Penn State Penn State: College of the Liberal Arts



Jason Litzenberg

Jason Litzenberg

Director of the Intensive English Communication Program
Associate Teaching Professor of Applied Linguistics

Jason Litzenberg has a PhD in Applied Linguistics & ESL from Georgia State University.  He has over 20 years experience teaching English and applied linguistics in Germany, the United Arab Emirates, Ecuador, and the United States.  In addition to teaching, Jason has also served as a teacher trainer, mentoring practicum students and guiding new teachers through the processes of developing lesson plans that address the curricula and course outcomes of the program.  Jason served as Director of the English Language Program at Yachay Tech, a sciences and technology university in the Andes Mountains of northern Ecuador, from 2014-16.  Since 2016, Jason has been at the Intensive English Communication Program (IECP) at The Pennsylvania State University.


Selected publications:

  • 2021. Litzenberg, J. “Innovation, Resiliency and Genius in Intensive English Programs: Decolonializing Recruitment and Contradictory Advocacy”. Applied linguistics.(forthcoming) doi:10.1093/applin/amab015
  • 2021. Tankosic, A. and Litzenberg, J. “Bosnian, Croatian, Serbian: Inherent Translanguaging in the Linguistic Landscape of Sarajevo”. European journal of applied linguistics, 9(2). (forthcoming)
  • 2020. Litzenberg, J. “‘If I don’t do it, somebody else will’: The covert neoliberal policy discourses in the decision-making processes of an IEP”. TESOL Quarterly, 54(1), 823-45.
  • 2019. Litzenberg, J. “Achieving accord in the status discord of English language teaching”. PAIS newsletter (Sept 2019 issue).
  • 2018. Litzenberg, J. “‘Official language for intercultural ties’: Cultural concessions and strategic roles of Ecuadorian Kichwa in developing institutional identities”. Linguistic Landscapes, 4(2), 153-77.
  • 2016. Lindemann, S., Campbell, M., Litzenberg, J., and Subtirelu, N. “Explicit and implicit training for improving native English speakers’ comprehension of nonnative speech”. Journal of Second Language Pronunciation, 2(1), 93-107.
  • 2014. Litzenberg, J. “Pre-service teacher perspectives towards pedagogical uses of non-native and native speech samples”. International Journal of Applied Linguistics. 24, n/a. doi: 10.1111/ijal.12084
  • 2014. Lindemann, S., Litzenberg, J., and Subtirelu, N. “Problematizing the dependence on L1 norms in L2 pronunciation teaching: Attitudes toward second-language pronunciation” In: Moyer, A. & Levis, J. (eds) Social Influences in L2 Pronunciation (pp. 171-94), De Gruyter Mouton.


Selected presentations:

  • 2021. Litzenberg, J. (Presenter). Global Language, Local Standards. La Salle College Teacher’s Conference. Quito, Ecuador.
  • 2021. Litzenberg, J. and Madany, M. (Co-presenter). Developing Translingual Practices via Family Games. TESOL. (Virtual).
  • 2020. Algren, M., Bass, B., Litzenberg, J. (Co-presenter). Lower Enrollments: Changes, Challenges and Innovations. UCIEP Annual Director’s conference.  Bandera, TX.
  • 2018. Litzenberg, J. (Presenter). A story, tool, and proposal: Developing a guise-based attitudes study of the linguistic landscape. Applied Linguistics Roundtable, The Pennsylvania State University, State College, PA.
  • 2018. Litzenberg, J. (Presenter). I’m a native speaker.  So what?. Centro Ecuatoriano-Norteamericano (CEN), Guayaquil, Ecuador.
  • 2017. Litzenberg, J. (Plenary). The 21st century dilemma of being a native speaker of English. COPEI 8th International Congress, Guayaquil, Ecuador.
  • 2017. Litzenberg, J. (Plenary). Linguistic landscapes as a pedagogical tool: Imagining the opportunities. COPEI 8th International Congress, Guayaquil, Ecuador.
  • 2017. Litzenberg, J., Decker, K., Shatkin, L., and Williams, C. (Panel discussion). The parallel development of two Ecuadorian language programs. TESOL. Seattle, WA.
  • 2017. Litzenberg, J. (Presenter). Developing sociolinguistic awareness through linguistic landscapes. Applied Linguistics Roundtable, The Pennsylvania State University, State College, PA.
  • 2016.  Litzenberg, J. and Avila Herrera, S. (Co-presenter).  Student perspectives towards international English: Insights from an Ecuadorian EFL needs analysis.  AAAL.  Orlando, FL.
  • 2016.  Litzenberg, J. (Presenter).  Visual Semiotics in the Branding of a Glocal Institutional Identity.  AAAL.  Orlando, FL.
  • 2016.  Litzenberg, J. (Presenter).  Preparing teachers (to prepare students) for successful communication.  IA-TEFL.  Birmingham, England.
  • 2014.  Litzenberg, J. (Presenter).  Reconceptualizing proficiency for lingua franca communication.  AAAL.  Portland, OR.
Chelsea Benton-Monahan Headshot

