Graduate Students in the SLS Program are working toward their Ph.D. in Second Language Studies. They are listed below in alphabetical order.

Graduate Students in the Second Language Studies Program have a Graduate Student Representative who serves as a conduit of information between the SLS students and the SLS faculty. The Representative attends and participates in the SLS Faculty Meetings, which are held at least once a month during the academic year. The Representative also may attend and participate in specific SLS committee meetings, or nominate other SLS students to do so. The 2020-2021 SLS Graduate Student Representative is  Ayşen Tuzcu. The annual procedures for electing the SLS Graduate Student Representative are outlined in the SLS Graduate Student Handbook.


Magdalyne Oguti Akiding earned a B.Ed. in English language and Literature from Pwani University in Kenya. She has taught English and Swahili languages and literature to Kenyan high school students. She has a MA in Applied Linguistics from Ohio University, where she taught Swahili for 2 years as a TA. Her research interests are in individual differences in SLA and acquisition of Swahili morphosyntax. She is a graduate assistant with CeLTA, where she participates in developing course modules for Less Commonly Taught Languages (LCTLs) under the Andrew W. Mellon grant.

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Alex Alves Egido is a Visiting SLS Ph.D. Student August 2021 through March 2022. He is a Ph.D. candidate in Language Studies at the State University of Londrina, Paraná, Brazil. Alex is the President of the Paraná English Language Teacher Association (APLIEPAR, Portuguese acronym) and author of the book “Students’ Assumptions, Prejudice, and Discrimination in an English Language Class” (2018). His primary area of research is ethics and language education, and he is also interested in critical and decolonial studies.

J. Dylan Burton joined the SLS program in May of 2019 after 15 years working in the field of language teaching and assessment in Japan, Spain, and China. He is currently acting as Editorial Assistant for the journal Language Testing with co-editor Paula Winke. He holds a BA in Mathematics from Hendrix College and an MA in Language Testing from Lancaster University. Dylan’s research interests include the development and validation of speaking tests, rater cognition, and language assessment literacy.


Yingzhao Chen joined the SLS program in Fall 2018. She received her MA in Second Language Acquisition from the University of Maryland and her BA in English Language and Literature from Sun Yat-sen University in China. Prior to joining the program, she worked as an EFL teacher in Beijing. Her research interests include instructed SLA, implicit and explicit learning, and second language processing.

Jin Soo Choi joined the SLS program in the Fall of 2017 as a Fulbright scholar. She received her BA in Linguistics and English Literature from Korea University and MA in TESOL from Hankuk University of Foreign Studies in Korea. Her research interests include second language speaking, language testing, and task-based language teaching.  

Carlo Cinaglia joined the SLS program in 2020. He holds an M.S.Ed. in TESOL from the University of Pennsylvania and a B.A. in Spanish from Saint Joseph’s University. Before coming to MSU, he taught undergraduate courses in Linguistics, TESOL, Spanish and ESL as well as community ESL classes throughout Philadelphia. He continues to mentor graduate TESOL students at Penn completing their teaching practicum. Carlo is interested in conducting research that informs and is informed by students’ and teachers’ classroom experiences, exploring such topics as learner and teacher identity, assessment literacy, and stakeholders’ attitudes, beliefs and perceptions about language instruction and assessment.


Caitlin Cornell is the Assistant Director of the Center for Language Teaching Advancement at MSU. She entered the Second Language Studies program in 2017. She earned her MA in Linguistics (with a specialization in TESOL) from the University of Illinois at Chicago in 2009. She has taught English and trained teachers since 2005. Her research interests fall into the broad category of accessible teaching and learning for language learners with disabilities, and through this lens she explores individual differences, online education, CALL, and U.S. language education policy.

Matt Coss joined the SLS program in the Fall of 2021. Prior to coming to MSU, Matt taught Chinese and Spanish in elementary immersion, summer intensive 6-12, adult learning, and university programs. Matt also worked for 4 years at the National Foreign Language Center (University of Maryland) as a Graduate Assistant and then Second Language Specialist on the STARTALK project. Matt earned his BA in Hispanic Linguistics & Asian Studies from UNC Chapel Hill and his MA in SLA from the University of Maryland College Park. Matt’s research interests include second language (especially Task-Based) assessment, proficiency testing, language program evaluation, instructed SLA, and the interface between assessment, instruction, and curriculum development.

Kevin Fedewa has an MA in Chinese Studies from Valparaiso University and an MA in TESOL from MSU. He has been teaching since 2009 and has taken on administrative and coordinator roles since 2013. He currently leads short-term study abroad, teaches ESL and Mandarin, and directs the ESL programs (EAP, ESP, and short-term programs) at Kettering University. His research interests lie in Language for Specific Purposes, task-based language teaching, as well as program development and evaluation.

