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Student Bios

 

Siyu Ji 23

Siyu Ji ('23)

Siyu comes from Beijing, China and has always been interested in language teaching and learning. She has a Bachelor's degree in teaching Chinese as a second language. Siyu has been a teacher since she graduated from college and first worked in an international school in Beijing as a language teacher before coming to Logan in 2018. Currently, she is a Chinese teacher in a Dual Language Immersion program in the Cache County School District. She joins the MSLT program to gain more in-depth knowledge about current language teaching methods with an aim to provide a better Chinese learning experience for her students. Siyu loves hiking and swimming in her spare time. She also enjoys sightseeing and has been to twelve American national parks since 2018.

 

Zach Brown 22

Zach Brown ('22)

Zach lived in Arizona and Virginia during his childhood but grew up for the most part in Utah. After high school, he taught immigrant communities in England for two years as a full-time missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, during which time he acquired proficiency in the Slovak and Czech languages. He then returned to the United States to obtain his Bachelor’s in English at USU. While there, he worked as a classroom assistant for the Intensive English Language Institute, which solidified a desire to teach English as a Second Language for his career. After graduation, he traveled to Slovakia as a Fulbright English Teaching Instructor. With a goal to teach English as a Second Language at universities outside the United States, Zach joined the MSLT program. In his spare time, he enjoys reading, writing, playing basketball and other games with family and friends, and playing and listening to music.

 

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.

 

Lucia Martin 22

Lucia Martin ('22)

Lucia was born in Madrid, Spain. She has two Bachelor’s degrees in teaching (for Kindergarten- and Elementary-aged students) along with an ESL endorsement from Alcala de Henares University in Madrid. She earned two scholarships from the Spanish Government to travel to the UK to improve her English, living in Bournemouth, London, and Liverpool. While in college, she worked for the Education Science department, creating science materials and activities for public schools of Alcala de Henares. In 2009, after graduating with her second degree, she published an article with her math professor (Anna Torres Vazquez) about the impact of math students’ journals in their self-learning process. She began working as a teacher in a school in Spain where she worked for 5 years before deciding to apply for an exchange teacher program in the United States. As a result, she is currently (2019) beginning her fifth year of teaching in the Spanish Dual Language Immersion program in Utah, which she loves and supports with all her heart. In her free time, she usually reads a book, goes for walks, or hangs out with friends. Her favorite part of being with friends is convincing them to pull out the Karaoke and sing.

 

Laura Medina 22

Laura Medina ('22)

Laura is originally from Lima, Peru, and moved to the United States in 2010. She earned a Bachelor’s degree in Education with an emphasis in teaching English as a foreign language while in Peru. She has been a teacher since 2006 and has taught English to elementary-aged students as well as to adults in English language centers throughout Lima. Since living in Cache Valley, she has taught middle school-level ESL and Spanish classes and elementary-level Spanish Dual Immersion courses with the Cache County School District. She currently tutors students in Spanish at USU and is also learning French. She loves learning and teaching languages and has always focused on helping language learners communicate effectively. Besides languages, she enjoys learning about cultures and the diversity they bring, especially in the area of education. She also enjoys spending time with her husband and family, traveling, singing, and listening to music.

 

Aline Reis 22

Aline Reis ('22)

Aline is a confident and experienced instructor with a Bachelor’s degree in Education. She has worked in Brazil’s public school system in Curitiba where she taught children in the first through fifth grades. In addition, Aline has experience teaching English to children and adults of varying ages. She moved to Utah three years ago and is currently working as a passionate third grade Portuguese teacher in the dual immersion program. Aline enjoys spending time with her husband and children, cooking, singing, and reading. She loves living in Utah and being part of the dual language immersion program, where her students and her own children can practice Portuguese and English while in school.

 

Jana Quadros 22

Jana Quadros ('22)

Jana is from southern Brazil. She came to the United States in 2017 with her husband and their three kids to be a Portuguese teacher for the dual language immersion program in Cache Valley. She is a 6th grade teacher and absolutely loves what she does. She has always considered learning a new language much more than learning grammar, comprehending texts, and memorizing rules. For her, learning a new language is like a key that opens doors to understanding and becoming part of a new culture. Jana earned her Bachelor’s degree in tourism because knowing new places and meeting new people was her passion. However, she then realized that education was even a bigger passion, and that’s why she went back to college to earn a second degree in Education. She has been teaching for almost 20 years. She loves spending time with her family, hiking, watching movies, reading, and going to church.

 

Matthew Taylor 22

Matthew Taylor ('22)

Matthew is a first-generation college student from West Jordan, Utah. He is a graduate from Brigham Young University-Idaho with a Bachelor’s degree in International Studies and a minor in Asian Languages. In 2019, he married his lovely wife Betty and they will celebrate their first wedding anniversary as Matthew enters the MSLT program. They enjoy traveling, baking, and exploring the outdoors. Matthew has experience teaching and tutoring Mandarin Chinese and English as a Second Language. Recently, he taught at a Chinese Immersion School in Rigby, Idaho. He is passionate about education and hopes to pursue a doctorate degree upon completing the MSLT degree at Utah State University.

