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My UMBC experience has been an on-going one full of growth, learning from amazing colleagues and mentors, and constant motivation for self-improvement. I graduated from the M.A. TESOL program in 2012 and joined the UMBC Education Department as a Faculty Research Assistant for the Office of Field Experiences and Clinical Practice. Although my full-time job was not where I had ever imagined myself to be, opportunities for me to stay in touch with my passion for ESL continued while my talent and work ethics has been an asset to the Education Dept.

Starting August of 2015, I have served as President of Maryland TESOL, a non-profit organization dedicated to the improvement and advancement of teaching English to speakers of other languages in the state of Maryland. One of the exciting things that happened during my term is that me, Doaa Rashed (2008), and Laura Hook (2003) (picture on the right; from left to right; and yes, all three graduates of the M.A. TESOL program) were appointed as the Local Co-Chairs for the 2016 TESOL International Convention here in Baltimore. The TESOL International Convention is the largest professional development event in the TESOL field that brings more than 6,500 people from all over the world. Coincidentally, TESOL had its 50th anniversary this year along with UMBC. The M.A. TESOL program had an alumni reception during the TESOL International Convention, and we had more than a hundred alumni attend.

For the UMBC Class of 2012 page, I wrote, “UMBC has let me experience what a true learning community is supposed to be like. I was so used to being in a competitive environment where I felt I constantly needed to prove my worth to others. However, UMBC has surrounded me with people who acknowledge me as a fellow colleague and allow me to feel safe and supported throughout each learning curve — academically, professionally and emotionally.” I am glad I can say that I still wholeheartedly agree to what I said. I've met amazing colleagues, friends, and mentors that has enriched my life with pure joy. So thank you, UMBC!

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Meredith P.

Thank you for sharing your story, Yeji!