Biographies

Administrators

Elizabeth Driver, Director

Dr. Driver became the MEI director in August 2009. She has a PhD in English and Master’s degrees in both English and Applied Linguistics/TESOL. In her career, she has taught many courses in English as a Second Language, English literature and drama, English grammar and language history, as well as academic and professional writing.

Her international experience includes three years as a visiting faculty member at the University of Szeged, Hungary. She has also led short-term study abroad courses in London and Paris and been part of volunteer work teams in Ukraine and Guatemala. Along with her husband and two daughters, she has hosted high school exchange students from France, Indonesia and Chile.

Jon Malone, Associate Director

Mr. Malone joined the MEI staff in 2012 after over five years of experience teaching at the University of Oklahoma. He is passionate about the connections between research in the TESOL field and applications in the classroom. He especially enjoys the interpersonal element of language acquisition. At MEI, Jon oversees the Intensive English Program (IEP), manages the MEI Multimedia Center, coordinates testing procedures, and teaches in the Intensive English Program. He lives in the College Park area with his wife and children.

Amparo M. Acevedo, Academic Program Specialist & Office Manager

Originally from Colombia, Ms. Acevedo is a motivated and creative individual who especially enjoys the environment of MEI and the daily interactions between faculty and students from around the world.

Jennifer Moore, Program Management Specialist

Ms. Moore joined the University of Maryland in 1994 in the student affairs division and moved to MEI in 2006. She earned her BA degree in Communications from UMCP. She enjoys working in an internationally diverse setting and is inspired by both faculty and students who take on the challenge of teaching and mastering the English language. In her free time, she enjoys the performing arts, writing and sports.

Raymond Smith, Curriculum and Instruction Coordinator

Mr. Smith has been the Curriculum and Instruction Coordinator of the Maryland English Institute since 2009. He started his career in the field of ELT upon completion of the M.A. TESOL program at the City University of New York (Hunter College) in 1993. Since then, he has taught English as a Foreign Language (EFL) in South Korea and the Czech Republic and has held a variety of positions, including teacher, teacher trainer, academic coordinator and director of studies. In addition to his M.A. TESOL, Mr. Smith has also completed the Cambridge CELTA and DELTA courses.

Faculty

Nasreen Abbas, Lecturer

Ms. Abbas got her MA in TESOL (2008) from American University. She is an adjunct professor at The George Washington University, the University of Maryland, and at the National Defense University, where she teaches English for Academic Purposes to international graduate students. She has also taught Writing in the Disciplines at The George Washington University. In addition, she has taught Rhetoric and Introduction to Literature at the Naval Academy in Annapolis and Foundation Writing in the Arts and Humanities at The University of the District of Columbia. She has also taught international students at Georgetown University and at The University of Pennsylvania. She has a number of years teaching freshman composition, and reading and writing in the credit ESL program at the Northern Virginia Community College, Alexandria, Virginia and at Montgomery College, Rockville, Maryland. She has an MA in English Literature from Karachi University, Pakistan (1973) and an MA in Literature from American University (2011).
She has been teaching English since 1976 and started teaching ESL and IELTS in 2000.

Melanie Baker, Lecturer

Ms. Baker first became interested in teaching English due to her love of languages and interest in learning about other cultures. After receiving her MA in TESOL from Seattle Pacific University, she taught in several Intensive English and ESL programs at the community college and university level before coming to MEI in 2012. In addition to teaching in the US, Ms. Baker has taught English in Slovakia and has served as an English Language Fellow in the Republic of Georgia. As a Fellow, Ms. Baker taught English and/ facilitated professional development workshops for English teachers in Georgia, Azerbaijan, and Ukraine. When not busy teaching or working on her PhD in International Education Policy, you can find Ms. Baker spending time in nature or enjoying a good cup of coffee with family or friends.

Cornell Brellenthin, Lecturer

Dr. Brellenthin hails from the Midwest where she earned her Ph.D. in English from the University of Wisconsin—Milwaukee. She also holds an M.S. in Curriculum and Instruction, the thesis of which was the development of an online writing course that was immediately implemented by the Wisconsin Technical College System. She has been a lecturer of literature, academic writing, creative writing, and English as a Second Language at the University of Wisconsin—Whitewater and Harvard University and continues to teach in the English Language Program for the Harvard Graduate School of Arts and Sciences during the summer. Recreationally, she enjoys reading and writing fiction, running or strolling in scenic settings, meandering through art galleries, attending baseball games and classical music events, and traveling.

