Meet Our Team

Matthew Allen

Matthew Allen

Assistant Director Curriculum and Instruction
765-496-0178
matthew-place@purdue.edu

Matthew Allen is the Assistant Director of Curriculum and Instruction in the Purdue Language and Cultural Exchange (PLaCE), where he and his instructional staff teach English language and American culture classes to international students. He also works with faculty and staff across the university to develop workshops, interdisciplinary programs, and training to support international students and the faculty who work with them. With his co-author Sarah Fehrman, he recently revised their course textbook into a digital text with Bluedoor Labs: Language and Cultural Exchange: A Guidebook. His areas of research interest include second language reading fluency, academic writing, curriculum development, and program administration. He has presented at numerous professional conferences, including TESOL International Convention, the American Association for Applied Linguistics (AAAL) Conference, and the Symposium on Second Language Writing. He has consulted with language educators in Colombia and trained teachers in Haiti on issues of pedagogy, curriculum, and assessment. Matthew holds a Ph.D. in English from Purdue University.

Lixia Cheng

Lixia Cheng

Assistant Director of Testing
765-496-0191
clixia@purdue.edu

Lixia Cheng is a 2014 PhD graduate of the Second Language Studies/English as a Second Language (ESL) program at Purdue University. Prior to this full-time position at PLaCE, Lixia had worked for almost four years in the Oral English Proficiency Program at Purdue, as a graduate testing coordinator and research assistant. During her graduate studies, she also taught a range of ESL/English for Academic Purposes courses including GS490: Reading, Writing and Speaking for International Students; English 106i: First-Year Composition for International Students; and English 620: Classroom Communication in ESL for Teaching Assistants. In addition, she carried out her project of designing and implementing a short-term course on Pragmatics and ESL Communication for international graduate students and spouses, funded by a Bilsland Strategic Initiatives Fellowship from the Graduate School. Thanks to her previous training in linguistics, she had the privilege of being a graduate lecturer in the Introduction to Linguistics course, teaching Purdue undergraduate students majoring in Elementary Education or English Education. Before coming to the US to pursue her PhD, Lixia had been a full-time English language lecturer at Southeast University in Nanjing, China for three years. In her free time, Lixia enjoys working on her research related to ESL teaching and assessment, doing acrylic paintings for decorating her office and sunroom, and driving her children and their friends to extracurricular activities.  

Suzanne Nicolas

Suzanne Nicolas

Program Coordinator
765-494-1090
snicolas@purdue.edu

Suzanne has been a member of the PLaCE team for almost 5 years.  She brought a wide range of experience and skills to the PLaCE program. After attending Purdue for Industrial Supervision and Organizational Leadership, she spent the first part of her career as a government analyst for the Department of Energy and Department of Defense. She then found her passion in the nonprofit world managing conferences and tradeshows for both the technology and agriculture sectors. The latter part of her career she worked with TEAM USA in the sport of whitewater canoeing and kayaking on organizing world championships and Olympic Trials. She has now returned to her Indiana home and spends her free time working on her home and garden projects, going to the dog park with her beagles, playing trivia and supporting the Boilermakers.

Michael Mutti

Michael Mutti

Testing Associate
mmutti@purdue.edu

Michael Mutti is the Testing Associate at PLaCE, where he works under the direction of Assistant Director of Testing to ensure successful administration and ratings of an in-house English proficiency test. Before this, he worked several years at Purdue teaching ENGL 106i for international students, as well as at other institutions in Indiana. He completed his graduate studies in Teaching English as a Foreign Language, and he has presented his research on student motivation and computer-assisted language learning at the TESOL International Convention and EnglishUSA Conference; earlier, he taught several years in Vietnam and Germany, where he worked with TOEFL, IELTS, SAT, TOEIC, and BULATS exams. In his free time, he enjoys travelling around Indiana, the US, and abroad; he also loves watching MythBusters.

