Announcing TIRF’s 2016 DDG Awardees

Fifteen years ago, TIRF awarded its first Doctoral Dissertation Grant (DDG). A decade and a half later, the Foundation has seen its DDG program grow into what is quite possibly now its flagship activity. Over this period of time, TIRF has made DDG awards to 95 individuals from many countries, for example, Cambodia, Canada, China, England, Iran, France, Japan, Korea, Nepal, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Pakistan, Philippines, Russia, Sudan, Taiwan, Turkey, the United States, and Vietnam. TIRF maintains a Google map, which will soon be updated, showing information about our grantees, their studies, and their hometowns.

Without the help of our wonderful sponsors over the years, we would not have been able to report these facts. TIRF has benefitted from the incredible support of a multitude of individuals and partnering organizations. We would like to take this opportunity to thank the many individual donors who have supported our grant-making efforts to deserving junior scholars, including those individuals who have contributed to TIRF’s Russell N. Campbell fund, which is awarded to the highest-rated DDG applicant each year.

Furthermore, we would like to recognize the sponsorship of the following organizations, who have contributed significantly to TIRF’s DDG program in recent years: Cambridge English Language Assessment, the British Council, Educational Testing Service, and most recently, Laureate International Universities. We remain ever grateful for the important contributions these organizations have made to the mission of TIRF, as well as to the broader landscape of language education through TIRF’s DDG program.


We are very pleased to announce the 2016 class of TIRF DDG recipients. We are happy to share a brief bio data statement for each of this year’s grantees, as well as information about their studies and the particular TIRF Research Priority each of their proposals addresses. Please use the links below to learn more about our grantees and their exciting doctoral work.

Photograph - Van BoovenChristopher Van Booven (Russell N. Campbell Awardee) (TIRF-Cambridge DDG; Language Assessment) is a PhD candidate in the Bilingual Education program at New York University. His dissertation research applies a comparative conversation analytic approach in an attempt to better specify how two language learning contexts—the study abroad homestay and the language classroom—uniquely contribute to the development of the ability to interact competently in a second language. Mr. Van Booven’s doctoral advisor is Dr. Lorena Llosa.

Hyung-JoYoonHyung-Jo Yoon (TIRF-Cambridge DDG; Language Assessment) is a PhD candidate in Second Language Studies at Michigan State University. His research interests are in the areas of second language writing, corpus linguistics, and assessment. Under the direction of Dr. Charlene Polio, he is conducting his dissertation research on the interactions among genre, task complexity, and L2 proficiency in learners’ writing task performance and perception.

NaokiIkeda_1Naoki Ikeda (TIRF-Cambridge DDG; Language Assessment) is a PhD candidate in the School of Languages and Linguistics at the University of Melbourne in Melbourne, Australia. His areas of interest include speaking assessments, quantitative and qualitative discourse analyses, and Rasch analysis. His study addresses issues of practicality and construct coverage of an interactional test for L2 oral pragmatic performance. Mr. Ikeda’s doctoral supervisor is Dr. Carsten Roever.

RebeccaBergeyRebecca Bergey (TIRF-Cambridge DDG; Language Teacher Education) is a doctoral candidate from the University of Virginia. She is a former middle school ESL teacher and is interested in teacher training for working with English language learners. Her current work explores teacher learning about integrated language and content instruction in a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC). Ms. Bergey’s doctoral supervisor is Dr. Susan Mintz.

Mikako NIshikawaMikako Nishikawa (TIRF-Cambridge DDG; Language Assessment) is currently pursuing a PhD in Applied Linguistics from the Graduate School of Education at the University of Bristol. She has extensive experience in curriculum development and teacher training which incorporates active learning and the use of language proficiency tests in the classroom. Her research interests include academic writing, language assessment, course design, and curriculum development for L2 learners. Ms. Nishikawa’s doctoral supervisor is Dr. Guoxing Yu.

