People

Julio C. Rodriguez

Julio C. Rodriguez

Director

Dr. Julio C Rodríguez is the Director of the Language Flagship Technology Innovation Center, Director of the Center for Language and Technology, and Director of the National Foreign Language Resource Center at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa. He has a graduate degree in translation and interpretation, a MA in applied linguistics, and a PhD in curriculum and instructional technology specializing in the context of technology use and integration into language teacher education. Within the broad area of instructional technology, he is now primarily focused on faculty development programs, project-based language learning, materials development, online course design and improvement, and design-based research. He is currently involved in a national initiative to infuse project-based learning in the foreign language curriculum. Before coming to the University of Hawaii, he directed the curriculum development division for online courses at Iowa State University, where he lead and participated in several grant-funded materials development projects including an award-winning online course. Rodriguez has published and presented on instructional technology, project-based language learning, and design-based research, including a co-edited publication on design-based research in computer-assisted language learning.

Madeline K. Spring

Madeline K. Spring

Associate Director

Dr. Spring is the Associate Director of the Language Flagship Technology Innovation Center, Professor of Chinese Language, and the Director of the Chinese Language Flagship Program at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa. She earned her Ph.D. in Chinese Language and Literature at the University of Washington. Her research interests are divided between medieval Chinese literature (especially Six Dynasties to Tang prose and rhetoric) and current issues in Teaching Chinese as a Foreign Language (TCFL). In that area, her focus is on curricular design and implementation, content-based instruction, intercultural communication, and assessment. She is the author of Making Connections: Improve Your Listening Comprehension in Chinese, which is now in its second edition. She has written numerous articles about various aspects of TCFL.

She is a frequent presenter (locally, nationally, and internationally) on topics such as curricular development, assessment, teacher beliefs, adapting authentic materials, technology, literacy, immersion Chinese curricular issues, teaching reading, writing, cultural competence, and online communities, and has conducted many workshops on these subjects. Dr. Spring has played a leadership role in defining and disseminating information about the Chinese Language Flagship Programs both nationally and internationally, in China and Taiwan.

Angela Haeusler

Angela Haeusler

Program Manager

Dr. Angela H. Haeusler is the Program Manager for The Language Flagship Technology Innovation Center. She holds a PhD in applied linguistics from the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa with a focus on multilingualism in language planning and policy. Angela has worked with local and national initiatives to foster a positive and equitable climate for world, heritage, and Indigenous language education. She applied her professional experience in journalism and public relations for several years to further the mission of the Hawaiʻi Language Roadmap, a federally funded effort to build a multilingual workforce for Hawaiʻi. Angela has taught courses on globalization, bilingual education, and language advocacy and activism, which earned her the University of Hawaiʻi’s Frances Davis Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching. She has been involved with the organization of recurring Tech Center events at the national level, among those are the LaunchPad and ConnecTalks in collaboration with the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL) and the Flagship Hackathon.

Suzanne Freynik

Suzanne Freynik

Learning Design Specialist

Dr. Suzanne Freynik earned her PhD in Second Language Acquisition from the University of Maryland, College Park in 2015. She has an MA in Linguistics from the University of South Carolina, and a BA in Spanish with a minor in Arabic from Florida State University. She has previously taught academic writing and culture courses in American University’s English Language and Training Academy, served as a language program evaluation consultant for the Middle East Institute, worked as a research analyst at the Foreign Service Institute’s School of Language Studies, and collaborated with research teams on technology-mediated language learning projects at University of Maryland’s Center for Advanced Study of Language. Her research interests include the effects of proficiency and typological distance on second language sentence processing, task-based language teaching in distance- and blended-learning contexts, and leveraging technology to promote interaction in the language classroom.

Molly Godwin-Jones

Molly Godwin-Jones

Learning Design Specialist

Molly Godwin-Jones earned a BA in Russian Studies from the College of William and Mary, an MA in Russian Language and Literature form Boston College, and an MA in Slavic Languages and Literatures from the University of Kansas, where she also taught Russian language. In addition, she studied translation and interpretation at Pyatigorsk State University in southern Russia, where she taught English as a foreign language for four years. In her experience teaching both Russian and English, Molly enjoyed implementing technology projects, such as investigating ways to better learn vocabulary through online flashcard tools. Her current research interests include ways to incorporate digital humanities tools into the foreign language curriculum and investigating methods to improve students’ spoken fluency.

