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College of Education > Department of Curriculum and Instruction > Second Language Education > Testimonials from Second Language Education Graduates

Testimonials from Second Language Education Graduates

Paolo Infante

Assistant Professor of TESOL, Minnesota State University, Mankato 

My experience as a graduate student in the Curriculum & Instruction program was without a doubt an opportunity that I would do all over again. I had the privilege to take courses taught by renowned experts in second language education that mediated my understanding of current issues affecting English learners within the K-12 and post-secondary contexts. I greatly appreciated being a part of a vibrant intellectual community that extended beyond classroom discussions and included participating in faculty-student reading groups, invited speaker series, and Penn State conferences. As a current junior faculty member, the teaching and research opportunities that I had at Penn State have been instrumental to my present success, be it through teaching and co-teaching undergraduate- and graduate-level courses or working alongside my advisor on research pertaining to promising second language classroom teaching and assessment practices. I am grateful to have had such an enriching experience with such a talented group of scholars and classmates.

Seunghee Jin

Ewha Women's University, Seoul, South Korea

Since I always dreamed of becoming a teacher and researcher in second language education, I was specifically looking for a program where I would learn theoretical and practical knowledge about second language learning & teaching, develop my research skills that enable me to participate in the academic community by conducting my own independent research, and better position myself in the job market.  Choosing a graduate program in second language education at Penn State was the best choice for me. I could not imagine a better place to be. This program offered me opportunities to expand and deepen my knowledge by enabling me to take various courses that the program provides (i.e. you can also take courses outside of the program if they are related to your research interests). Specifically, I gained knowledge and skills in second language learning through conducting qualitative and mixed research methods and participating in several research experiences.

The length of time it would take to complete the program was an important consideration for me as an international student. By studying as a full-time student, I could obtain my doctoral degree in 4 years. Professors and staff in the program really helped the international students to go through the journey in the program without difficulties. Support was always within reach.  A Ph.D. program is demanding and needs lots of effort but it will be wonderfully rewarding experience for you and your future career, as it was for me.

Yu-Ting Kao

Department of English, National Kaohsiung Normal University, Taiwan

In Second Language Education, students have many ways to customize their doctoral program and many opportunities to work closely with faculty on their research and pursue their own research interests in language learning in the U.S or within other contexts.  Students follow a flexible course plan that allows them to take courses in both the College of Education and the Department of Applied Linguistics as well as other areas closely related to their research topic.

There are also a number of assistantships offered through the program and College of Education that not only support graduate students’ tuition and living allowance, but more importantly, provide an opportunity to connect theory and practice in the university context. For instance, I taught the course, Introduction to Teaching English to English Language Learners (CI280), as a teaching assistant. I also was involved on the College level Diversity & Community Enhancement Committee as a research assistant. These experiences not only supported my personal growth but also helped me to build strong relationship with the students, faculty and the university community.   

Michelle Pasterick

Assistant Professor of Education, Curriculum & Instruction, Penn State University

My time in the Second Language Education emphasis area of Curriculum & Instruction provided me with opportunities and experiences that were essential to my development as a teacher educator and researcher. One of the most valuable aspects of the program was the freedom to choose the courses that best fit my interests. This included the ability to take courses in other departments, such as Applied Linguistics and Educational Psychology. Another important aspect was the opportunity to teach and supervise courses in multiple programs and with multiple levels of students. These varied experiences provided me with a very well-rounded set of understandings upon which I now draw daily in my work as a teacher and researcher. The support and guidance from the faculty was also a key element of the personal and professional growth that took place while I was there. This is an excellent program that prepares you well to meet the demands of working and continuing to develop professionally in the field of second language education.