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Faculty and Staff


Joy Tesh, Director: Joy Tesh brings more than twenty-five years' experience in the LCC to her position as Director. She was a teacher in the Intensive English Program and then served as Associate Director before becoming Director in January 2006. She received a B.A. in English and Education from Mars Hill College in North Carolina and an M.Ed. from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. Her love of working with international students began years ago when she served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Liberia, West Africa. Her main research interests are professional standards and program administration. Email
  Adam Chen, Program Director of Counseling and Student Services: Having emigrated from China, Adam received his B.A. in German Studies. He received his M.A. in Linguistics and M.Ed. in College Student Personnel from Ohio University. He has worked at various offices serving international students in a university setting, including admissions and international student services, and he enjoys helping international students integrate into the U.S. culture and academic environment. His interests include student advising, immigration regulations, and student activities.  Email
Douglas Jones, Program Director of Assessment and Technology: Douglas Jones received his B.A. in English Literature from Stephen F. Austin State University and completed the Thai language course at the Defense Language Institute. Later work as a literacy volunteer drew him to the ESL teaching field, and he entered the Applied English Linguistics program at the University of Houston, graduating with an M.A. in 1995. He has been teaching at the Language and Culture Center since 1996 and has delivered several presentations at national conferences on the integration of science, technology, and ESL. Email
   Jodi Nelms, Associate Director: Email
Jeanne Peine, Program Manager - Training and Development: Jeanne Peine grew up in Portland, Maine. She received her B.A. in English from the University of Vermont and her M.A.T. in ESL from Georgetown University. She also studied film and English literature in London, England. She has taught in intensive English, refugee and university credit programs and has worked with the Experiment in International Living in Dublin, Ireland. Jeanne is active in the TESOL organization (Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages) at both the local and international levels. Email

Support Staff:

Jessica Cruz, Office Supervisor: Jessica Cruz was born and raised in Houston. She graduated from the University of Houston-Downtown in December 2013 with a Bachelor's degree in Management and a minor in Human Resources. She began working at the LCC in the summer of 2010 as a Main Office Program Assistant. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her family. Email
Andrea Goatley, Admissions Manager: Email
Thao Tiffany Le, Administrative Business Assistant: Originally from Vietnam, Tiffany Le arrived in the United States in 1992. She received a B.A. in Accountancy from the University of Houston in 2005. She joined the UH workforce as a student employee in 2004 in the Scholarship and Financial Aid office and later, after graduation, moved to the College of Architecture. She joined the Language and Culture Center (LCC) in 2008. Going the extra mile to help students and staff is what Tiffany finds most rewarding about working at the LCC. Email
Samrach Long, SEVIS Compliance Coordinator: A native Houstonian, Samrach Long received a BBA in Management from the Bauer College of Business at the University of Houston in 2009. He joined the Language and Culture Center (LCC) in fall 2001 as a student assistant under Dave Burns. Email
Mark Vuong, Microsystems Analyst: Email


