Program Alumni

Maria J. Coolican
Director
Maria Coolican’s interests and expertise include second language acquisition theory and practices, student teacher learning and development, and the role and phenomenon of failure in preservice teacher education. She has extensive experience as a high school teacher, assistant principal, and principal.
Heather Dornoff
Program Manager
Heather Dornoff’s work with A2LP focuses on program development and oversight as well as recruitment. She has been at the University of Michigan for more than 20 years enjoying roles in research and public engagement. She loves working with the A2LP community of students, staff, alumni and community partners.
Claudia Cameratti-Baeza
Seminar Instructor
Claudia Cameratti-Baeza is a graduate student at the University of Michigan School of Education in the Teaching and Teacher Education doctoral program. She has been a passionate teacher educator for 15 years both in Chile, her home country, and in the United States working at the Ann Arbor Languages Partnership. She is interested in supporting Language Teaching Assistants (LTAs) as they learn and develop their teaching in the program, hoping that this year results in a wonderful experience.
Martha Epperson
Graduate Student Instructor
Martha Epperson is a student in the University of Michigan’s School of Education Teaching and Teacher Education doctoral program. Prior to her arrival in Michigan, Martha served as an English Language Fellow in Chile, training public school teachers on behalf of the Chilean Ministry of Education. She has taught English to immigrant and refugee children in US public schools as well as English as a foreign language in Europe and Puerto Rico.
Ann Crowley
Observation Instructor
Ann Crowley taught Spanish for 31 years at Chelsea High School and is now retired. She attended Webster University in St. Louis, Missouri, and earned a master’s degree in Spanish from Michigan State University. She has lived and studied in Spain. Ann truly enjoyed working with the A2LP program last year. She is interested in helping the teaching interns do their very best by offering feedback and suggestions in a non-threatening, professional manner.
Tory Colbert
Language Teaching Assistant
I fell in love with Spanish while studying abroad in Salamanca, Spain in high school. While I am not studying Spanish at Michigan, A2LP allows me to practice my Spanish in a fun and unique way.
Elaina Rahrig
Language Teaching Assistant
Elaina Rahrig is a prelaw sophomore from Grand Rapids, Michigan studying political science and Spanish. On campus, she is involved in LSA Student Government, the Gamma Phi Beta Sorority, and the University of Michigan Women’s Glee Club. Elaina joined A2LP because she loves Spanish and working with kids. Her favorite parts of the program are singing the “adios” song at the end of each class in different styles (e.g. opera, rap) and getting to know the students.
Audrey Niemchick
Language Teaching Assistant
I am a Biopsychology, Cognition and Neuroscience (BCN) and Spanish major and have learning Spanish since I was in 8th grade. I studied abroad in Salamanca, Spain this past summer! I also taught Spanish to second graders when I was in high school. I hope to be a pediatric dentist one day, so it’s great to be able to work with kids twice a week. A2LP is an amazing program and I love my students!
Emily Roy
Language Teaching Assistant
I am a current Senior studying International Studies and Spanish. My love for Spanish goes back to grade school, which I hope to inspire in my fourth graders. I studied abroad in Barcelona my junior year, where I practiced my speaking skills. I have also used Spanish professionally while working for an immigration reform organization.
Haley Garner
Language Teaching Assistant
One of my majors as an undergraduate student was Spanish, so I decided to enroll in A2LP. I fell in love with the program and it was the biggest influence in my decision to become a teacher.
Jackie Alvarez
Language Teaching Assistant
¡Hola, Yo soy la Señorita Jackie! I’m an inner-city girl with a small town girl’s heart. I was born and raised in the infamous Motor City. I became bilingual at a very young age; I attended a Spanish immersion elementary and middle school. Through A2LP I am able to play in role in teaching students a second, or sometimes even a third language, and in doing so I believe that I am helping them become more apt to participate in a globalized society.
Maria Lopez
Language Teaching Assistant
My name is Maria Lopez. I am a junior at the University in Michigan, majoring in Spanish and minoring in Translation Studies. I am a native Spanish speaker and it is fulfilling to be able to share my language with others. I have been teaching 4th grade Spanish for two years now and I want to continue teaching after I graduate.
