May 2014 Alumni Newsletter


Dr. Rob Gallagher

"We are very excited about what God is doing through our faculty, students, and alumni around the world. We warmly invite you to stay connected through our special alumni web page so that we can better serve you in continuing education to enhance the purposes of Christ across cultures."
- Dr. Robert Gallagher, Department Chair


Please click the on the following for information on recent alumni news and other department events. If you would like to be featured in our next alumni newsletter, please email

New Alumni Profile

Alumni Update Department News  Faculty Profile


New Alumni Profile

Ryan S.
2014 TESOL Graduate

"The TESOL program at Wheaton College has shaped me into a more complete teacher. Before entering the TESOL program, I had no prior teaching experience. I had spent part of my undergraduate career studying Hebrew in the Middle East. I knew that I wanted to return to the Middle East, but needed to have some sort of profession (English teacher) that would allow me to stay in the region long term.
I entered Wheaton College as an opportunist eager to use English as my ticket to the Middle East, but I would leave the masters program as a professional teacher, eager to make an impact in my students’ lives. This transformation took place because of the close mentorships I had with my professors at Wheaton College. It was not enough for me simply to go to master classes at Wheaton. My professors invited me to be an active part of their personal projects, and I was eager to learn from them. Specifically, Dr. Cheri Pierson invited me to be a part of her current textbook project on parables, which is expected to be published towards the fall of 2014. Throughout the experience of being Dr. Pierson’s research experience, she has helped to instil in me even further the value of being a professional teacher who invests in students. I hope as I continue to gain more experience in TESOL, that I will also be able to share the knowledge I’ve gained with younger teachers.
The Wheaton College TESOL program has successfully prepared me to make English teaching both my career and ministry. In my last semester of the program, I was offered teaching positions with World Relief and Moraine Valley Community College. Now I am a full-time teacher hoping to have a significant impact on the lives of my students. My initial goal, to go teach English in the Middle East, is beginning to come to fruition. I look forward to teaching English in Oman for six months, starting in the summer of 2014."


Alumni Update

Ginny Hrushka '09

Ginny Hrushka"I graduated from Wheaton as part of the Intercultural and TESOL program in May 2009. As I studied at Wheaton while teaching in China with ELIC, I was equipped to do the work that God had called me to do there. I felt that I was able to be a more excellent TEFL teacher as well as being culturally sensitive and appropriate within my host culture.

Currently, I live in the outskirts of Atlanta, GA and am hoping to become K-12 certified as I seek to live faithfully and be a part of what God is doing here. Recently, I wrote an article that was published online with Today's Christian Woman that described my personal exposure to sex/human trafficking and how I felt God was calling me to respond. I look forward to seeing God continue to bring more of his Kingdom here and being a part of his work."

Click Here>> to read Ginny's article on Today's Christian Woman.


Department News 

Congratulations to faculty, students, and alumni in the Intercultural Studies/TESOL program for participating and presenting in the Illinois TESOL Be Conference in February, and in the TEOL Conference in Portland, Oregon in March.

Wheaton College TESOL faculty, students, and alumni presenters at the 2014 Illinois TESOL/BE Convention:TESOL Conference IL   

Friday, February 28

  • “Fostering Community in Diverse Adult ESL Classrooms”
    Maria Hodapp, College of DuPage (alumna), Rachel Fabian (student), Hope Hardin (student), and Dr. Cheri Pierson
  • “Innovative Input: Using Multimedia Clips for Authentic Language Practice” 
    Mary and Joy Perley, College of DuPage (alumnae)
  • “ YouTube – A Tool of Endless Language Learning Possibilities” 
    Holly Lawyer, Elgin Community College (alumna)

Saturday, March 1

  • “Writing and Recording Original Audio Tracks for Authentic Listening” 
    Sara Vroom (faculty/alumna), and Dr. Alan Seaman
  • “Teaching ESL to Migrant Workers at America’s Racecourses” 
    Marie Friesema (student) and Dr. Alan Seaman
  • “Perspectives on Teaching English to STEM Professionals”
    Michael Canning (alumnus) and Dr. Alan Seaman
  • “Fostering Independence in ESL Writers”
    Mary Cerutti, Harper College (faculty/alumna)

TESOL Conference Portland:TESOL Conference OR 

March 26-29, 2014
Portland, Oregon

  • Valerie Geer gave a presentation on Pattern Poetry.
  • Dr. Alan Seaman and Sara Vroom’s presented "Writing and Recording Original Audio Tracks for Authentic Listening."
  • Charity Renwick and Dr. Cheri Pierson gave a presentation entitled "Foreign to Familiar: Experiencing Culture Through Narrative and Artistic Expression."

