Announcing TIRF’s 2017 DDG Awardees

TIRF is now in its 16th year of awarding Doctoral Dissertation Grants (DDGs). It is because of the help of our wonderful sponsors over the years that we have been able to sustain our flagship program, which continues to grow in size each year. This year for the first time in the history of the program, we received more than 100 proposals from individuals requesting funding from TIRF to help complete their doctoral degrees.

Over the years of running the DDG program, TIRF has benefitted immensely 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 help deserving junior scholars. In particular, we want to acknowledge those individuals who have contributed to TIRF’s Russell N. Campbell fund, which is awarded to the highest-rated DDG applicant each year.

We would also like to recognize the sponsorship of the following organizations which have contributed significantly to TIRF’s DDG program in recent years: Cambridge English Language Assessment, the British Council, Educational Testing Service, and 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.

Including this year’s grants, TIRF has now made DDG awards to 114 individuals from many countries, including Cambodia, Canada, China, Colombia, England, Iran, France, Germany, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Nepal, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Pakistan, Philippines, Russia, Scotland, 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.

We are very pleased to announce the 2017 class of TIRF DDG recipients. What you will find below are brief bio data statements for each of this year’s grantees, as well as information about their studies and the particular TIRF Research Priority each proposal addresses. Please use the links below to learn more about our grantees and their exciting doctoral work.

Özgür Şahan (Russel N. Campbell Awardee) (Language Assessment) is a PhD student at Çanakkale Onsekiz Mart University, Turkey, and is currently working on his PhD dissertation in the field of writing assessment. His research explores the impact of rater experience and essay quality on rater behavior and scoring. He is an EFL instructor and Assistant Director of the School of Foreign Languages at Bursa Technical University. Mr. Sahan’s doctoral supervisor is Prof. Salim Razi.

Alisha Biler (Language Assessment) is a PhD candidate in the Linguistics program at the University of South Carolina. She has extensive experience in language teaching, curriculum design, and teacher training. Her dissertation research focuses on the interplay of cohesion and lexical difficulty and how these factors impact reading comprehension, particularly in the design of reading assessments. Ms. Biler’s doctoral supervisor is Dr. Nina Moreno.

Friederike Sell (Language Assessment) holds a master’s degree in Applied Linguistics from the University of Edinburgh. Research projects she has been involved in focus on pragmatic competence in different speaker groups and the experiences of non-native speakers using English at work, among others. Her PhD project at the University of Bonn looks at the importance of general cognitive mechanisms for foreign language speakers’ pragmatic competence. Ms. Sell’s doctoral supervisor is Dr. Klaus P. Schneider.

Giang Hoang (Technology) is a PhD student in the School of Languages and Linguistics, The University of Melbourne, Australia. She received her MA degree in TESOL from California State University, Los Angeles in 2011. Her current area of research is automated essay evaluation. She is interested in researching language assessment and second language writing. Ms. Hoang’s doctoral supervisor is Dr. Ute Knoch.

Heidi Liu Banerjee (Language Assessment) is a doctoral candidate in the Applied Linguistics & TESOL program at Teachers College, Columbia University. Her research is being supervised by Dr. James Purpura. She has had over 10 years of EFL/ESL teaching experience in Taiwan and the US, and has interned at Pearson and Educational Testing Service (ETS). Her dissertation research investigates the construct of topical knowledge in communicative language proficiency through a highly-contextualized scenario-based assessment designed to simulate real-life second language use.

Jacqueline Grossart (Language Assessment) is an experienced ELT professional with a demonstrated history of working in the higher education sector as an English language lecturer and researcher. She is pursuing a Doctorate of Education at the University of Strathclyde. Her study, An Investigation into Plagiarism in Second-Language (L2) Writing, examines L2 students’ perceptions of plagiarism and ways in which pedagogy can improve authorial identity. Ms. Grossart’s doctoral supervisor is Dr. Karsten Klenkies.

Jin-Kyeong Jung (Technology) is a PhD student in the Literacy, Culture, and International Education department at the University of Pennsylvania. She received her MA in English Language Teaching and Applied Linguistics from King’s College London. Her research interests include digital literacies, transliteracies, multilingual adolescents, and adults’ practice and development of multiple languages and literacies. Ms. Jung’s research is being supervised by Dr. Amy Stornaiuolo.

Kathryn Accurso (Language Teacher Education) is a PhD candidate in Teacher Education at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Her doctoral study explores mainstream secondary teachers’ development of knowledge about language, using longitudinal mixed methods to better understand how language education interacts with new teachers’ existing discourses and emerges in their teaching of disciplinary literacies over time. Ms. Accurso’s doctoral advisor is Dr. Meg Gebhard.

Nhu-Hien Luong Phan (Language Teacher Education) is a PhD Candidate at The University of New South Wales, Australia. She researches and publishes in the areas of TESOL, social policy, educational leadership, and language learning motivation. The title of her study is Teacher Support Needs of ELT Teachers at Foreign Language Centres: A Multiple-case Study. Ms. Luong-Phan’s research is being supervised by Prof. Anne Burns.