Sarah Musson
Language Teaching Assistant
I grew up speaking Spanish and English because my mother is fluent in both. I’ve been to Mexico (vacation) and Costa Rica (mission trip) and I plan to study abroad in Spain in 2017. I have six nieces and one nephew and I nanny in the summer, so it’s safe to say that I really like spending time with kids. I enjoy A2LP because it combines my passion for Spanish with my love for children!
Sarah Franklin
Language Teaching Assistant
Sarah is a Senior at U of M studying Spanish, Women’s Studies, and Linguistics. She will be studying abroad in Santiago de Compostela, Spain this summer to round out her language and culture knowledge. She loves working with children and hopes to continue doing so in the future.
Meagan Shokar
L2TA
Meagan is a senior, studying Cognitive Science: Language and Cognition. This is Meagan’s third semester teaching Spanish at Logan Elementary, where she had the distinct pleasure of moving with her third grade classes up to fourth grade this past Fall. Meagan plans to pursue a career in education, especially in language-learning contexts.
Carlos Van Wees
L2TA
A2LP has given me the chance to expand my teaching experience through actual classroom time with real students. The program helped me realize that I truly enjoy working with students of any age and that I might want to share my knowledge and passion of Cellular & Molecular Biology (my major at U-M) with others in my future. Although I am planning on going into secondary education, I feel like A2LP has given me good initial preparation on how to manage a classroom throughout a given lesson.
Linda Camaj
L2TA
Linda is a 5th year senior studying Bimolecular Science and Spanish. She has been with A2LP for two years and has enjoyed the unique opportunity to teach Spanish to fourth grade students at Pittsfield Elementary. She plans to apply to medical school this spring, and would love to be involved in health education in the near future. Teaching through A2LP has equipped her with many important skills she will use in her future endeavors.
Erin Hescott
Alumni
Erin is a 2015 University of Michigan graduate with a Bachelor’s degree in Communications Studies and a minor in Community Action and Social Change, and works for an advertising agency in Chicago, IL . She has a passion for education and Spanish, and continues to work with youth in her community.
Emma Ward
Language Teaching Assistant
I am a sophomore majoring in Psychology and International Studies, studying different cultures with a focus on Latin America and Spanish. I have taken Spanish for six years now and love working with children, so this was a great program for me to try. I have enjoyed working with A2LP, it has really helped me to become less afraid of talking in public and I have really enjoyed teaching the children Spanish.
Jordan Hite
Language Teaching Assistant
I am majoring in Linguistics and Romance Languages (Spanish and Portuguese). I’ve studied Spanish since seventh grade and have always had a passion for learning about the language. I teach fourth grade at Carpenter Elementary—my teaching partner and I are so lucky to have been placed in such a wonderful school with such a wonderful principal—not to mention our wonderful students! The best feeling is seeing my kids’ faces light up when we walk into the room.
Julia Reid
Language Teaching Assistant
I’ve always loved Spanish and after doing a homestay program in Turrialba, Costa Rica after my sophomore year in high school, I made myself a personal goal of being fluent in Spanish by the time I graduate from college. I also love working with kids, whether it be babysitting, tutoring, counseling, etc, so A2LP seemed like the perfect opportunity for me to combine my passion for Spanish with my passion for working with kids. It has been nothing but a positive experience so far!
Daniel J. Weiss
Language Teaching Assistant
Hi! I studied abroad in Salamanca, Spain for 6 weeks my Sophomore summer and then in Buenos Aires, Argentina for 6 months in the winter of my junior year. Learning a new language opens up a totally different world from what you are accustomed to. Adjectives and nouns are switched. Things sound funny. You understand why foreigners talk the way they do. It is a bridge into another culture/way of life. That is part of the reason teaching these kids is so cool and why I chose to participate in the program!
Efrain P. Segarra
Language Teaching Assistant
I’m a senior in Physics, with a passion for Hispanic culture and language. A2LP is an amazing opportunity for anyone looking for some extra practice with Spanish to those who wish to pursue the education profession. It’s the perfect class to balance out the stress in your life – my students continue to surprise and make me smile.
