go abroad and teach English as a second language. He is also interested in teaching Spanish or working with refugees.


Sharon Lyman

Sharon Lyman ('20)

Sharon graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Communication Studies from Utah State University. She loves all things related to communication, language, and culture. Sharon has spent time living abroad in Spain and Mexico as well as taught English to local and international students in Utah. After completing the MSLT program, she hopes to pursue a PhD and continue teaching English to adults. When she’s not found in her ESL classroom, Sharon enjoys rock climbing, running, trying new foods, and being with friends and family. 


Samantha Ontiveros

Samantha Ontiveros ('20)

Samantha graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Music with an emphasis in voice. As an undergraduate, she was required to take several foreign language classes and several IPA language classes. She found these classes fascinating and enjoyed attending them. After completing her degree, Samantha went abroad to South Korea on a Seventh Day Adventist mission. During this time, she taught ESL to children and adults and would also lead religious English conversation classes. Realizing that she had a passion for teaching, she decided to get her certification in TEFL to better help her students. Once coming back to the U.S., she began a family and has taught ESL online. She is pursuing the MSLT to further her teaching horizons and become a better language teacher.


Kaylen Taylor

Kalen Taylor ('20)

Kalen graduated from Utah State with a degree in broadcast journalism and Spanish in 2018. After realizing that he didn't want to work in the journalism field, he decided to focus on Spanish. As an undergrad, he also minored in linguistics and Latin American studies due to his passion for language and other cultures. The MSLT program seemed like a natural fit for someone so interested in language. Kalen plans to teach Spanish in some capacity after completing his MSLT degree. Outside of school, he likes to spend time with his wife camping, hiking, and fishing.


James Workman

James Workman ('20)

James is from Salt Lake City, and learned French while living in the South of France. He graduated from USU with a Bachelor of Arts in French. After that, he continued studying French at Western University in Ontario, Canada, where he was a graduate instructor of French. James has spent the last couple of years working full time in Logan, and is now pursuing the MSLT program to further his career goal of becoming a French Dual Language Immersion instructor at the secondary level. James enjoys traveling, reading, hanging out with his friends, and spending time with his kids.


Jihan Al-Naabi

Jihan Al-Naabi ('19)

Jihan earned a bachelor’s degree in English Language Teaching from Rustaq College of Education in Oman.  After teaching English in her country for eight years, she had the opportunity to come to Utah, where she enrolled in the MSLT program. Jihan is eager to develop her teaching skills and become a more qualified and effective teacher. In her spare time, she enjoys traveling with her husband, playing with their son, and cooking for family and friends.


Wen-Yu Chang

Wen-Yu Chang ('19)

Wen-Yu graduated from Chung Yuan Christian University in Taiwan, where she majored in International Trade. After realizing that her passion was teaching languages, she changed her career and taught English in Taiwan for three years. Her desire to become a better language teacher led her to enroll in the MSLT program. Now she enjoys teaching Chinese at USU. When she is not teaching or studying, you might find her doing zumba, yoga, cycling, or lifting weights at the gym. She also enjoys exploring the outdoors, traveling with her husband, hanging out with friends,cooking, and relaxing at home.


Hyrum Checketts

Hyrum Checketts (‘19)

While studying history and secondary education at Northwest College in Wyoming, Hyrum got a job peer tutoring and found the experience of working with college students very rewarding. He quickly shifted his sights from teaching at the secondary to the tertiary level. He transferred to Utah State University where he earned his bachelor’s degree in Spanish. His fascination with languages and language teaching led him to enroll in the MSLT program. Hyrum plans to teach Spanish at the college level and potentially ESL in some type of community language program. He loves spending time with his wife and son, cooking, and playing basketball.  


Yasmine Kataw

Chemaris Ethington ('19)



Lindsey Mabey

Lindsey Mabey '19

Lindsey completed a Bachelor’s degree in Middle Eastern Studies/Arabic at Brigham Young University. After her graduation, she taught beginning Arabic classes there as an adjunct and discovered a love for teaching foreign languages. She has taught Arabic to Kindergartener through college-level students. Her passion for connecting people through language and mutual understanding encouraged her to pursue her MSLT degree. She loves to cook, bake, go to the gym, make costumes, teach her dog new tricks, take care of her small flower-box garden, watch movies, hike, play video games, and travel. She currently lives in Salt Lake City with her husband, step daughter, and tiny dog.


Rachel Siner

Rachel Singer ('19)

Rachel graduated from Brigham Young University with a bachelor's degree in Middle East Studies/Arabic. After she began working with English Language Learners at a high school, Rachel decided to pursue language teaching and applied to the MSLT program. Upon completing her Master's degree, Rachel plans to work as a high school ESL teacher.


Coral Venutra 19

Coral Ventura ('19)

Coral graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree with a minor in Italian Studies from the State University of New York at Farmingdale. It was her love of languages that spurred her on to pursue a Master of Second Language Teaching degree at Utah State University.  Before starting her bachelor degree program in Farmingdale, NY, Coral had spent a summer on the USU campus in an English immersion program, so she knew she really liked Logan. Being from the Dominican Republic, Coral plans to return to her country to teach English as a Foreign Language after she earns the MSLT degree.


Yasmine Kataw

Tairon Kimura

Tairon was no stranger to Logan when he began the MSLT program.Having earned his undergraduate degree from USU in Philosophy and Political Science some years prior, he decided it was time to return for a Master's degree. With roots in Hokkaido (Japan) and Hong Kong, Tairon acquired proficiency in three languages growing up.  His love for languages now motivates him to become a foreign language teacher who can help others develop proficiency in their target language.