Norbella Miranda (Language Planning & Policy) is a PhD candidate in the School of Education at Universidad del Quindio and an assistant professor at Universidad del Valle. Her areas of interest include language policy, curriculum, and autonomy. Her dissertation, Colombian Education Policy for the Teaching of English as a Foreign Language: Its Appropriation in the Classroom, analyzes teachers’ policy interpretation and enactment in the daily practice. Ms. Miranda’s doctoral supervisor is Dr. Silvia Valencia Giraldo.

Shakina Rajendram (English as a Medium of Instruction) is a doctoral candidate in Language and Literacies Education/Comparative, International and Development Education at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, University of Toronto, Canada. Her dissertation research focuses on the role of translanguaging in scaffolding collaborative English language learning among multilingual primary school students in Malaysia. Her research interests include language policy, plurilingualism, collaborative learning, and multiliteracies. Ms. Rajendram’s research is being supervised by Dr. Shelley Stagg Peterson.

Soobin Yim (Technology) is a doctoral candidate in the School of Education at University of California, Irvine, specializing in Language, Literacy, and Technology. Her research interests include digital literacy, L2 writing, CALL, and ESP/EAP. In her doctoral dissertation, she explores the practices, outcomes, and perceptions of bilingual adolescents’ synchronous collaborative writing in Google Docs using a longitudinal, mixed-methods case study approach that integrates text mining. Ms. Yim’s doctoral supervisor is Dr. Mark Warschauer.

Su Jin Park (Technology) is a PhD candidate in Literacy, Culture, and Language Education at Indiana University Bloomington, minoring in Instructional Systems Technology. She has taught freshmen composition to multilingual students. Her research interests encompass language learners’/ teachers’ identity, computer mediated language learning, and adult immigrants’ investment in language learning. She is writing her dissertation under Dr. Beth Samuelson’s supervision.

Tabitha Kidwell (Language Teacher Education) is a doctoral candidate in Applied Linguistics & Language Education at the University of Maryland, College Park. She has taught French, Spanish, and English on five continents to students ranging from pre-schoolers to adults. Her research interests focus on language teacher education, particularly how language teachers are prepared to teach about culture. Ms. Kidwell’s doctoral supervisor is Dr. Megan Madigan Peercy.

Thi Hoai Thu Tran (English as a Medium of Instruction) is a Lecturer of English in the English for Specific Purposes Department, College of Foreign Languages, Hue University, Vietnam. She is also a PhD student at School of Education, The University of Newcastle, Australia. Her research looks at policies and practices of EMI in Vietnamese tertiary EFL contexts. Ms. Tran’s doctoral supervisor is Dr. Rachel Burke.

Thi Lan Anh Tran (Language Teacher Education) is a PhD candidate in the School of Education, University of New South Wales, Australia. She is particularly interested in English teacher education, teacher learning and development, qualitative research methods, and teacher research. Her current research explores English teachers’ research engagement, their learning and development while conducting research in a tertiary environment. Her research supervisor is Professor Anne Burns.

Tobie Bass (Language Planning & Policy) is a doctoral student at the University of Georgia. Her dissertation project bridges the topics of teacher education in ESOL and educational policies impacting immigrant students. Engaging actor-network theory, she problematizes the ontology/epistemology dichotomy. Her southern roots, experience as an ESOL teacher, and solidarity with immigrants in the U.S. Southeast drive her research to respond outside of dichotomous positioning during this polarizing time. Ms. Bass’ research is being supervised by Dr. Linda Anne Harklau.

William Cook (Language Planning & Policy) is an Applied Linguistics PhD student at York University in Toronto. His research interests are in language policy and planning, with particular focus on Arab Gulf States. His current doctoral project is an in-depth ethnographic investigation of the lived language policy experiences of individuals working and studying at a private English language school in the United Arab Emirates. Mr. Cook’s doctoral supervisor is Dr. Eve Haque.

YeonJoo Jung (Technology) is a PhD candidate in the Department of Applied Linguistics and ESL at Georgia State University. Her primary research interest includes the application of experimental techniques from psychology to second language processing and acquisition. She is also interested in different factors affecting the efficacy of task-based language teaching in second/foreign language development. Ms. Jung’s research is being supervised by Dr. YouJin Kim.

We wish to add that for the first time this year, TIRF is including in its adjudication process a category of “Honorable Mention.” Although this distinction does not involve a monetary award, we would like to recognize the outstanding work of the following DDG applicants:

  1. Jungwan Yoon; The Pennsylvania State University; Writing Beyond the Obvious: The Effects of Tasks and Source Texts on Student Writing in ESL Freshman Composition
  2. Sin Yu Cherry Chan; The Chinese University of Hong Kong; Second Language Identities and Study Abroad: Multiple Case Studies of Hong Kong English Teacher Education Majors in a Short-term Study Abroad Program in the UK
  3. Thanh Luan Nguyen; The University of Newcastle, Australia; Investigating Students’ Perceptions of Vietnamese Tertiary English Education

Please join us in congratulating all of this year’s DDG recipients and Honorable Mentionees!