Chelsea Benton-Monahan

Adjunct Teaching Faculty

Chelsea is an adjunct lecturer for both the IECP and the ESL/EAP program in Applied Linguistics. She graduated from Penn State in 2017 with a master’s degree in TESL, where she focused on language policy in Morocco. Her experience includes seven years of working in student-support roles at Penn State in the Office of Global Programs and Smeal College of Business, as well as three years teaching English in Meknes, Morocco. She is very passionate about languages, and knows French and Moroccan Arabic. She has only recently begun teaching again and is thrilled to be back in the classroom, where she hopes to grow both professionally and personally.


Makoni, S. & Abdelhay, A. (2020). Contributed chapter entitled “Berber Language Policy in Morocco” in Language Ideologies, ethnicities, and semiotic spaces of power. Cambridge Scholars Publishing, Newcastle upon-Twine.

Melanie Bigalke

Edwin Darty

Graduate Teaching Assistant in Applied Linguistics
Edwin is a Ph.D. student in Applied Linguistics. He has taught academic communication courses in Ghana and the U.S. Before his Ph.D. program in Penn State, he received an MA in Applied from Ohio University and a BA in English from Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Ghana.
Edwin’s research interests include academic literacy development, educational language policy, and second language writing.

Selena Easley

Selena is a 1st year Master’s Student of International Affairs with a concentration in Global Education and Applied Linguistics and a regional and linguistic focus in Latin America at the School of International Affairs, PSU. Her academic journey began at Washington & Jefferson College, PA where she obtained her Bachelor’s of Arts in International Studies, Environmental Studies, and Spanish with a concentration in Interfaith Leadership Cooperation. During her time as an undergraduate student, Selena conducted research in Munich, Germany, and Krakow, Poland, and studied abroad for a full year in Heredia, Costa Rica. There, she began teaching ESL at the elementary and university level. Upon her return to the US, she taught ESL to Latinx immigrants at a local church in her hometown of Pittsburgh, PA. Afterward, she obtained her ESL teaching certificate and continued to teach ESL virtually in Château-Gontier-sur-Mayenne, France.
Currently, Selena is an English as a Second Language Instructor at IECP with the KAUST gifted student program, Saudi Arabia; the CMC program, Ecuador; and the Applied Linguistics department, PSU. Her current research interests include the applications of English as a second language through various lenses including sustainable development and the decolonization of the English language as well as study abroad. Overall, Selena is passionate about learning and teaching language and culture and she is excited to be working with students and faculty at IECP.
Marika Hall

Marika Hall

Adjunct Teaching Faculty
Sarah jackson

Sarah Jackson

Graduate Assistant in Applied Linguistics

Sarah is currently a 1st year Applied Linguistics PhD student. She began her academic journey at Loyola University New Orleans, where she majored in music performance with a concentration in soprano voice. She then transferred to the University of Mississippi where she studied political science with double minors in music and German. She studied abroad twice during her undergraduate career: once at Inlingua Berlin and once at Humboldt Universität zu Berlin. After graduating, she continued on to get her MA in Applied Linguistics with a subfield in German while teaching both English and intensive German. She studied abroad again during her MA at Alpen-Adria Universität in Klagenfurt am Wörthersee, Austira. Sarah was the first student from her university to do an exchange with an Austrian university.

