Current Staff Profiles

Administrative Staff
 
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Melissa Williamson Hawkins - Interim Director


Melissa has a Master's degree in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) from the University of Alabama. Her undergraduate degree is from Samford University in English and Speech Communications. Melissa has taught English at universities in the U.S., Belgium, and Japan. Her international experience includes time in southern Africa, Southeast Asia, eastern Asia, Western Europe, and Central America. Her favorite things about her job are the privilege of getting to know students from all over the globe and how she gets to observe intercultural communication in action everyday. Melissa thoroughly enjoys helping students with everything about adjusting to life at UAB.
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Amy Snow - IEP Manager


Amy graduated from the University of Alabama with a Masters in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL). She received her undergraduate degree from Samford University for her studies in Spanish Language and Literature. Amy has had experience teaching in Indonesia and China, and she was an international student in Spain. Amy worked as a professor of ESL at Gadsden State Community College before beginning her work with the ELI. Her favorite subjects to teach are academic reading, writing, and oral communication skills. Amy feels like she learns as much from her students as they learn from her. She enjoys watching the cross-cultural dynamic of the ESL classroom and serving as a facilitator in the learning process.
 

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Monica Cantwell - Program Coordinator


Monica has a Master’s degree in Social Anthropology from Northeastern University in Boston and a Bachelor’s of Art in Communications from the University of Massachusetts, with a year of linguistics and film studies at the University of Glasgow, Scotland.  Monica is currently pursuing her Master's in Adult ESL Education at UAB. She enjoys working at the ELI because it allows her to help international students adjust to life in the U.S. and learn about their cultures and languages. Monica has taught in Japan, Boston, and Virginia, and has taught and advised students at UAB for more than ten years.
 

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Atkins Trout - Graduate Assistant


Atkins has both a Bachelor and Master's degree in English from the University of Mississippi where he served as a graduate teaching assistant.  Atkins is currently pursuing his Masters of Adult ESL Education at UAB and will serve two years abroad on The Peace Corps as part of his studies. He has five years of experience as an assistant language teacher of English in Japan on the Japanese Exchange Teaching Programme. He studied at the Kyoto Institute for Culture and Language for two summers and his time there offered him valuable insight into the life of a foreign student. Atkins enjoys working at the ELI because it gives him a chance to pursue his passion for cultural exchange while fostering a genuine connection with the international student community at UAB through language learning. 


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Boyang Sun - Student Assistant


Boyang Sun was born in China and studied Electronic Commerce in Shandong Management University. He came to the US in 2012 and is currently pursuing a Bachelor's Degree in Business Administration and Management. He previously worked as an international sales representative. Living, studying, and working at UAB has not only improved his academic abilities, but has given him experience working and communicating with people from all over the world. He enjoys traveling and learning from the practical experiences of life as well as from books. Boyang plans to graduate in Fall 2015 and apply for his MBA. 



Teaching Staff

 

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Kathy Martell - Curriculum Coordinator / Instructor


Kathy received her Master's degree in TESOL from the School for International Training in 1998. She has taught adults of all ages and from over 20 countries, working in the US, Vietnam, and China. She enjoys teaching all levels from beginner to advanced, and courses in general, business, and academic English. She has conducted teacher-training courses through the University of Cambridge CELTA program. As the Curriculum Coordinator and as an instructor, she focuses on students' ability to actively use English language and skills in a very practical way in academic, professional, and everyday life. 


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Amy Craig - Full-time Instructor


Amy has a Master's degree in TESOL/Applied Linguistics from the University of Alabama and a bachelor’s from Auburn University in English Linguistics and French for International Trade. She has taught both English Composition and Irish Gaelic classes, but she enjoys teaching English Conversational Skills the most, including pronunciation and English for business. She likes helping students get past culture barriers and acquire the tools they need to express themselves in a different language. When students are successful, they learn so much about themselves, the differences that can be culturally determined and the similarities that unite us.
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Bryan Lowry - Full-time Instructor


Bryan graduated from the University of Alabama at Birmingham with a Master's in Adult ESL Education. He received an undergraduate degree from the University of Alabama in American Studies, along with Telecommunications and Film. His professional experience includes working with ESL teachers in the Shelby County school system, work as an Instructor at Aeon Language Schools in Japan, and teaching a variety of courses for the ELI. Bryan tries to make learning fun, and his classes often feature games and other active ways to practice English. He is a "people person" and enjoys getting to know each of his students individually.


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Anna Skees - Full-time Instructor


Anna has a Master’s in Education in ESL from the University of Alabama at Birmingham.  Her undergraduate degree is in English from Bob Jones University.  Anna taught English for a year in Tver, Russia, at Vista English School.  She has coordinated many children's camps throughout Russia for the organization Russian Summer Camps. Anna loves the classroom dynamic as students engage each other and interact using English. It's wonderful to see students grow in confidence and ability! She also enjoys experiencing other cultures by getting to know her students.
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Natalie Twelkemeier - Full-time Instructor


Natalie has her Masters of Arts degree in Teaching English as a Second Language and Intercultural Studies from Wheaton College in Chicago, Illinois. She also has an undergraduate degree in graphic design and information technology from the University of South Alabama. She has taught English at universities in Thailand, Kazakhstan, multiple cities in China, most recently at Tianjin Peiyang University for 5 years. She enjoys thinking of creative ways to teach, creating games, activities and visual aids to help students learn, and getting to know students from around the world. Natalie enjoys teaching spoken English and Grammar.
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Dana Cox  - Instructor


Dana has a Master's degree from Mississippi State University in French with a TESOL certificate. Her undergraduate degree is from the same university in Foreign Language Education. Dana taught at the high school level before beginning to work at Intensive English Programs. Since she really likes traveling and learning about other cultures, she appreciates that her students give her the chance to have contact with places where she hasn't had the chance to visit. Dana thinks that the interaction of an oral communication classroom is a lot of fun, but she also enjoys the challenge of explaining English grammar. She likes to see students learn, grow, and accomplish their goals.


