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Natalie Amgott grew up in Melbourne, Florida and attended the University of Florida for her undergraduate and graduate degrees. She holds a B.A. in French and Chinese, with a minor in Anthropology, and an M.A. in French Linguistics. Natalie taught elementary French courses at UF while earning her Master's degree. She specialized in sociolinguistics and enjoyed writing her thesis on the discourse markers of Spanish-speaking immigrants in Montreal French. Natalie has studied in France, Quebec, and China and enjoys travelling. Currently, she is starting the French program at Flagler College, where she teaches two beginning French courses and labs. In addition to teaching for the ELI and Flagler, she is also beginning her third year as a French linguistics research assistant to Dr. Helene Blondeau. When not teaching or researching, Natalie can be found cooking something elaborate in the kitchen, running in Gainesville's beautiful nature, playing tennis, or reading.
Michelle Amos has almost two decades of experience teaching reading and writing, working with learners with varied academic needs and linguistic levels. In addition to teaching with ELI, she is currently an adjunct professor in Academic Foundations at Santa Fe College and an adjunct professor in Education at Saint Leo's University. Prior to relocating to Florida, Michelle taught with the Education and Language Acquisition Department at LaGuardia Community College. Her primary areas of professional interest are in the challenges of online reading and the potential for technology use in supporting student learning.
Michelle earned her Bachelor of Arts in English and Master of Education in Secondary English Education Instruction and Curriculum at the University of Florida. She later studied in the Reading Specialist program, earning her Master of Arts in 2011. Michelle completed her doctoral coursework through the AEGIS program in Adult Learning and Leadership at Teachers College at Columbia University and was awarded her Doctor of Education degree in October 2015.
Yuliya was born and grew up in Ukraine. She holds a B.A. in English and a Master's degree in Education, both from Nizhyn State Mykola Gogol University. In 2006, she graduated from Iowa State University with an MSc in Hospitality Management. Over the years, she worked with very diverse students of all ages (from young children to retirees) and from various cultures. She started teaching English in 1998 at the K-12 level and then moved to a university level. Yuliya has been working at the ELI for 2 years now and is delighted to be around people from all over the world. In her free time, Yuliya likes to travel, read, and spend time with her two children.
Amanda Catron grew up in Columbus, Ohio and attended Ohio University in Athens, Ohio for her undergraduate and graduate degrees. She currently holds a B.A. in French, with a minor in Linguistics, as well as an M.A. in French. While earning her Master's degree, Amanda taught introductory French courses to University students and was named Teaching Associate of the Year. She has also spent time teaching English in Tours, France and acting as the graduate assistant to Ohio University's study abroad program in Avignon, France.
She is a McNair Scholar and first generation college student. Prior to teaching at the ELI, she has held positions as a Success Coach to non-traditional students at Tiffin University, and as a research assistant to Dr. Theresa Antes at University of Florida.
Amanda moved to Gainesville in 2014 to earn her PhD in Linguistics - specializing in Second Language Acquisition. Her research interests include foreign language anxiety, linguistic discrimination, linguistic profiling, and sociolinguistics.
In her free time, Amanda enjoys watching movies, acting as the Graduate Outreach Coordinator for Gators for All Abilities, exploring local restaurants, and entertaining her cat Chompsky.
Scott grew up moving around the US a great deal due to his father's work. He was born in Louisville, Kentucky but also lived in Illinois, Virginia and then, at age 10, moved to Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where he graduated high school. He attended college at North Carolina State University in Raleigh, NC where he received a degree in Spanish. Scott also received a master's degree from UF in Spanish linguistics. Scott has traveled throughout the US and the world extensively. He has lived and studied in Costa Rica and Spain, and also spent 4 months in Australia working and traveling. He has backpacked through 3 South American countries as well as in Europe. Scott completed a TEFL Certification course in Madrid and Leon, Spain with the Canterbury Institute, headquartered on Calle Gran Via in Madrid. He taught EFL for FORENEX Summer Camp Programs (an English language camp) based at the Universitat de les Illes Balears (University of the Balearic Islands) in Palma de Mallorca, Spain. He began teaching at the UF ELI in the fall of 2008. Gainesville has been home since 2003. GO GATORS!
