Alumni News (Fall 2015)

See also the complete listing of program alumni


Jacques Arceneaux continues at City College of San Francisco, where he teaches beginning and intermediate French, and was granted tenure last year. He enjoys living in San Francisco, the wonderful City by the Bay!


Michele Back began a new position this fall as Assistant Professor of World Languages Education at the University of Connecticut, Storrs. Her book Transnational Performance: Negotiating Globalized Indigenous Identities (Palgrave, 2015), based in part on dissertation fieldwork she completed during her time in the SLA Program, was released this summer. 


Carolina Bernales has an Assistant Professor position in the Linguistics Department at Pontificia Universidad Católica de Valparaí­so, Chile, where she teaches courses in SLA and English syntax at the undergraduate level and academic writing at the graduate level. As part of her new research agenda, she has expanded her interest in learners’ L1 use in L2 learning by using eye-tracking (ET) methodology to look at how EFL learners in Chile make use of L1 and L2 glosses during L2 reading. Carolina just had her first article accepted for publication in System. The article is part of her dissertation research and is entitled “Towards a comprehensive concept of Willingness to Communicate: Learners’ predicted and self-reported participation in the foreign language classroom”. Next Spring, Carolina will be spending two months as a visiting scholar at Michigan State University to work with Dr. Aline Godfroid in the Second Language Studies Program Eye-Tracking Lab. During her stay at MSU, she will be participating in ET-related research groups, attending related courses and learning about the ET methodology.


Barbara Bird reports that she is enjoying sunny days year round in Las Vegas, Nevada, and teaching online and face-to-face courses College of South Nevada as Lead Faculty in Italian. She was selected as a scholarship recipient for the National Foreign Language Resource Center’s Project-Based Language Learning workshop this summer. She is currently going through the tenure review process. Since graduating, Barbara has travelled to Italy (twice; in one trip spending time with fellow SLA alumna Betsy Tremmel), Lithuania, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and is planning on Norway, the UK, and possibly Turkey over Christmas break. And she completed advanced certification in scuba diving last summer in Honduras.


Anne Dargent-Wallace is teaching 3rd-semester French and a freshman seminar called “The Reflective Woman” at St. Catherine University in St. Paul, Minnesota as adjunct faculty. In addition, she is teaching 2nd– semester French at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis as a French Lecturer. Anne is also volunteering as a French translator for an NGO called EqualHealth, focused on teaching social medicine to health professionals in Haiti. In personal news, Anne is still living in Minneapolis with her husband Jim and her 2.5 year old daughter Margot. The family is expecting their second child in January.


Peter De Costa is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Linguistics, Germanic, Slavic, Asian and African Languages at Michigan State University. He is part of the core faculty within the Second Language Studies Ph.D. Program and the Master of Arts in TESOL Program.  Peter’s recent publications on language anxiety and researcher ethics have appeared in Language Learning and TESOL Quarterly, respectively. His edited Routledge volume, Ethics in Applied Linguistics Research: Language Researcher Narratives, will be released in November, 2015. A Spartan now, Peter says he misses his days of being a Badger and the buzz of Madison. 


Isabelle Drewelow is currently working as an Assistant Professor of French and is Language Program Director for the introductory and intermediate language sequences at the University of Alabama. This year she published three articles: one in the French Review, one in the Language Educator and one in Language, Culture and Curriculum co-authored with a graduate student. Isabelle received a teaching grant to redesign the curriculum of Commercial French, a course which is now much more focused on developing global and digital competencies. This upcoming spring, Isabelle will be teaching a new graduate course on Language Learning and Technology. She is currently directing two dissertations and had one student successfully defend a dissertation on student motivation and developing pronunciation skills. In personal news, her youngest daughter, Lilou, who was just born when they left Madison for Alabama, started kindergarten and the family recently adopted “Ziggy,” an orange kitty.