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Ronda Culver - Instructor


Ronda received her Bachelor’s degree from Auburn University in Journalism and then went on to Wheaton College in Illinois for a Master’s in Intercultural Studies and TESOL. Before teaching at UAB she taught graduate and PhD candidates in Hefei, Anhui China for three years at the University of Science and Technology. Before teaching, she was a flight attendant for eight years, which gave her the opportunity to visit more than 20 countries around the world and meet people from diverse cultures. That job fueled her desire to pursue TESOL and working directly with international students. She enjoys speaking and listening class and working with students from different countries at the ELI.
 

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Monte Erwin  - Instructor


Monte Erwin received a Master’s in Education in ESL from the University of Alabama at Birmingham. He also has a Master’s in religious education from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and an undergraduate degree from Oklahoma Baptist University. Monte has lived and taught music and biblical studies in the Caribbean and EFL at a seminary in Latvia. Monte enjoys interacting with people from all over the world and experiencing cultural exchange that takes place in the classroom. He is interested in his students’ goals, helping them build quality lives and bright futures not only as citizens of their respective countries but also as global citizens who make a difference.  


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Oscar Garcia - Instructor


Oscar graduated from the University of Alabama at Birmingham with a Master’s degree in Adult ESL Education. He has worked for the Applied Linguistics Program at State University of Nayarit in Mexico, and has taught adults from diverse ages and background in Mexico and in the United States. Oscar has conducted teacher-training courses through the University of Cambridge TKT certificate programs. He has also presented many training workshops in state and regional TESOL conventions in the U.S. and Mexico. As a bilingual speaker, Oscar believes that he can make a difference in his students’ lives because he understands the challenges faced in learning a second language in a foreign country. He is a strong advocate for free voluntary reading, and he believes this is the most powerful tool that students can use to learn a second language.
 

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Melinda Harrison - Instructor


Melinda earned a Masters of Arts degree in English Studies, TESOL, from Illinois State University, and she also has a Bachelor of Science degree in Secondary English Education from the University of Illinois. Her professional experience includes teaching courses in the ELI at Illinois State University and in the ESL program at Heartland Community College following several years of teaching high school English literature and composition. Melinda has researched the academic literacy needs of students transitioning from an ESL program to first-year composition. She enjoys learning about her students’ background experiences and serving as a guide to them in reaching their practical and academic writing and speaking goals.
 

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Rachel Scott - Instructor


Rachel received her Master`s degree in TESOL at Wheaton College in Chicago, where she also got her undergraduate degree. She speaks Russian and has lived overseas for 18 years: 3 years in Bolivia, 11 in Kyrgyzstan, 3 in Thailand, and 1 in Greece. She has also traveled widely to places like Russia, China, Ukraine, Spain, Germany, and Pakistan. She loves teaching adult ESL and being a part of students’ cultural transition to the United States, whether it is temporary or permanent. Because she has been a foreigner in other countries, she understands the joys and challenges of traveling and learning a second language. Rachel enjoys creating student-centered classrooms that are interactive and supportive offering students a welcoming place to learn.
 

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Jonghee Shadix  - Instructor


Jonghee obtained a Master’s in TESOL from the University of Alabama. She got her bachelor's degree from UAB in nursing. She has been teaching English pronunciation and intelligibility for 12 years in the Professional Development Program at UAB Graduate School.  She has presented many training workshops in these areas at various state and regional TESOL conventions in the US and has acted as a guest lecturer in Korea. Jonghee has a love of learning and enjoys the good work environment at UAB.
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Sandra Spillner-Martin - Instructor


Sandra has her Masters of Arts degree in English and Italian Studies, as well as in Media Communications, from Martin-Luther-University in Halle/Wittenberg, Germany. She also has an undergraduate degree in Psychology and Education Sciences from the same school. Sandra has done research in the field of psycholinguistics and is particularly interested in the relationship between thinking and speaking. She has experience teaching both English and German language skills and has also worked in Great Britain, Italy and Germany. She loves the interaction with students from various cultural backgrounds, and her favorite class is the TOEFL iBT Prep.

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Sherine Wahba - Instructor


Sherine graduated from the University of Alabama at Birmingham with a Master’s in Adult ESL Education. Sherine also has an undergraduate degree in tourism from the Arab Academy for Science and Technology in Alexandria, Egypt. Before teaching, she worked in the tourism industry in Egypt and Chicago as an administrative assistant. Sherine loves foreign languages, and this is one of the main reasons she decided to become a teacher. She also believes that she can make a difference in her students’ lives by understanding the difficulties they face in learning a second language and in adjusting to a new culture. Her favorite subjects to teach are pronunciation and grammar.
   email-white-icon iep@uab.edu 
   phone-white-icon  205.975.6638
UAB English Language Institute
EB 126
1720 2nd Avenue South
Birmingham, AL 35294-1250