North Central Region’s Annual EMS Conference:EMS logo graphic

 April 5, 2014
Trinity Evangelical Divinity School
Deerfield, IL

This annual conference that regularly draws 250-300 missionaries, professors, and mission students from across the Midwest. This year's track topics include: Diaspora Missiology, Orality and Missions, Historical Issues in Missions, and Missiological Reflections on 21st Century. Mission Strategies. Several members of the Intercultural Studies Department, including students, faculty, and staff, presented. Their contributions are listed below:

EMS Conference

Katie Roam

Katie's presentation was titled "One Method Does Not Fit All: Toward a Contextualized Gospel for Every Muslim Diaspora." In the paper, she identified several categories of Muslim immigrants she has encountered in the U.S. and offered suggestions for contextualization of the gospel message to meet the specific needs of each group. A condensed version of the paper will be published in EMQ in January.

Reverend Cody Lorance

Rev. Lorance gave a presentation titled "To the Unreached peoples Scattered Everywhere: A New Era of Frontier Mission":

"It is my contention today that the Lord is indeed leading His Church into a new era of frontier mission that is primarily characterized by an unprecedented acceleration of human migration from everywhere to everywhere and the corresponding development of previously inconceivable technologies and global infrastructures which have utterly revolutionized the way we connect to one another. If you will, we may think of this as the era of mission 'to and through the scattered people'. Perhaps the most import reality influencing mission in the 21st century is that people keep moving, especially to the cities, and yet remain connected to everywhere."

Dr. Robert Gallagher

Dr. Gallagher presented "Friend or Foe? Migration as Mission Among the Phillistines". This presentation claims that migration served an important function of the mission of God in the Old Testament in three major aspects. First, as detailed in the Mosaic covenant, God’s people were to love the stranger in their midst, and in doing so offer an invitation to participate in the community. Second, God’s people in migration were potential agents of transformation in developing a faith in the LORD with those nations they came into contact. Third, non-Israelite migration also served the missional purposes of God. Because of the political turmoil within Israel, David was forced to immigrate to the city of Gath, which provided him an ongoing opportunity to intermingle with these foreigners. The case studies of three Philistine movements from Gath show the intersection of migration and mission. For instance, Obed-edom, the keeper of the Ark, the Cherethites and Pelethites, king David’s Philistine bodyguard, and Ittai, the Gittite warrior-leader loyal to David during Absalom’s revolt, all migrated to Israel, and it would appear were brought to some awareness of the Hebrew God. This in turn influenced the evolving destiny of the inhabitants of the city of Jerusalem and the nation of Israel. This demonstrates that migration played a role in the mission of God, and should be considered as a strategy of the church today. In particular, migratory movements of non-Christian people, such as evidenced in the Fei Yang Bible Study Fellowship of the Wheaton Chinese Alliance Church in Chicago, continue to serve as an important facet in the global spread of the Christian faith to bring about the mission of God.

Professor Beth Seversen

Professor Seversen presented "African Diaspora Churches: Assimilation and Missional Impact on the Host Culture"

"African immigrants articulate a passion for reaching and renewing the mainstream American church and the broader culture with the gospel of Jesus. To what degree they are successful in accomplishing their missionary call to evangelize the West may depend partly on the manner and process by which they assimilate into American society. This presentation explored the linkage between African immigrant assimilation and evangelism effectiveness transnationally, among co-ethnics, and the broader culture. Specifically I researched the question: Does gospel translation correlate more with immersion or distinction in relation to the host culture? I explored this question through literature review, participant observations and interviews with African pastors."

Dr. Scott Moreau

Dr. Moreau presented "Reflections on the Familial Language Translation Controversy from a WEA Panel Member." In his presentation he discussed an overview the story of the Familial Language Translation controversy as it developed in print as well as the WEA Panel which responded to Wycliffe’s Best Practices statement. The presentation was based on literature research and personal experience, providing an synopsis of the story of the controversy, including the most recent developments.

ESL Ministry Conference

Many Wheaton faculty, staff, and alumni participated in the ESL Ministry conference at Moody Bible Institute on April 12. The following is a list of their contributions:

Picture Perfect: Using Visuals for Communicative Language Practice
Mary and Joy Perley, College of DuPage
This session will investigate how to use easily accessible pictures and multimedia clips to strengthen students' skills in grammar, vocabulary, writing and speaking at all levels. We will discuss activities such as the Language Experience Approach, memory games, find the difference pictures, vocabulary gallery, picture prompts and picture dictionaries, as well as how to incorporate movie trailers and clips into everyday lessons to promote both language and critical thinking skills.

The Multilevel Class: Adapting Your Lessons to Meet Student Needs
Alan Seaman, Wheaton College
What do you do when your class includes students at the beginning, intermediate, and advanced levels of English language proficiency? Although multilevel classes create obvious challenges for ESL teachers, they can also provide interesting opportunities. Drawing upon years of teaching, Alan will present a number of simple, practical ideas that help teachers adapt their lessons to a variety of levels.

