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Profile of Ozge Evcen

Ozge Evcen

Graduate Student, Curriculum & Instruction

Ozge Evcen is a doctoral candidate in Language and Literacy. She is originally from Turkey and moved to the U.S. in 2010. Her research focuses on heritage language speakers with a particular emphasis on children’s language and culture, curriculum design, family involvement, heritage language acquisition, and bilingualism. She has worked as a Turkish Language Instructor for Turkish Studies Programs for all levels in the Linguistics department at UIUC. She has served as a TA for elementary education program courses where she had many opportunities to work with pre-service teachers. Prior to entering the program, Ozge worked for nine years in Teaching English as a Second Language field as a college level language instructor, advisor, curriculum specialist, and coordinator in various institutions including elementary school, a public university and a private university in Turkey. She spent two years in the Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) program at the University of Mississippi for her MA degree. She was an instructor working with K-12 school kids in the Community-university partnership project at the University of Mississippi. She worked for the Bureau of Educational Research at the College of Education to develop an interactive web-based system to establish research collaborations between local K-12 schools and researchers from across the University of Illinois campus.
Profile of Carrie James

Carrie James

Graduate Student, Curriculum & Instruction

Carrie L. James is a doctoral candidate in Language and Literacy with a concentration in Writing Studies. Carrie earned two bachelor's degrees - one in English literature and another in news/editorial journalism at the University of Missouri - Columbia. In 2004, she earned her M.S. in English Education from Queens College as part of the New York City Teaching Fellows program. She taught in New York City middle and high schools for 14 years before joining the doctoral program here at the University of Illinois. During her time in the PhD program, Carrie has served as a consultant at the Writers Workshop, a field supervisor through School and Community Experiences, a research assistant at the Siebel Center for Design, and an instructor and teaching assistant for C& I & Writing Studies courses. Her research interests include teacher preparation in writing instructional methods - particularly multimodal composing pedagogies. Additionally, Carrie is interested in researching educational technology that might support students’ writing development, student engagement in writing and composing, assessment and feedback practices, and how literacy practices move and are taken up by both teachers and students, particularly in secondary English classrooms. Her most recent research focuses on the impact of engaging pre-service teachers in Human-centered design as well as a critical analysis of the English language arts edTPA exam for middle and high school grades.
Profile of Hyeryung Kim

Hyeryung Kim

Graduate Student, Curriculum & Instruction

Hyeryung Claire Kim is a doctoral candidate in Language and Literacy. Born and raised in South Korea, she spent significant time in her mother’s kindergarten classroom while she was growing up. This early exposure to teaching young children led to her interest in early childhood education. After graduating high school, Claire moved to the United States to pursue early childhood education as a profession. Dr. Lillian Katz’s research on the project approach at the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign drew Claire to this institution. After completing her Bachelor’s Degree in Early Childhood Education at Illinois, Claire continued as a master’s degree student and worked at University Primary School (UPS) as a preschool and a 2/3 grade teaching assistant for six years. Claire’s dissertation research explores dramatic response to multicultural literature in an early childhood classroom setting.
Profile of Melanie Marshall

Melanie Marshall

Graduate Student, Curriculum & Instruction

Melanie Kirkwood is a doctoral student in Language and Literacy and an Illinois Distinguished Fellow. She received her Bachelor’s degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in Secondary English Education, where she was also a Ronald E. McNair Scholar. Her undergraduate research on representations of Black girls in young adult novels set a precedent for the scope and focus of her graduate studies. After teaching briefly in the Madison Metropolitan School District, Melanie began her Masters in Reading Education at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Committed to both research and practice, Melanie worked as a Title 1 Reading Interventionist at a local public school prior to beginning her doctoral studies. Drawing from her experiences as a Black girl reader, teacher and researcher, Melanie’s research interests include intersectional diversity in children’s and young adult literature, selection and implementation of quality children’s literature in underserved school communities, and culturally specific literacies of Black girls and women engaging literature. Throughout her doctoral studies, she has served as a reviewer for the Bulletin for the Center of Children’s Books, has taught the Elementary Education Children’s Literature course, and has served as a graduate student liaison for prospective and incoming graduate students. Currently, Melanie serves as the Historian of the Literacy Research Association’s Doctoral Student Group and she is a homegirl in SOLHOT (Saving Our Lives, Hear Our Truth’s), a Black girl collective.
Profile of Kendra Nalubega

Kendra Nalubega

Graduate Student, Curriculum & Instruction

Kendra Nalubega is a PhD student in Language and Literacy. She was born in Rwanda and raised in Uganda, both in Eastern Africa and moved to the U.S in 2010. She received her Associate’s degree from Harper College, Palatine, IL, in 2015. She transferred to the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign where she earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Linguistics, 2016 and continued on to graduate school to receive a Masters of Education in Curriculum in 2017. Her research focus is African-born immigrant youths, specifically from anglophone Sub-saharan Africa, and their experiences while transitioning in the U.S education system. She is concentrating on how they are assessed and placed in ESL/ELL programs, resources made available to them, and the degree to which their culture(s) are included in the curriculum.
Profile of Jaehee Park

Jaehee Park

Graduate Student, Curriculum & Instruction

Is a doctoral student in L&L from C&I. She has taught Foundations of Bilingual Education, Social Studies for Early Childhood, Educational Psychology, and courses related to Korean reading and writing. She served as a co-chair for College of Education graduate conference and been working as a curriculum developer for language courses. During weekend, she works at heritage language school and at Sunday school at her church. Her research areas center on developing educational resources and instruction that support linguistic minority students' language and culture development from schools, home, and community. The topic of dissertation is investigation of voices linguistic minorities (teachers, students, and parents) in gifted programs and how the programs should support linguistically and culturally different students in the program.
Profile of Vivian Presiado

Vivian Presiado

Graduate Student, Curriculum & Instruction

Vivian Presiado is a doctoral student in Language and Literacy and a DFI Fellow. She earned her Masters of Science in Early Childhood Education from Dominican University in 2008 and served as a mainstream and bilingual/ESL teacher for 10 years in Illinois. Influenced by her experiences as an early childhood teacher in the local community, her research interests include learning from the language and literacy practices enacted in home, community, and school contexts, specifically among minoritized children and their families. Her past research has focused on Mexican-American students and families in the U.S. and Mexico. Through her time in the Ph.D. program, she has served as instructor and university supervisor, which have increased her passion and dedication to mentoring and preparing pre-service teachers in regard to working with and validating diverse populations. Her dissertation work will continue to examine, document, and learn from families’ rich language and literacy practices in order to provide a counter-narrative to deficit views of working class families.
Profile of Jim Sosnowski

Jim Sosnowski

Graduate Student, Curriculum & Instruction

Jim Sosnowski is doctoral candidate in Language and Literacy. After earning his BA in Biology with a grade 6-12 licensure from Augustana College, he taught high school science in the suburbs of Chicago before teaching EFL in Central and South America. Motivated by his EFL teaching experiences, he came to the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 2007 to pursue an MA in Teaching English as a Second Language where he continued on as a Lecturer, teaching ESL at the post-secondary level. In 2010, Jim helped to launch Language Partners (LP), a prison-based, peer-taught, ESL program based out of Danville Correctional Center, of which he is now a Co-coordinator. His research emerged from his participation in LP as he and the teachers began exploring how their program contributed to the minoritization and silencing of their students. His dissertation is focused on examining how ideologies related to language, race, and education contribute to the minoritization of adult English language learners. Through partnering with the LP teachers, he hopes this research will contribute to a more equitable and critical teaching environment that will impact the LP community and challenge deficit-based pedagogies commonly used when working with adult language learners.
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