Startalk Staff

Dr. Yongfang Zhang, Principal Investigator and Program Director

Dr. Yongfang Zhang is an Assistant Professor and the Coordinator of Chinese Program Wofford College. She has been teaching Chinese language and culture courses to Chinese learners first in Beijing and then in the U.S. since 1995. Since 2006, she has actively participated as a trainer in several teacher training programs at both K-12 and college levels in the U.S. and China. She has offered keynote speeches at the regional Chinese Language Teachers Conference and offered more than ten professional development workshops for K-12 Chinese teachers. Her lectures focus on performance-based instruction, authentic materials use, ACTFL standards, and language testing. She has presented and published her research about these topics and teacher training at ACTFL/CLTA conventions, The National Chinese Language Conferences, Journal of Chinese Language Teachers Association, and Journal of International Chinese Teaching. She is an ACTFL/Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation reviewer, certified ACTFL Mandarin OPI tester, and is working on her OPI tester trainer certificate.

Contact information:
Phone: 864-597-4902
Olin Building 112B
429 North Church Street
Spartanburg, SC 29303

Dr. Jing Yan, Lead Instructor for Beginner Level

Dr. Jing Yan received her education in both China and the United States. She was awarded her B.A. degree in Chinese at Peking University in 1997 and M.A. degree in Chinese at Zhongshan University in 2000. She then went to the USA and received her Ph.D. in Chinese linguistics from the Ohio State University in 2008. Before joining the Columbus Academy as Chinese teacher, Dr. Yan taught in many institutions including the Ohio State University and the Capital University. Dr. Yan has published a number of articles and delivered conference presentations in the field of Chinese linguistics and teaching Chinese as second language. In addition to teaching Chinese courses in the Columbus Academy, Dr. Yan organized several educational trips to China with her students. During the spring break of 2016, Dr. Yan led a group of high school students who visited Taiwan and Japan. Her students won outstanding prizes and awards in the CLASS National Essay Contests and Chinese Bridge Speech Contest in the past several years. Dr. Yan gained the Ohio Chinese Teaching Professional Service Award in 2013 and the Milt Taylor Grant to Reward & Promote Excellence in Teaching for 2014-2015 school year in Columbus Academy. From September 2015 to February 2016, Dr. Yan offered online beginning Chinese course to help some previous StarTalk Campers to continue learning Chinese.

Dr. Patrick McAloon, Lead Instructor for Second Level

Dr. Patrick McAloon has worked with China since 1997, and currently provides educational experiences in the US 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 the Ohio State University. McAloon is the author of the guidebook, “Studying in China,” and was awarded First Place in the 2004 world finals of the Chinese Bridge competition for non-native speakers of Mandarin. He holds a PhD and MA in Chinese language pedagogy from the Ohio State University and a BA in East Asian Studies from the College of William and Mary.

Ms. Na Li, Instructor

Na Li received her Master degree in Foreign and Second Language Education from Ohio State University (OSU). Before coming to USA, she had language teaching experience in China and Japan. After graduating from OSU, she worked on projects for K-5 Chinese curriculum design in the OSU Chinese Flagship Program. She currently teaches Chinese in Columbus Academy. In 2013 and 2015, she also worked at the STARTALK program at Wofford College. Besides teaching, she also served as the 2012-
2013 President of Ohio Association of Teachers of Chinese. She initiated and coordinated the 1st Ohio K-12 Chinese Speech Contest, Composition Contest, and Ohio Chinese Language Teaching Award to outstanding teachers. All these events received recognition from the Ohio Governor in 2013. In addition, she fundraised and coordinated Ohio Chinese teaching workshops with sponsorship from local universities. But most importantly, she is an educator devoted to helping her students reach their full potential. She often attends professional workshops to absorb new knowledge that she can integrate and apply in her teaching. With her competence in teaching and leadership, she is a frequent speaker at Chinese language workshops in Ohio and national conferences. In 2016, she will work both Startalk Programs at Wofford College and University of Virginia.

Ms. Jingjing Wu, Instructor

Jingjing Wu holds a master's degree in curriculum and instruction in education from Cleveland State University, Ohio. She has been a language teacher for 12 years in China, South Korea and the United States. She has also organized and designed activities for many summer camps, student exchange programs, and Christmas and New Year parties for K-12 students. She has received over a dozen awards for being a creative teacher and has been titled as a Master Teacher.  She has advanced and completed work on the revised Ohio World Language Academic Content Standards. Alongside her students, she was featured in a cover story for Time for Kids magazine and was interviewed by top Chinese media outlet, CCTV. She has been a teacher trainer for Hanban and College Board since 2010 and many of her teaching demo videos have been used in teachers’ training programs. Wu also often attends different professional workshops and had shared her expertise with other teachers in many national and regional conferences through her presentations.

Ms. Wenting Zhao, Teaching Assistant

Zhao is currently working towards a master’s degree in Chinese pedagogy in the Department of East Asian Languages and Literatures at Ohio State University. She also teachers Level One and Level Two Chinese as a teaching assistant there. Zhao received her bachelor’s degree in teaching Chinese as a foreign language from Shanghai International Studies University in 2010 and her first master’s degree in human development and psychology at Harvard Graduate School of Education in 2012. She served middle school students when she was a full-time Chinese instructor at Cincinnati Hills Christian Academy between 2012 and 2015. Her interest lies in developing age-appropriate learning materials for middle school and high school Chinese learners.

Ms. Chao Yu, Teaching Assistant

Chao Yu received her B.A. degree in teaching Chinese as a foreign language at Xi’an International Studies University, and got her B.S. in general education at Elmira College. Before coming to the US, she had teaching language experience with K-12 students, and worked as a language program manager. She joined ALLEX teaching training program in 2013 at Portland State University, and then worked as a teaching fellow with ALLEX at Washington University in St. Louis. She currently works at East Stroudsburg University as a Chinese instructor. She attended the Annual Language Educator Workshop, ACTFL/CLTA professional convention as well as the annual language meeting at the PA State System of Higher Education. Her major concentrate is “Pragmatic failures in Chinese as the second language.”

Ms. Yi-Chen Wu, Material Development Assistant

Yi-Chen Wu is a graduate student majoring in teaching English as a second language at Minnesota State University, Mankato (MSU), and she is expected to receive her Master of Arts degree in May, 2016. She earned her bachelor’s degree from National Chung Hsing University, majoring in foreign languages and literatures and minoring in teaching Chinese as a second language. She is currently employed as a Teaching Assistant at MSU, teaching first and second semester Mandarin.

Mr. Jarod Leggett, Technology Assistant

Jarod Leggett now studies Chinese pedagogy at Ohio State University. Before attending Ohio State University, Leggett lived in Taiwan for eight years, first as a missionary and then as a language teacher working at a private high school. While in Taiwan, he also helped design and teach an introductory Mandarin course for foreign exchange students coming from France, Brazil, Korea, and Germany. In his limited free time, he enjoys spending time with family and listening to music. His favorite Chinese singer is A-mei.