Naiyi Xie Fincham

Naiyi Xie Fincham

Faculty Specialist in Instructional Design

Dr. Naiyi Xie Fincham has an extensive background in designing, developing, implementing, and evaluating online world language courses for learners from diverse academic and professional backgrounds. Naiyi received her PhD in Educational Psychology and Educational Technology from Michigan State University (USA) and her MA in Educational Studies from the University of Warwick (UK). Her research interests lie at the intersection of Second Language Studies, Technology-Enhanced Language Learning, and instructional technologies and design. Specifically, her work focuses on task-based language teaching in online and blended environments, and utilizing the affordances of technology-enhanced learning environments to support language learners’ metacognitive development. At the Tech Center, Naiyi serves as the lead for the Green Ideas simulation projects and the model blended learning course project, and also contributes to other ongoing blended learning initiatives at the center.
Stephen Tschudi

Stephen Tschudi

Technology Specialist Faculty

Stephen L. Tschudi, Specialist in Technology for Language Education, has taught Chinese language at the University of Hawaii since 1988, and prior to that was a translator and editor for the Chinese Literature Press in Beijing. Currently a staff member of the National Foreign Language Resource Center, he is past recipient of an Excellence in Teaching Award from the Hawaii Association of Language Teachers and past board member of the Chinese Language Teachers Association. He has previously designed and delivered teacher training courses and workshops focusing on effective strategies for teaching languages on interactive television and on various aspects of online teaching and learning, and has designed numerous online courses in Chinese language, some of them custom-designed for non native-speaking teachers of Chinese. His areas of research interest include 1) the design and delivery of online and hybrid language instruction, 2) strategies for measuring and fostering cohesion and community in online interaction, 3) the design of online intercultural exchanges based on the Cultura model from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 4) the implementation of task-based language teaching (TBLT) methodology in online and hybrid curriculum design, and 5) Chinese for business professionals.

Richard Medina

Richard Medina

Faculty Specialist in Human-Computer Interaction

As Assistant Faculty Specialist in Human-Computer Interaction, Richard focuses on online learning environments for language instruction and research. Richard was previously assistant professor of Computer Science in the Department of Computer and Mathematical Sciences at New Mexico Highlands University. During his time at NMHU, he was principal investigator on an S-STEM grant funded by the National Science Foundation and co-directed numerous graduate research projects in data science and cyber security. Prior to his tenure at NMHU, Richard worked as the IT Specialist at the Center for Language & Technology at the University at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa. He has published extensively on the topic of technology mediated representational practices in computer supported collaborative learning settings. At the Tech Center, Richard serves as the lead for “Hack The Flagship” and as technology liaison for LaunchPad start-ups. He also contributes his expertise to adaptive and blended learning initiatives.

Aitor Arronte Alvarez

Aitor Arronte Alvarez

System Architecture & Programing

Aitor Arronte Alvarez, Information Technology Specialist, holds degrees in computer science from Universidad Rey Juan Carlos in Madrid School of Engineering. His work centers around innovative uses of digital media and technology for education and research. With over 10 years of experience in IT consulting and applied research in R&D projects, he has architected large scale enterprise and educational systems for national and international agencies as well as for institutions in the private sector in Europe. Prior to joining the Center for Language and Technology, he was IT Demand Manager at the renowned IE Business School. His interests span a wide variety of topics at the intersection of computation and social sciences.
Denis Melik Tangiyev

Denis Melik Tangiyev

Graduate Assistant - Program Assistant

Denis Melik Tangiyev holds a BA in psychology from Medaille College in Buffalo, New York and is currently pursuing his MA in Second Language Studies at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa. His academic interest lies in the use of technology to help language learners achieve their goals. He is particularly interested in seeing how virtual reality can be utilized during the language learning process. Born in Russia and raised in America, he speaks both English and Russian. Although his Russian skills are not as strong as his English, he continues to develop them.
Yoonsun Choi

Yoonsun Choi

Graduate Assistant - Learning Design

Yoonsun Choi obtained a BA in English Interpretation and Translation and a TESOL certificate from Hankuk University of Foreign Studies, Korea. She is currently pursuing her MA in Second Language Studies at the University of Hawai’i at Mānoa. Her experience includes 7 years of teaching English to Korean students in local after school programs as well as in tutoring sessions and 3 years of consulting expats in Korea at Seoul Global Center in order to help them solve their difficulties during their stay. Her academic interest lies in second language speaking and speech intelligibility. At the Language Flagship Technology Innovation Center, Yoonsun serves as a learning design assistant of Korean projects.

