Alumni presented their undergraduate research at the presentation titled “Perspectives from Students Researchers” as part of the TESOL Jubilee Celebration on Sept. 28 at the Little Theater.
Mark James, associate dean of the College of Human Development, explained, “The purpose is to encourage students to get involved in student research and let students see what they could be 10 years from now. The presentation also aimed to encourage the department faculty to be thinking about projects where they could involve our majors in working with them.”
Lynne Hansen, former applied linguistics professor, said, “It’s been one of the most rewarding things in my life to see the progress they made. A lot of them went into graduate school, and many of the things they did here like research presentations and papers helped them be where they are now.”
When asked how Hansen felt when the department contacted her about the presentation, she said she got so excited to find and reach out to alumni. She added how she didn’t imagine the great things her former students could have done. “Just like Paul Rama, he is now a professor here,” she said.
James said, “Each of the graduates can do some things better than me. In other words, they’ve gone beyond me on their chosen career. As a teacher, it makes me proud.
“It’s a feeling of pride that our graduates can do things way better than me. Just like all parents, they would want their children to be more successful than they were. You don’t get jealous and feel embarrassed about it, rather it should make you proud.”
Even though faculty tell students information about the TESOL field, James said it’s not real for students until the alumni tell them. He said, “It’s like parenting. Parents can say something and the kids will be like, ‘Whatever,’ but when they hear from their coach, it’s real. That’s why alumni play an important role for them – [they can] give advice and share their experiences to students.”
One of the speakers, Karri Lam, a linguistics alumna from Hong Kong, said the research project required of TESOL majors into a masters program. “I knew I will be required to write research proposals. All the research conferences we’ve attended and papers presented made an impact in my resume to made it look good.”
Lam shared how she didn’t know anything about research and linguistics at first but had a passion for learning different languages and what makes them different. “When Sister Hansen invited me to join the research group, I gave it a try. She gave us opportunities to present papers with her and attend conferences, which made us look like graduate students. This experience helped me become who I am now.”
The final event of the jubilee celebration for this semester is an open house on Nov. 16 at Aloha Center 155. James said, “We will do our best to recruit new minors and majors at this event.”