GSC Steering Committee

All graduate students holding AAAL membership are automatically a member of the AAAL Graduate Student Council. The GSC Steering Committee, on the other hand, is the leadership team that works closely with the AAAL Executive Committee for taking initiatives to address GSC members' academic professional development needs. The Steering Committee strives to accomplish the following goals, as stated in the AAAL organizational Standing Rules:

  1. Support grad students’ academic and professional development in Applied Linguistics and other related fields

  2. Increase inter-institution student-to-student collaboration and develop networking opportunities with other scholars in the field

  3. Provide bottom-up leadership within the council and subcommittees

  4. Ensure ongoing leadership for the GSC by investing in developing leadership opportunities for subcommittee members

  5. Strive for diversity within the GSC, including, but not limited to race, ethnicity, age, geography, (dis) ability, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, socioeconomic status, citizenship status, religion, academic focus, degree program, and career goals to ensure a variety of experience and areas of expertise

The GSC Steering Committee consists of 6 positions: 2 co-chairs, 1 secretary, and 3 members-at-large. The members of the Steering Committee meet regularly throughout the service year to plan and execute the yearly initiatives in order to serve the GSC members. Each person on the Steering Committee leads their own team of graduate student volunteers in accomplishing one or more tasks (e.g., planning a conference event, managing social media, editing the graduate student newsletter).

GSC Steering Committee positions are yearly assignment. All GSC members are eligible for applying to the Steering Committee positions. The application and interview process begins every year around February per announced by the current GSC Steering Committee.

2020-2021 Steering Committee

Haoshan (Sally) Ren


Haoshan (Sally) Ren is a Ph.D. student in the Department of Applied Linguistics and ESL at Georgia State University. Her prior professional experience includes instructing undergraduate and graduate-level academic writing and speaking courses, item design and rating for English proficiency tests for adult L2 speakers, and leading research-based ESP workshops for international working professionals in fields such as law, economics, and biomedical sciences. Currently, at Georgia State, she serves as the president of the Graduate Students Association and the graduate student representative of the Department of Applied Linguistics and ESL. She is also the graduate student representative of the College of Arts and Sciences. Her research interests include language assessment, corpus linguistics, sociolinguistics, and teacher education. She is a strong proponent of interdisciplinary and cross-institutional research collaborations. As the Co-chair of the GSC Steering Committee, her responsibilities include serving as the graduate student representative in the AAAL Executive Council, serving as a voting member of the Fund for the Future of Applied Lingusitics (FFAL) Board of Trustees, collaborating with the AAAL conference planning committee, co-leading Steering Committee meetings and tasks, and overseeing the planning of graduate student events at the AAAL conference. She can be reached at


Laxmi Prasad Ojha


Laxmi is a PhD student in Curriculum Instruction and Teacher Education at Michigan State University. His prior experiences include working as a Graduate Teaching Assistant at Minnesota State University, Mankato,  Lecturer at Department of English Education, Tribhuvan University, Nepal and teaching in K-12 contexts in Nepal. Laxmi also served Nepal English Language Teachers’ Association (NELTA) as secretary, membership secretary and member. His research interests include multilingualism, language ideologies, bilingual education, language policy, TESOL, and teacher education. His current projects include investigating family language policy and identity in transnational families, teacher agency in language policy appropriation, and social media as a site for youth activism and promotion of minoritized language and culture in multilingual contexts. As a co-chair on the GSC steering committee, Laxmi's responsibilities include co-planning and co-leading Steering Committee meetings, overseeing the graduate student events at the AAAL conference, collaborating with the AAAL conference planning committee, and attend AAAL conference and business meetings. He can be reached at

Josiah Murphy


Josiah Murphy is a doctoral student in the Linguistics program at the University of Hawai’i at Manoa, where she studies how to document and advocate for endangered languages. She has worked with the Deaf community in Northeast Ohio, and taught English in China, Cambodia, and Ohio. Her research interests also include translanguaging in the writing of multilinguals; the effect of individual differences on vocabulary acquisition; and the intersection of translation, religion, and language loss/preservation in ethnolinguistic minority communities. As secretary of the GSC Steering Committee, Josiah’s responsibilities include providing logistical support for GSC meetings, co-leading planning of conference events for grad students, leading the Diversity Subcommittee, and spearheading graduate student initiatives. When she’s not working, Josiah can be found performing folk music, tabletop-gaming, and punning around. She can be reached at

