Meet Our Team | Duke Kunshan University

Meet Our Team

Dr. Kris Hiller

Associate Director for the Writing and Language Studio
Writing/English/Russian/Other Language Coach

Hi! Привет! 你好! My name is Kris Hiller, and I direct the WLS, but I’m also a writing and language learning coach. I can help you with writing as well as any area of English learning, though I’m particularly interested in vocabulary development, reading strategies, and pronunciation. I can also help with beginning and intermediate Russian. I’m from the USA, but I’ve also lived in Russia, Korea, and China. I speak English, Russian, and a little Mandarin, which I’m trying to work on. I love learning about and helping others learn about and develop skills in languages and intercultural communication. Come talk to me about your language learning!

Xueyi Yuan

Writing/English/Mandarin Coach

Hi! 倷好!¡Hola! My name is Xueyi Yuan and I am also the Writing and Language Studio Coordinator. I speak Mandarin, English and Suzhouhua, and a little bit of Spanish, Cantonese and Korean. I love learning languages and I would love to work with you to become independent language learners. I coach writing, English and Mandarin at the WLS. Come and talk with me about writing and language learning!

Amanda Bradford

Writing/English/Portuguese Coach

Hi there! My name is Amanda Bradford and I’m a coach in the Writing and Language Studio. I can help you with English or Portuguese language learning. I also teach English for Academic Purposes (EAP) courses at DKU. I’m from the United States but I have lived all over the world – Africa, the Middle East, Europe, and now here in Asia. My native language is English and I speak Portuguese but I’ve also studied French & Latin in school. Now that I’m in China, I’m starting to learn Chinese. I enjoy helping students develop their academic writing and reading skills, as well as their everyday conversation skills in English. I’m back on campus again after eight months in Thailand, so feel free to stop by my office. I’d be happy to work with you to improve your language skills. 

Austin Woerner

Writing/English/Mandarin Coach

Hello! My name is Austin Woerner and I coach Writing, English, and Mandarin in the Writing and Language Studio. I also teach English for Academic Purposes (EAP) and Creative Writing at DKU. I am from the U.S. and my native language is English, but I am fluent in Mandarin Chinese, and I have worked for many years as a Chinese-English translator, with a focus on translating Chinese literature into English. I love thinking and talking about language, language-learning, and writing, and I look forward to helping you either improve your writing, develop other English skills, or advance your study of Mandarin. In addition to continuing to grow as a Chinese speaker, I am currently learning French by speaking it with my infant son. 

Brandon Castrejon

Writing/English Coach

Hi! My name is Brandon, and I’m a coach in the Writing and Language Studio. I also teach Academic Communication Skills at DKU. I’m from Los Angeles but have been living in China for six years. My first language is English, and I also speak a bit of Spanish. I am here to support your development in oral communication and academic writing. I am particularly interested in feedback in writing, students' motivation in learning English, and developing students’ listening skills. I look forward to working with you and helping you meet your language learning goals.

Chen Mengtian

Mandarin Coach

Hello, 你好!This is Mengtian. I am a language learning coach in the Writing and Language Studio (WLS). I also work in the Language and Culture Center (LCC) at DKU as a Chinese language lecturer. I can speak Mandarin Chinese, the Wu dialect (a Chinese dialect that is popular in and around Shanghai), English, and a little bit French. I am Chinese, but I have been in the United States for more than five years. I am here to help you with any questions or problems you have in Mandarin Chinese learning, particularly the writing skills and pronunciation. In addition, I am also willing to chat with you under the topics of intercultural experiences and multilingual identities. We can meet in my office (CC 1082) on campus or via Zoom (865-783-6440). Looking forward to physically or virtually seeing you soon! 

Chris Tebbe

Writing/English/German Coach

Hello! Guten Tag! My name is Chris Tebbe and I’m a language learning coach in the Writing and Language Studio. I can help you with English or German language learning. I also teach English for Academic Purposes (EAP) courses at DKU. I’m originally from the Midwest of the United States but I have lived in many places – Germany, Austria, New York City, Japan, Sichuan, Beijing, and soon in Jiangsu. My native language is English and I have a master’s degree in German; I’ve also studied Mandarin and Japanese. I am particularly interested in helping students develop their academic writing and reading skills, as well as their everyday conversation skills in English and German. I look forward to joining the community at Duke Kunshan University!

David Krygier

Writing/English Coach

I’m coach David, currently based in the UK. I enjoy coaching students who need help with study skills and time management. I can also give you some advice on how to improve critical reading and listening, and become a better public speaker, presenter, and writer.