Chak Chan is a native of Hong Kong. She received a B.A. in philosophy from the Chinese University of Hong Kong and an M.A. in applied linguistics from Macquarie University, Sydney, Australia. She moved to the United States in 1995 and attended Purdue University, where she earned her doctorate in English linguistics, focusing in sociolinguistics and ESL with a special emphasis on ESL writing. At Purdue, Chak taught freshman composition and worked in an oral English proficiency assessment program. She also taught reading, writing and grammar at the UF ELI before spending a sabbatical year in 2006 with her family in Hong Kong, where she taught technical writing to graduate engineering students. Chak has two teenage sons and is an active member of the Gainesville Chinese Christian Church.
Divya Chaudhry is a PhD candidate in Linguistics at UF and has been teaching at the ELI since 2011. Originally from India, she has an undergraduate degree in Elementary Education and holds a Master's degree in Linguistics. She is passionate about language teaching and is presently conducting her research on language teacher education in India. When she is not teaching or researching, she enjoys reading, cooking, traveling, and spending time with family and friends.
A native of Scotland, Lynne holds an MSc in Education from the University of Edinburgh. She started teaching English in Alexandria, Egypt, in 1995. Since then, her work in English language teaching, teacher training, and program management has taken her to a number of countries across Europe and the Middle East, including the Netherlands, Belgium, Jordan, Kuwait, Oman, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, UAE, the West Bank, and Saudi Arabia.
Thomas Dolce is a native Floridian, growing up in Orlando and spending the majority of his adult life in Gainesville. Thomas holds a B.A. in English and an M.A. in Linguistics, both from the University of Florida. He originally started at the ELI as a language assistant, but has been a teacher since 2011. In addition to his time working at the ELI, Thomas has also worked in Japan as a high school English teacher.
Outside of work, Thomas enjoys the simple pleasures in life. Thomas is an avid baseball fan and watches hundreds of games every season. Thomas also enjoys being active in the Gainesville community and helping ELI students adjust to life in the United States.
Barbara holds a B.A. in English from SUNY Purchase and an M.F.A. in creative writing from the University of Florida. She received post-graduate training in ESL through the English Program of Laureate International Universities. A former part-time English instructor at Santa Fe College, Barbara returned in May 2014 from a seven-year stint in Lima, Peru, where she taught ESL and English for Translators at the Peruvian University of the Applied Sciences (UPC). While in Peru, Barbara also did reporting for NBC News and the Miami Herald. In her free time, Barbara enjoys hiking, cooking, browsing through bookstores and floating in an inner tube down the beautiful Ichetucknee River.
Stephen W. Flocks received a B.A. in literature from the University of Wisconsin and an M.A. in creative writing from UF. He has been teaching reading and writing at the community college and university level for both native and nonnative students in the US and abroad for over thirty years. Currently at the ELI he is teaching the upper levels of reading and writing to prepare students for graduate and undergraduate work in American universities. In addition to his ELI responsibilities, Steve teaches a graduate-level course, Scholarly Writing, at UF. He has lived in the US, Brazil, Algeria, the Philippines, and Japan and has visited over a dozen countries. He likes to fish, play billiards, and read science fiction.
Matt is a native of Des Moines, Iowa, and holds an MEd from UF. He is certified to teach reading and English and endorsed to teach ESOL by the Florida Department of Education. Matt enjoys creating music, learning about international musical traditions, reading history and fiction, and following international sports.
Barbara Hess Earp holds an M.A. in Linguistics and a graduate certificate in teaching English as a second language, both from UF. She also holds a diploma in linguistics from the Sorbonne (University of Paris) as well as an M.A. in French from the Graduate Center at the City University of New York. She has taught ESL at Santa Fe College and at UF's ELI. She retired from administrative duties in 2010, after 9 years as the ELI's Admissions Officer. Before becoming a language teacher, Barbara enjoyed a long career as an executive in the field of publishing newspapers and magazines in the US as well as in Europe and Asia.
Laura Jervis is a Gainesville native and has a master's degree in bilingual/bicultural education from the University of Florida. She has worked for the English Language Institute since 2012. She has always been excited about writing and languages. She graduated from UF with a B.S. in journalism and a minor in African studies in 2010. Prior to her teaching career she was a newspaper copy editor. In college she attended an intensive Swahili program in Tanzania, and she uses that experience to empathize with her students who are struggling with English.
