Faculty and Staff

ALI Director

Jim Valentine

Jim Valentine, director of the American Language Institute, received his doctorate from the University of California, Los Angeles specializing in Psychological Studies in Education with a cognate in TESL/Applied Linguistics. He also holds a B.A. in French and Spanish from Dartmouth College. For seven years prior to his arrival at the University of Southern California, he served as language coordinator for the international business programs at the Center for International Business Education and Research (CIBER) at UCLA’s Anderson Graduate School of Management. His principal applied research interests are human motivation, the instructional design of language programs, organizational psychology, and educational anthropology.

ALI Faculty

Lucienne Aarsen

Lucienne Aarsen earned her MA in English Teaching at the University of London Institute of Education. Her extensive experience includes teaching locally at UCLA and USC as well as overseas in Indonesia, Israel, and London. She is very passionate about fostering educational exchange with people from various cultures, and enjoys picking up languages in the process. She speaks Dutch and Italian and has studied French, Russian, and Spanish. As a language enthusiast, her approach to teaching is to actively engage students in topics of their professional, academic, and social interests for students to gain confidence in their English language skills.


Reka Clausen

Reka Clausen earned her Master of Arts in TESOL from California State University, Los Angeles. She began her teaching career in Bologna, Italy, where she spent 9 years teaching EFL at various universities, language schools, and multi-national companies. Before joining the ALI faculty, she also taught ESL at UCLA Extension’s American Language Center and at Santa Monica College. She is fluent in Italian and Farsi and has studied French, Spanish and Portuguese, as learning foreign languages and traveling abroad have always been a passion.

Barry Griner

Barry Griner is a Master Lecturer and is a contributing author of Teaching Pronunciation: A Course Book and Reference Guide (2nd ed, Cambridge University Press, 2010). He received a BS in Mathematics Education before spending ten years teaching English in Hiroshima, Japan (seven as Head Teacher). After returning to the States, he got an MA in Applied Linguistics and TESL at UCLA. He also did several years of study in the Applied Linguistics PhD program there, doing research on the morphophonotactics of Japanese and on intonational phonology. More recently, he spent two years teaching writing at the Centre for English Language Communication, National University of Singapore. Barry’s 28 years of teaching experience also includes program evaluation/development and teacher training as an Academic Specialist for the US State Department in Uzbekistan and Armenia.

Richard Jones

Richard Jones is a Lecturer of English as a Second Language at the American Language Institute at USC. He earned his M.Ed. in TESOL from Temple University and his M.A. in East Asian Studies from UCLA. Richard taught academic and business English for ten years in Japan, working in both Tokyo and Osaka. He is also an editor who has revised English editions of books in fields ranging from Anthropology to Psychology. Richard has helped researchers in China, Korea, and Japan prepare manuscripts for publication in American and European journals. When not teaching or editing, Richard spends his time reading, playing music, and searching out interesting restaurants and new recipes.

Nina Kang

Nina Kang has enjoyed teaching English all over the world and hopes to continue teaching and learning about different cultures. As an English Language Fellow in Eastern Europe, she developed a great interest in the use of cultural rhetoric in writing and information literacy skills. She is especially interested in research writing which incorporates reading and writing skills with analytical research skills. As a trained librarian, she’s also interested in providing information-rich contexts for students to develop their reading, writing, and speaking skills. Outside the classroom, she enjoys biking, hiking, doting on her newborn daughter, and singing off-tune with her husband.

Juli Kirkpatrick

Juli Kirkpatrick is the Testing Co-Coordinator of the USC American Language Institute.  She earned her BA in International Relations from Stanford University and her MA in TESOL from United States International University in San Diego.  She has taught English in Japan and Turkey as well as San Diego State and UCLA Extension.  She specializes in teaching academic writing and accent reduction.  She is also an editor who helps students prepare papers for publication. When not teaching, she enjoys traveling, learning foreign languages and doing  Middle Eastern dancing.

Zsuzsa Londe

Zsuzsa Londe received her BA in Linguistics from UCLA (summa cum laude) and an MA and Ph.D. in Applied Linguistics, also from UCLA.  Languages, language- teaching, research, assessment and statistics are her ongoing academic interests.  Working memory and its relationship to listening comprehension in a second language was the topic of her dissertation.  Her research and publications with other colleagues have taken her to areas of generative linguistic, psycholinguistics and the language-assessment fields.  She very much enjoys teaching and attaches great importance to diversity, communication, and an encouraging, academic atmosphere in the classroom.