Currently, Sarah’s research interests include study abroad, identity, gender studies, L1 English speakers learning an L2, the effect of musicality on L2 phonology, and DaF (Deutsch als Fremdsprache). She has conducted in-class research as well as several linguistic interviews.

Su Yin Khor

Su Yin is a 5th year PhD candidate in Applied Linguistics. She started her teaching career in Sweden, teaching Swedish as a foreign language to adult immigrants. During this time, she also completed her degree in English and History Education at Uppsala University. After teaching Swedish for a couple of years, she decided to get her MA in TESOL at Illinois State University (ISU) where she taught first year composition. After graduating from ISU, she began her studies at Penn State where she has taught various ESL courses at the IECP, ESL Program, and ITA program. Her research interests include second language writing, adult literacy, identity, and classroom discourse.

Grace Kim

Graduate Teaching Assistant in Applied Linguistics
Becca Levy

Becca Levy

Adjunct Teaching Faculty

Becca Levy is a humanistic language educator. She has been teaching language, both English and Mandarin Chinese, ever since she had the opportunity to volunteer with local adult ESOL classes in 2010. Since then, she has taught elementary, high school, and adult learners in multiple states and countries, including Taiwan, Japan, Rhode Island, Washington, and most recently, Pennsylvania. She recently earned her Masters of Science in Education in TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) from the University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education. Her specialties include task-based language teaching, designing content-based curricula, and anti-racist, community-centered teaching methods.

Ty Liu

Ty Liu

Assistant Teaching Professor

Tianyu has been a teaching faculty member at the Intensive English Communication Program (IECP) at Penn State since 2018. He is now serving as an Assistant Teaching Professor at the IECP in the department of Applied Linguistics. He graduated from Penn State in 2018 with a master’s degree in TESL. His studies focused on pedagogy and methodology, language research, courses and teaching materials design, and cultural diversity. His specialty is designing pragmatic teaching materials and meaningful and interesting activities to meet his students’ real needs. He has more than 10 years’ experience in ESL & EFL teaching and education. His current research interests include the application of relevant methods in ESL teaching to enhance students’ interest and confidence, internationalization in higher education and cultural diversity and inclusion of English language institutes.


Yu Lu

Yu Lu

Adjunct Teaching Faculty

Lu Yu is a PhD candidate in Curriculum and Instruction in the College of Education. She has had teaching and mentoring experiences at undergraduate and graduate levels in Chinese and American educational contexts, including teaching English to EFL students at Beijing Foreign Studies University, and courses on teaching English language learners and second language education at Penn State. Her research interests include second and foreign language learning, Vygotskian sociocultural theory and second language development, Dynamic Assessment, and second language writing.

Selected publications:

Yu, L. (2020). Investigating L2 writing through tutor-tutee interactions and revisions: A case study of a multilingual writer in EAP tutorials. Journal of Second Language Writing, 48, 100709.

Poehner, M. E., Qin, T., & Yu, L. (2019). Dynamic assessment: Co-constructing the future with English language learners. In Gao, X. (Ed.), Second handbook of English language teaching (pp. 455-476). Cham, Switzerland: Springer International Publishing.

Cumming, A., Yang, L., Qiu, C., Zhang, L., Ji, X., Wang, J., Wang, Y., Zhan, J., Zhang, F., Xu, C., Cao, R., Yu, L., Chu, M., Liu, M., Cao, M., & Lai, C. (2018). Students’ practices and abilities for writing from sources in English at universities in China. Journal of Second Language Writing, 39, 1-15.

Yu, L. (2018). Review of Loewen, S. (2015), Introduction to instructed second language acquisition. Language and Sociocultural Theory, 5(1), 72-79.

