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 5 positions: 2 co-chairs, 1 secretary, and 2 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.

2019-2020 Steering Committee

James is a Ph.D. candidate in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) and World Language Education (WLE) in the Department of Language and Literacy Education (LLED) at the University of Georgia. His dissertation work seeks to understand the experiences of LGBTQ-identified language educators and the intersections of their identities in the classroom.  As such, his research interests include gender and sexuality in language education, issues of sexual diversity in the language classroom, classroom identities, and queering language education. As a former middle and high school Spanish teacher as well as an adult ESOL instructor for a community program with Hispanic women in Greenville, North Carolina, James approaches identities in the classroom as central to the process of language teaching and learning. Currently, James serves as the co-chair for the GSC Steering Committee. His responsibilities include: serving as the graduate student representative in the AAAL Executive Council, co-leading Steering Committee meetings, overseeing the planning of two graduate student events at the AAAL conference, and collaborating with the AAAL conference planning committee. He can be reached at

James Coda


Nicole is a PhD student in Bilingual Education at New York University, Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development, Department of Teaching and Learning. Her research interests include language maintenance, heritage language learners, and language policy. Nicole serves as the co-chair of the GSC Steering Committee. Her responsibilities include planning and leading Steering Committee meetings, overseeing the two graduate student events at the AAAL conference, and collaborating with the AAAL conference planning committee. She can be reached at

Nicole Deschene


Nicole is a Ph.D. candidate in Foreign, Second, and Multilingual Language Education in the Department of Teaching & Learning at The Ohio State University. Her dissertation work focuses on the lived experiences of second and third grade multilingual students at a public French immersion elementary school in the Midwest. She seeks to illuminate how elementary multilingual students language and translanguage their sense of self across two years of participant observation, in interactions with peers and teachers and across multiple modes of communication. Through the lenses of linguistic ethnography, systemic functional linguistics, and multimodal interaction analysis, her research sheds light on the dynamic, performative nature of identities across time, places, and actions. Her research interests in multilingual patterns of interaction, multimodal literacy practices, and translanguaging stem from her experiences as a former elementary and middle school teacher in New Orleans, Louisiana, in Columbia, South Carolina, and in Naples, Italy. Nicole serves as the member-at-large for the GSC Steering Committee and the co-editor of the AAALGrads newsletter. Her responsibilities include coordinating grad student activities with the Steering Committee and recruiting and managing grad student sub-committees for the annual AAAL grad student conference events. She can be reached at

Nicole King


Laxmi Prasad Ojha is a MA TESOL student at Department of English at Minnesota State University, Mankato. His research interests include multilingualism, language ideologies, language policy in education, and family language policy. In line with these interests, he is currently working on his thesis that investigates the effect of family language policy on the heritage language acquisition of the children in transnational families living in the US. He can be reached at

Laxmi Prasad Ojha


Haoshan (Sally) Ren is a Ph.D. student in the Department of Applied Linguistics and ESL at Georgia State University. Her research interests include corpus linguistics, assessment, sociolinguistics, and teacher education. She is also a strong proponent of interdisciplinary and cross-institutional collaborations. On the GSC Steering Committee, Sally serves in the secretary position. Her responsibilities include providing logistical support for GSC meetings, co-leading planning of conference events for grad students, leading the Diversity Sub-committee, and spearheading graduate student initiatives. She can be reached at

Haoshan (Sally) Ren


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