Tian Wang

Tian Wang

Graduate Assistant - Learning Design

Tian is a PhD student in the Department of East Asian Languages and Literatures at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa. His research interests include second language acquisition, Chinese & Japanese linguistics and technology-based language education. Tian holds MA degrees of Second Language Studies and East Asian Languages and Literature as well as a BA degree in English Literature. Tian also had years of experience of teaching ESL in a Chinese college. At UH, he has also worked with the Chinese Language Flagship Program as a tutor. Tian is currently working on various projects at The Language Flagship Tech Center as a learning design assistant.
Dmitrii Egorov

Dmitrii Egorov

Graduate Assistant - Learning Design

Dmitrii is a professional teacher of Russian as a foreign language. His M.A and Doctoral Degree (equivalent of PhD) in Russian Grammar are from Kazan Federal University, Russia. His experience includes 4 years of teaching different Russian courses to foreign students in Kazan Federal University and 5 years of developing and instruction of the course in Russian Phonetics in the Critical Language Scholarship Program for American students abroad. As a part of his professional life and development Dmitrii was involved in several international academic projects in linguistics including those organized by Max Plank Institute and University of Helsinki. In the Technology Innovation Center, Dmitrii uses his background and experience to focus on projects related to Russian Language.
María (Mery) Díez-Ortega

María (Mery) Díez-Ortega

Graduate Assistant - Learning Design

María (Mery) Díez-Ortega is a PhD candidate in the department of Second Language Studies at the University of Hawai’i at Mānoa. Her dissertation focuses on the intersection of digital game-based learning, task-based language teaching, and peer-interaction. Other research interests include computer-assisted language learning, second language acquisition, learner corpus research, and teacher education. Mery holds an MA in Spanish from the University of Hawai’i at Mānoa, and degrees in TESOL and Early Childhood Education from Universidad Complutense in Madrid. She has over 10 years of teaching experience in Europe and the United States. She has taught courses in L2 pedagogy and second language acquisition, English for academic purposes, and Spanish and English as foreign languages.
Young Chun

Young Chun

Graduate Assistant - Learning Design

Young Chun is currently pursuing his MA in Second Language Studies at the University of Hawai’i at Manoa. His research interests include second language acquisition and naturalistic SLA, first language interference, and language teacher awareness related to language learning experience. He holds a BA in Interdisciplinary Visual Art from the University of Washington, TESOL certification from Seattle University, and an MA in International Studies from Seoul National University. His work experience includes around 15 years of EFL teaching in Korea and Japan, primarily at the university level, both offline and online.

Flagship Student Advisory Board

Current Executive Committee Members

Kennedy Lee

Kennedy Lee

Executive Committee Member, Student Advisory Board

Kennedy Lee is a student in the Comparative Politics of Eurasia Master’s program at the Higher School of Economics in St. Petersburg, Russia and holds a BA in Russian Language and Civilization and Political Science from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She is an alumna of the Russian Flagship Overseas Capstone Program in Almaty, Kazakhstan, and also completed a summer RLASP program in St. Petersburg. Kennedy has an affinity for languages and is or has once been a student of Hebrew, Ukrainian, Kazakh, and Spanish. She is an English tutor for Russian immigrants to the US and conflict-affected individuals in the Middle East. Kennedy currently lives in Washington, DC and interns at a think tank as she awaits her Russian visa.
Ainsley Gordon

Ainsley Gordon

Executive Committee Member, Student Advisory Board

Ainsley Gordon is a sophomore in the University of Mississippi’s Chinese Flagship program. She has many interests and plans on double majoring in Chinese and Computer Science because she discovered her passion for developing language learning technology through the Tech Center. Currently, Ainsley is planning on developing her own apps to help aid language learners and hopes to become a software developer in the future!
Jessica Rhee

Jessica Rhee

Executive Committee Member, Student Advisory Board

Jessica Rhee is an alumna of the Russian Flagship Program at Portland State University. She embarked on her first immersion experience in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan through CLS, then went on to her second in Almaty, Kazakhstan on the David L. Boren Scholarship. As a recent graduate, she is dedicated to helping her fellow alumni to stay connected with language learning through technology. With years of database and web development experience, Jessica hopes to bring her tech skills to her passion for languages to create a stronger Flagship community.
Hanteng Li

Hanteng Li

Executive Committee Member, Student Advisory Board

Hanteng Li is a current student in the Hunter College Chinese Flagship Program. He is a third year student at Hunter, studying Biochemistry and Chinese. His interest in medicine grew from the internships that he had, including helping people enrolling in medical insurance, using his language skills. His involvement in the community is what makes him want to be a physician, to study the intersection of social science and life science, to employ understanding of social determinants of health to reduce health disparities.
Hasani Arnold

Hasani Arnold

Executive Committee Member, Student Advisory Board

Hasani Arnold graduated from Hunter College in 2019 with a double major in English and Chinese. Prior to entering the Hunter College Chinese Flagship, he self studied Mandarin for five years. He has been an active member of his community via government and politics since highschool. He previously interned at various senate and assembly offices, assisting in Chinese translation and voter outreach. Hasani currently works in immigration law as a Mandarin Chinese interpreter where he assists in asylum litigation. Outside of his professional pursuits, Hasani also owns a photography company, loves classical music, and enjoys language learning— he has studied Mandarin, Korean, and Russian, and Cantonese.
Dina Constantinides