Low Prep Ideas: Spice Up Your Lesson Without Killing Yourself
Dianne Dow, Wheaton College
Excellent teaching requires careful preparation and often overwhelming time commitment. This workshop will focus on three key areas: 1) introducing resources that will add valuable language practice with minimal preparation; 2) providing hands-on experience with some of these resources; and 3) understanding how to utilize picture dictionaries effectively.

Foreign to Familiar: Experiencing Culture Through Artistic Expression & Narrative
Cheri Pierson, Wheaton College and Charity Renwick, Wheaton Academy
This presentation will illustrate different lenses through which to teach and view culture. Each culture has stories and art that reflect worldview and explain cultural values. As English language learners express their cultural narratives through different mediums, teachers have unique opportunities to connect with students on a deeper level of understanding.

Being a Bridge
Sara Vroom, Wheaton College
How can you use your position as an ESL teacher to be a bridge and an advocate between the cultures of your students and native-born Americans? We will explore how to help orient new arrivals to the US culture and how to help orient existing community members to new arrivals.

A “Salty” Curriculum: Creating an Atmosphere of Depth and Substance in the ESL Classroom
Sarah Eyman, English Language Institute China
Come hear about a curriculum that promotes an intentional atmosphere of depth and substance for second language learners. This workshop will look at specific activities and ways to tailor lessons to get students thinking about deeper issues of life while developing their spoken English.

Reaching Out to People of Other Faiths through Teaching
Pamela Barger, Wheaton College
This workshop focuses on ways to dialogue with students of other faiths through teaching ESL. This includes a brief overview of different religions and practical as well as interactive ESL activities to engage in learning about various spiritual worldviews, including Christianity.

Reaching Out to Migrant Workers Through a Workplace Program – Room 234
Marie Friesema, Moraine Valley College
The migrant workers who care for the horses at America’s racetracks are a neglected population of English language learners. Marie will describe existing programs and demonstrate creative teaching techniques used to develop English literacy at the backstretch as models for those interested in starting an onsite ESL program.


Faculty Profile - Dr. Cheri Pierson

Collaborative projects with students and alumni    INTR 611 Class


The Intercultural Studies Department is a Christ driven community that thrives on the contributions from both professors and students. One of Dr. Pierson’s strengths as a professor is her desire to see her students grow in their journeys in educational and spiritual life. She has worked with a number of students over the years.

According to student, Ryan S., whom she recently mentored, "Dr. Pierson has helped me to truly see myself as a fellow teacher who has something to contribute to the field of TESOL. Working under her has given me legitimate confidence." 

Partnerships with Students 2013 - 2014 

With Mary Cerutti, Lydia Guill and Moriah Sharp

  • Article: “Invitation to Interaction,” in English Teaching Professional (July 2013) UK
    With Hannah Markley
  • Article: “Mentoring Women in the Academy” (In Process – working title)

With Will Bankston

  • Article: “English for Bible and Theology: Understanding and Communicating Theology Across Cultural and Linguistic Barriers,” in Teaching Theology & Religion (January 2013)
  • Book: Exploring Parables in the Book of Luke: Integrated Skills for ESL/EFL Students of Theology (working title), Langham Literature (to publisher by late March 2014)
  • We plan on working on an edited volume on Language and Theology after Exploring Parables is completed.
  • Ryan Shultz is my research assistant for Exploring Parables so I’ve been mentoring him through that process as well.

With Ryan Shultz and Will Bankston

  • Presentation: Mentoring Through Collaborative Projects. Intercultural Studies Forum. November 2014
    With Ryan Schultz and Mike Canning
  • Presentation: In Pursuit of Motivational Strategies that Enhance Independent Learning, ITBE Convention (Spring 2013). Academic Presentation.
  • Article: “In Pursuit of Motivational Strategies that Enhance Independent Learning,” ITBE LINK (online TESOL State Convention Publication), Fall 2013.
    With Dave Onufrock
  • Presentation: A Toolkit of Ideas for Organizing your Teaching. (April 2013). Moody-Wheaton ESL Ministry Conference.

With Hope Hardin, Rachel Fabian, and Maria Hodapp

  • Presentation: Fostering Community in the Diverse Adult ESL Classrooms, ITBE Convention, February 28 2014
    • Article to follow

ITBE Conference 

 With Charity Renwick

  • Presentation: Foreign to Familiar: Experiencing Culture through Artistic Expression and Narrative. CELT Conference, Portland, Oregon. March 2014 & Moody and Wheaton ESL Ministry Conference, April 2014
    • Article to follow 

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