Taylor Thorn
Language Teaching Assistant
I am a junior studying Spanish and Communications. I have loved learning Spanish since middle school and am very passionate about the language and culture. I have plans to study abroad in Santiago, Spain before I graduate. I have never taught before, but I was a nanny for several years for school age children. Experiencing Spanish as a student and a teacher has been a truly enriching opportunity.
Arianna Dixon
Language Teaching Assistant
I am a sophomore studying Spanish Education. I have been studying Spanish for eight years now and I love it! In this past year, I have had the opportunity to go abroad twice. In the summer of 2015 I spent a month and a half in southern Mexico working at a migrant shelter, volunteering and talking to migrants to hear their stories. Also, over winter break I was in Honduras helping build a school with an organization called Students Helping Honduras that seeks to combat poverty and gang violence through education.
Katie Loftus
Language Teaching Assistant
I am a Junior studying Communications and Spanish. After studying abroad in Granada, Spain during Winter 2015, I re-joined A2LP and have loved every moment since! Education and education reform is a passion of mine, so having the opportunity to combine my own language learning with teaching through A2LP has been one of the highlights of my time at The University of Michigan!
Meghan Berry
Language Teaching Assistant
I am a senior majoring in Spanish and Latin American Studies. I have been a summer camp director for the city of Ann Arbor for four summers, and I am really excited to bring that experience into the classroom.
Sharae Franklin
Language Teaching Assistant
I am a sophomore from Detroit studying Elementary Education. I have studied Spanish since first being introduced to it in middle school. I love working with children and watching them develop more confidence in their ability as learners but also as teachers as well; I am able to learn just as much from them as they may learn from me. They have shown me the importance of being flexible, prepared for the unexpected, and simply having fun!
Lauren Maluchnik
Language Teaching Assistant
I am from Saint Clair Shores, with a major in Spanish and a Mathematics minor. My end goal is to be a teacher and I honestly love creating connections with other people through learning processes. I am so happy I chose to be a part of A2LP because visiting my students has been the BEST part of my week for 39 weeks and counting.
Shada Thompson
Language Teaching Assistant
I am a Spanish major who is from southwest Michigan, and my best college experience was when I studied abroad in Madrid, Spain for a semester. There, I took 5 classes all taught in Spanish, and I enjoyed teaching an English class once a week in a local elementary school to 2nd grade children. I am also involved in the Crossfit community, and I enjoy being in the outdoors and spending time with friends and family.
Laurel Dearborn
Language Teaching Assistant
I am a junior double majoring in Spanish and History. My passion for Spanish came out of my love for people. Studying Spanish has given me the opportunity to meet and connect with communities in spite of language barriers. Through non-profit work in my home state of California, I have developed an equivalent passion for the power of education. For me, A2LP is the perfect combination of these two fields.
Emma Kuske
Language Teaching Assistant
Emma Kuske is a Sophomore currently pursuing majors through both the Honors program and School of Music, Theatre, and Dance in Spanish and Drama. She is from Grand Rapids, Michigan and this will be her fifteenth year studying the Spanish language and culture. She has always been inspired to learn and teach the language because of her passion for traveling, whether it’s hiking, touring, or just visiting. Along with Spanish and Drama, Emma competes with the Ballroom Dance Team, experiments with piano, ukulele, and guitar, and plays field hockey.
Nicole Haggerty
Language Teaching Assistant
Hi! I’m Nicole Haggerty and I am currently a sophomore at the University of Michigan. I am a Spanish major and Biology minor with plans to apply to medical school. My drive to help people and my love for Spanish is what lead me to this program and I am very excited to make a difference through it. I can’t wait to spread my Spanish knowledge on to kids who are excited to learn.
Kerrigan Fitzpatrick
Language Teaching Assistant
I am thinking I will majoring in Spanish and History and minor in Writing. This past summer I taught English and a little Spanish in Morocco. I have also tutored at my high school in northern Michigan and at Community High School in Ann Arbor. I wish to become a secondary education Spanish teacher.
Lizbeth Diaz
Language Teaching Assistant
I am a Sophomore, my intended major is Mathematics with a minor is Psychology. My first language was Spanish, my family and I would travel to Mexico every winter where I would be enrolled in school for a couple of months. My teaching experience has been as a catechist assistant and math tutor. One of my teachers let me teach our class for a week, to help me consider if I wanted to be a teacher.
