Author Archives: emoreno

Jolene McConnell: “Do things you’re afraid of doing.”

Jolene McConnell graduated from BSU in 2006 with her MA in TESOL and Linguistics. She is now an English Language Fellow in Albania with the US Department of State. Jolene has taught at a private language school for adults in Poland, at public schools in Korea, and on cruise ships teaching ESL. Upon her return to the US, Jolene worked for ELS Language Centers in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and Kansas State University before taking a leave of absence to do her fellowship.  

In her current role in Albania, Jolene is conducting workshops for English teachers throughout the country.  She conducts the Regional English Language Office Belgrade Facebook page and works with a division of the Ministry of Education in Albania.

How did your English major lead to your current position? What skills did you learn as an English major that helped you transition into that job?

I am on sabbatical from my job as an ESL instructor at Kansas State University and I currently do teacher training for English teachers in Albania.  I majored in English, not only because I love how language works, but specifically because I wanted to learn more about the world.  Having a degree in English has opened so many doors for me and I have had opportunities to travel that I would never have had otherwise. English didn´t just help me with my job; it is my job.  

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Immerse yourself

by Erin Moreno

Registration for Spring 2018 is almost here, and I want to tell you why you really, really need to sign up for an immersive-learning class.


My sophomore year,  I signed up for a 15-credit hour immersive-learning experience taught by a Religious Studies faculty member. I was an English Education major, and until then, I’d been following the path that my freshman advisor had laid out for me.

In order to get into the class, I had to apply and be accepted, and then meet with the department heads of English, Education, and Sociology (my minor) to figure out how the experience could be applied toward the classes I needed to graduate. A bunch of meetings later, I was heading to the Virginia Ball Center for the Representing Religion in Comics seminar.


That semester was one of the most formative experiences of my collegiate career. I collaborated and learned from 12 other students from different disciplines (Religious Studies, Biology, Creative Writing, Fine Arts, Animation) as well as our faculty advisor who really let us lead the class ourselves. We gained experience and skills in leadership, creative writing, art, and technology (I created and drew my entire comic by teaching myself Adobe Photoshop).

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The “Grand” Challenge of Dublin

by Amanda Belcher

How I Got to Ireland

Last year, I was in a Shakespeare class when a girl named Hayley came to talk about the opportunity to travel with a program called CAPA to Ireland the following summer.

Having strong Irish heritage on both sides of my family, I’d heard so many stories about the country and have always wanted to go myself.

I sat there, entranced by stories of the Cliffs of Moher and incredibly green landscapes, and knew I wanted to have that experience.

Getting there took a lot of work – several scholarship applications and fundraising efforts — and there were times I thought I wouldn’t make it, but on May 14, 2017, I was on a plane headed to another country for the first time in my life.

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