This year marks the 22nd consecutive year TIRF has offered its Doctoral Dissertation Grants (DDGs)  to doctoral candidates around the world. With the support of our partners – Cambridge English (part of the Cambridge University Press & Assessment), 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. The funds were distributed among 12 grantees, who are from China, Colombia, Ecuador, Indonesia, Iran, Malaysia, Puerto Rico, South Korea, Turkey, and the USA.

Including this year’s grantees, TIRF has now awarded more than US $500,000 via its DDG program to 195 individuals from 30 countries. We would like to take this opportunity to thank all the 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 (including those who recently donated to TIRF’s Russell N. Campbell Endowment Campaign), which is awarded to the highest-rated DDG applicant each year.

We are very pleased to announce the 2023 class of TIRF DDG recipients. Below you will find brief bio statements for each of this year’s grantees, as well as information about their research and the particular TIRF Research Topic(s) each study addresses. Information about the recipients of the 2023 DDG awards have been posted to our website (select the “Recipients” tab and use the drop-down menu to select “2023″).

2023 DDG Awardees

Name & Bio: Ananda Astrini Muhammad is a doctoral candidate in applied linguistics and technology at Iowa State University. Her dissertation investigates the construct of interactional pragmatics in the U.S. university setting through the development and administration of a diagnostic assessment. Her work has been presented at the Language Testing Research Colloquium, Midwest Association of Language Testers Conference, and Language Assessment Research Conference.
TIRF Research Topic Investigated: Language Assessment
Project Title: Designing an Interaction-Oriented Diagnostic Assessment of L2 Pragmatic Competence: An Evidence-Centered Design Approach
Name & Bio: Claudia Gutiérrez is a Fulbright doctoral candidate in language, literacy, and culture at the University of Washington. Drawing on decolonial theories, land-based pedagogies, and epistemologies of the South, her research revolves around the exploration and implementation of equitable language teaching practices for ethnic minoritized students across all levels of education. Her current research explores the possibilities school-community collaborations open to Indigenize English Language Teaching ELT. 
TIRF Research Topic Investigated: Research on Revitalization of Endangered Languages
Project Title: Indigenizing English Language Teaching ELT: Voices from the Global South
Name & Bio: Clémence Darriet is a doctoral candidate at the University of California, Los Angeles. She is a former language teacher interested in language policy. Her dissertation explores the role of school choice dual-language programs in Los Angeles in the last 22 years.
TIRF Research Topic Investigated: Language Planning & Policy
Project Title: Dual-Language Programs in the Era of School Choice: A Case Study of Los Angeles
Name & Bio: Héctor Rafael Castrillón-Costa is a Ph.D. Candidate in the Culture, Literacy, and Language program of the Department of Bicultural-Bilingual Studies at The University of Texas at San Antonio. Hector is conducting an ethnography of educational language policy in Saint Lucia to explore the ways in which policy agents operating across the multiple layers of policy production engage in the creation, interpretation, appropriation, and instantiation of the educational language policies.
TIRF Research Topic Investigated: Language Planning & Policy
Project Title: Caribbean Creole Languages in Education: An Ethnography of Educational Language Policy in Saint Lucia
Name & Bio: John Andras Molnar is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Foreign Language Studies at Kansai University in Japan. His dissertation focuses on self-regulated learning (SRL) and how to support student learning in online English as a foreign language (EFL) environments. This grant will facilitate work on the effects of SRL prompts to support online second language learning.
TIRF Research Topic Investigated: Digital Technology in Language Education
Project Title: Self-regulated Learning in Online EFL Contexts: Identifying and Improving Strategies
Name & Bio: Jonathan Malone is the Interim Director of Maryland English Institute at the University of Maryland, College Park, and a Ph.D. candidate in Second Language Acquisition. His dissertation research utilizes eye-tracking methodology to improve our understanding of how listening while reading impacts vocabulary learning, both in processing and learning new information.  
TIRF Research Topic Investigated: Digital Technology in Language Education
Project Title: Toward a Theory-based Account of the Vocabulary Processing and Learning Benefits of Reading While Listening