Yu, N., Yu, L., & Lee, Y. (2017). Primary metaphors: Importance as size and weight in a comparative perspective. Metaphor and Symbol, 32(4): 231-249.

Yu, L. (2015). Reexamining motive in L2 oral proficiency development: An activity theory perspective. Language and Sociocultural Theory, 2(1), 85-117.

Selected presentations:

Yu, L. (2021). Dynamic assessment of L2 writing: Diagnosing and tracing learner emerging abilities in the ZPD. The 19th World Congress of the International Association of Applied Linguistics (AILA 2021). Virtual Conference, August 15-21.

Yu, L., & Poehner, M. E. (2021). Developing L2 writing abilities through an instructional enrichment program informed by dynamic assessment. The American Association for Applied Linguistics 2021 Conference (AAAL-2021). Virtual Conference, March 20-23.

Poehner, M. E., & Yu, L. (2021). Dynamic assessment of L2 writing: Exploring the potential of rubrics in diagnosing learner emerging abilities. The American Association for Applied Linguistics 2021 Conference (AAAL-2021). Virtual Conference, March 20-23.

Yu, L., & Poehner, M. E. (2019). Dynamic assessment of academic writing among L2 learners of English. The 18th Symposium on Second Language Writing. Tempe, AZ. November 13-16.

Poehner, M. E., & Yu, L. (2018). Construct development in L2 dynamic assessment. Sociocultural Theory and Second Language Learning Conference. Pittsburg, PA. November 1-3.

Yu, L. (2018). Investigating L2 writing through tutor-tutee interaction and revision: A longitudinal case study. The American Association for Applied Linguistics 2018 Conference (AAAL-18). Chicago, IL. March 24-27.

Yu, N., Yu, L., & Lee, Y. (2017). The importance is size Metaphor: A comparative study. The 29th North American Conference on Chinese Linguistics. Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ. June 16-18.

Yu, L. (2016). Analyzing L2 oral proficiency development through the interplay between social interaction and intrapersonal mediation: A longitudinal case study. XXIII Sociocultural Theory & Second Language Learning Research Working Group Meeting. University of South Florida, Tampa, FL. November 3-5.

Mary MacDonald

Mary MacDonald

Adjunct Teaching Faculty

Mary MacDonald was a full-time instructor at the IECP from 1996-2010 and is thrilled to return as an essay coach and adjunct instructor. She has also been a full-time instructor at Ohio University and Chubu University in Japan. Mary has over 30 years of experience in teaching all skills and levels in ESL, as well as teacher training, curriculum development and English for business purposes. She is a certified TOEFL and TOEIC rater. Mary holds her Master’s Degree in Education, specializing in TESOL, from the University of Massachusetts and is certified to teach high school ESL and English.

Nikki Mattson

Coordinator of Strategic Initiatives, IECP
Associate Teaching Professor of Applied Linguistics
Faculty Associate, The Global Engagement Community
Global Learning Coordinator, Experiential Digital Global Engagement (EDGE)

Nikki Mattson has been a faculty member at the Intensive English Communications Program (IECP) at The Pennsylvania State University (PSU) since 2009. She currently serves as the Coordinator of Strategic Initiatives for the IECP in addition to being an Associate Teaching Professor in the Department of Applied Linguistics. She holds her M.A. in Linguistics and a Certificate of Graduate Study in TESOL from the University of South Carolina. She also holds a DELF (diplôme d’études en langue française) from Université Marc Bloch, Strasbourg, France. Nikki is dedicated to supporting campus internationalization efforts as well as global engagement in the classroom, on campus, and beyond. Nikki is a co-founder and advisor for the PSU Living-Learning Community, the Global Engagement Community. She also serves as a Global Learning Coordinator (GLC) for PSU’s Experiential Digital Global Engagement (EDGE) Program. Her research interests include intensive English program oral placement test validation, evaluating computer-assisted language learning (CALL) usage in second language (L2) classrooms, and internationalization in higher education.