Olivia Martinez

Olivia Martinez obtained her B.A. and graduate degrees from UCLA. Her academic interests include linguistics, lexicography, code-switching, translation/interpretation, TESL, as well as issues related to generation 1.5 English speakers. Her experience includes work in community based ESL programs, as well as English literacy programs in the Los Angeles area, as well as working as a lecturer at UCI and UCLA. Most of her research has focused on Valley Zapotec, an indigenous language from Mexico, her native country. She also loves to read and dance, though not at the same time.

Mary Ann Murphy

Mary Ann Murphy has a Bachelor’s degree in French and History from the University of Tennessee, and a Master’s degree from UCLA in Teaching English as a Second Language. She has had the honor of serving as Program Chair for the CATESOL Regional Conference at USC. She has also taught English as a Second Language for UCLA and other universities, and has extensive experience in curriculum and materials development.

James Polk

James Polk has a Master’s degree in Philosophy and Linguistics and a PhD in Philosophy from Freie Universitat Berlin. He is the author of two books and a number of articles, essays and translations. He has studied and worked for varying lengths of time in England, France, Germany, Spain, Taiwan, and the United Arab Emirates.


Eric H. Roth

Eric H. Roth teaches students the pleasures and perils of writing and public speaking. He has taught numerous English and writing courses across Southern California. A former journalist and Congressional aide, Roth also directed the CES Adult Education Center from 1996-1998. Roth received his MA in Media Studies (88) from The New School University, and his B.A. (84) in philosophy from Wabash College. He has traveled to over 35 countries, taught in Spain and France, and led many teaching workshops. Roth co-authored Compelling Conversations: Questions and Quotations on Timeless Topics in 2007. He also advises the USC Conversation Partners Program.

Kimberley Briesch Sumner

Kimberley Briesch Sumner is a Senior Lecturer of English as a Second Language at USC and has always had an affinity for learning languages and visiting cultures around the world. Originally from Oklahoma, she obtained her Bachelor’s degrees in both French and psychology from the University of Oklahoma but moved to Los Angeles to pursue her graduate studies in the department of Applied Linguistics and Teaching English as a Second Language (TESL) at UCLA. Since obtaining her Master’s degree from UCLA her focus has been on teaching and service. She has served on the CATESOL Board of Directors for over 8 years and has recently completed a 3-year term as President of this bi-state organization which helps ESL teaching professionals network and develop teaching skills.

Anastassia Tzoytzoyrakos

Anastassia is full-time faculty with the USC American Language Institute and Adjunct Assistant Professor with Rossier School of Education where she has been developing and teaching courses for the award-winning MAT-TESOL online program.  Anastassia holds a M.A. in Applied Linguistics from Biola University and a B.A. in Economics from University of California, Irvine. Prior to her employment with USC, she served as ESL Program Director with Bethesda Christian University and BIOLA University (summer program). She has also worked with several publishers including Oxford University Press, Pearson Education, and Houghton-Mifflin developing ESL textbooks.  Anastassia’s greatest love is her family. Her three boys are active in theater, love music, and aspire to have a career in the arts.


ALI Staff

Jim Cunningham

Jim Cunningham, the ALI Program Manager, directs and coordinates the administrative aspects of the American Language Institute. He also oversees the development of ALI’s web applications. Mr. Cunningham holds a Bachelor’s degree in Biology from UCLA, and a Master’s degree in Intercultural Studies from Fuller Seminary. He enjoys being a husband to his wife and a father of 3 sons. Previously, Jim traveled extensively in Asia and lived in Thailand for several years. He loves sports, fishing, and kayaking.

Thuy Pham

Thuy Pham is the ALI Student Advisor. Thuy is the point person for students who have questions about ALI classes or their ALI requirement.  She provides friendly and helpful service to students who need to register for classes or obtain “D” clearances. She also oversees the administrative aspects of the ALI International Teaching Assistant (ITA) program.

Shelly Snellman

Shelly Snellman facilitates office and front desk operations. She also heads the ALI Conversation Groups and the One-on-One Conversation Partner programs, ensuring their quality and sustainability for students who want extra English-speaking practice. Shelly holds a B.A. from USC’s School of Theater (with a minor in Business Administration) and a Masters from USC’s Liberal Studies Program. She is currently working on her 2nd Master’s degree through Annenberg’s Digital Social Media Program.