ALI Staff

  • The instructors, tutors, and administrative staff at the American Language Institute are qualified professionals with considerable training and experience in working with international students. Our staff is committed to providing a quality educational experience for all students.


    Instructional staff at the ALI are selected for their expertise in English language teaching. All teachers have a minimum of a master’s degree in TESOL or a related area and experience working with English language learners.

    Issam AldowkatIssam Aldowkat,

    Issam Aldowkat is a PhD student in the English Literature and Criticism Program at Indiana University of Pennsylvania. He earned his BA and MA degrees in English from Jordanian universities. He has been a part-time and full-time ESL instructor for more than five years at Jordanian and Saudi Arabia’s Universities.   

    Jocelyn AmevuvorJocelyn Amevuvor,

    Jocelyn Amevuvor obtained her master’s in TESOL from Indiana University of Pennsylvania. She also has a bachelor’s in Spanish. Her interests include writing, student experiences, and pan-African studies. In addition to teaching at the ALI, she is also the SkillZone coordinator.    

    Brandon BoudreauxBrandon Boudreaux, 

    Brandon is a graduate of the Northeast Ohio MFA program with a concentration in writing fiction. He has taught composition and creative writing and now teaches writing and electronic literacy at the ALI.

    Dr. Soyoung BurkeDr. Soyoung Burke,  

    Soyoung teaches various levels of reading and writing courses at the American Language Institute. She also teaches English courses to American college students at both IUP and Penn State University. Her interest areas are ESL/EFL writing, literacy, identity, culture, and teacher education in teaching English.

    Quanisha CharlesQuanisha Charles,

    Quanisha is a doctoral candidate (ABD) in the IUP English Department Composition and TESOL program. Her research interests include composition, intercultural communication, world English(es), and Black narratives within TESOL. She has taught in Vietnam, South Korea, and the U.S. Quanisha enjoys traveling, reading, and academic writing. 

    Ann Elise FrazierAnn Elise Frazier,

    Ann Elise is an M.A. TESOL graduate from IUP whose career in education began while working with ESL students in Arizona as an elementary and reading specialist teacher. In addition to being an instructor, she is also the ACE Tutoring Program supervisor.


    Liz GhateLiz Ghate,

    Liz has a BA in English from St. Joseph’s University and an MSED in TESOL from the University of Pennsylvania. She has taught ESL at colleges in the Philadelphia region, as well as secondary English/ESL in Philadelphia and Scranton Public Schools.


    John GrantJohn Grant,

    John is a doctoral candidate (ABD) in the English Department Composition and TESOL program at IUP. He has taught English in Taiwan and has worked with international students as a Graduate Assistant in the Office of International Education.


    Dr. Robin KneeDr. Robin Knee,

    Robin earned a Ph.D. in Romance Languages from the University of Pennsylvania. She taught a variety of French courses at Penn, Drexel, Ohio State, and Trinity University before embarking on an ESL vocation seven years ago at La Roche College.  


    Chih-Lung J. Jeff KungChih-Lung J. "Jeff" Kung,

    Jeff holds an MA in English Literature and Criticism and has taught college writing and American fiction at universities in Taiwan and at IUP. Jeff is a doctoral candidate in the English Department Literature and Criticism program. He serves as an editor of the Crimson Quill and organizes events on campus to promote writing and electronic literacy.

    Michael O'BryanMichael O’Bryan,

    Mike has been at the ALI since 1991. He currently teaches grammar and works as a testing co-coordinator (placement and exit) at the ALI.

    Myrna S. SchwarzMyrna Schwarz,

    Myrna S. Schwarz has a master’s in TEFL from the University of Texas. She has taught English, ESL, and Spanish in universities in Texas and now Pennsylvania. She loves learning other languages, reading, and international cooking.

    taylor_snyderTaylor Snyder,

    Taylor obtained an MA from the IUP English Department TESOL Program. She has a BA in English Literature and a TEFL Certification from Kent State University. She previously taught in Germany and Poland. Her research interests include teacher development, ESL writing, language assessment and classroom pedagogy.

    Ruba TatarRuba Tatar,

    Ruba graduated from the MA in TESOL program from IUP. She obtained her BA in English Language Teaching from Middle East Technical University (METU) in Turkey. She has taught English and Arabic in Turkey, as well as Turkish as a critical language at IUP. Her research interests include foreign language education and heritage language learning.

    Tewero TchekpassiTewero Tchekpassi,

    Tewero is a doctoral candidate in the English Composition and TESOL program at IUP. He has experience teaching English and advising students in secondary education in Togo (10 years). His interests include educational research, teacher education, ecological literacy, and second language literacy. 

    Begona Vilouta-VazquezBegoña Vilouta-Vázquez,

    Begoña Vilouta-Vázquez is a doctoral candidate (ABD) in the IUP English Department Literature and Criticism Program. She has been teaching foreign languages (English in Spain and Spanish in the United States) for more than 10 years.


    The ALI hires both native and non-native qualified instructors. This policy provides students with models of excellence—teachers who know the experience of bilingualism and language learning as a personal as well as a professional experience. All teachers are encouraged to engage in professional development.

    ACE Tutors

    In the ALI’s American Culture and English (ACE) Tutoring program, ESL tutors are employed in the Language Lab to tutor students at all levels in all subjects. Students select the topics or skills they need or want to study, which are then organized by the tutors. The ALI has a large library of ESL and language learning materials which the tutors use with state-of-the-art equipment and computers in the lab.

    Administration and Support Personnel

    Dr. Michele PetrucciDr. Michele Petrucci, Director,

    Michele has been professionally active in the field of International Education for over 20 years. Since her arrival at IUP in 1997, Michele has worked in various capacities in both the ALI and the IUP Office of International Education. She is currently serving as assistant vice president for International Education and Global Engagement as well as the ALI director.


    Emma ArcherEmma Archer, Assistant Director,

    Emma has an MA in TESOL from American University. She taught ESL courses at NVCC and language schools in the Washington, D.C. area. She served as an EFL teacher with the Peace Corps in Mongolia, worked with refugee families for the Greater Pittsburgh Literacy Council, and taught Spanish in Louisville Public Schools.


    Cindy SmeltzerCindy Smeltzer, Secretary,    

    Cindy was born and raised in western Pennsylvania. She has an Associate’s Degree from Cambria Rowe Business College as a computer support specialist. She joined the ALI staff in 2011. In her spare time, Cindy enjoys reading, walking, shopping, eating out, volunteering with her children’s activities, and spending time with family and friends. Cindy lives in the Creekside area with her family.

    Student Advisors

    The ALI student advisors have extensive experience working with international students and experience abroad. They are dedicated to helping ALI students and are happy to advise them about academic issues and about adjusting to life in the United States.

    Student Advisors: Ahmed Alanazi, Wasan Alhussaini, Malik Alma'Aiteh, Theresa Arnette, Emi Karimata Rachel Kiser, Jonathan Montgomery, and Gabbie Sanchez.