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Alumni Stories: Katie Duda Miller, 07’, TESOL

Question: What has been your career experience since graduation?

I started teaching high school full-time the summer after graduation in Baltimore City Public Schools. I taught English/Language Arts for 2 years while completing additional coursework and the Praxis to obtain my Maryland teaching certification in secondary English and ESOL endorsement. I then taught ESOL in grades 6-12 for 5 years before moving to Frederick, Maryland, where I have taught high school EL/ESOL for the past 8 years.

Question: What is your current job?

I am currently a high school EL Department chair and teacher. I teach English language and various content classes to newcomers, in particular math. I also work as a Scoring Leader for the TOEFL Writing program. It's not a job, but I have volunteered on the Maryland TESOL Board of Directors for the past six years. I was President of MDTESOL in 2020-2021. Leading a non-profit professional organization during a pandemic was a real hoot!

Question: How has ODU's MA in Applied Linguistics program helped in your career?

So many ways! Working at Writing Tutorial Services and TA'ing for Advanced Composition really helped me learn how to teach writing. Presenting at conferences while a student helped me not feel nervous about submitting/public speaking, and I have presented PD sessions for my colleagues and at state, national, and international conferences. It also helped immensely when I chaired the Maryland TESOL conference in November 2019. I also loved working as a summer RA for Dr. Urzúa and presenting our study at the International Corpus Linguistics Association meeting. The ODU travel grant helped this broke grad student attend.

Question: Do you have any favorite memories from the program?

I had the time of my life just nerding out with my classmates, the Trenchers. Just loved going for drinks and playing pool while talking about all the stuff we were learning. Drs. Bing, Scheibman, and Urzúa were great role models. One highlight was the party we had to celebrate the 940th anniversary of the Battle of Hastings, the most important day in the history of the English language. We all dressed in linguistics themed costumes. As I said, nerding out.

Question: What was your favorite thing about ODU's MA in Applied Linguistics Program?

For example, something you learned, the atmosphere of class, etc.

I love that the program prepared us equally for a teaching career or for a PhD. I am very proud of all that my classmates in the program have accomplished in their own careers, doing important work and making a difference in their realms. I can't play favorites with classes, but Intercultural Communication is something I reference daily at my job.

Question: Do you have any advice for grad students interested in applied linguistics, or for students who are currently in the program?

Know that ODU is the real deal. You will learn, explore, research, and be poised for success in whatever steps you take next. Just have a blast!

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