STARTALK Staff


Dr. Yongfang Zhang, Principal Investigator and Program Director
Dr. Yongfang Zhang is an associate professor and the coordinator of the Chinese program at Wofford College. She has served as the principal investigator and the program director of STARTALK Chinese Summer Program at Wofford College since its inception in 2013. Participants in those programs were at the similar proficiency level and similar grades as the proposed 2023 STARTALK program. She earned her M.A. and Ph.D. in Chinese pedagogy from The Ohio State University (OSU). She has taught Chinese language and culture for 25 years and has developed and coordinated several language programs. Since 2006, she has participated as a trainer in teacher training programs at both the K-12 and college levels in the U.S. and China, and also has offered dozens of professional development workshops for K-12 Chinese teachers. She has published her research about performance-based instruction, task-based instruction, authentic material use in Chinese language instruction, ACTFL standards, proficiency testing, intercultural competence, teacher preparation and STARTALK principles. She was a STARTALK site visitor and a team leader. She has been a certified ACTFL OPI tester of Mandarin, an ACTFL OPI Mandarin tester trainer, a certified AAPPL rater, and an AAPPL quality advisor.

Dr. Patrick McAloon, Lead Instructor
Dr. Patrick McAloon will serve as the lead instructor. He also will plan and implement professional development for program staff, lead the learning plan development, provide feedback to instructors, coach other teachers and assistants during the program preparation, and be in charge of pre- and post-program activities. McAloon was our co-director and instructor in 2015, and a lead instructor in 2016 and 2018. Dr. McAloon holds a B.A. in East Asian Studies from the College of William and Mary, and an M.A. and Ph.D. in Chinese language pedagogy from the Ohio State University focusing on development and assessment of professionally useful levels of foreign language ability. He has superior level proficiency in Chinese. He was awarded first place in the 2004 world finals of the Chinese Bridge Competition for non-native speakers of Mandarin. His own learning experiences can motivate learners and provide insights on how to learn effectively. Having worked in and with China since 1997, he currently provides educational experiences in the U.S. to Chinese organizations, as well as pre-departure training for American executives moving to China. He is a partner in the consulting firm SinoConnect, a founding member of the Greater Columbus Chinese Chamber of Commerce and a former Mandarin instructor at OSU. He is the author of the guidebook “Studying in China.” His expertise in directing study abroad programs and participating in cross-cultural exchange programs will beneficial for our simulated trip to China.

Na Li, K-12 Pedagogical Expert
Na Li will work as our K-12 pedagogical expert and will be involved in both curriculum planning and implementation. She will teach as an instructor. Li worked first as an instructor before working as the lead instructor in our 2013, 2015-19 and 2021 programs. She also worked at the STARTALK Chinese teacher program at the University of Virginia in 2016 and 2017. After receiving her M.A. in foreign and second language education from the Ohio State University, she joined the Columbus Academy as a middle school Chinese teacher and was promoted to the middle school world languages coordinator in 2018. She is a board member and the second vice president in the Chinese Language Association of Secondary-Elementary Schools (CLASS). Li also twice served as president of the Ohio Association of Teachers of Chinese. She initiated, fundraised and coordinated several events, including the first Ohio K-12 Chinese Speech Contest, a composition contest, the Ohio Chinese teaching workshops and the Ohio Chinese Language Teaching Award for outstanding teachers. She received recognition from the Ohio Governor in 2013.

Dr. Jing Yan, Instructor
Dr. Jing Yan has worked as an instructor in our 2014-21 programs. She received her B.A. in Chinese at Peking University, her M.A. in Chinese at Zhongshan University, and her Ph.D. in Chinese linguistics from the Ohio State University. Before joining the Columbus Academy as a Chinese teacher, Yan taught in many institutions, including OSU and Capital University. Yan has published a number of articles and delivered conference presentations in the field of Chinese linguistics and teaching Chinese as a second language. In addition to teaching Chinese courses at the Columbus Academy, Yan organized several educational trips to China for her students. Her students have won prizes and awards in the CLASS National Essay Contest and Chinese Bridge Speech Contest in the past several years. Yan received the Ohio Chinese Teaching Professional Service Award in 2013 and the Milt Taylor Grant to Reward and Promote Excellence in Teaching for the 2014-15 school year at Columbus Academy.

Dr. Hsiao-Ching Yang, Instructor
Dr. Hsiao-Ching Yang worked as an instructor in our 2021 program. Prior to her current position as a Chinese instructor in the upper school of Columbus Academy since 2016, she taught Chinese for 10 years. Yang earned a B.A. in Chinese literature from Tamkang University in Taiwan. She attended the Ohio State University and earned a master's degree in educational administration and Ph.D. in social studies and global education.