Brittany Finch is a Ph.D. student in the Second Language Studies program. She earned her M.A. in TESL and B.A. in TESL and Spanish, Literature, Culture, and Translation from Kent State University. Her research interests include psycholinguistics, bilingualism, lexical processing, cognitive processes in reading and predictive processing.

Steven Gagnon received his MA in TESOL from MSU, and has taught both ESL and Korean language courses at the university level. As a teacher-researcher, Steven works to bridge the gap between research and teaching by conducting studies that are grounded with a pedagogical focus. For example, he has researched Korean language learner pronunciation, which had a direct impact on his teaching of phonological processes. These days he focuses his efforts on investigations of constructions as produced by Korean ESL speakers using corpus linguistics methods. He hopes to use the skills he acquires in the Ph.D. program to explore Korean learner language using corpus-based methodologies.


Curtis Green-Eneix is a doctoral candidate and joined the SLS program in Fall 2018. Prior to joining the SLS program, he earned his MA in TESOL at the University of Arizona and his BA at Boise State University. His research interest includes teacher development, identity, power dynamics in the classroom, language policy and planning, as well as how social class effects language teaching and learning.  

Leonardo Guedez is interested in linguistic variation, particularly with regard to using corpus methods to refine psycholinguistic accounts of learner language. Other areas of interest include studying the interaction between prosody and lexico-grammar across registers, and investigating the cognitive mechanisms of language production in non-native language varieties.


Lee Her is a first year Ph.D. student. She is a recipient of the MSU university distinguished fellowship and has experience teaching English abroad in Thailand. She received her MA in TESOL from San Jose State University and a BA in literature from UC Santa Cruz. Her research interests include learner and teacher identity, learner motivation and intercultural communication particularly within the Hmong community.

Hyun-Bin Hwang joined the SLS program in the Fall of 2021 as a grantee of Fulbright Graduate Student Program. He received his B.Ed. with the highest distinction, and M.Ed. in English Language Education from Korea National University of Education. He was an English Language teacher in South Korea for 7 years prior to joining the program. His research interests include instructed SLA, especially from a cognitive perspective, and language assessment for EFL teachers.


Elizabeth (Lizz) Huntley employs psycholinguistic methods and cognitive measures such as reaction times and eye tracking to understand how L2 Arabic (particularly as a di/multiglossic language) is represented in the mind. As a former Arabic teacher, study abroad coordinator, and textbook writer, she seeks to translate empirical findings to the L2 classroom. Lizz is also the editorial assistant for Studies in Second Language Acquisition..

Joanne Koh joined the SLS Ph.D. program in the Fall of 2020. She received her BA in English Education and MA in Teaching English as a Foreign Language at Ewha Womans University, Korea. Her current research interests include the role of technology in mediating L2 learning and teaching, cognitive processes in L2 vocabulary acquisition and learning, and the cognitive mechanisms under technology-mediated language learning.

Vashti Lee joined the SLS program in 2021. She completed her BA in Linguistics at Brigham Young University and her MS in Applied Linguistics at Georgetown University. She has taught Mandarin, Cantonese, and ESL to adult learners in a variety of contexts, including at the university level. Her research interests include multilingualism, language immersion education, and language identity and ideology. Recently, much of her research has drawn on the experiences of heritage language learners and multilingual transnationals.


Melody (Wenyue) Ma received her MA in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) from Michigan State University and then joined the SLS program in the Fall of 2018. Before her MA studies, she worked as an intern at Disney English in China. Her research interests lie in second language testing and assessment and quantitative research methods. She is currently a graduate teaching assistant for LLT307 (Teaching Methods).


Ryo Maie joined the SLS program in the Fall of 2018. He received his MA from University of Maryland, College Park. His research interests include cognitive psychology of second language acquisition, usage-based and cognitive linguistics approaches to language development, applied statistics in L2 research.

D. Philip Montgomery has worked in education for over 10 years in the US and Kazakhstan. As a PhD student in the SLS program, he is serving as a Graduate Coordinator for the MSU Writing Center. He holds a BA in Spanish from the College of Wooster and an MEd in Educational Policy from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. Philip’s research interests include internationalization of education policy, English as a medium of instruction in international universities, adaptive linguistic transfer and student-centered writing instruction.


Dmitrii Pastushenkov holds a bachelor’s degree in intercultural communication and foreign language pedagogy from Tver State University (Russia) and two master’s degrees from Kent State University (United States): dual MA in translation/MBA and MA in TESL. His experience includes work in Russia and the United Stated in the areas of translation, foreign language teaching, and SLA research. Dmitrii has taught Russian, French, English, TESL, and SLA courses. As a researcher, he strives to bridge the gap between SLA research and language pedagogy. His primary areas of research are instructed SLA and second language psycholinguistics.

