Former Graduate Students

Anna Bartosik

Anna Bartosik

#teacher development #elearning
#technology ethics

Dr. Anna Bartosik (she/ona/elle) is a PhD graduate from the LLE program. 

Research Interests: Anna continues to explore teacher development and networks; she has also expanded her research interests to include learner autonomy and ethics surrounding educational technology with a posthuman lens.

Dissertation: Learning to Stay Ahead of the Curve: A Netnographic Analysis of Professional Development in English Language Teacher Chats on Twitter

Supervisor: Dr. Enrica Piccardo

Current activities: Anna Bartosik continues to teach English as a language of instruction at George Brown College and has begun a secondment with the Teaching and Learning Exchange where she facilitates and promotes faculty development.  In her instructional design work, Anna focuses on digital accessibility, representation, and creating opportunities for students to direct their own learning. Her recent projects include a hybridized accelerated English language learning program, facilitating workshops for faculty with a focus on educational technology and Universal Design for Learning, as well as developing online language learning courses using Open Education Resources. Anna is looking forward to starting a research project to trace learner autonomy by assessing publicly-facing syllabi in post-secondary institutions and she will facilitate a Short Program on teacher development with BC TEAL in early 2023.

Find Dr. Anna Bartosik on Twitter @ambartosik LinkedIn, TikTok, WordPress and soon also on Mastodon.

Elizabeth Bolton

Elizabeth Bolton

#creative writing #poetic phenomenology #neurodiversity

Dr. Elizabeth Bolton is a PhD graduate from the LLE program. 

Research interests: She writes and publishes poetry, short stories and essays on the neurodivergent experience and has recently authored a full-length poetry collection, Coronation of the Cosmic Orphan (Resource Publications, July 2022). Her research interests sit at the intersection of creative writing, mental health practices, and poetic phenomenology. As well, she has expanded her interests to include applications of creative literacy practices for the mental health of neurodivergent children and adults.  

Current activities: Elizabeth is currently working on her second full-length poetry collection, and she continues to teach poetry and writing to youth in the Greater Toronto Area. She also serves as associate editor for the Hart House Review, a literary magazine on the University of Toronto campus. You can find her on her website


Katie Brubacher

Katie Brubacher

#emotion #literacy #refugee children

Dr. Katie Brubacher is a recent PhD graduate from the LLE program. 

Research Interests: Katie is currently working on research that examines the connection between translanguaging and laughter. She plans to work with multilingual children in schools who are new to Canada and learning to read and write for the first time beyond the primary years. Through ethnographic work, she will examine how translanguaging can support the students’ sense of belonging and well-being in schools.

Dissertation: Exploring the Boundaries of Emotion and Language: Elementary School Newcomers with Emerging Print Literacy as Co-researchers

Supervisor: Dr. Jeff Bale

Current activities: Assistant Professor, Faculty of Education, University of Alberta

Find out more about Dr. Katie Brubacher here

Yuliya Desyatova

Yuliya Desyatova

#language learning #language teaching #language teacher education

Dr. Yuliya Desyatova is a recent PhD graduate from the LLE program.

Ontario Graduate Scholarship recipient (2018-2019; 2019-2020); Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) Doctoral Fellowship recipient (2020-2021)

Research Interests: Yuliya continues exploring classroom-relevant issues in language teaching and learning, informed by the intersections of complexity theory and socio-cultural theory. Analysing classroom interactions through the lens of socio-cultural theory offers guidance on improving both classroom experiences of the system agents (learners, teachers, teacher candidates) and their learning outcomes.

Dissertation: Reforming Language Teaching through Learner Portfolio Assessment: The Complexity of Practitioners’ Experiences

Supervisor: Dr. Enrica Piccardo

Current activities: Yuliya continues teaching in a Language Instruction to Newcomers to Canada (LINC), as well as a Teaching English as a Second Language (TESL) program at CCLCS

To improve access to English language learning and teaching resources, which disadvantaged learners may have limited access to, Yuliya has set up a website. You can find Yuliya on Twitter @YuliyaESL or reach out via email 

Leila Farzinpur

Leila Farzinpur

Dr. Leila Farzinpur is a PhD graduate in the LLE program.