Holly Hamilton

Holly Hamilton

Administrative Assistant
765-496-2743
hlhamilt@purdue.edu

 

Armand Afficano

Armand Affricano

Continuing Lecturer
aaffrica@purdue.edu

Armand brings to his classroom extensive experience in international education, having taught academic English in rigorous university programs in the United States as well as in Canada, Japan, Korea, Saudi Arabia, and Bangladesh.  Armand has a bachelor’s degree in International Affairs from Rollins College in Florida and a master’s degree in Linguistics/Teaching English as a Second Language (TESL) from the University of South Florida and has studied Spanish and Italian language, art, and literature.  He believes that global education and international cultural exchange are indispensable in today’s world and that learning about other cultures, languages, and histories makes us all better people.  After growing up in New England, he has spent more than 20 years living, working, and traveling in countries other than the United States.  Now at Purdue University, Armand continues to be focused on helping his students successfully reach their academic and career goals, and when not teaching, he is an avid hiker, swimmer, and explorer.

Mariam Alamyar

Mariam Alamyar

Continuing Lecturer
malamyar@purdue.edu

Mariam Alamyar has been working as continuing lecturer with PLaCE since the beginning of the program. Before joining PLaCE, Mariam has worked in a number of academic and administrative/management positions such as office manager in Princeton University; Education Summer Program, Manager/Coordinator, teacher trainer, and ESL instructor in the American University of Afghanistan; Professional Development Program, instructor, academic coordinator, board member, curriculum design committee member in Kabul University. Currently, she is a PhD candidate in the SLS program at Purdue and her secondary areas are English Writing and Leadership/Management in Education. She did her bachelor’s in English Language and Literature in Kabul University and her master’s in English at Purdue University. She believes that being a good educator, requires dedication, hard work, inspiration, and strong personality in order to bring positive changes in students. She enjoys cooking, reading, listening to music, sightseeing, and helping youth, especially girls in issues relevant to higher education to bring positive changes in their life in her free time.

Heejeon Bras

Heejeon Bras

Continuing Lecturer
bras@purdue.edu

Heejeon has over two decades of teaching experience in English as Second/Foreign Language in K-12 and university level settings.  She has taught on a full-time basis at the University of Northern Iowa (UNI) and as a graduate assistant at UIUC, and worked as an ESL/ENL teacher at Harrison High School for the Tippecanoe School Corporation. She also taught at Jeju National University in South Korea.  In all of these institutions she has worked with a broad range of colleagues and students.  Heejeon has a master’s degree in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) and Reading Education. She has also completed the course work for a doctorate in Curriculum and Instruction (specializing in second language acquisition and bilingual education) at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC).  Her research interests are multicultural children’s literature, bilingual education, second language acquisition, and culturally responsive teaching.  In her free time, Heejeon enjoys reading and writing bilingual children’s stories and spending time with family and friends

Charles Brown

Charles Brown

Continuing Lecturer
brow1863@purdue.edu

Charles Brown holds a BA in anthropology from Ohio State, a BS in English education from Ohio State, an MA in TESOL/Applied Linguistics from Penn State, and a PhD in Educational Policy and Leadership from Ohio State. He has experience teaching English at the college level in Japan, Taiwan, Micronesia, and the Mainland United States. His practice as an educator rests heavily upon student empowerment, especially through fostering critical thinking about education itself. His research aligns with this orientation. Focusing especially on East Asia, he examines the hidden curriculum of English education in these contexts and how stakeholders react in order to better understand the role of English education in either reinscribing or disrupting relations of power in society. His hobbies include stargazing, amateur radio, enjoying classic international cinema, taking walks, and reading.

D. Hannah Bush

D. Hannah Bush

Continuing Lecturer
bush33@purdue.edu

Hannah graduated from Concordia University, Irvine, CA with her B.A. in English and Psychology and later earned her M.A. in Linguistics with a specialization in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) from Oakland University, MI. Currently, she is pursuing a M.S. Ed. degree in Learning Design & Technology at Purdue. In her free time, Hannah studies Spanish and other languages, takes Modern Dance classes, reads, paints, and loves to travel. 