Dina Constantinides

Executive Committee Member, Student Advisory Board

Dina Constantinides is a fourth year undergraduate student at the University of Georgia. She is working on attaining a B.S. in Ecology and a minor in Portuguese and plans on traveling to Brazil for the third time in 2021 to complete the Portuguese Flagship program. As a young environmental activist, she is hoping to pursue a career in conservation and sustainability with research interests in aquatic and infectious disease ecology. Aside from studying ecology, she loves learning languages and is currently working on improving her skills in Portuguese, Spanish, and Greek. She also loves to travel, practice yoga, and sing and believes that having an open mind and heart is the key to a fulfilling life.

2018 – 2019 Executive Committee Members

Benjamin Houser

Benjamin Houser

Executive Committee Member, Student Advisory Board

Benjamin Houser is pursuing a career in animation and writing in various creative settings. His favourite animations are socially and globally aware and still manage to have the best action, humor, and plot seen up to this generation. He is currently studying Entertainment and Media as well as Comparative Literature at the University of Georgia. Benjamin speaks Spanish and Portuguese, and studies Italian, Japanese, Korean and Esperanto. He has a strong belief that you can achieve anything that you set your mind to whether it is learning six languages at once, or showing others that they can learn languages too.
Emily Reeg

Emily Reeg

Executive Committee Member, Student Advisory Board

Emily is a senior at Indiana University from Houston, Texas, and is in her third year of the Arabic Flagship Program. At IU, she is the Student Media Coordinator for the Flagship Program and the president of a refugee organization called Amal Outreach for Displaced Peoples. She joins a women’s organization, named I Am That Girl, that dedicated to building community amongst college students and middle and high school girls and participates in student government as a member of the executive policy team for diversity and inclusion. She spent this past summer in Meknes, Morocco studying abroad and is excited to collaborate with students from other flagships and learn about different, better ways to incorporate technology at IU.
Gracen Blackwell

Gracen Blackwell

Executive Committee Member, Student Advisory Board

Throughout her high school years, Gracen wanted to be an engineer, but after taking Spanish and Arabic classes in high school, she discovered her passion for language, which lead her to apply to the Linguistics program at the University of California Los Angeles. During her freshman year at UCLA, she began studying Russian, and enjoyed it so much that she joined the Flagship Program and changed her major. She will graduate in June of 2019 with a BA in Russian Studies, as well as minors in History and Digital Humanities. In the Digital Humanities minor, she was given the opportunity to work on a topic modelling project, as well as learning HTML and digital mapping techniques. She credits the realization of her interest in technology and computers (specifically programming) to this minor. She hopes to use her love of technology in her future work, and enjoys learning programming languages in her spare time.
Kongfuechi Moua

Kongfuechi Moua

Executive Committee Member, Student Advisory Board

Kongfuechi (Chi) Moua graduated from the University of Minnesota – Twin Cities in May 2017 with a B.A. in Economics and a minor in Asian Languages & Literature. He completed the Chinese Flagship Capstone Year in June 2017 after a semester at Nanjing University and two internship experiences in Shanghai and Nanjing. Before his studies in Mainland China, he had his first study abroad experience at La Fundación de Ortega y Gasset in Buenos Aires, Argentina where he studied Spanish in the Summer of 2014. The next summer was spent in Taipei, Taiwan at National Taiwan University’s International Chinese Language Program.

He is currently studying for an M.S. Computer Science at Northeastern University – Seattle Campus. After coming back from his Capstone Year, it was time for a new path. The tech industry drew him in, but his years of language accomplishments have not been to waste. With many classmates and peers from Asia, Chi’s Mandarin skills have become a very strong asset.

McKay Scott Christensen

McKay Scott Christensen

Executive Committee Member, Student Advisory Board

As a mechanical engineer and a flagship student studying Mandarin Chinese at Brigham Young University, McKay is incredibly excited for the chance that he will discuss about how we can best integrate technology into our language study. His ideas revolve mainly around communication and collaboration. After all, communication is the sole reason we learn new languages, allowing us to better connect with the world. He believes that as we better integrate technology as a foundation for collaboration and communication between all facets of the flagship program, we will maximize our efforts and witness our language levels excel.

Contact Information

TECH CENTER

1890 East West Road

Moore Hall 256

Honolulu, HI 96822

(808) 956-5121

tech.center@hawaii.edu

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