Ișil Erduyan, who successfully defended her dissertation Multilingual Construction of Identity: German-Turkish Students in Berlin in August 2015, is living in her hometown of Istanbul, Turkey. She is temporarily working on a post-doctoral research project at Bosphorus University while searching for a permanent position in Europe.  


Paula Garrett-Rucks is Assistant Professor of SLA, Foreign Language Education, and French at Georgia State University in downtown Atlanta. She serves as the Secretary of the ACTFL Teaching and Learning of Cultures Special Interest Group and editor of Dimension, the journal for the Southern Conference on Language Teaching. She is co-editor (with Alvino Fantini) of the 2016 Special Issue of DimensionFocus on Intercultural Communicative Competence. This year, Paula published “Enhancing L2 learners’ reading comprehension with multimedia texts: A cognitive load theory perspective” in the Computer Assisted Language Instruction Consortium Journal. Also, she anticipates the publication of her book Intercultural Competence in Instructed Language Learning:  Bridging Theory and Practice, currently under contract (Information Age Publishing). In personal news, Brian, her husband, has the job of his dreams at an architecture firm on the other side of a city park from Georgia State. Daughter Anika is in 3rd grade and Talia is in a preschool which President Obama visited a few years ago in Decatur, GA while touting his pre-K program.


Shenika Harris is an Assistant Professor of Spanish at Lindenwood University in St. Charles, Missouri. She teaches both lower- and upper-level language courses. She is currently teaching an advanced composition course in which she has incorporated activities based on findings from her dissertation research. Shenika presented a paper entitled “Spanish, English, or Spanglish?: Language choice in foreign language writing” at the Second Language Research Forum (SLRF) in Atlanta, Georgia in October. She has recently purchased a home in Hazelwood, Missouri. 


Atsushi Hasegawa is an Assistant Professor in Japan Studies at the University of Kentucky. He is teaching a Japanese sociolinguistics course this semester, which is the very first course he has taught in English. As for publication, he is currently revising an article for an edited volume on interactional competence. In addition, two co-authored articles on content-based language instruction (also in an edited volume) should be published soon. In personal news, Atsushi went back to Japan this summer for three months and thoroughly enjoyed the stay!


Since April 2014, Chiharu Shima has been teaching Japanese to international students as assistant professor in the Japanese Language Education Program at Akita International University (AIU), a liberal arts institution in Akita, Japan. As the most aged prefecture in Japan (and the world!), with 43.8% of the population anticipated to be over 65 by the year 2040, Akita has proved fertile ground for her to continue research on the language socialization processes of international nurses. Chiharu and her colleagues have developed a project that aims to investigate the manpower needs in major nursing care facilities in Akita and their willingness to employ foreign workers. Her research interests also helped her design her Japanese language course. For example, she chose “aging society” as a topic for her higher-intermediate students of Japanese. Students researched aging in their home countries and in Japan, interviewed Japanese people, and gave very interesting presentations on the results of their findings. They even made a trip to a group home for people with dementia.


Sandra Elena Terra just started a tenure-track job at Mt. Hood Community College, where she will be mostly teaching Spanish in both face-to-face and hybrid courses as well as leading study abroad. She has also just developed an online Spanish medical interpreting program that was approved by the state of Oregon and will be based at Linfield College. In personal news, she said her family couldn’t be happier and their 6-month old daughter, Silvia Elena, is a lovely addition to the family. 


Robin Worth has been an Associate Researcher at the Wisconsin Center for Education Research (WCER) doing qualitative research since 2010. She currently provides technical support, particularly in the area of strategic communications, to the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction’s Educator Effectiveness system. She recently conducted a state-wide needs assessment for DPI’s Academic & Career Planning initiative. She is also an evaluator in a number of projects with the Wisconsin Evaluation Collaborative, a new WCER organization that provides evaluation services for Wisconsin educators, with which she is a key team member. On a personal note, Robin reports that she is now an empty nester and loving it!