Michelle Siembida, M. Ed

Title: Graduate Research Assistant

Groups: Project Personnel

Michelle Siembida is a doctoral student in the College of Education and Human Development at George Mason University. Her primary specialization is Multilingual and Multicultural Education, and her secondary is Teaching and Teacher Education. She is a full-time graduate research assistant with the ACE-STEM project. Prior to joining GMU, she received her Master of Education in English as a Second Language and Bilingual Education from the American College of Education. Michelle has worked full time as an English instructor in South Korea for 6 years, with a focus on kindergarten and elementary level students. In addition, she is TESOL certified to teach adults. Her experience working abroad has shaped her research interests, which include multicultural education in South Korea, as well as non-Korean English educators’ lived experiences teaching in South Korea. Michelle aims to encourage multicultural education in language classroom settings and hopes to encourage students to evolve into well-informed global citizens of our increasingly connected world.

Eden Langston, MA

Title: Graduate Research Assistant

Groups: Project Personnel

Eden Langston is a doctoral student in the College of Education and Human Development at George Mason University. Her primary specialization is Multilingual Multicultural Education. She is also a full-time graduate research assistant for the ACE-STEM Project. In 2010, Eden earned her master’s degree in Teaching with a focus on Early Childhood Education and Reading from Kent State University. Since then, she has worked as a full-time Elementary teacher across five states, including here in Virginia, focusing primarily on third-grade students in all content areas. These experiences have shaped her research interests, such as the empowering and positive effects multilingualism and multiculturalism can have on all students, equity in education, policymaking that predominantly affects traditionally marginalized student populations, and multilingual, multicultural identity in early education. Eden hopes to explore strategies both instructors and students can implement to encourage students’ maintenance of identity throughout their educational journey while fostering a more equitable educational environment.

Dai Gu, MA

Title: Graduate Research Assistant

Groups: Project Personnel

Dai Gu is a doctoral student in the College of Education and Human Development at George Mason University. Her primary specialization is Multilingual Multicultural Education, and her secondary is in Research Methodology and Learning Technology. She is currently working as a graduate research assistant in the ACE-STEM project. Dai earned her master’s degree in Foreign Linguistics and Applied Linguistics with a focus on Translation Studies in 2018. She has worked as a part-time English teacher/tutor in China for about 4 years with K-12 and university students. In addition, she has one year of experience teaching Mandarin and Chinese cultural classes at the previous Confucius Institute at Mason. She believes in the empowering and positive effects that multilingualism, multiculturalism, and multiliteracy can have on all students. Her research interests include translanguaging, innovative technology in the instruction and assessment of multilingual learners, quantitative methodology, critical discourse analysis, and new literacy.

Manqian Zhao, Ph.D

Title: Postdoctoral Fellow

Groups: Project Personnel

Dr. Manqian Zhao /manchian jao/ is a postdoc faculty at GMU. She received her Ph.D. degree in Bilingual and Multilingual Education from the University of Connecticut Storrs, where she has carried out research as part of several federally funded research projects, including a study of argument writing development among Latino elementary students and interventions that support the reading development of young children. Before her doctoral study, she was a first-grade Chinese teacher in GA working with the Mandarin-Chinese Dual Immersion Program. During her doctoral study, she has been teaching two graduate-level courses – Multicultural Education and Sheltered Instruction for English Learners (SIOP). With language proficiency in Mandarin Chinese, Cantonese Chinese, English, and her teaching experience in both Mandarin and English, her research explores the linguistic transfer among young students between two languages that do share the same orthography. Dr. Zhao’s publications appearing in Mathematics Teacher Journal and TESOL newsletter, provide ELs instructional strategies for novice high school math teachers and bilingual teachers.

Xiaowen (Sylvia) Chen, MA

Title: Graduate Research Assistant

Groups: Project Personnel

Xiaowen Chen (Sylvia) is a full-time doctoral candidate in the College of Education and Human Development studying multicultural and multilingual education. She is currently working as a graduate assistant in the ACE-STEM project. Prior to the Ph.D. program, she got her master’s degree in TESOL from the University of Pennsylvania. Sylvia has more than 6 years of work experience in teaching Chinese Mandarin. In addition to teaching Mandarin, she has focused three years of her ESL teaching efforts for refugees and immigrant populations. Sylvia credits being a language teacher with helping her develop authentic caring for the language learning process and her students and notes that it has also improved her own effectiveness as a communicator. Creating a comfortable, supportive, and safe environment for everyone to share ideas and concerns is really important for her. Sylvia notes that her experiences as an international student from China bring critical multicultural perspectives to her study and research. Her research interests also relate to international students’ education equity in higher education.

Yixin Zan, MA

Title: Graduate Research Assistant

Groups: Project Personnel

Yixin Zan is a doctoral student in the College of Education and Human Development. She works as a full-time graduate research assistant for the ACE-STEM Project. Yixin’s specialization is in Educational Psychology, and her secondary emphasis is Multilingual/Multicultural Education. Yixin is an international student from China. In 2019, She finished her Master’s degree in Educational Psychology at George Mason University. Yixin has worked as a part-time teacher to help Chinese students learn English for three years. Her current research interests are in students’ motivation, self-regulation, and self-efficacy in English as a Second Language (ESL) learning and international students’ learning and acculturation. Yixin hopes to explore strategies instructors can use to facilitate students’ motivation in ESL learning and help them be confident learners.

Bilgehan Ayik, MA

Title: Graduate Research Assistant

Groups: Project Personnel

Bilge is a full-time international Ph.D. student in the College of Education and Human Development at George Mason University. She is also a full-time graduate research assistant in the ACE-STEM Project. She is from Turkey, and her specialization is Research Methods. She earned her master’s degree from the University of  California, Los Angeles (UCLA). She has worked for six years as a math teacher in Turkey, and she had many forcibly-displaced students. She worked as the book-coordinator and a board member in an EU funded project, the Universal Language of Mathematics, which was conducted with three partner organizations  from Turkey, Germany, and Italy. Her experiences shaped her academic interests, such as multicultural education, STEM learning, forcibly displaced students, critical pedagogy and mixed methodology.

Woomee Kim, Ph.D

Title: Postdoctoral Fellow/Project Coordinator

Groups: Project Personnel

Dr. Woomee L. Kim received her Ph.D. degree at George Mason University, specializing in International Education and Interdisciplinary Studies. Woomee’s dissertation research topic is on Global Online Teacher Professional Development. Currently, she is working as a Project Coordinator for ACE-STEM, a National Professional Development Grant project funded by the US Department of Education, Office of English Language Acquisition. Also, she is a graduate research assistant for Mason’s GOTEC, Global Online Teacher Education Center. At GOTEC, she is involved in multiple international teacher professional development projects sponsored by the US Department of State’s Online Professional English Network Programs. She earned her MA in Teaching English as a Second Language from University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign in 2001 and has taught in secondary and higher education institutions, both within the United States and abroad, including South Korea and Myanmar. She is a certified secondary English teacher from the state of California since 2009, and has earned a preliminary administrative credential in 2013 and a Teaching Online Certificate in 2017.