This year marks the 18th consecutive year TIRF has offered its Doctoral Dissertation Grants (DDG) program to doctoral candidates around the world. With the support of our partners – Cambridge Assessment English, the British Council, and Educational Testing Service, Inc. – along with many individual donors, TIRF has recently completed the process of awarding a total of US $40,000 to 14 grantees from six different countries: China, Colombia, Italy, New Zealand, South Korea, and the USA.

Including this year’s grantees, TIRF has now awarded a total of more than US $400,000 via its DDG program to 145 individuals from nearly 30 countries. 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 are very pleased to announce the 2019 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 Topic each study addresses. Please use the links below to learn more about our grantees and their exciting doctoral work!

  • Name & Bio: Amy Kim is a doctoral candidate in the Department of Linguistics at Georgetown University. Her dissertation aims to demonstrate how the discourses surrounding university’s post-entry language assessment policies reflect and shape particular realities for international graduate students, and analyze its value implications and social consequences in the context of U.S. higher education.
  • TIRF Research Topic Investigated: Language Planning & Policy
  • Project Title: Rethinking Post-Entry Language Assessment Policies in U.S. Higher Education: A Socially Responsible Approach
  • Name & Bio: Angélica Montoya-Ávila is a PhD Candidate, specializing in Language, Literacy, and Social Inquiry at the University of Maryland, College Park. She was born in Bogotá, Colombia, and has taught English as a second and foreign language to children, adolescents, and adults. Her dissertation research examines how immigrant teenagers in the US perceive and engage in multilingual writing while conducting research.
  • TIRF Research Topics Investigated: Migrants & Refugees – Teaching and Assessing English; Plurilingualism in Business, Industry, the Professions, and Educational Contexts
  • Project Title: Newcomer High Schoolers’ Writing Development through Participatory Action Research
  • Name & Bio: Bingjie Zheng is a Ph.D. candidate in Second Language Acquisition, minoring in Curriculum and Instruction, at the University of Wisconsin – Madison. Her research interests include linguistic anthropology, classroom discourse analysis, and bi/multilingualism. Her dissertation research investigates the classroom discourses of students’ bilingual learning and sense-making, as well as the local implementation and appropriation of bilingual language policy.
  • TIRF Research Topic Investigated: Plurilingualism in Business, Industry, the Professions, and Educational Contexts
  • Project Title: Learning through English-Mandarin Immersion Education: A Comparative Ethnographic Case Study of Language Practices and Instructional Discourses in Two Schools
  • Name & Bio: Chiara Bruzzano is a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Leeds. Her research is a multiple case study investigating Italian secondary school teachers’ and learners’ beliefs about listening in English as a Foreign Language. Her research interests include EFL listening, teacher cognition, ESOL, and English as a Lingua Franca. Chiara also works as an ESOL and IELTS teacher for refugees.
  • TIRF Research Topics Investigated: Language Planning & Policy; Language Teacher Education; Teaching English to Young Learners
  • Project Title: Teachers’ and Learners’ Beliefs about Listening in English as a Foreign Language: A Multiple Case Study in an Italian Secondary School
  • Name & Bio: Kathy MinHye Kim is a Ph.D. candidate at Michigan State University. She is interested in psycholinguistics and instructed second language acquisition. For her dissertation project, Kathy is investigating the interface of explicit and implicit L2 knowledge by tracking international students’ linguistic development over the course of a year.
  • TIRF Research Topic Investigated: Language Assessment
  • Project Title: Exploring the Interface of Explicit and Implicit Second-Language Knowledge: A Longitudinal Perspective
  • Name & Bio: Laura Kennedy is a doctoral candidate in the Curriculum, Instruction, and Teacher Education program at Michigan State University. Her dissertation, entitled “쌤 [ssam; teacher] I am” is an (auto)ethnographic study of teacher identity negotiations with sojourning American EFL teachers in South Korea. In the final chapter of the dissertation, participating teachers join Laura in the writing of a collaborative autoethnography that answers this question: What does it mean to be an EFL teacher in South Korea today?
  • TIRF Research Topic Investigated: Language Teacher Education
  • Project Title: 쌤 [Ssam; teacher] I am: An (Auto)Ethnographic Exploration of Novice EFL Teachers’ Imagined and Enacted Teacher Identities in South Korea
  • Name & Bio: Maria Treadaway is a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Auckland in New Zealand. Her research combines three of her interests: her love of the English language, an interest in assessment (discovered within her teaching career), and a passion for aviation, which began as a child and culminated in her attainment of a commercial pilot’s license in 2001.
  • TIRF Research Topic Investigated: Language Assessment