Melina Jimenez holds a B.A. and an M.A. in linguistics from UF. She has been teaching at the ELI since 2006 and has also taught at Santa Fe College. She is currently teaching the highest levels of reading and writing and listening and speaking at the ELI which she really enjoys because of the diversity of what she is able to teach her students as well the surprising amount she learns from them in return. Melina has served as the editor of the ELI Weekly and of ELI Student Voices. She has traveled to Germany, France, South Korea, Japan, as well as around Colombia. She enjoys trying new foods from various parts of the world and welcomes new friends to try to surprise her with interesting dishes!
Jane grew up in north central Florida, but moved to Tennessee in order to earn her BA in Russian and Political Science at the University of the South. She had planned for a career with the US government, but after several years in an unfulfilling government job, she decided to turn her focus to languages. In 2005 she moved to Vladimir, Russia to teach English and to regain her Russian skills. While there, she fell in love with teaching English, and has been working in this field ever since. In addition to Russia, she has taught in South Korea, Kyrgyzstan, and Orlando, Florida - where she attended the University of Central Florida and graduated in May 2014 with her MA in TESOL. Jane has been teaching at the ELI since May 2014, and currently lives in High Springs, FL with her numerous dogs and cats.
Deborah first became a Gator and an English aficionado
during her undergraduate years at UF. After marrying her husband, a
Gator engineering grad, she continued her education at Florida
International University in Miami and earned her master's degree in
Patrick Klager graduated from UF in 2008 with a BS in business administration, a B.A. in linguistics, and a minor in TESL. For the past two years, he has been in Shenzhen, China, teaching English to Chinese children, ages 11-15. It truly was an amazing experience. In addition to teaching in China, he also traveled around South East Asia. Patrick visited places in Thailand, Indonesia, The Philippines, and Malaysia. All of these countries are unique and it was great to experience and explore what they have to offer, especially the food. Now that he is back from China, he is in the linguistics graduate program at UF and will graduate in the Spring 2013 semester. He is very excited to be working at the ELI again and looks forward to meeting his students and having a great term!
Lisa Levine is a native New Yorker, with a Master's in Adult Education from Teachers College, Columbia University. She began her ESL career in the early 1990s, teaching refugees recently arrived from the former Soviet Union. She has taught immigrants from many countries in a variety of settings, such as community colleges and refugee resettlement organizations. From 2007-2011, she was a teacher trainer and university instructor in South Korea. Upon returning to the U.S., she taught in an Intensive English Program at Michigan State University. She is very happy to be in a warmer climate here in Gainesville.
Samaneh Moayedi grew up in Iran and moved to Gainesville to study at UF in 2012. She completed her master's degree in education in May 2014. Prior to that, she earned a bachelor's degree in English translation from Azad University in Qaemshahr, Iran, and served as an EFL teacher for six years in Iran. She is currently enrolled in the SLAT Certificate program in the UF Department of Linguistics. In addition to English, she speaks Farsi and Urdu.
Samaneh enjoys traveling and exploring the culture, language, and customs of other countries. She has visited France, Belgium, Greece, the Netherlands, Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, Turkey, India, and the United Arab Emirates. She also enjoys going to the beach and spending time with her husband and seven-year-old son.
Negar Ariana Mohammadi received her B.A. in translation and her B.S. in agricultural engineering (food industry) from Science and Research Branch of Azad University in Iran, and her M.A. in TESOL from West Virginia University. She also studied French for two years, and earned a diplôme d'études en langue française. Ariana is currently a Ph.D. student of linguistics at University of Florida, and her research interests include second language acquisition and second language sociolinguistic competency. Prior to teaching at the ELI, she worked as an EFL educator for two years and as an ESL instructor for three years.
Olha (called Olga in the US) is from Ukraine and speaks
her native language, Ukrainian. She received her M.A. from Cherkasy State
University in her home country. Olga also spent a year at the
University of Tennessee on a fellowship for international educators.
Olga is fluent in English and Russian and has had some training in
German. She taught English as a foreign language in Ukrainian public
schools before teaching at the university level for 15 years.
Jenna Nishida earned her B.A. & M.A. in English and her Ed.S. in Instruction & Curriculum from the University of Florida. She is currently studying graduate-level TESOL through the University of North Florida. She is a certified public school English teacher with experience teaching American secondary school and college students. She was born in New York State but grew up in England, Virginia, Kansas, Texas, and Florida. She has also lived briefly in Belgium and Spain and has traveled in Japan, the U.K., France, the Netherlands, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Italy, Romania, Canada, and all over the U.S.A. She loves studying literature and poetry, English, and the history of English, as well as many other languages, including Spanish and Arabic.