Svetlana Koltovskaia


Svetlana Koltovskaia is a Ph.D. candidate in TESOL and Applied Linguistics at Oklahoma State University (OSU). Her research interests include computer-assisted language learning, L2 writing, intercultural pragmatics, and genre analysis. Her research on student engagement with automated feedback has been published in Assessing Writing Journal. As a graduate teaching assistant (GTA) at the OSU English Department, Svetlana currently holds the position of the Assistant Director of the International Composition Program (ICP). Apart from that, Svetlana also teaches graduate and undergraduate courses to domestic and international students, including Grammar (ENGL 4013), Technical Writing (ENGL 3323), Research Writing for International Graduate Students (ENGL 5695), and Composition II (ENGL 1223). Svetlana held multiple administrative and leadership positions throughout her studies at OSU, including a Multilingual Specialist, Online Supervisor, and Multilingual Inquiry Group Leader at the OSU writing center as well as a Vice President of TESLing Student Organization and Program Chair of TESOL & Applied Linguistics Spring Forum at the OSU English Department. Svetlana is a former Fulbright FLTA who taught Russian at Marshall University, West Virginia. Svetlana holds M.A. in TESOL from Central Michigan University and M.A. and B.A. in Foreign Languages and Literature from Mirny Polytechnic Institute (Yakutia, Russia). She can be reached at

Stefan Markus Vogel


Stefan is a PhD candidate in the Second Language Acquisition and Teaching (SLAT) program at the University of Arizona. A member of the Writing Program since 2014, he teaches professional and technical writing as well as first-year composition to domestic and international students. Stefan’s professional and academic interests include language program administration and educational leadership, second language teacher professionalization, second language writing, discourse studies, and multilingualism. In his dissertation, Stefan explores L2 writing teachers’ leadership roles and practices in their institutional contexts, particularly as they are shaped by, emerge from, and intersect with professional development in collaborative spaces. Throughout his graduate career, he has held multiple service, admin, and leadership positions, including co-chair of the University of Arizona’s English Graduate Union (EGU), co-chair of EGU’s Committee for Equity, Diversity, and Inclusivity (EDI), and Writing Program Placement Advisor. Stefan holds an M.A. in English as a Second Language from the University of Arizona and an M.Ed. in English, French, and Educational Studies with a concentration in foreign language teaching from the Friedrich-Alexander-University Erlangen-Nuremberg, Germany. He can be reached at

Lupe Rincon-Mendoza


Lupe Rincon-Mendoza is a PhD candidate in the Department of Applied Linguistics at the Pennsylvania State University. Her previous professional experience is working as a Graduate Teaching Assistant at California State University, San Bernardino, and as Lecturer at the University of La Verne. At Penn State, she assists in the dissemination of scholarship in conjunction with the Migration Studies Project, and also teaches in the ESL writing program. Lupe has also held various service roles, which include being a member of the Graduate Alliance for Diversity and Inclusion (GADI), and in graduate-student led search committees for the Dean of the College of Liberal Arts. Her research interests include academic socialization, sociolinguistics, and sociocultural theory. Her dissertation focuses on determining how interactions shape how graduate students in the Humanities are socialized into their profession, and how they use language to think collectively with others in seminar and extra-curricular professional development activities. She can be reached at

2019-2020 Steering Committee

James Coda, co-chair, University of Georgia

Nicole Deschene, co-chair, New York University

Haoshan (Sally) Ren, secretary, Georgia State University

Nicole King, member-at-large, Ohio State University

Laxmi Prasad Ojha, member-at-large, Minnesota State University

2018-2019 Steering Committee

Michael Amory, co-chair, Pennsylvania State University

Rayoung Song, co-chair, University of Mass-Amherst

Shyam Pandey, secretary, Purdue University

Jessica Lian, member-at-large, Georgia State University
James Coda, member-at-large, University of Georgia

2017-2018 Steering Committee

Laura Hamman, co-chair, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Mengying Liu, co-chair, University of Minnesota

Michael Amory, secretary, Pennsylvania State University

Rayoung Song, member-at-large, University of Mass-Amherst

Ai-Chu Ding, member-at-large, Indiana University

2016-2017 Steering Committee

Lindsey Kurtz, co-chair, Pennsylvania State University

Mengying Liu, co-chair, University of Minnesota

Laura Hamman, secretary, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Rayoung Song, member-at-large, University of Mass-Amherst

Elena Shvidko, member-at-large, Purdue University 

2015-2016 Steering Committee

Daniel Ginsberg, co-chair, Georgetown University

Nicole Pettitt, co-chair, Georgia State University

Abram Jones, secretary, University of California-Davis

Emily Hellmich, member-at-large, University of California-Berkeley

Elena Shvidko, member-at-large, Purdue University