Selected recent scholarship:

• Cherkassov, D., Mattson, N., and Childs, S. (2020, September). The mentoring process: Enriching professional growth for English language teachers and teacher educators. Presentation at the 9th ICBCB: Global Trends and Values in Education, Virtual Conference, Kaskelen, Kazakhstan.

• Minkoya, V., & Mattson, N. (2018, November). Blogging together with different motivations: Exploring IEP classroom activity systems. Paper presented at TESOL NY, Albany, NY.

• Mattson, N. (2018). Reporting on a University Class Observation: IEP Student-Created Videos. Presentation at the TESOL 2018 International Convention, Chicago, IL.

• Kimura, D., Mattson, N. and Amory, M. (2017). A Conversation Analytic Approach to Oral Placement Test Validation: Attending to Vertical and Horizontal Comparisons. TESOL Journal. doi:10.1002/tesj.335

• Mattson, N., Sudaholc, S. (2017). Interpreting Student Feedback About A CALL Program Through Activity Theory. Presentation at the TESOL 2017 International Convention, Seattle, WA.

Bryon Po

Byron Po

Graduate Teaching Assistant in Applied Linguistics
John Quinslisk

John Quinlisk

Adjunct Teaching Faculty

This is John Quinlisk’s first year as an adjunct lecturer with the Intensive English Communication Program (IECP) at The Pennsylvania State University (PSU). While a student at PSU, John was fortunate enough to study and teach in both Cuenca, Ecuador as well as Christchurch, New Zealand before graduating with a B.S. in Secondary Mathematics Education and a Certificate in Teaching English as a Second Language. Since graduating, John has completed a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant Scholarship in Taichung, Taiwan and continued to teach English in Taiwan for an additional two years at an elementary school. John is thrilled to be working with the IECP this year and is very excited to both learn from and teach his students.


Lorie Tan

Lorie Tan

Adjunct Teaching Faculty

Lorie began her career in education as an elementary classroom teacher and was drawn to school districts with high ESL populations, both on the Navajo reservation in Arizona and in a multilingual community in Houston, Texas. Following a trip to Turkey, she fell in love with the country and decided to make it her home for 13 years, 11 of which were spent teaching in the intensive English program at Bilkent University in the capital city of Ankara. While at Bilkent, she earned the Cambridge University DELTA qualification (Diploma in English Language Teaching to Adults) and, in 2016, earned a master’s degree in TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language). Upon returning to her home state of Pennsylvania, Lorie spent several years teaching English online before transitioning back into the classroom with the IECP as both an adjunct lecturer and writing coach. Lorie has 24 years of experience in education and is fascinated by sociolinguistics, phonology, and connected speech, but most of all, she is passionate about drawing speech out of reluctant learners by creating a supportive classroom environment in which all students feel safe and welcome.


Linda Wesley

Adjunct Teaching Faculty

Linda Wesley, MA, has returned to the IECP as an adjunct lecturer after being a full-time instructor from 2005–2013. She has more than 30 years of experience in foreign language education as a K-12, adult education, junior college, and university teacher. Additionally, she facilitates teacher-training courses for English as a second/foreign language teachers around the world. In recent years, she has also delivered on-site and/or virtual teacher training and consulting in Bolivia, the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Peru, Saudi Arabia, and South Korea. Linda holds an advanced degree in Teaching English as a Second Language from Western Kentucky University in the United States.

2021 Presentations

  • “TESOL Coffee Chat: Instructional Design.” Discussion panelist for the virtual TESOL ELevate Conference.
  • “The 6 Principles for Exemplary Teaching of English Learners.” Presenter for the virtual TESOL ELevate Conference.
  • “Games and Warm-up Activities: An Underused Opportunity for Formative Assessment.” Guest speaker for Peru TESOL, Centro Cultural Costarricense-Norteamericano, and English Without Borders: Tajikistan.
  • “Developing Strong Readers: Moving Beyond Oral Reading.” Guest speaker for English Without Borders: Tajikistan.


Judith Maloney

Judith Maloney

Academic Support

Emily Walter

Emily Walter

Student Center and Activities Coordinator

Elise Westhoff

Specialist Tutor (Mathematics)