Tom Ratican is a proud alumnus of UF. He did his undergraduate work in the College of Education and briefly taught high school French and Spanish in Jacksonville, Florida. After spending 3 years in the Army, including 16 months in Turkey, Tom came back to UF to do graduate work. He received a master's degree in French with a minor in linguistics. Tom did additional course work in the teaching of English to speakers of other languages at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. He then taught ESL part time for 2 years at Howard Community College in Columbia, Maryland. After receiving his master's degree, Tom worked for 30 years as a translator for the US government, translating French to English and Spanish to English. He loves languages and learning about the cultures of other countries. Tom has been back at his alma mater and teaching part-time for the ELI since 2004.
Raquel started at the ELI as a Language Assistant in Spring 2010. She graduated with her B.A. in English and a minor and certificate in TESL from UF in 2012. After finishing her B.A., she lived in a small, rural Japanese town where she taught English to children and teenagers all over the prefecture. She returned in 2013 to complete her M.A. in Curriculum and Instruction, specializing in Bilingual/ESOL Education. Now she is an adjunct professor at the ELI and hopes to be a part of the ELI family for a long time. When she is not thinking about her classes, teaching, and her students, she likes to spend time watching movies, taking photos, baking, and being with loved ones. Teaching is her passion, and she hopes to help her students succeed in every way even after they have left the ELI.
Sandra was born and raised in Ottawa, Canada. Both her parents immigrated to Canada from Beirut, Lebanon. Growing up, in a bilingual household and learning French in school, she became trilingual at an early age. Later, she moved to Florida where she attended College in St.Petersburg, Florida. Sandra met her husband in Tampa, Florida and then moved with him to Detroit, Michigan, where they both pursued their graduate degrees. While attaining her M.Ed in Bilingual/Bicultural Education from Wayne State University, Sandra participated in a study abroad program where she travelled to various parts of Spain, and studied the Moorish influence on Spanish culture. Traveling was very much a part of her and her husband's lives, and together, they travelled to over 35 countries. Some of her favorite travels were to Lebanon, Peru, Tunisia, Syria, Morocco, Italy, France, Ireland, Scotland, Colombia, Venezuela, Panama, Mexico, Portugal, England, Monaco and the Dominican Republic. Sandra has two children, a boy named Kinan and a girl named Alyssa, and she speaks Arabic with both of them. Sandra is a new core faculty member who has over 6 years of ESL teaching experience and who feels passionate about teaching academic English to international students.
Jennifer Schroeder has her MEd in curriculum and instruction from George Mason University. She grew up in Florida and Georgia. She just recently returned to the US after living and teaching in Turkey for the past ten years. She loves traveling and learning about different cultures. She has been to Russia, England, Scotland, Wales, France, Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Spain, Greece and Bulgaria.
Maya Shastri grew up in Little Rock, Arkansas in a multi-cultural household. An avid interest in language and culture led her to earn a B.A. double major in German and anthropology from the University of Arkansas and an M.A. in German from Penn State University. She taught both English as a foreign language and German before joining the UF ELI team. She has lived abroad in such exotic places as Bremen, Germany and Ulukhaktok, Northwest Territories, in the Canadian High Arctic.
Victoria is a south Florida native who earned both her Bachelor and Master of Arts degrees in linguistics from the University of Florida. She began her time at the ELI as a Language Assistant in 2008. Helping people achieve their goals is her passion, and she greatly values the opportunity as an ESL instructor in the US to meet and invest in people from all over the world.
Christine hails from Jacksonville, Florida, and is a recent graduate from UF. She holds an M.Ed. in ESOL/bilingual education and a BFA in theatre arts. Prior to teaching at the ELI, she taught English for four years in Seoul, South Korea. During that time, she was able to travel to many different countries and learn about various cultures. Other than travel and culture, Christine also enjoys cooking, live music, movies, and theater. In the future, she hopes to continue her travels by teaching English abroad, and eventually visit every continent in the world.
Prior to completing her MEd at the Hankuk University of Foreign Studies in South Korea, Zoe completed her undergraduate studies at the University of Maryland, and has been teaching EFL at Kwangwoon University, also in South Korea, for the last six years. Her familiarity with her students' difficulties speaking English has helped her excel. Zoe is a passionate educator, who, as a non-native speaker of English herself, understands the struggles of ESL students and is sensitive to their needs.