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Alumna profile: Brenna (Hall) Shepherd


Brenna finished her M.A. in Linguistics (TESOL option) in Fall 2012. She won the 2013 Graduate Student Research Competition at CATESOL for her paper “Vocabulary Assessment with Varying Levels of Context: A Replication Study.”

What is your current job? How did you get it?

I am a professor at UC Irvine’s Academic English Department, which deals with remedial writing. I also work at Irvine Valley College for their ESL department. I got the UCI job by simply applying. I called up the director, and they were in desperate need of teachers, so I was hired pretty quickly. One of my new co-workers referred me for the job at IVC.

Has your Linguistics degree helped you to pursue your career?

Of course it did. I would not have been able to even apply for the jobs that I have now without my degree. In addition, CSULB’s TESOL degree is highly regarded in the area because it’s in Linguistics, so I have heard several times, “Oh, we like CSULB students because they have a good background in the language.”

If you want to study TESOL, this is a great place to do it because you get a research background and lot of training that looks good on your resume.

Are you still friends with CSULB classmates?

Yes, I regularly hang out with the friends that I made there.

Any advice for current students?

FINISH! The best advice is to finish that degree, get some experience along the way, make sure to join organizations like CATESOL and TESOL, and network. Don’t just join, GO to the conferences. Get your face out there.

(updated Spring 2013)