LauraBallard_1Laura Ballard (TIRF-Cambridge DDG; Language Assessment) received her MA TESOL degree from Michigan State University (MSU) and her BA in Spanish and International Studies from the University of Michigan. She has taught English in Niger and China with the Peace Corps and at the English Language Center at MSU. Recently, she has worked as an assessment intern at the Center for Applied Linguistics and at Cambridge Michigan Language Assessments. Her dissertation project expands upon her interest in language assessment, and in this project, she will investigate how rubric presentation may impact rater cognition and essay scoring. Ms. Ballard’s doctoral supervisor is Dr. Paula Winke.

DDG 2016_ Photograph_Minjin LeeMinjin Lee (TIRF-Cambridge DDG; Digital Technology in Language Education) is a PhD candidate at the Institute of Education, University College London. Her research interests include second language acquisition, instructed second language acquisition, and task-based language teaching, with particular emphasis on the role of cognitive individual difference. Her study is entitled “Exploring the Pedagogical Potential of Multimodal Input-based Tasks: A Study of Captioning, Textual Enhancement, and Working Memory Using Eye-tracking.” Ms. Lee’s doctoral supervisor is Dr. Andrea Révész.

RonaldDarvinRonald Darvin (TIRF-British Council DDG; Digital Technology in Language Education) is a Public Scholar of the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada. His research examines the extent to which social class differences of English language learners shape their digital literacies. He has published in TESOL Quarterly and Annual Review of Applied Linguistics, and is a co-recipient of the 2016 TESOL Award for Distinguished Research. Mr. Darvin’s doctoral supervisor is Dr. Bonny Norton.

DaisukeKimuraDaisuke Kimura (TIRF-British Council DDG; Plurilingualism in Business, Industry, the Professions, and Educational Contexts) is a PhD candidate in Applied Linguistics at Pennsylvania State University. Trained primarily in Conversation Analysis, he studies face-to-face interactions in various contexts and configurations, including second language classrooms and English as a lingua franca in non-instructional settings. His dissertation longitudinally explores the interplay between English, plurilingualism, and nonverbal resources in Thai university campuses. Mr. Kimura’s doctoral supervisor is Dr. Suresh Canagarajah.

TrentNewmanTrent Newman (TIRF-British Council DDG; Plurilingualism in Business, Industry, the Professions, and Educational Contexts) has a professional background in peace education, intercultural communication, academic literacies, and language teaching. He is currently a doctoral candidate in Language and Literacy Education at the University of Melbourne. He is particularly interested in the connections between language, development, and education. Through his PhD research, he seeks to understand what shapes the perspectives and practices of tertiary teachers in development-related disciplines in Timor-Leste, with regard to the plurilingual academic and professional communication skills of their students. Mr. Newman’s doctoral supervisor is Professor Joe Lo Bianco.

YongfeiWuYongfei Wu (TIRF-British Council DDG; Language Assessment) is a PhD candidate at Queen’s University in Kingston, Canada. His doctoral study explores the relationships among students’ perceptions of and reactions to teacher feedback, self-regulation, and academic achievement in the Chinese tertiary EFL context. He received his master’s degree from Shanghai Jiao Tong University and taught English to university students for years before he started his PhD study. Mr. Wu’s doctoral supervisor is Dr. Liying Cheng.

YanChenYan Chen (TIRF-British Council DDG; Digital Technology in Language Education) is originally from the People’s Republic of China. Currently, she is a doctoral candidate in Instructional Technology at the Department of Educational Technology, Research, and Assessment at Northern Illinois University. Her research interests focus on the applications and evaluation of advanced technology in second language acquisition and multicultural education in both K-12 and higher education settings. Ms. Chen’s doctoral supervisors are Dr. Hayley Mayall and Dr. Cindy York.

Curtis_J_Photo Head Shot SmallJessie Curtis (TIRF-British Council DDG; Plurilingualism in Business, Industry, the Professions, and Educational Contexts) is a part-time lecturer and PhD candidate at the Graduate School of Education, Rutgers University. Her dissertation research explores the dynamics of university students’ intercultural conversations in a multilingual, service-learning setting; the potential of a multilingual community of practice for English learning; and the convergences of such an approach with justice-oriented service-learning in higher education. Ms. Curtis’ doctoral supervisor is Dr. Mary E. Curran.