Dee Broughton, Lecturer

Ms. Broughton earned an MA in TESL from University of Idaho and, as faculty in their Department of English, created their first graduate courses in Research Writing for International Students and Issues for Non-Native English Teachers. She helped to start a school in Mexico, trained teachers in pedagogy in India, Sri Lanka, and Nepal, and served as a Specialist in materials design in Uzbekistan, where she published her sixth English language learning textbook. She specializes in frequency-based vocabulary and teaching use of sources in research writing. She enjoys playing guitar, visiting art museums, and traveling in her rare 4×4 motor home.

Caralyn Bushey, Lecturer

Ms. Bushey holds an M.A. degree in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) from American University in Washington, DC. She has lived and worked in the U.S. as well as France, the Netherlands, the Czech Republic and most recently Russia, where she was an English Language Fellow serving in Moscow.

Marilena Draganescu, Lecturer

Ms. Draganescu is a native of Romania, where she received her B.A. from the University of Bucharest, Faculty of Philology. In 2001 she graduated from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) with an M.A. in Comparative Literature and a second M.A. in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL). As a graduate teaching assistant at UIUC, she taught introductory courses in World Literature and World Religions. After graduation, she decided to return to her home country temporarily and took up employment with the Academy of Economic Studies in Bucharest for four years, where she taught a variety of Business English classes. In 2006, she started her Ph.D. in the Language, Literacy and Culture Program at University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC). Before joining MEI in 2010, she worked for four years as an English instructor at the English Language Center at UMBC where she taught advanced reading and writing classes.

Charles Duquette, Lecturer/Marketing Coordinator

Mr. Duquette began his working career in the sciences, earning a B.S. degree in Biology from Georgetown University and an M.S. degree in Computer Science from Johns Hopkins University. He spent roughly 20 years in the computer industry, first as a Software Developer, later as a Director of Software Research & Development, and finally as a consultant and business owner. Always having done extensive tutoring in Math and English, he decided to pursue an M.A. in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) and was awarded his M.A. in TESOL by American University in 2006. He joined MEI in 2008, where he has taught several levels of Listening & Speaking and Reading, Writing, and Grammar, as well as Advanced English Pronunciation (006) Advanced English as a Foreign Language (005) and Advanced Writing for International Students (007).

Lori Fredricks, Lecturer

Dr. Fredricks moved to Maryland from Atlanta, Georgia, where she earned a Ph.D. in Language and Literacy Education and an MA in Applied Linguistics from Georgia State University. She has worked as an ESL teacher, teacher trainer, and researcher in the US, Tajikistan and Egypt. In addition to working with English language learners, Dr. Fredricks is also a Community Resource Advocate at the Treatment and Learning Centers where she assists adults with disabilities. In her free time, she enjoys hiking in state parks and oil painting.

Annelies Galletta, Lecturer

Ms. Galletta loves languages and students, and teaching English is a great way to enjoy both at the same time. She taught English as a foreign language in Moscow, Russia, after obtaining her Master’s degree from the University of Maryland in Baltimore County. She has also taught English for students at community colleges, for private companies, for new immigrants, and for undergraduate and graduate students at the Maryland English Institute since 2010. Besides teaching, she has also worked as a curriculum developer and program administrator in various learning environments. She is originally from the Netherlands.

Louise Godley, Lecturer

Before joining MEI, Ms. Godley was an instructor in the English Language and Training Academy at American University. She has also taught English to adults at Washington English Center, and EC Washington, DC. She has an MA in TESOL from American University and a BA in History and Archaeology from the University of Winchester in the UK. Ms. Godley is British and also a naturalized Australian, having lived in Sydney, Australia from 2000-2012. During her time in Sydney, she enjoyed working in a multilingual office, which led to her career switch to TESOL. She also learned to play the ukulele, and the cajón, to dance salsa, and to ride a motorbike, all vital skills for a language teacher. Ms. Godley has studied French and Spanish and speaks several dialects of English.

Susan Gould, Lecturer

Ms. Gould has lived and worked as an ESL/EFL teacher in California, Massachusetts, Japan, Mexico and Morocco. She has a BA in English, an MA in Speech and Language Pathology and an MA in Linguistics with a TESOL emphasis. Prior to working for MEI, Susan spent five and a half years teaching English for OPELT, a collaborative program between Ohio University and its sister school, Chubu University, in Kasugai, Japan. She enjoys traveling, playing piano, playing online word and card games, gardening, eating good food, watching television and having alone time.

Rachel Korr, Lecturer

Ms. Korr has taught graduate ESL at the North China University of Technology and undergraduate ESL at three college ESL programs in the Washington area, covering many levels of writing, reading, grammar, and conversation. She has also taught multiple levels of college English composition, in addition to literature and women’s literature. Ms. Korr earned her BA here at the University of Maryland before pursuing her MFA in Creative Writing from the Vermont College of Fine Arts, and she continues to compose poetry and creative nonfiction. Ms. Korr studied Hebrew for fourteen years (kindergarten through college) and French for seven. She actually began her international career by learning traditional sailing techniques on board a giant sailing ship traveling from Canada to Argentina with Dutch and Canadian crew members, but these days expects to do most work on land. In her free time, she loves dancing, taking long walks preferably near water, visiting museums, practicing ukulele, and reading.