Name & Bio: Kevin Hirschi is a Ph.D. Candidate in Applied Linguistics at Northern Arizona University. His dissertation investigates the impact of mobile-assisted pronunciation training on English communication amongst university students in Mexico. Incorporating an intelligibility-first approach and novel computational practice components, his aim is to inform learners, teachers, and developers of how technology can improve communication skills.
TIRF Research Topic Investigated: Digital Technology in Language Education
Project Title: Mobile-Assisted Pronunciation Training for Intelligibility, Comprehensibility, and Pragmatically Appropriate Prosody: Comparisons of Self-Access and Instructed Learning Contexts
Name & Bio: Marcella Caprario is a PhD candidate in Applied Linguistics at Northern Arizona University. Her research interests include English as a lingua franca (ELF), L2 English pragmatics instruction, and corpus pragmatics. Her dissertation consists of a pedagogical intervention that focuses on ELF communication strategies to support intercultural communication. Data collection was conducted in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia on a Fulbright Study/Research Grant.
TIRF Research Topic Investigated: (1) Language Assessment; (2) Language Planning & Policy; and (3) Language Teacher Education
Project Title: Intercultural Communication in English as a Lingua Franca: A Communication Strategies Instructional Intervention
Name & Bio: Mohd Iqbal Ahamat is an academic fellow at the Universiti Malaysia Terengganu and is currently pursuing his doctoral degree at the Universiti Sains Malaysia. His research interest is English language material development and the Common European Framework of References (CEFR) for the primary school level.
TIRF Research Topic Investigated: Curriculum, Instruction, and Teacher Preparation
Project Title: Designing a Malaysian Framework for Developing CEFR-Aligned English Language Material for Primary Schools
Name & Bio: Negar Siyari is a PhD candidate in Applied Linguistics at Georgetown University. With the help of her first language, Farsi, as well as her second language teaching experience, she specializes in language education for Afghan newcomers in the United States. Her doctoral dissertation focuses on an action research study of a task-based curriculum of English for Afghan newcomers with specific focus on students’ vocational and academic needs.
TIRF Research Topic Investigated: Migrants & Refugees
Project Title: From Displacement to Empowerment: An Action Research Investigation of a Task-Based Approach to Teaching English to Afghan Newcomers in the US
Name & Bio: Xin Rong (TIRF’s 2023 Russell N. Campbell Awardee) is a Ph.D. candidate at University College London. In his doctoral project, Xin explores the cognitive writing processes of second language learners when they collaborate on computer-mediated writing tasks of varying complexity, the quality of their texts, and any connections between them. He also investigates potential differences in writing processes and outcomes between collaborative and individual writing.
TIRF Research Topic Investigated: Digital Technology in Language Education
Project Title: Computer-Mediated Collaborative and Individual Writing: Task Complexity, Writing Processes, and Text Quality
Name & Bio: Ying Zhang is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Linguistics at the University of Utah. Her research interests encompass technology-assisted language learning, interlanguage pragmatics, instructed second language acquisition, and research methodology. Her dissertation adopts a mixed-methods design and investigates the impact of game-mediated communication on Chinese English as a foreign language (EFL) learners’ pragmatic competence in compliment responses.
TIRF Research Topic Investigated: Digital Technology in Language Education
Project Title: The Effectiveness of Digital Gaming in Promoting Pragmatic Competence for L2 Learners in Rural China: A Mixed-Methods Study

We also wish to note that the 2023 TIRF DDG Honorable Mention distinction has been awarded to four individuals this year. Although this distinction does not involve a monetary award, we would like to recognize the outstanding work of these doctoral candidates:

  • Gulsah Turk Yigitalp (Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona): Language Policies for Syrian Refugee Students in Turkey
  • Joanne Koh (Michigan State University): Vocabulary Learning through Out-of-Class Extensive Viewing in an EFL Context: A Longitudinal Study
  • Nelly Noemi Patino-Cabrera (Portland State University): Latine Dual Language Bilingual Education Teachers’ Work Experiences
  • Sanghee Kang (Georgia State University): The Role of Chatbot-Assisted Collaboration Tasks and Learner Characteristics in the Alignment-Driven Learning of L2 Grammar and Pragmatics: Comparing Provision of Primes and Recasts

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