Adam Pfau joined the SLS program in 2020. He received his MA in TESOL from MSU, and holds a BA in English, and a BA in Secondary Education from MSU’s College of Education. His research interests include computer-assisted language learning (CALL), automated writing evaluation (AWE) systems, the relationship between technology and cognition, and corpus linguistics as a learning tool.

Amr Rabie joined the SLS program in 2019. He earned his BA in English language and literature from Fayoum University in Egypt. He earned his M.A. in TESOL from MSU. He has been teaching English as a Second Language (ESL) Foreign Language (EFL) for nine years. He also taught Arabic as a Foreign Language (AFL) as a Fulbright Foreign Language Teaching Assistant (FLTA) in MSU. He worked with a diverse population of students in different countries (e.g. Egypt, KSA, Hungary, USA). His research interests are Arabic L2 writing, vocabulary acquisition, and language assessment.

Robert Randez  is an educational linguist interested in the language learning experiences of neurodivergent individuals. Receiving his BA and MA from the University of Texas at San Antonio, he has taught young learners in both ESL and EFL settings. Robert has also been involved in English language education for adult refugees and international students. Currently, Robert is a member of the Michigan Seal of Biliteracy Committee and teaches LLT 307: Language Teaching Methods.


Hima Rawal, as a Fulbright scholar from Nepal, received her MA in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) from Michigan State University. She received her MA and BA in English Education from Tribhuvan University, Nepal. She has served as a graduate student representative on MSU’s College Graduate Committee, College Advisory Council, and College Curriculum Committee. She worked as an editorial assistant for the journal Studies in Second Language Acquisition. Her research interests include humanizing pedagogies and research in linguistically diverse educational settings.


Alexandra Schurz is a SLS Visiting Student in Fall 2021. She is a Ph.D. student and uni:docs fellow in the Department of English and American Studies at the University of Vienna, Austria. She researchers methodologies in teaching L2 English, learners’ use of English in their spare time, and their development of explicit, automatized, and implicit grammar knowledge.


Myeongeun Son joined the SLS program in the Fall of 2016. She received her BA in English linguistics, and MA in TESOL at Hankuk University of Foreign Studies in Korea. Her research interests include L2 grammar acquisition and L2 syntactic processing.

Kiyo Suga received his MA in Linguistics from Sophia University in Tokyo and from MSU. His interests includes Instructed Second Language Acquisition (ISLA) and second language teaching. He is primarily interested in how to develop L2 learners’ implicit knowledge through systematic form-focused instruction, such as input-providing/output-promoting tasks and corrective-feedback. Pedagogically, he is interested in how theory/evidence-based L2 instruction can be successfully incorporated into teaching practice.

Ayşen Tuzcu joined the SLS program in the Fall of 2019 as a Fulbright scholar. She received her BA in Foreign Language Education and MA in English Language Teaching from Boğaziçi University, Turkey. Before joining the program, she taught EFL at college level in Turkey. Her research interests include instructed SLA, task-based language teaching, quantitative research methods, and first and second language processing.

Alyssa Wolfe joined the SLS program in 2019. She earned an M.A.Ed in TESOL from Seattle University in 2015 and worked at a university in Ecuador teaching English. She has also taught in South Korea and the United States. She holds bachelor’s degrees in Journalism and Spanish and an ESL certificate from The University of Montana. Her research interests focus on cognitive aspects of second language acquisition and the influence of first language in second language acquisition. She is especially interested in how to apply knowledge of cognitive aspects of acquisition in the language classroom, either through teaching methods and/or materials.

Monique Yoder earned her MA TESOL at MSU (2008), and her MA in Language Testing from Lancaster University in England (2017). She has developed tests for Educational Testing Service, Second Language Testing, Inc., and MSU; directed the ESL Program at Lake Michigan College in Benton Harbor, MI; and served as interim director of LCC International University’s MA TESOL program. Monique’s research interests include classroom-based language assessment, language assessment literacy, language test development, task clarity in writing assessments, and rater behavior.


Xiaowan Zhang joined the SLS program in 2016. Her research interests include language testing and assessment, language policy, instructed SLA, and quantitative research methods. She received her BA in English Language and Literature from Wuhan University in China and her MA in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) from University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. At MSU, Xiaowan taught LLT 361 (Second Language Learning), LLT 346 (Pedagogical Grammar), and LLT 307 (Teaching Methods) to undergraduate TESOL minors both face-to-face and online. She has also worked with Dr. Paula Winke on various testing and policy related projects. In 2019, Xiaowan worked as an intern at Michigan Language Assessment.