Graduate Students

Current Students

Dmitri  Detwyler is a new doctoral student in LLED with longstanding interests in the learning and use of Chinese and in Chinese language textbooks. He completed his MA at Penn State University.


Fiona Bewley is a new MA student in Asian Studies who completed studies in Chinese in Germany prior to commencing her masters degree at UBC.



Liam Doherty

Liam is a PhD student in Modern Language Education at UBC, having completed an MA in Asian Studies at the University of Toronto and an M.Ed. in MLED at UBC. His SSHRC-funded PhD research examines Chinese language learning, agency, and engagement with new media.



Ai Mizuta

Ai is a PhD student in Modern Language Education at UBC. Since her childhood in Japan and Australia, Ai has had a strong interest in the life trajectories of language minority children who are socialized into different languages and cultures. She is particularly interested in how one’s language learning process is affected by the linguistic hierarchies of the wider society, in particular in the media and in language education policy. She holds an M.A from OISE / University of Toronto. Her MA thesis focused on the language ideologies surrounding English in Japan. For her doctoral study, she examines how the recent popularity of Mandarin education affects the English monolingual ideologies in Vancouver.

Her dissertation is titled:




Rachel Wang

Rachel Wang is a PhD student in Modern Language Education at UBC and was the coordinator of the Centre for Research in Chinese Language and Literacy Education at the University of British Columbia, Canada. She did her BA in Teaching Chinese as A Second Language at East China Normal University and received her MA in Modern Language Education at the University of British Columbia. After graduation, taught Mandarin at an international school in Korea, where she was head of the World Languages Department. Earlier she had taught Mandarin to children at an international school in Shanghai and was a teaching assistant and research assistant in Mandarin in the Asian Studies Department at UBC. Her experience includes teaching Mandarin as a second language to learners of different ages and proficiency levels as well as web design and development. Rachel’s research interest involves effective ways of incorporating technology (especially voice technology) into second language instruction, heritage vs. non-heritage Chinese language education, and teachers’ identity development in Chinese language education.




Klara Abdi
Klara Abdi is a PhD student in the Department of Language and Literacy Education at the University of British Columbia. She holds a BA in French and Spanish as well as a BEd degree. Her SSHRC-funded MA degree in Modern Language Education at UBC focused on the teaching of  high school Spanish with a combination of non-heritage and heritage-language students. Following the completion of her MA, Klara moved to China, where she taught English in various post-secondary institutions, while simultaneously studying Chinese and completing a research project about high school English teachers’ professional development, both sponsored by a two-year Chinese government scholarship. Her PhD dissertation examines the life trajectories of Chinese transnational families who move between North America (especially Canada) and China, with a special focus on their young children’s transnational habitus and identity formation, as well as the development of their linguistic capital.

Former UBC Graduate Students Affiliated with CRCLLE



Tim Anderson

Tim Anderson completed his Ph.D. in TESL in the Department of Language and Literacy Education at the University of British Columbia in 2016 and is now Assistant Professor at the University of Victoria. He holds bachelors’ degrees in English and Education from the University of Saskatchewan and an M.A. in Modern Language Education from the University of British Columbia. He has spent most of the last decade teaching English as a second/foreign language in both Taiwan and Canada. He spent six months in Taiwan studying Chinese as a 2010 recipient of the Taiwan Ministry of Education Huayu Enrichment Scholarship. Tim’s MA thesis investigated the effects of metalinguistic corrective feedback on the academic writing of university level ESL students and his PhD examined the academic discourse socialization, ideologies, and identities of Chinese doctoral students at a Canadian university. With other CRCLLE members he co-authored the book Learning Chinese: Linguistic, Sociocultural, and Narrative Perspectives, and the Global Chinese (journal) article featured on this website’s home page on changing representations of Chinese language education in English news media.



Bin Zheng

Bin completed her MA degree in Asian Studies (Chinese applied linguistics) at UBC working with Dr. Duanduan Li and Dr. Patricia Duff. She also holds an MA degree in Chinese classical literature and taught Chinese as a second/foreign language for 11 years before coming to UBC. With many years of CSL/CFL teaching experience in Shandong University, China and New South Wales public high schools, Australia, as well as in Cheongju University, South Korea, she’s interested in classroom instruction and language socialization. Her MA research looked at the writing challenges faced by Chinese heritage language learners at a Canadian university. She has subsequently been teaching at SFU an other institutions.



Roma Ilnyckyj

Roma earned her BA at the University of Calgary, where she studied English literature and Chinese language.  Her life-long passion for language learning led her to study Ukrainian as her heritage language, both in Canada and Ukraine, and to study Mandarin by spending a year as an exchange student in Hefei, China (and another year subsequently in another part of China).  Roma is fascinated by language policy, language rights, language and power relations, and minority languages.  The focus of her MA thesis was the relationship between Chinese language learning and identity formation, especially in relation to gender, race, and social positioning. She was a co-author of the book, Learning Chinese: Linguistic, Sociocultural, and Narrative Perspectives. Following her graduation from UBC she became a professional editor.