Elisabeth Ursell

Writing/English/Spanish Coach

Hello! ¡Hola! My name is Elisabeth and I am a writing and language learning coach at the Writing and Language Studio, as well as an English lecturer at the Language and Culture Center. I am from the United States and currently reside in Philadelphia (13 hours behind Beijing time). I speak English, Spanish, some Mandarin, and a tiny bit of French. I am a huge language nerd, and I am also here to talk about all things that are science fiction-related! I’d love to help you with your English skills ranging from academic and creative writing to conversational skills such as slang. I’m also available to help anyone who wishes to develop Spanish language skills ranging from beginner to advanced. 

Emma Chiocca

Writing/Spanish/French Coach

Hi! Bonjour! ¡Hola! 你好! My name is Emmanuelle (Emma) Chiocca and I coach English/Writing, French, and Spanish in the WLS, especially independent language learning plans. I also teach EAP and French languaculture courses in the LCC. I was born and raised in southwest France (where I am currently located, 7 hours behind CST), studied in China, and in Israel, got my PhD in language teaching and learning in the US, and have been living in China since 2018. I love learning languages, and I’ve studied Spanish, Latin, Ancient Greek, Hebrew, Hungarian, Cherokee, Kiswahili, Mandarin, and played with a few more on many language learning apps! Aside from learning and teaching languages, I love talking about other cultures, so I’m also happy to discuss strategies to develop your intercultural communication skills. Once I’m back on campus, feel free to grab coffee or lunch with me to practice your language skills! A très vite!

Eric Eberly

Writing/English Coach

I have been an English as a Second Language (ESL) teacher for over 15 years including time in South Korea, the U.S., and of course China. I hold MA degrees in both ESL Teaching and Conflict Transformation. I have taught many types of writing courses, as well as a wide variety of other English skills courses. I am available to coach English writing and any other type of English language skill.

Erin Butler

Writing/English Coach

Hi! 你好! ¡Hola! My name is Erin Butler, and I’m a writing and English language learning coach in the Writing and Language Studio. I also teach EAP101 Writing about Language Learning and GS720 Graduate Academic Writing at DKU. I’m from Riverside, California (where I currently reside) but have lived and worked in China for over 3 years. My first language is English and I also speak intermediate Spanish and Japanese. I am here to support your English language learning and writing. I am particularly interested in how culture influences language learning, developing students’ oral communication and academic writing skills. I look forward to working with you and to helping you meet your language learning goals.

Feng Liying

Writing/English/Mandarin Coach

Hi! 你好! ¡Hola! My name is Liying Feng, and I’m a writing and language learning coach in the Writing and Language Studio. I also teach Chinese language courses for heritage and non-heritage learners at DKU. I’m from Chongqing that is a mountainous city in southwestern China. My first language is Chinese, and I also speak English. I am here to support your Chinese and English language learning and writing. I am particularly interested in how culture influences language learning, developing students’ pronunciation and developing students’ reading skills. I look forward to working with you and to helping you meet your language learning goals.

Francesca Viva

Writing/English/Italian/Spanish Coach

My name is Francesca Viva and I’m a coach in the Writing and Language Studio. I can help you with English writing, Italian, and Spanish. I also teach the Italian course at DKU. I'm from Italy but in the last 16 years I've worked and studied in Europe, Latin America, Africa, and now here in China. My native language is Italian, I also can speak Spanish fluently and I am learning Chinese. I enjoy helping students to develop their academic English writing skills, as well as their everyday conversation skills in Spanish and Italian. I am particularly interested in minority languages, languages strategies in mediation processes, interculturalism and development of intercultural communicative competences, Art and Italian History. I look forward to working with you and to helping you meet your language learning goals.

Harper Staples

Writing/English Coach

你好! Salut! Hi! My name is Harper Staples and I’m a coach in the Writing and Language Studio. I also teach EAP courses here in the LCC at DKU. I’m from the U.K. but I’ve lived in different countries including France, Denmark, and now here in China! I’m a native English speaker and I can also speak fluent French and some Danish (although I’m a little bit rusty now!), as well as beginner Mandarin. I’m here to support your English language learning. I’m interested in how culture and context influences language learning and developing students’ confidence in their reading and writing skills. Feel free to make an appointment with me for any of the above and I’ll be happy to help you :)

Joe Davies

Writing/English Coach

Hi! 你好! ¡Hola! My name is Joe Davies, and I’m a language learning coach in the Writing and Language Studio. I also teach Academic Communication Skills and Academic Writing for the graduate programs and an undergraduate course in language teaching here at DKU. I’m from the UK but have been living in China for over ten years. My first language is English and I also speak Mandarin Chinese and some Spanish. I am here to support your English language learning and writing. I am particularly interested in how culture influences language learning, and in developing students’ academic presentation skills. I look forward to working with you and to helping you meet your language learning goals.

John Harper

Writing/English/Spanish Coach

My name is John. I am looking forward to the opportunity to help you with your language-learning experience. I am quite happy to help you with English writing or with other aspects of English learning. And if you would like help with Spanish (or if you would like to begin learning Spanish), I would be delighted to meet with you.