Dale Craven: Dale Craven grew up in Kansas City, Missouri. He graduated from the University of Central Missouri with a degree in Communications. Dale spent two years in China studying Mandarin and Chinese culture before beginning his profession as an ESL teacher. Upon earning his Masters in TESL from Oklahoma City University, he returned to China where he lived and taught ESL for more than a decade. He has been teaching at the LCC since 2011. His interests include using film in the classroom and cross-cultural communication.Email
Thong Dang: Originally from Vietnam, Thong Dang received his B.A. in English Language and Literature from the Ho Chi Minh City University of Social Sciences and Humanities in Vietnam and his M.A. in Applied English Linguistics from the University of Houston. As a teacher of English in both NNES and NES contexts for the past 25 years, he is interested in comparative linguistics, especially as applied to translation, academic writing, and English for children in NNES contexts, and has published a number of books in these areas. Email
Jenifer Edens: Jenifer Edens grew up in East Texas and earned a B.A. in English and Spanish from Stephen F. Austin State University. Her graduate certificate in TESOL and M.Ed. are from the University of Texas in Arlington. To better understand the challenges that her students face while living in a foreign country, she spent a year and a half teaching English in Guadalajara, Mexico. She is especially interested in the writing process. Email
Anna Hood: A native Houstonian, Anna Hood received her B.A. in English from Davidson College in North Carolina and her M.A. in Foreign Language Education from the University of Texas at Austin, where she specialized in Teaching English as a Second/Foreign Language. She has taught English in a variety of settings in the United States and in Spain, and she speaks Spanish. She enjoys teaching at an intensive English program and is interested in pronunciationEmail
Barbara Kennedy: Barbara VanFossen Kennedy, who grew up living in both Canada and the United States, received a bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of Calgary. After graduating, she began teaching ESL to international students as a volunteer, and then moved to Japan to teach English for several years. After completing a master’s degree in Applied Language Studies at Carleton University in Ottawa, she taught English in Brazil. Since relocating to Houston, she has taught ESL at Lone Star College and the LCC. Her primary area of interest is cross-culture communication. Email
Susan McAlister: Born in Boston, Massachusetts, Susan McAlister lived in Egypt as a child. She attended Carleton College in Northfield, Minnesota, but spent her junior year at the American University of Beirut, Lebanon. She returned to Lebanon in 1971 as a YMCA volunteer teacher. Susan received her M.A. in T.E.S.L. from the University of Illinois and completed her certification as an Academic Language Therapist (dyslexia specialist) in Wichita, Kansas. She has taught ESL and dyslexic students in California, Illinois, Kansas, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, and Texas. Her special area of interest is ESL students with learning differences. Email
Michalina Mrugala: Michalina Mrugala was born and raised in Poland. She received her B.A. in Spanish and her M.A. in Teaching English as Second Language from Arizona State University in Tempe, Arizona. She has taught ESL at Arizona State University and Estrella Mountain Community College in Arizona. She has also coordinated ESL state requirements for a local charter school in Surprise, Arizona, where she taught Spanish as well. She speaks Polish and Spanish. Her interests include the influence of transfer, critical period, and language policy. Email
Alida Nakic: Originally from Caracas, Venezuela, Alida Nakic graduated with honors from the Universidad Pedagogica Experimental Libertador, where she received her B.A. and M.A. in English as a Second Language. She has been teaching EFL and ESL for more than 15 years in Venezuela and in the United States. Her favorite experience is teaching English in multi-cultural settings, where students bring enriching experiences to the classroom from their countries. She enjoys being creative in the classroom and teaching through the use of games and songs. Email
Katey Porter: Katey Porter was born in Dallas, Texas. She attended the University of St. Andrews in St. Andrews, Scotland, where she received an M.A. in English Language and Literature, and the University of Reading in Reading, England, where she received an M.A. in Applied Linguistics. She first taught English in China at Guilin Technical University at Qindao University while studying Chinese. Since Joining the LCC teaching staff, she has come to enjoy research in cross-cultural communications and its application to teaching English Language skills. She participates in both leading and singing with the LCC student choir, the LCC Singers. Email
Jana Runnels: Jana Runnels was born and raised in East Texas. After earning a degree in Secondary Education with a specialization in English Language Arts and Reading at Southwestern Assemblies of God University, she taught English and Spanish in the public school system. She went on to earn her M.A. in Linguistics at the University of Texas at Arlington. After teaching EFL in Peru and Ecuador, she returned to UT-Arlington to teach ESL. She joined the LCC in 2011 and loves teaching in its multicultural setting, where she enjoys building cross-cultural communication and helping her students fall in love with learning. Email
Caitlin Sapaugh: Caitlin was raised in Houston, TX. She graduated from Texas Christian University in 2010 with a Bachelor of Music in Vocal Performance. It was at TCU studying the voice that she fell in love with languages and linguistics. Upon earning her Masters in TESOL from UTA, she returned to Houston where she has been teaching at the LCC since 2013. Her teaching approach focuses heavily on cross-cultural communication and applying current real-world topics to writing and oral presentations. She is also interested in second language acquisition and psycholinguistics. Email
Cory Stewart: Email
Vincent Tran: A UH alumnus with a B.S. degree, Vincent Tran received his M.Ed. from Framingham State College while living in Poland. He spent three years teaching in Japan in public grade schools and at Kwansei Gakuin University. He received his TESOL certificate in Poland with SIT. He is fluent in Vietnamese and speaks some Japanese and Polish. Before joining the LCC, he worked as head of the ESL department at MTI College. He enjoys traveling and learning new cultural things. His research interests include behaviorist approaches to teaching reading and listening. Email
Gregory Urquhart: Greg Urquhart was born and raised in Buffalo, New York. He has an M.A. in TESL from Adam Mickiewicz University in Poland. He is fluent in Polish, having spent four years in Poland teaching ESL (two of those years on a Fulbright Scholarship). He has taught at the LCC since 1977 and enjoys research on two-word verbs. Email