Ty C. Climer

Ty C. Climer

Continuing Lecturer
tclimer@purdue.edu

Ty graduated with a bachelor's degree in social work from the University of Kansas in 2006, but after graduation had the opportunity to teach English in Seoul, South Korea. He taught in two private academies with children ranging from preschool to middle-school age. This is where he discovered that he loved teaching English. He returned to the United States and received his master’s in English (TESOL) from Missouri State University in 2012. He has been teaching at the university and community college level since 2011 from ESL classes to college composition writing courses. He has been working with PLaCE at Purdue since its inception in the Fall of 2014. One of his passions is around the concept of Sustainability, in which he has used to develop a short public speaking course and has given presentations at professional conferences. This is in part to share his framework for teaching as well as raise awareness of this important issue with students and other teachers. Outside of the classroom, Ty’s other passions include reading, writing, and gardening.  

Nancy Farner

Nancy B. Farner

Continuing Lecturer
nfarner@purdue.edu

Nancy has worked in education all of her adult life, with an interest in literacy and the study of the English language. She earned a degree in English and mathematics from Vanderbilt University and a master’s in English education from Purdue University with an emphasis on curriculum and instruction. Prior to teaching at Purdue, Nancy spent seven years at Ivy Tech Community College teaching English courses designed to help English language learners develop reading and writing strategies. She has extensive experience teaching English composition at the secondary and collegiate levels. While living in Caguas, Puerto Rico, Nancy tutored English language learners in both English and mathematics. Away from campus, Nancy likes to spend her time with family and friends. She enjoys a variety of outdoor activities including gardening, hiking, walking her dogs and lap swimming. Last, but not least, she is an avid Boilermaker! Boiler up!

Margaret Hass

Margaret Hass

Continuing Lecturer
hassm@purdue.edu

Margaret was born and raised in Lafayette, but earned her M.A. in International Literatures from the University of Tübingen and a dual PhD in Cultural Studies from both the University of Bergamo in Italy and Jawaharlal Nehru University in New Delhi, India. Her passion for teaching started in Germany, where she taught English and American Studies. Since returning to Lafayette, she has worked at Ivy Tech Community College, the International Center, and in Purdue’s ICaP program. Outside work, Margaret enjoys crossword puzzles, Indian food, and learning new languages. She is also very active in community organizations, and aims to make Greater Lafayette a more welcoming place for all.​

Minsun Kim

Minsun Kim

Continuing Lecturer
kim53@purdue.edu

Minsun Kim is a continuing lecturer in PLaCE at Purdue University. She earned her B.A. & M.A. in English from Yonsei University, Seoul, Korea and PhD in English with a concentration in Second Language Studies from Purdue University. Prior to joining PLaCE in Fall 2019, she taught second language writing in English over 5 years at Miami University, OH. Her research interests include second language writing and communication with a focus on multilingual and multicultural contexts. She believes that the teaching of students functioning in diverse languages and cultures needs a broadened view of language learning as diversified cognitive and sociocultural acts. She promotes an inclusive and supportive environment for students to stimulate their active and positive learning. In her free time, she enjoys building LEGO bricks, riding her STRiDA, and walking 10,000 steps a day. She has recently started a less plastic lifestyle, trying using less of everything to reduce her carbon footprint. 

Stephen Moriarty

Stephen Moriarty

Continuing Lecturer
smoriar@purdue.edu

Following a four-year stint in the U.S. Navy and two years completing a master’s degree in Teaching English as a Second Language (TESOL), West Lafayette native and Purdue graduate Stephen Moriarty spent over 10 years living and teaching English in Seoul, South Korea, eight of those years as a full-time instructor at Hongik University. Helping students reach their language goals in a positive learning environment based on mutual respect has always been his top priority as an English instructor. When outside of the classroom, Stephen and his wife enjoy traveling and looking for new and creative ways to entertain their two children.