Kevin Sprague

Writing/English/Spanish/Mandarin Coach

Hi! 你好! ¡Hola! My name is Kevin Sprague, and I’m a writing and language learning coach in the Writing and Language Studio. I also teach Academic Writing, Public Speaking and Debate at DKU. I’m from the United States but have been living in China for almost 10 years. My first language is English and I also speak Chinese and Spanish. I have learned a little Thai and a little Russian and would like to learn more.  I am here to support your English language learning and writing. I am particularly interested in how culture influences language learning, developing students’ pronunciation and developing students’ reading skills. I look forward to working with you and to helping you meet your language learning goals.

Laura Davies

Writing/English Coach

Hi! 你好! ¡Hola! My name is Laura Davies, and I am a writing and language learning coach in the Writing and Language Studio. I also teach English for Academic Purposes (EAP) at DKU. I am from England, UK, but have been living in China for 11 years. My first language is English and I also speak some Spanish and Chinese. I am here to support you with you writing and English language learning. I am particularly interested in how culture influences language learning, developing students’ academic writing and developing students’ reading skills. I am currently in England (GMT +1 / 7 hours behind China). Once I return to campus, I welcome you to my office for a cup of tea, but in the meantime, I look forward to working with you and to helping you meet your language learning goals online.

Layla Shelmerdine

Writing/English Coach

Hi! My name is Layla, and I’m a writing and language learning coach in the Writing and Language Studio. I also teach graduate academic communication skills at DKU. I’m from the United States but have been living in China for 10 years. My first language is English and I also speak some Mandarin. I am here to support your English language learning and writing. I am particularly interested in graduate degree-specific writing and developing students’ ability to give peer feedback. I look forward to working with you and to helping you meet your language learning goals.

Lee Shelmerdine

Writing/English Coach

Hi! My name is Lee Shelmerdine, and I’m a writing and language learning coach in the Writing and Language Studio. I also teach English for Academic Purposes (EAP) at DKU. I’m from the UK but have been living in China for 10 years. I am here to support your English language learning and writing. I am particularly interested in coaching academic writing, but I have a lot of experience in all areas of language teaching. I look forward to working with you and to helping you meet your language learning goals.

Li Cong

Japanese Coach

Hi! My name is Cong Li, and I’m a language learning coach in the Writing and Language Studio. I teach Chinese and Japanese at DKU. I am here to help more people learn and practice Japanese given the limited seats of Japanese courses. I am particularly interested in how culture influences language use and how game mechanics can be integrated into a language curriculum. I look forward to working with you and helping you meet your language learning goals.

Li Junyi

Writing/English/Mandarin Coach

Hi! 倷好! ¡Hola! My name is Junyi Li, and I’m a writing and language learning coach in the Writing and Language Studio. I also teach English for Academic Purposes (EAP) at DKU. I was born and raised in Suzhou, then spent most of my time exploring and studying in other parts of China and overseas since I was 13. My first language is Mandarin, and I also speak English and a little bit German and Japanese. I am here to support you with your writing, English language learning, and Mandarin learning (or even Suzhounese if you're interested). I am particularly interested in student engagement and motivation in language learning, inclusive language teaching, and professional development for teachers, and I have a lot of experience in educational counseling. I look forward to working with you and to helping you meet your language learning goals!

Lisa (Hang) Su

Writing/English/Mandarin Coach

你好!¡Hola! My name is Su Hang, or you can call me Lisa. I am here to help you with Writing, Mandarin, and English language learning. I got my MAs in Teaching Chinese to Speakers of Other Languages and International Higher Education. Before moving back to China, I taught Mandarin in Thailand and the United States for two years. I also speak basic Thai and a little bit of Japanese. I am currently learning español on my own and would love to work and learn something new with you together!

Liu Yidian

Peer Writing Coach

Hi! 你好! こんにちは! My name is Yidian Liu, and I’m a peer writing coach in the Writing and Language Studio. I am a junior student majoring in political economy with track in public policy. My first language is Chinese and I also speak English and a little Japanese. I am here to support your English writing. I am particularly interested in helping students with their social science or humanities essays. I focus on assisting essay's argument development, structural organization and flow/style improvement. I look forward to working with you and to helping you meet your language learning goals.

Miao Yu

Mandarin Coach

Hi! 你好!  My name is Yu Miao(苗宇). I’m a language learning coach in the Writing and Language Studio. I also teach Mandarin at DKU. I’m from Jilin Province, China. My first language is Mandarin and I also speak English. I am here to support your Chinese language learning. I am particularly interested in developing learners’ culture awareness, learning strategies and abilities of doing things with language. I look forward to exploring Mandarin language world with you!