 

Brandee Burk 21

Brandee Burk ('21)

With Brandee’s love of traveling, experiencing new cultures, and working with people, it was no surprise that she graduated with her bachelor’s in International Studies from Utah State University. She has studied abroad in Spain, helped on a humanitarian trip in Ecuador, and traveled across Japan where she finally got to visit Ishigaki, the island where her dad is from. While studying at USU, she has worked a few different jobs. Her favorite was being an American Friend, also known as a classroom assistant in the Intensive English Language Institute, where she helped foreign exchange students with their English. From this experience, she fell in love with teaching and decided to continue her studies in Logan and being an Aggie in the MSLT program. When not in the classroom, she enjoys listening to music and playing various instruments, any outdoor adventure, and practicing martial arts. She is happiest when she is with her family, friends, and especially her husband Nathan.

 

Yasmine Kataw

Spencer Chun ('21)

Spencer took a while finding his true passion. After seven years, in the which he changed majors five times, he graduated with a degree in Spanish education and a TESOL minor from BYU-Idaho. After teaching for two years as a high school Spanish/ESL teacher in Idaho, he decided to continue his education at USU in order to further his abilities in language instruction. Spencer married his beautiful wife Cassidy (who people often mistake for Wonder Woman) in 2018 and they have two little boys. They met playing volleyball and have a combined height of 12 feet 6 inches. Spencer’s interests include everything. As an eclectic, he believes the more you experience, the better.

 

Emma Duncan 21

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.

 

Sixin Fu

Sixin (Kelly) Fu ('21)

Kelly is originally from southern China, where she grew up speaking both Cantonese and Chinese Mandarin. She came to the United States in 2015 and recently completed her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology at Utah State University. After graduating from USU, she worked as a Kindergarten teacher for a short time and through that experience discovered that she very much enjoyed teaching. She joined the MSLT program to gain knowledge of various second language teaching approaches/methods with the intention of one day teaching students of different ages. Kelly loves outdoor activities like camping, hiking, and bike riding.

 

Naomi Fujii 21

Naomi Fujii ('21)

Naomi was born in Fukuoka and raised in Tokyo, Japan. She graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Law and worked in a leasing company in Japan. She later had an opportunity to move to Taiwan and studied Mandarin Chinese at National Taiwan Normal University for 3 years. After completing the MSLT program, her goal is to become a Japanese teacher. She likes living in beautiful Cache Valley and when not in school, enjoys spending time with her small dachshund-mixed dog Becky and doing a variety of outdoor activities such as hiking, golf, cross country skiing, and fishing. She especially enjoys ice fishing in winter.

 

Josh Lamping 21

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.

 

Zhen Li 21

Zhen Li ('21)

 

Zhen grew up in Tianjin, China, and came to the United States in 2012 to study in the Counseling Psychology program at BYU. Upon receiving her degree, she started working as a psychologist and finds it very fulfilling. Her own experiences studying and living in a foreign country deepened her understanding of herself as a cultural being and made her appreciate cross-cultural connections even more. Zhen believes in lifelong learning. She took Japanese classes at BYU and went on an internship teaching English to Japanese students in Fukuoka, Japan. She is currently learning to play the piano. She dreams of sharing her culture and language with the rest of the world. In her free time, she enjoys hiking, cooking, yoga, reading, traveling, and music.

 

Rachel Mano 21

Rachel Mano ('21)

 

Rachel is a true bilingual, having acquired both English and Spanish from birth. She has lived in and traveled to many wonderful places around the world, including Venezuela, Puerto Rico, Costa Rica, and Kenya. She loves learning about different cultures. Rachel graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Spanish in 2003 from Utah State University and since then has been working in the business field mentoring and training sales teams. During that time, she gained an appreciation for creating teaching strategies to help others understand difficult concepts. Her husband is also an Aggie and has been a professor of Computer Science at USU since 2006. She has 4 children ages 19, 17, 14 and 11; all of whom are her biggest support.

 

Lingqi Peng 21

Linqi Peng ('21)

Coming from a nation that possesses a profound history, Linqi's passion and interest have long been language and culture. She was obsessed with Chinese and English language and culture learning since she was young. After her undergraduate studies, Linqi worked as an English teacher for children in China and found her passion for language teaching. Teaching for her is a process of understanding and uplifting others and herself. Passion draws her to pursue further study in the MSLT program. She desires to help those who are learning Chinese to know the culture behind the language. She enjoys traveling with friends, doing all kinds of sports, and trying foods from all over the world.

 

Emily Woodruff 21

Emily Woodruff ('21)

Emily received her Bachelor's degree from Weber State University. She graduated with a Bachelor of Integrated Study emphasizing in Nutritional Education and Spanish Language & Culture. Since graduating, she has used her degree to work with a humanitarian organization located in Guatemala and Peru called Love in Action as a medical translator and program lead for in home health promotion. Emily currently works as a full-time seminary instructor for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. She loves her dashingly handsome husband, languages, teaching, and any opportunity to learn something new. 

 

Wanre Xue 21

Wanru Xue (’21)

Wanru is from Northern China. She completed her Bachelor’s degree at Utah State University in Economics in December 2018. In her last year as an undergraduate student, she was a Chinese tutor. After that, Wanru found what she was really interested in becoming a Chinese teacher. She believes that learning any language means to learn the ways of thinking in that culture. Wanru is excited to be a part of the MSLT program. She enjoys hiking and traveling with her friends.

 

 

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.

  

Kaylen Taylor 20

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.