Nadya Pimenova

Nadezda Pimenova

Continuing Lecturer
npimenov@purdue.edu

Prior to joining Purdue University, Nadezda (Nadya) worked at Ball State Intensive English Institute. Nadya specializes in TESOL, EFL, second language acquisition, and contrastive linguistics. She is a 2011 PhD graduate of Purdue’s Literacy and Language Program in Curriculum and Instruction. During her teaching career she taught in culturally and linguistically diverse classrooms in Russia and the USA. Nadya is thrilled to be a  facilitator in acculturating international students to the U.S. culture and preparing them for success in academic coursework. Her hobbies include Argentinian tango, reading, and playing the piano. She also likes travelling.

Joseph Sorell

C. Joseph Sorell

Continuing Lecturer
csorell@purdue.edu

Joseph holds an M.A. in TESOL from Michigan State University and a Ph.D. in Applied Linguistics from Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand. He has taught EFL/ESL courses for over 25 years and trained EFL teachers at the undergraduate and graduate levels. In addition to the U.S. and New Zealand, Joseph has worked or studied in the United Kingdom, Germany, Israel, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, the Republic of China, and the P.R.C. His major research interests are vocabulary learning, program design, and cross-cultural understanding.

David Sparks

David Sparks

Continuing Lecturer
ddsparks@purdue.edu

David Sparks has a B.A. in Cognitive Science from Indiana University and holds an M.A.T. in teaching also from Indiana University.  He received the CELTA teaching certificate and the D.E.L.E (Diploma of Spanish as a Foreign Language - Superior level). He spent a total of 10 years teaching English in South Korea, including 8 years teaching college students at Chungbuk National University and Cheongju University, where he offered courses in English conversation, pronunciation, academic writing, and TOEFL iBT preparation. His background is in language acquisition, pedagogy, motivation, and Computer Assisted Language Learning.  Currently he is interested in task-based learning, collaborative learning, and technology in the classroom.  David is also an avid Purdue sports fan, musician, and Star Wars fanatic.

Tulin Tosin

Tulin Ece Tosun

Continuing Lecturer
ttosun@purdue.edu

Tulin has been teaching ESL writing and courses for 15 years and has been very interested in learning and researching about multicultural and intercultural learning besides being a Shakespearean.  After earning her BA from English Language and Literature Department at Ege University-Turkey, she taught TOEFL, ESL composition, speaking and reading courses in School of Languages and Literatures at the same university. She completed her MA at SUNY-Fredonia where she continued teaching English composition. Tulin has been at Purdue since 2011 where she got her PhD in Comparative Literature Program. Before joining PLaCE, Tulin has taught at many units at Purdue including Oral English Proficiency Program, Comparative Literature Program, and English Department. Among the courses she taught at Purdue are English 106i: First-Year Composition for International Students; and English 620: Classroom Communication in ESL for Teaching Assistants, Comparative Literature 266 and 267: Introduction to World Literature. In her free time Tulin volunteers at LARA to teach English for underrepresented groups and YWCA to help women and children. She enjoys dancing and takes modern and jazz dance classes at Purdue where she used to dance with Purdue’s Contemporary Dance Company. She loves to travel, cook, watch college football, and read. She is also a Harry potter fanatic.

Sabina Zeylanova

Sabina Zeynalova

Continuing Lecturer
szeynalova@purdue.edu

Prior to joining the PLaCE team in Fall 2018, Sabina taught ESL, French and philosophy at colleges in the western suburbs of Chicago. In her classroom, Sabina aims to stimulate critical thinking and to foster community building, for she believes they are key to success. Having learned English as a second language learner, French as an undergraduate and graduate student in France, and Arabic as a Peace Corps volunteer in Jordan, Sabina strives to be an example to her students, empowering them to believe in themselves and to pursue their goals. In her free time, Sabina enjoys Middle Eastern dance and choreography, yoga and healthy eating. ​

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