Peter Wergin

Writing/English/German Coach

Hi! 你好! Guten Tag! Konnichiwa! Anyonghaseiyo! My name is Peter Wergin, and I’m a language learning and writing coach in the Writing and Language Studio. I am currently teaching EAP courses at DKU. I’m from Canada and have been living in China for the past four years. I have also lived in Japan and Korea. My first language is English. I grew up in a German home and might be able to help some of you who are in the very beginning stages of studying German (simple reading, vocabulary, and basic conversation). I am particularly interested in helping learners to become risk-takers, develop their own unique strategies that enable for autonomous learning, and become empowered over time through their individual actions as they aim for success. I am here to support you in improving your English skills and look forward to working with you in achieving your goals.

Qin Minnange

Mandarin Coach

Hi! 你好! My name is Minnange Qin and I’m a language learning coach in the Writing and Language Studio. I also teach Mandarin at DKU. I’m from Xi'an China and have lived in the US for study and work. My first language is Chinese and I also speak English and a little Japanese. I am here to support your Chinese language learning and writing. I look forward to working with you and to helping you meet your language learning goals.

Rainie Zhang

Writing/English/Mandarin/Spanish Coach

Hi! 你好! ¡Hola! My name is Rainie (Minghao), and I’m a language learning coach in the Writing and Language Studio. I also teach EAP at DKU. I’m originally from Beijing and I have also lived in Barcelona, Houston, San Francisco and New York for work and study. My first language is Mandarin (with a Beijing accent! :P) and I also speak English, Spanish, and a little bit Japanese. My research interests include the ultimate attainment of second language acquisition, the phenomenon of fossilization (i.e., what cannot be learned for second language learners at the end state), and second language pedagogy. I am here to help you with your general and academic English skills (specifically academic writing and speaking skills and pronunciation) and I am also happy to help you practice your spoken Mandarin. If you would like to learn some Spanish, I can also help you get a start on that! I look forward to working with you and helping you reach your learning goals!

Saghar L. Naghib

Writing/English/Spanish/Persian-Farsi Coach

Hi! !سلام Olá! ¡Hola! My name is Saghar Leslie Naghib, and I’m a language learning coach in the Writing and Language Studio. I also teach English for Academic Purposes (EAP) at DKU. I’m from the US, but have been living in China since 2019. My first language is English and I also speak Persian-Farsi, Spanish, and enough Brazilian-Portuguese to communicate with my in-laws. I am here to support your English language learning and writing. I am particularly interested in how culture influences language learning, developing students’ pronunciation and developing students’ reading skills. Please know that I am currently displaced in Brazil and am 11 hours behind CST. I look forward to working with you and to helping you meet your language learning goals.

Tao Junyi

Peer Writing Coach

Hi! 你好! ¡Hola! My name is Junyi Tao, and I’m a peer writing coach in the Writing and Language Studio. I am a sophomore at DKU, studying Data Science. My first language is Chinese and I also speak English. I am here to support your English writing. I am particularly interested in how language influences identities and thinking modes, helping students become independent learners, and developing students' critical thinking. I look forward to working with you and to helping you meet your language learning goals.

Wang Mengling

Mandarin/Shanghainese/Japanese Coach

My name is Mengling Wang, and I’m a language learning coach in the Writing and Language Studio. I also teach Chinese at DKU. I am from Shanghai, and I have also lived in the US for study. I am currently living in Kunshan. My first language is Mandarin Chinese, and I also speak Japanese and Shanghainese. My research focus is Chinese Literature, and I am particularly interested in culture and history related topics. I look forward to working with you and helping you meet your language learning goals!

Wen Xinyi (Wendy)

Peer Writing Coach

Hi! My name is Xinyi Wen, and you can call me Wendy. I’m a peer writing coach in the Writing and Language Studio, and I am here in the hope to support your English writing. I’m from Class 2022 and major in Environmental Science/Biogeochemistry. My first language is Chinese—I speak standard Mandarin as well as a little Hunan dialect. I’m a Japanese beginner and I’ve learned it remotely for about one month in the summer of 2020. I’m particularly interested in generating social media contents, and currently thinking about doing popular science as my future career. I look forward to working with you and to helping you meet your English writing goals!

Wu Yizhen

Peer Writing Coach

Hi! 拿欧好! ¡Buenas! My name is Yizhen Wu, and I’m a peer writing coach in the Writing and Language Studio. I am an undergraduate student from the class of 2023, and my major is behavioral science with a psychology track. My first language is Chinese and I also speak English, some Ningbo dialect, and a tiny bit of Spanish. I am planning to learn Japanese because I love Japanese aesthetics and hope to travel there again with my parents. I am here to support your English writing. I am particularly interested in how argumentation differs across disciplines, how writing implies cultural nuances, and the art of rhetoric. I’d love to assist you in finding strategies about writing and revising your own work, and more importantly, gaining fun and a sense of achievement throughout your writing process. I look forward to working with you and helping you become better writers!