Meet TESOL and Linguistics Minors Alumni
Noémi Toroczkai ('21)
Noémi is an anthropology major from Granger, Indiana with Japanese and TESOL minors. She was intrigued by the opportunities presented by the TESOL minor program, as she has had a lifelong interest in linguistics and dreams of teaching English abroad. After enrolling in a subpar ESL program growing up, Noémi felt as though she could connect with those learning English and was motivated to give kids a better ESL experience than she had. When asked about influential professors in her TESOL studies, Noémi had high praise for Professors Hana Kang and Lisa Oglesbee, “I loved Professor Kang's Introduction to Linguistics class; it was so interesting and I think she's a wonderful professor who really cares about her students and their well-being. Professor Oglesbee has been an excellent role-model to have, and I have learned a lot from her expertise and admire her dedication to this program.”
After graduation, Noémi is hoping to teach English abroad, and she knows the experience acquired in the TESOL program will be invaluable for her goals. The TESOL program has helped her gain a deeper understanding of the language learning process, and she is excited to use her experience in the program to become an English teacher. A former ESL student herself, she “felt a connection to this minor because [she] would be able to help others who may be going through similar experiences”. Noémi hopes to teach English abroad following graduation.
Olivia Wright ('21)
From Owensboro, Kentucky, Olivia Wright is an English major with theology and TESOL minors. Her experience in high school assisting in various ESL (English as a Second Language) classrooms inspired her to pursue her TESOL minor. Once enrolling in the TESOL minor, Olivia immediately fell in love with the program and she has only grown more excited to become a teacher. When asked about her favorite memory of the program, Olivia recalled a project in which she and her classmates each needed to develop a mini-lesson and present it to the class. “The micro-teaching sessions were also very fun: we had lessons in Hungarian vowels, ASL, Irish numbers, and much more!”
After graduating from the TESOL minor program, Olivia feels extremely confident in her teaching abilities and is excited to be a teacher. When asked about her advice for students considering the minor, Olivia said, “It has taught me so much about the wonderful and underappreciated world of education, and if you have pride in the teaching field, if you have a love of languages, then this is the minor for you.
Olivia volunteered in various ESL programs in high school, and she plans to teach in similar settings. “After having completed the minor, especially my practicum where I created my own syllabus, wrote my own lessons, and taught my own class, I feel incredibly prepared to enter the teaching world.”
Olivia has accepted an award with the Fulbright English Teaching Assistant Program and will be teaching in the Canary Islands.
Mary Lusebrink ('22)
The Center for the Study of Languages and Cultures is pleased to announce that Mary Lusebrink, a graduate of the University of Notre Dame Class of 2022, has earned a Minor in Linguistics.
Mary is from Napoleon, Michigan, and has always been interested in learning more about languages and how they are developed and used. Linguistics seemed like a good fit. She says that she “would encourage anyone who wants to take a minor to try it! All the professors are really nice and the classes are super fun.” She said that her favorite moment during her linguistic studies was when Professor Kang’s kids made all the students little Valentine’s Day gifts and brought them into the class to share. Mary’s major is English with a concentration in Creative Writing, and she plans on pursuing a job in publishing this summer.
Often, it's not we who shape words, but the words we use that shape us. - Nina George
Chloe Hemm ('21)
Chloe is a neuroscience and behavior and Chinese double major with a linguistics minor, and hails Dayton, Ohio. As a neuroscience major, Chloe has always been interested in the connection between the mind and the ways we communicate thoughts, and saw an opportunity to dive deeper into this by pursuing a linguistics minor. While studying linguistics, Chloe particularly appreciated the freedom that came with the program. Chloe said, “I enjoyed being able to take ownership of my learning, incorporating what I had learned from each class to focus on my passions. There is a lot of opportunity for both broadening your horizons and conducting detailed analyses of specific topics.”
After graduation, Chloe is pursuing a profession in the medical field and is hopeful that her linguistics studies will allow her to better understand different cultural expressions in a way that will help work towards a more comprehensive and inclusive healthcare system.
"As someone pursuing a profession in the medical field, I hope to apply what I have learned about individual language and cultural expression to work towards more comprehensive care and inclusive healthcare systems.”
Emory Smith ('21)
Emory is a computer engineering major with a linguistics minor, and is from northwestern Indiana. Her interest in linguistics began in 8th grade when she began to study Chinese. She dedicated the next six years of her studies to Chinese, and is grateful for the experience as a way to challenge her and open her mind. After studying Chinese, Emory gained a new appreciation for language, saying “I believe that languages are one of the best ways to expose people to a new culture and a new mindset. Studying languages through linguistics exposes me to even more languages and methodologies.”
Emory has fond memories of the linguistics minor program, recalling that her favorite semester at Notre Dame was when she was enrolled in three linguistics courses simultaneously. As a computer engineering major, she sees great value in combining it with her linguistics minor, stating “Moving forward, what I have learned during the linguistics minor will allow me to look at the world through a different lens. Additionally, if I choose to work on natural language processing in the future, both my major and my linguistics minor will be directly applicable to my work.”