Hong Jiang


Hong Jiang

Despite a long history of effort on the part of immigrant communities to teach Chinese in weekend or after-school classes, many Canadians from Chinese linguistic and cultural backgrounds have not had adequate opportunity to develop their Chinese language proficiency. Hong Jiang’s research interests are in the area of Chinese heritage language education and socialization.  Her MA study under the supervision of Drs. Duanduan Li and Patsy Duff was  a historical analysis of Chinese Heritage Language Education in British Columbia. She hopes this project provides a better understanding of some central, enduring political and societal issues at the forefront of Chinese heritage language education, such as ethnic identity, bilingualism, public education, and policy making. Prior to her MA, Jiang completed her BA at UBC in Asian Studies and Psychology. Following her graduation, and after obtaining her B.Ed. in teaching mathematics and Mandarin, she moved to California.


Ella Lester


Ella Lester (VanGaya)

Ella Lester was a graduate student in the Department of Language and Literacy Education at the University of British Columbia in Modern Languages Education. Her M.A. research examined identity development, language crossing, and (especially) different approaches to narrative inquiry in a Chinese as an additional language.  She holds a B.A. in Chinese Language and Culture from UBC, spent four years living, travelling, studying and working in China, and during her graduate program also obtained a scholarship to study Chinese through Tang dynasty poetry at the National Taiwan Normal University’s Mandarin Training Centre in Taipei. Ella worked as a Graduate Academic Assistant at the UBC Centre for Research in Chinese Language and Literacy Education in Vancouver during the 2008-2009 academic year, and previously taught English as a foreign language at the Kunming College of Economics and Management. Prior to that she worked as a copyeditor for Shanghai TV’s English-language news program (“News at Ten”), and freelance writer for various lifestyle magazines in China. In addition to journalism and academic writing, Ella also writes creatively in both English and Chinese. She is a folk music songwriter, has published poetry, and is currently collaborating on several genre-blurring projects with other artistic scholars. From 2008 to 2009, Ella worked as graduate academic assistant for CRCLLE and contributed greatly to CRCLLE’s establishment and development. She co-authored the book Learning Chinese: Linguistic, Sociocultural, and Narrative Perspectives.



Lorita Chiu

Lorita earned her BA at the University of Calgary where she studied Asian languages, majoring in Japanese.  Despite learning many different languages, her passion remains with her heritage language – Chinese. As a young immigrant to Canada, her writing inspiration and motivation came from the long nostalgia of her heritage language and her hometown. She has been deeply involved in Chinese creative writing since she was 14 and is a widely published author.  She has published five Chinese novels in Taiwan, one of which was made into a popular TV drama aired in Taiwan, China, Hong Kong and Japan.  Her interest in Chinese creative writing ultimately led her to teach Chinese, particularly to Chinese heritage students.  Her research interests include Chinese heritage language teaching and learning, teaching material development and identify searching through learning Chinese.  After completing her M.A. in Asian Studies (Chinese applied linguistics) working with both Dr. Duanduan Li and Dr. Patricia Duff she went on to do doctoral studies in language education at the University of Calgary.

Thesis: The construction of the “ideal Chinese child”: a critical analysis of textbooks for Chinese heritage language learners


Sabina Lecki

Sabina Lecki graduated from LLED’s Modern Language Education Program, completing a thesis on “The Non-native speaking Modern Language Teacher: Language Practices, Choices, and Challenges.”  This qualitative study of 22 non-native modern language teachers of various Asian and European languages focused on their L1-L2 use and further valorised their selective and strategic use of the L1, particularly in late-entry programs, while continuing to focus on maximum L2 use.  It outlined extensive individual and contextual factors impacting L1-L2 use and found that non-native teachers of Asian languages faced some particularly unique challenges.  She has taught English and Business English to adults in Poland as well as French immersion and FSL in various Ontario public schools and in Metro Vancouver. Her ongoing interests include: non-native modern language learners and teachers’ affiliation/identity in relation to the target language and culture, heritage language teaching, learning, and maintenance, as well as new Canadians’ perceptions of the French immersion program.

Thesis: The non-native modern language teacher : Language practices, choices, and challenges



Elliott Yates

Elliott completed his M.A. degree in Asian Studies, focusing on Chinese as an additional language. His interests include advanced/heritage-language learning of Chinese, and especially reading acquisition, reading choice, and literacy education. Drawing on his background  in computer science and engineering, as well as his interest in advanced learning of Chinese, his thesis looked at how technology might be used to capture the linguistic development of complexity, accuracy and fluency. He is currently working at Harvard University.

Thesis: Characterizing oral proficiency and language use of long-time learners of Chinese as an additional language using computer technology