MIIS Alumni: Back Row: Don Sillings, Larry Lawson, Tammy Wik, Jeff Madison. Middle Row: Gary Sosa, Karen Hamilton, Celeste Coleman, Belinda Braunstein. Front Row: Erin Butler, Chigusa Katoku.
Many MIIS graduates, students, and faculty attended the 44th Annual CATESOL Conference two weeks ago in San Diego. The conference is for TESOL professionals in California, and the theme this year was “Riding the Waves of Success,” which dealt with the challenges and achievements educators and students face when teaching or learning English. The event included pre‑conference institutes, multiple plenaries, featured speakers, level and interest group workshops, poster sessions, an electronic village, and general sessions for every level of ESL. Highlights of the conference were the opening plenary, the Thursday evening reception, the Presidential Luncheon on Friday, and the Saturday Night Sizzle.
The event was a great opportunity for all TESOL educators and students to come together, especially current and past TESOL educators and students from MIIS. Many MIIS students, graduates, and faculty attended the event, including Tammy Wik, MA TESOL ‘10, who is currently the English Language Fellow Program (ELF) Regional Recruitment Coordinator for MIIS, and Celeste Coleman, also a TESOL graduate and English Language Fellow (see picture, right). All of the MIIS graduates met up and hung out at the Saturday Night Sizzle, which was a fun 2-hour social event on the last night of the conference (see featured picture above, with captions). Considering there were only about 100 total people who attended the social hour, there was a great turn out of MIIS people at the event.
Caroline Fuchs, an alumna of the MIIS MATESOL program, recently published a memorial piece for the late Dr. Leo van Lier. According to Caroline, “words can’t do justice to the wisdom that Leo encompassed for those who were fortunate enough to have known him. This is my humble attempt at expressing my thoughts.”
If you would like to read the piece in its entirety, you can download it here.
MIIS Professors Barry Slaughter Olsen and Jacolyn Harmer were invited to participate in the annual Clifford Symposium at Middlebury last week. The topic of this year’s Symposium was “Translation in A Global Community: Theory and Practice.” As part of this event, Middlebury brought in faculty from MIIS to work together with Middlebury students. The Middlebury students were invited to try their hand at interpretation with coaching from Olsen and Harmer. (see video)
From an interpretation booth on stage, two MIIS graduates were interpreting the keynote speaker’s address into Chinese for audience members.
For the third consecutive summer, Professor Cas Shulman-Mora taught and directed the International Conference Interpretation Practicum at the Universidad Internacional Menéndez Pelayo in Santander, Spain. She was joined again this summer by teaching assistant Arielle Weisman (MATI 2011). This year, the course included a large contingent of current MIIS students and alumni: Susana Piñón (MACI 1999), Laura Merino (MACI 2011), Katerina Borghi (MATI candidate 2014), and Miguel García (MACI candidate 2014).
During the two-week course, Spaniards who recently graduated from interpretation programs at local universities, as well as professional interpreters from Belgium and Romania, worked alongside the MIIS students and graduates interpreting in mute booths at live conferences held at the seaside Spanish conference center. One of the bonuses of having such a diverse group of participants was that the MIIS students had the chance to network with Monterey Institute alums who are already active in the Spanish market, as well as other interpreters who primarily work at the European institutions.
The conferences covered a wide variety of topics, such as smart cities, psychology, immigration policy, and how to write a crime novel. Exposure to high-level material enabled participants to hone their skills in an authentic environment while receiving extensive feedback on their interpretation. Because the conference topics change every summer, some interpreters have even opted to repeat the course two years in a row.
All in all, the camaraderie and conference material—not to mention living and working in a turn-of-the-century former royal palace located on the scenic northern coast of Spain—made this summer practicum an informative and enjoyable experience for students and working professionals alike.
In an email update, TESOL alum Brandy Barter shared some good news. She recently accepted an ESL instructor position at Millikin University–a small private college in central Illinois. It is also only 30 minutes from her hometown. In the interview, she bonded with the director of the program, Steven Hales, a fellow MIIS TESOL alum, over all the TESOL professors. It’s great to see the MIIS network in action!
Jeff Fowler (MA TESOL ’12) and Kimby Murakami (MA TESOL ’12) travelled to India to work for fellow MIIS Alum Tarana Patel’s (MA TESOL ’06) education organization, LearnEd, at Sankalchand Patel Colleges in Visnagar. They each taught two classes in the intensive English program at the college. In addition, the duo collaborated to present English for specific purposes (ESP) courses to engineering faculty.
Fowler taught English to undergraduate students with high-beginner to low-intermediate proficiency majoring in Computer Application, Business Administration, and Natural Sciences. Murakami taught undergraduate and graduate students with intermediate to advanced English proficiency majoring in Dentistry, Pharmacology, Engineering, and Computer Application. Each course incorporated a community outreach component chosen by the students. In team of two to three, students taught a 45-minute lesson to students in grades 1 through 5.
Fowler and Murakami reported that the students were enthusiastic to practice English and to share their culture with the foreign teachers. Both teachers enjoyed participating in Indian festivals (e.g., Kite Festival, Festival of Colors), exploring the ancient buildings in nearby towns, and sampling the culinary delights available in India.
Murakami heads back to India this month with MIIS alum Angie Petinos (MA TESOL ’12) to work in a 6-month teacher training program offered by LearnEd at Divine Child International School.