  • Project Title: Developing and Validating Diagnostic Speaking and Listening Tests for Ab Initio Cadet Pilots
  • Name & Bio: Nora Lang is a doctoral candidate at the University of California, Santa Cruz. Nora’s dissertation examines additional language development among recent immigrants and refugees who first enroll in U.S. schools as adolescents. Having previously conducted research on bilingual education in Latin America, Nora plans to continue exploring connections between language development and equitable access to quality learning opportunities.
  • TIRF Research Topic Investigated: Migrants & Refugees – Teaching and Assessing English
  • Project Title: Examining Affordances for English Language Development among Adolescent Newcomers in Language and Content Classrooms
  • Name & Bio: Qie Han is an Ed.D. student in Applied Linguistics at Teachers College, Columbia University. Her doctoral research interests include second and foreign language performance assessment and cognitive dimensions (particularly rater cognition) of L2 assessment. Her dissertation investigates the combined effects of rater expertise, working memory capacity, and cognitive functionality on the scoring of L2 speaking performance.
  • TIRF Research Topic Investigated: Language Assessment
  • Project Title: Investigating the Combined Effects of Rater Expertise, Working Memory Capacity, and Cognitive Functionality on the Scoring of Second Language Speaking Performance
  • Name & Bio: Ruth Rouvier is a doctoral student at the University of California, Berkeley. Her dissertation research examines how Yurok [yur] second language learners’ attitudes and emotions influence their engagement with, and outcomes of, the language learning experience. She seeks to understand the role of affective stance in language learning within an indigenous language revitalization and reclamation context. There is a notable absence of any research on this topic within indigenous communities outside of a European minoritized language context, and her project will help to fill that gap.
  • TIRF Research Topic Investigated: Research on Revitalization of Endangered Indigenous Languages
  • Project Title: Yurok Language Revitalization: Affective Stance and Language Learning
  • Name & Bio: Scott Grapin (2019 Russell N. Campbell Award Winner) is a doctoral candidate in TESOL in the Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development at New York University. Broadly, his research interests center on multimodality, the integration of language and content learning, and second language writing. His dissertation research focuses specifically on the multimodal assessment of fifth-grade English learners in the science classroom.
  • TIRF Research Topic Investigated: Language Assessment
  • Project Title: Investigating the Potential of Multimodal Tasks to Promote More Equitable Assessment of English Learners in Science
  • Name & Bio: Wei Yan is a Ph.D. candidate in the Assessment and Evaluation Group (AEG) at the Faculty of Education, Queen’s University, Canada. He also holds an MEd (Queen’s), an MA in linguistics (Yonsei University, South Korea), and a BA in English (Yanbian University of Science & Technology, China). He is an experienced language instructor and curriculum developer. His research focuses on the validity of grade interpretation and use through a multiple-stakeholder approach.
  • TIRF Research Topic Investigated: Language Assessment
  • Project Title: A Multiple Stakeholder Approach to the Interpretation and Use of Chinese High School Students’ Grades
  • Name & Bio: Wendy Li is a Ph.D. candidate in Second Language Studies at Michigan State University. Her research is centered on English language teaching and learning. Her dissertation is an ethnographic study that traces Chinese transnational English learners’ literacy practices at a U.S. university to examines how their engagement in different digital spaces informs/mediates their socialization into the U.S. higher education academic discourses.
  • TIRF Research Topic Investigated: Digital Technology in Language Education
  • Project Title: Tracing Chinese Transnational English Learners’ Language Learning across Digital Spaces and First-Year Writing: A Language Socialization Perspective
  • Name & Bio: Yecid Ortega is a Ph.D. candidate in Language and Literacies Education & Comparative, International, Development Education at OISE-University of Toronto. He has extensive language education and research experience in Colombia, USA, and Canada. His main research interests include plurilingualism, social justice, and English language teaching with children and urban youth in international contexts.
  • TIRF Research Topic Investigated: Teaching English to Young Learners
  • Project Title: Pedagogies of Be[ing] and Be[coming]: A Critical Ethnographic Case Study to Understanding Youth Experiences of Social Justice and Peacebuilding in English Teaching in Urban Schooling in Colombia

We also wish to note that the 2019 TIRF DDG Honorable Mention distinction has been given to Nga Nguyen, who is a doctoral candidate at Edith Cowan University. Her dissertation is entitled, “An Evaluation Study of an English for Academic Purposes Program in a Vietnamese University.” Although this distinction does not involve a monetary award, we would like to recognize the outstanding work of this doctoral candidate.

Please join us in congratulating this year’s DDG awardees and honorable mentionee!