2017 Program

June 17–August 11

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2017 Newsletter

Read our 2017 newsletter here.

2017 Staff

Salah Algabli

Arabic Instructor

Salah has bachelor degrees in both International Economy and Legislation & Islamic Law, and is currently a graduate student in the department of African Cultural Studies with Pedagogy focus at the University of Wisconsin- Madison USA. He was a Fulbright Scholar at Allegheny College and taught Arabic language at the departments of Religious Studies and Classical Languages for two years. He is the founder of One Hand organization which aims to build a bridge between American students and Arab students to create a better understanding and appreciation for each other religions, languages and cultures. He enjoys working on cultural and educational issues.

Funda Derin

Turkish Instructor

She received Ph.D. from Faculty of Politics and Social Sciences, Gazi University Ankara, Turkey in 2010. Dissertation Title: “Religious Literature and the Transformation of Religious Identity in Turkey: A Study of Pious Women Writers” and her Master degree from Public Administration Institute for Turkey and the Middle East (TODAIE, Ankara, Turkey) in 1999. Title of M.P.A. Thesis: “Yurt Dışında Yaşayan Türkler’in Eğitim Sorunları ve Çözüm Önerileri” (The Educational Problems of Turks Living Abroad and Proposed Solutions). She graduated from Department of Turkish Language and Literature, 19 Mayıs University (Samsun, Turkey) in 1990.
She has been working at University of Wisconsin –Madison since 2008 and teaching Turkish at APTLII (Turkish, Arabic, Persian and Turkish Language Immersion Institute) since 2010.

Nâlân Erbil

Turkish Instructor

As a PhD candidate in the department of Asian Languages and Cultures with a minor in Comparative Literature at UW-Madison, Nâlân’s research interests include Contemporary Turkish Literature and Cinema, Nationalism, Modernisms, (Post) colonialism, and Feminist (Literary) Theory. Teaching Turkish and developing proficiency-based materials at UW-Madison since 2011, Nâlân has been critically engaged in language teaching/learning and mentoring process with an emphasis on heterogeneity of the Turkish speaking cultures, which draws on human rights education. This pedagogical approach coupled with exceptional student evaluations earned Nâlân the Campus-Wide TA Award in the category of “Innovation in Teaching,” and recognition as one of the Future Faculty Partners at the UW-Madison Teaching Academy in the 2015-16 academic year.

Nâlân studied and lived in Istanbul before coming to Madison, and misses street food and cats.

May George

Arabic Instructor

Dr. May George is a lecturer of Arabic at Smith College and Five Colleges in MA. She has extensive experience in teaching Arabic as a second language in both academic and summer intensive and immersion program. Dr. May George holds a doctoral degree in education from the University of Arizona with a focus on teaching and language learning. After receiving her Ph.D., she has held two prestigious post-doctoral fellowships, an Andrew Mellon Fellowship and a Fredrick Douglas Fellow, to support her continued research on bilingual education.
Dr. George has many years of teaching experience in higher education nationally and internationally. She has also worked with the United Nation Missions in Kurdistan Iraq to educate women. Dr. George’s research interests center on curriculum theory design, classroom pedagogy, technology in teaching, and language acquisition.

Sami Lamine

Arabic Instructor

Fatemeh Mirsharifi

Persian Instructor

Fatemeh Mirsharifi is a lecturer of Persian and coordinator of the Persian program at the University of California-Berkeley. Additionally, Fatemeh is currently a PhD candidate in Second Language Acquisition with an emphasis on Persian at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She received her MA in Applied Linguistics at the University of Tehran, Iran (2007). From 2007-2016 she taught Persian at the Department of Languages and Cultures of Asia (LCA) and at the Arabic, Persian, Turkish Language Immersion Institute (APTLII) at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Moreover, she has collaborated on projects with the Center for Advanced Research on Language Acquisition (CARLA) at the University of Minnesota as well as the College Credit Recommendation Service (CREDIT) at the American Council on Education.

Her current research interests include second/foreign language acquisition and pedagogy with emphasis on developing pedagogical materials for the foreign language classroom, motivation in language learning, and the role of learner attitudes in L2 motivation.

Kaveh Niazi

Persian Instructor

Maryam Shariati

Persian Instructor

Maryam Shariati received her PhD in Comparative Literature from The University of Texas at Austin. In addition to teaching world literature, composition, and language courses, she also has a passion for educational technology, creating engaging and interactive learning content to ensure a successful instructional experience. In the past, she has taught Persian at Brown University, UT-Austin, and the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and has worked with the American Councils for International Education on a range of projects, including the Council’s Multi-Language Assessment Projects.

In addition to her academic interests, Maryam is a voracious reader, avid tennis player, and keen hiker.

Mary Youssef

Arabic Instructor

Assistant Professor of Arabic, PhD 2012, University of Wisconsin, Madison. Arabic literature, Middle East Studies, Postcolonial Studies, Gender Studies, the Contemporary Egyptian Novel.

Alicia Wright

APTLII Coordinator

Alicia Wright is a doctoral student interested in communication patterns between reporters and social movement groups. She studies journalism practices enacted in Hindi-language newspapers through ethnographic fieldwork in New Delhi, India. Alicia received her B.A. in Comparative Literature and Mathematics from Hamilton College and her M.A. in Media Studies from Syracuse University. She is always “Wright.”

Csanád Siklós

Assistant Director for Students and Curriculum

Adviser to students in International Studies and majors within the Institute for Regional and International Studies. He has been working with APTLII alongside Alicia and Jenny for the past year helping the program run smoothly and ensure that students enjoy their experience. All around Renaissance Man who likes to take credit for the relative success of APTLII. Thinks he’s good at puns.

Jenny Strugnell


Jenny is a third-year student in the International Studies and Afro-American Studies departments at UW-Madison. She aspires to become a lawyer working both nationally and internationally prosecuting human rights abuses. Jenny accidentally became assigned to APTLII after being noticed as “good at graphic design.”

James Delehanty

APTLII Co-Director

James Delehanty is Executive Director of the UW-Madison Institute for Regional and International Studies (IRIS).

Ellen Sapega

APTLII Co-Director

Ellen Sapega is Professor of Spanish & Portuguese and Faculty Director of the UW-Madison Institute for Regional and International Studies (IRIS)