Research Interests: L2 Writing Challenges, Academic Writing Identity, L2 Writing Assessment, Developing Teaching Materials for L2 Learners, Academic Writing Pedagogy, L2 Writing Development

Thesis Topic: Academic Writer Identity Construction and Awareness in the Canadian Academic Context: The Experience of Multilingual Student Writers at the Undergraduate Level

Supervisor: Dr. Katherine Rehner

Danielle Freitas

Danielle Freitas

#teacher learning and development #plurilingualism #sociocultural theory

Dr. Danielle Freitas is a PhD graduate from the Language and Literacies (LLE) program and the Collaborative International Development Education program.

Canadian Society for the Study of Education Doctoral Award recipient (2020). Ontario Graduate Scholarship recipient (2017-2018). Academic Excellence Award recipient (2017-2018)
Research Interests: Danielle’s research interests lie in how student teachers learn to teach and develop as English language teachers, including the development of new aspects of their personality and teacher identity. Danielle’s research also focuses on Pluriligualism in the TESL/TESOL and ESL/EAP contexts and English language assessment.

Dissertation: “It Kind of Made Me Think: Is This the Real Me? Is This Really Who I Am?” A Mixed Methods Investigation of Teacher Learning and Teacher Development in CELTA Courses

Supervisor: Dr. Antoinette Gagné

Current activities: Dr. Danielle Freitas is the Associate Dean of the English Language Institute (ELI) at Fanshawe College, where she oversees the EAP and TESL Programs. She is a member of many organizations and committees, including the TESL Ontario Colleges and Universities Committee, and has served as external reviewer and consultant for the accreditation of various undergraduate and gradudate programs in the public and private sectors.

Danielle’s latest research projects include an exploration of the teacher learning and development process of student teachers in a graduate program and an investigation of online cultural exchanges and their impact on student teachers’ learning and identity.

Connect with Danielle on LinkedIn. 

Conttia Lai

Conttia Lai

#academic literacies development #academic writing pedagogy #self-regulated learning

Dr. Conttia Lai is a recent PhD graduate from the LLE program. 

Research Interests: Academic literacies development, academic writing pedagogy, self-regulated learning and learner motivation.

Dissertation: Uncovering the Complexities in Writing from Sources from an Activity Theory Perspective: A Cross-Case Analysis of Chinese International Graduate Students in Education 

Supervisor: Prof. Alister CummingcCurrent activities: Academic writing instructor, New College, University of Toronto

Faith Marcel

Faith Marcel

#language education #educational technology #extended reality #VR #AR

Dr. Faith Marcel is a PhD graduate from LLE and the Collaborative Knowledge Media Design Institute (KMDI) program.

Research Interests: Investigating educational technologies including AR, VR, Extended Realities and VoiceThread in language learning and other academic contexts; integrating educational technologies in language classrooms to promote greater engagement and meaningful interaction for all learners; investigating and promoting plurilingualism and pluriculturalism through digital technologies in language education.

Dissertation: Mobile Mixed Reality (MR) Technologies for Language Teaching and Learning

Supervisor: Dr. Enrica Piccardo

Current activities: Faith is a professor in the School of English Language Studies, in the International Department at Niagara College. She continues to implement and research digital, extended reality and plurilingual technologies through her teaching and current research projects in collaboration with educators and researchers to enhance the language learning experience for teachers and learners.

Find out more about Faith on her website, or connect on Twitter @faithmarcel or LinkedIn 

Yecid Ortega

Yecid Ortega

#socialjustice #criticalappliedlinguistics #plurilingualism

Yecid Ortega graduated from both Language and Literacies Education (LLE) & Comparative, International, Development Education (CIDE) programs and SSHRC/OGS (2018 –2020) award winner. He is currently an assistant professor in Applied Linguistics and TESOL at Queen’s University Belfast in Northern Ireland (UK).

Research interests: Plurilingualism, EFL/ESL, critical theory, raciolinguistic ideologies, sociaL justice, peacebuilding, globalization, neoliberalism, linguistic anthropology

Thesis: Pedagogies of Be[Ing], Be[Longing] and Be[Coming]: Social Justice and Peacebuilding in the English Curriculum of a Marginalized Colombian Public High School

Supervisor: Antoinette Gagné

Read more about Dr. Yecid Ortega here

Zehra Melike Palta

Zehra Melike Palta

Zehra Melike Palta is a PhD student in the LLE program.

Research Interests: Social and academic integration of refugees, linguistic minority rights, language politics, language learning and education

Thesis Topic: Exploring the reflections of non-sponsored refugees on their lived experiences to (re)conceptualize integration: A photovoice study of young Alevi refugee adults in Toronto

SupervisorDr. Antoinette Gagné

Read more about Dr. Zehra Palta