Ahri Lee, Lecturer

Ms. Lee found the joy of teaching at young age when her teacher asked her to help her classmate as a learning partner. She received a BA in English Language Education from Korea University and worked as a high school English teacher for over five years. In 2009, she moved to Minnesota and earned an MA in TESOL from Hamline University. Since then, she has taught English to adult students in Somali Adult Literacy Training, MORE Multicultural School for Empowerment, the University of Florida English Language Institute, and a local church. She joined MEI in 2017 and is currently teaching 002 Reading/Writing/Grammar. She loves meeting new people, learning their culture, and also sharing Korean culture with them.

Heather Mehrtens, Lecturer

Ms. Mehrtens pursued her undergraduate and graduate studies at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, holding a BA in Linguistics with Highest Distinction, a BA in Germanic Languages and Literatures, and an MA in TESL. Before coming to Maryland, she taught at Boston University, Georgetown University, Harvard University, and the University of Illinois. She also served as an English Language Fellow in New Delhi, India. In addition to teaching, she has presented and published on various aspects of teaching English such as using content- and task-based methods to teach language more effectively, vocabulary acquisition, and world Englishes. Currently, she lives in Baltimore City with her husband and two dogs. In her spare time, she enjoys traveling, drinking a good cup of coffee, thrifting, and trying new cuisines.

Caroline Thompson, Lecturer

Ms. Thompson started her career in teaching upon completing her M.A. in TESOL at Teachers College (Columbia University) in New York City in 1995. She has taught in many organizations and institutions in the greater New York City area and Montgomery County, Maryland. Her positions have included teacher, coordinator for outreach programs, and program manager. Her international experience includes living and working in France, Japan, and Holland. In her free time, Ms. Thompson enjoys coaching swimming and attending her children’s school and athletic events.

Deborah Turner, Lecturer

As a result of spending a summer in Szechuan, China, teaching English, Ms. Turner decided to pursue a MA in Applied Linguistics/TESOL at American University in Washington, D.C. After graduating, she embarked on a twenty-five year journey around the world as the spouse of a diplomat. Her husband’s career provided her with opportunities to teach English in Jordan, the United Arab Emirates, Taiwan, China, Turkey and Jerusalem, as well as in the U.S.. In Turkey and Jerusalem, she participated in teacher-training workshops for middle/high school-level and university-level English instructors. Ms. Turner is happy to be back at MEI. In her free time, she enjoys hanging out with her daughter, gardening, reading, and dining at ethnic restaurants with friends.

Christopher Vizcarrondo, Lecturer

Mr. Vizcarrondo has a M.A in TESOL from the University of Southern California. He has taught English in academic programs in both the U.S. and Japan. His experience teaching began as a language assistant who helped international students acclimate to life in the U.S. This experience allowed him to help students practice English in authentic situations and guide them to succeed academically and socially. It has continued to influence his teaching style as he focuses on providing students a learning experience that strengthens their English skills, targets their personal goals, and informs them of their civic and social responsibility as global citizens. He has a passion for education, culture, and languages.

Eric Walker, Lecturer

Mr. Walker was educated at The American University in Washington, D.C., The University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop, and The University of Utah. Since 1980, he has taught Writing, Creative Writing, English as a Foreign Language and as a Second Language in universities in Mexico and the U.S. His research interests include heteroglossic writing curricula, critical discourse analysis, and world Englishes.

Eda Aladagli Yoon, Lecturer

Ms. Aladagli Yoon was born and raised in Turkey and immigrated to the United States nearly five years ago. She has since been residing in the DMV area with her family. She earned a BA in Translation and Interpreting from Dokuz Eylul University and an MA degree in TESOL from American University. Previously, she taught Reading, Writing and Grammar, Reading and Vocabulary, Life and Culture in D.C., and English for Academic Purposes courses in the English Language and Training Academy at American University. Concurrently, she was an adjunct faculty member in the the Adult ESOL and Grant Program at Montgomery Community College, where she delivered ESL/Civics instruction to adult immigrants and helped develop the Curriculum Framework for the program. Along with teaching the nuts and bolts of the English language, Eda includes practicing critical thinking skills, increasing motivation and offering positive encouragement as integral components of her classroom. Outside of work, she spends most of her time raising a bilingual baby girl and acquiring new skills to lead her by example