Expanding the Map

Joan Kang Shin’s approach to teaching English as a foreign language embraces children and community on a global scale.

Imagine that you’re an experienced high school teacher in a country like Pakistan, Serbia, or Colombia. Your specialty is English as a foreign language. Your school doesn’t have many resources, but you have a good rapport with your students, and you’re proud of what you do.

Then one day your government announces that English as a foreign language (EFL) classes will now be required for all students beginning in elementary school. You are yanked from your familiar high school setting into a room full of squirming 7- and 8-year-olds still learning the basics of their native tongues. You are willing to give it a try, but you have no idea how to start.s14-feat-expanding

This scenario has played out in EFL classrooms around the world in the last decade, as national ministries of education introduce mandatory English classes at younger and younger ages. And a remarkable number of those displaced teachers – hundreds of teachers from more than a dozen countries – have turned to Joan Kang Shin ’99, M.A., instructional development, and ’08, Ph.D., languages, literacy and culture, for advice and support to make the transition.

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Meet our Newest Alums: Bradley, Snowberger, Jacobs, and Keniston

Bradley2014-6860_modFor many, working at NASA while in school is a dream. Damon Bradley, Ph.D. electrical engineering, worked as the lead computer engineer in the Instrument Electronics Development Branch at the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center.

He also founded the National Society of Black Engineers (Greenbelt Space Chapter) and the Digital Signal Processing Technology Group at the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center. Now, with a Ph.D. in electrical engineering, he will continue his work as Lead Computer Engineer at the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center.

Snowberger2014-7135_modAs an undergrad, Sebastian Snowberger, chemical engineering, earned two Undergraduate Research Dissemination Awards to talk about his findings at the American Institute of Chemical Engineers and received an Undergraduate Research Award. A member of the honors college, Snowberger plans to pursue a Ph.D. in chemical engineering from the University of Notre Dame.

Jacobs2014-0188_modBefore graduating with Ph.D. in statistics, Justin Jacobs earned the highest honor given to the intelligence community in the early stages of their career, the Presidential Early Career Award in Science and Engineering (PECASE).

In addition to working for the Department of Defense as a research mathematician and the U.S. Census Bureau as a mathematical statistician, Jacobs received numerous awards recognizing his efforts. He now plans to continue his work as a research mathematician at the Department of Defense and would like to begin teaching.

Charlotte Keniston, M.F.A. imaging
and digital arts,
already has plenty of Keniston2014-7141_modexperience in her field. A recipient of the Rockvilla F.E.A.S.T. Artist award and a visual arts instructor for the UMBC SUCCESS Program, she has hosted workshops with over 300 participants “to explore how personal food stories relate to the food system and social change.” Keniston is a finalist for the Fulbright National Geographic Digital Storytelling Fellowship. If selected, she plans to spend the next year in Mexico City working with people with disabilities and using digital art tools to tell their story.

Meet more of the class of 2014!