MarianneBlattèsMarianne Blattès (TIRF-British Council DDG; English as a Medium of Instruction) is a third-year PhD student at King’s College London in the Education department, particularly interested in language policy. She has studied and taught in several different countries, including France, the UK, and the US. Following the introduction of a law in 2013 facilitating English-medium instruction in French universities, she is investigating the complex processes of translation, interpretation, and recontextualisation involved in language policy enactment. Ms. Blattès’ doctoral supervisor is Dr. Constant Leung.

Takashi ObaTakashi Oba (TIRF-British Council DDG; Language Teacher Education) is a PhD candidate at McGill University in Montreal, Canada. His dissertation project investigates the effects of form-focused practice and corrective feedback on Japanese high school students’ acquisition of English simple past tense in relation to their analytical ability and working memory. His research interest lies in instructed second language acquisition, task-based language teaching, psycholinguistics, and individual differences. Mr. Oba’s doctoral supervisor is Dr. Roy Lyster.

SimonDavidsonHeadshotSimon Davidson (TIRF-British Council DDG; Language Assessment) is a PhD candidate at the University of Melbourne, Australia. His project title is “Investigating and Revising the Standards Set on the Occupational English Test’s (OET) Writing Sub-test.” The study will consider the judgments of subject-matter experts (health professionals) about the level of writing proficiency viewed as acceptable for safe professional practice. Mr. Davidson’s doctoral supervisors are Dr. Ute Knoch and Associate Professor Cathie Elder.

Head Shot - Angelica GalanteAngelica Galante (TIRF-Laureate DDG; Plurilingualism in Business, Industry, the Professions, and Educational Contexts) is a PhD candidate in Language and Literacies Education at OISE-University of Toronto. She has extensive English language teaching experience in both Brazil and Canada, and currently teaches courses in Applied Linguistics at Brock University and York University. Her research interests include plurilingual education, innovative pedagogical applications, and drama in language learning. Ms. Galante’s doctoral advisor is Dr. Enrica Piccardo.

Headshot_CrissaStephensCrissa Stephens (TIRF-Laureate DDG; Language Planning and Policy) is a doctoral candidate at the University of Iowa. Her research focuses on the interplay between educational language policy and the development of multilingual social identities. Her ethnographic dissertation explores these issues across homes and classrooms in a public school district to shed light on issues of educational opportunity in a rapidly growing ESL program. Ms. Stephen’s doctoral supervisor is Dr. David Cassels Johnson.

LauraHammanLaura Hamman (TIRF-Laureate DDG; Plurilingualism in Business, Industry, the Professions, and Educational Contexts) is a PhD candidate in Curriculum & Instruction at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, specializing in ESL and bilingual education. Her dissertation research explores how everyday classroom (trans)languaging practices shape student learning and investment in dual-language classrooms. She is currently collaborating with K-12 educators to design plurilingual pedagogies that might foster more equitable and heteroglossic dual-language spaces. Ms. Hamman’s doctoral supervisor is Professor Margaret Hawkins.

NicolePettitt_1Nicole Pettitt (TIRF-Laureate DDG; Language Planning and Policy) is a doctoral candidate and Language and Literacy Research Fellow in the Department of Applied Linguistics at Georgia State University. Her community-engaged research centers on the educational experiences of adults and adolescents who came to the US as refugees and immigrants, focusing on the historical, political, and social contexts that shape these experiences, as well as language learner identities and investments. Ms. Pettitt’s doctoral supervisor is Dr. Diane Belcher.

As our DDG program has continued to grow over the years, we have relied upon the volunteer help of TIRF Trustees, as well as many external reviewers for rating the DDG applications we receive. We remain indebted to our reviewers, who work tirelessly to rate applications assigned to them. Many thanks to all of our reviewers!

We hope that you will join us in congratulating our 2016 DDG recipients. We wish each of them all the best as they work toward the completion of their doctorates!