Brittney Crawford
Language Teaching Assistant
I am from Owosso, Michigan and a Sophomore in LSA studying International Studies. I started learning Spanish in high school but really fell in love with the study of the cultures and language in the Intensive Residential College here at Michigan. I have always had a passion for youngsters and am excited to combine my love of children and Spanish through A2LP this year.
Jessica Ruzgal
Language Teaching Assistant
I’m a Pre-PA senior majoring in Spanish. While I don’t have any proper experience in teaching, I have previously held workshops while serving as an executive board member in a student organization. I hope to further improve my Spanish as well as develop invaluable skills in leadership and instruction from working with children. I’m excited to be part of this community and look forward to being challenged by this new environment!
Blake McDonald
Language Teaching Assistant
I am a senior studying Spanish and Political Science. My interest in Spanish was sparked by lively, engaging professors at the University of Michigan, and I hope to bring the same energy to the classes I teach. During spring term of my junior year, I studied abroad in Santiago de Compostela, Spain, and lived with an entirely Spanish-speaking family. I hope to show students how fun and rewarding learning a new language can be.
Asha Burns
Language Teaching Assistant
I, Asha Burns, am a Sophomore at the University of Michigan. I am pre-med with a double major in Biomolecular Science and Spanish. I have taken Spanish for 6 years now and have recently completed a study abroad program in Salamanca, Spain. I have Mexican heritage but I am not a native speaker. Therefore, I am studying the language because it is a huge part of my culture and I love learning it.
Susie Wager
Language Teaching Assistant
My name is Susie Wager and I am from Cleveland, Ohio. I am majoring in Cellular and Molecular Biology on a premed track, and I am minoring in Spanish. I have a background in tutoring both younger students in the 4th and 5th grade as well as high school students. I am eager to teach a full class of students and help them improve their skills in Spanish.
Melissa Ramirez
Language Teaching Assistant
I am a junior, studying Psychology and Spanish with hopes of going in to elementary education in the future. I’ve been an assistant teacher in the Caiman classroom for En Nuestra Lengua, a Saturday Spanish school for native Spanish speaking children from the Ann Arbor area, for two years now. I am exciting to be able to continue working with children teaching Spanish and gaining confidence to reach my future goals.
Sarah Schade
Language Teaching Assistant
I am a Junior studying Spanish and International Studies. This past spring I was able to spend six weeks in Santiago de Compostela, Spain. Since I have studies Spanish since I was in 7th grade, this trip reinforced my love for Spanish while giving me the opportunity to practice my speaking. I love learning this language and can’t wait to share what I’ve earned with students this year.
Brenna Potter
2017 LTA Summer Intern
I study Romance Languages since I fell in love with Spanish when talking to friends in the Dominican Republic. I wasn’t sure how to make Spanish into a career until my freshman year of college where I participated in a program that allowed me to coach English to Brazilian students. Since then I have wanted to become a foreign languages teacher! A2LP gives me an amazing opportunity to practice my teaching skills while interacting with children!
Ireland Van Eck
Language Teaching Assistant
I’m currently a sophomore in LSA, hoping to major in Spanish and minor in French while pursuing a secondary teaching certificate! I spent six weeks this summer studying abroad with CGIS in Salamanca, Spain and improving my Spanish fluency while also getting pumped to work with A2LP. I was born/raised in Ann Arbor and attended Northside Elementary (now A2 STEAM), so I’m excited to continue working in the district that I grew up in!
Julissa Tinoco
Language Teaching Assistant
My majors are Communications and Spanish. Spanish is my first language. I grew up in Southwest Detroit, a Spanish speaking community.I attended a bilingual school from Kindergarten to eight grade and I continued taking Spanish classes throughout high school. I enjoy learning about the cultures that come with the language. I studied abroad in Santiago de Compostela, Spain over the Spring so that I could immerse myself in the culture.
Madi Willihnganz
Language Teaching Assistant
Hello! My name is Madi and I am from Lake Oswego, Oregon. My major is Information Technology and I am thinking of minoring in Spanish. I have some tutoring background in Spanish from when I was in high school.
Avery Collins
Language Teaching Assistant
My name is Avery Collins! I’m from Connecticut and am a sophomore in LSA. I’m an International Studies and Spanish double major with a minor in Law, Justice, and Social Change. I tutored a few Spanish students when I was in high school, and I just spent my summer living with a Spanish speaking family in Peru while working for a nonprofit through U of M.
Gabriella Smith
Language Teaching Assistant
Hello! My name is Gabriella Smith and I am a junior at Michigan. I am from Birmingham, Michigan and am double majoring in International Studies and Spanish. I grew up with grandparents from Lima, Peru so the language, Spanish, and the customs have always been a major part of my life; agua was actually my first word! I am excited to have the opportunity to pass on my knowledge of the language and customs to the children of Ann Arbor.
Maureen Wiltsee
Language Teaching Assistant
I am a Junior studying Spanish with a minor in Computer Science. I’m from a super small town in Michigan where there are more cows than people. I have traveled to Mexico and Peru and experienced firsthand the Spanish language and culture.
Isabella De Cardenas
Language Teaching Assistant
Hello my name is Isabella de Cardenas. I am entering my sophomore year at the University of Michigan. While I am still undecided about my major, I know that I want to minor in Spanish. I have been around the Spanish language since I was born. I am so grateful that my Cuban side of the family solely spoke in Spanish. I think that helped me as a child and gave me a stronger interest into learning the language. Spanish is such a beautiful language and I am extremely excited to get younger minds excited about learning it.
Maia Zvetan
Language Teaching Assistant
I am a junior majoring in International Studies with a focus on Latin America and minoring in Italian. I have always loved languages and although I started studying Spanish in middle school I really fell in love with the language in high school through the IB program and then once again in college. Over the years I have tutored many younger students in Spanish and enjoyed seeing first hand how learning and developing a relationship with a language can positively impact the students.
David Mack
Language Teaching Assistant
I am currently undeclared in a major, but I plan to apply to the School of Education this winter. Once enrolled, my goal is to become an elementary school teacher. I have taken Spanish since first grade, and completed the RC’s Intensive program last year. I also spent three years when I was in high school teaching Sunday School classes at my church, where I worked with third and fourth graders.
Christian Elliott
Language Teaching Assistant
Hello! My name is Christian Elliott and I am a senior at the University of Michigan! I am an International Studies and Spanish major! I studied abroad in Argentina learning the language and have experience teaching language from teaching at the University of Macau in China. When I’m outside of the academic setting, I am working out as a member of the Michigan Triathlon Team!
Sarah Blasius
Language Teaching Assistant
I am a senior from Romeo, Michigan majoring in Spanish, German & International studies – I absolutely love to study languages and travel. After completing a Disney internship last Winter, I couldn’t be happier to be back with A2LP for the rest of this year. This program has provided me with an opportunity to share my passion for Spanish language and culture with children who light up my day every time I see them.
Zoe Kanterman
Language Teaching Assistant
I am a Senior studying Psychology and Spanish. I studied abroad in Granada, Spain for five months and had the most amazing experience with a host family. I am so grateful to be back teaching with A2LP because the community is incredible, and I feel so passionate about the importance of second language acquisition.
Víanni Cobb
Language Teaching Assistant
I am a senior at the University of Michigan studying Biopsychology, Cognition, and Neuroscience and Spanish with a minor in music and a concentration in pre med. I have been formally learning Spanish since I was four years old. In the future, I would like to educate others in Spanish-speaking countries so as to bridge the gap in health disparities and provide services to those in low income regions.
Nicole LaPlena
Language Teaching Assistant
I am a senior studying Psychology and Spanish. My passion for Spanish language and culture began when I was in high school. I knew that I had to study it in college. I studied abroad in Salamanca, Spain the summer after my sophomore year of college and that passion grew even more. A2LP has given me the opportunity to combine two things that I love: working with children and Spanish.
C.C. Holbert
Language Teaching Assistant
I am an English major and a Spanish minor studying in the LSA Honors Program. I absolutely love the Spanish language and feel incredibly lucky to have had the opportunity to ignite this passion in younger students. A2LP is a great program that taught me a lot about what it means to be a teacher and gave me invaluable experience as an undergraduate.