Current Teacher Candidates

Sophia Caruso

My name is Sophia Caruso, and I am from the suburbs of Chicago. I am a Spanish major in the FLTE program, and I also have a minor in teaching English as a second language (TESL). I was inspired to be a Spanish teacher by my first Spanish teacher in 7th grade. I felt a true passion for the Spanish language and culture. Being in the FLTE program has introduced me to a community I will forever be grateful for. I have learned so much, and I have been greatly inspired for my future as a high school Spanish teacher. This program is exceptional, and the people are even better. I can’t wait to endeavor on my journey in and outside of the FLTE program. 

Ellie Chiganos

My name is Ellie Chiganos. I am from Schaumburg, Illinois, and I am planning to teach Spanish in a secondary education school. I have been learning Spanish in a classroom setting for almost 10 years now, and I have always enjoyed it. I decided that if Spanish was so fun to learn, it must be just as fun to teach! Language learning has always sort of scratched an itch in my brain and fueled a passion for it, and the FLTE program has continuously contributed to this. I am excited to continue learning more about teaching a foreign language, and I have no doubt that I will carry the skills I have gained thus far in the FLTE program with me throughout my future career as a teacher, and that the program is setting me up for success.  

Grace Crawford

My name is Grace Crawford, and I am from the north suburbs of Chicago, Illinois. I am planning on teaching Spanish at the high school level. Growing up, I had amazing Spanish teachers throughout middle school and high school. They taught me so much, and I am so grateful to them for inspiring and encouraging my love of Spanish language and culture. My teachers introduced me to Spanish immersion camp in middle school, and I went back again when I was in high school. They opened doors to an awesome experience traveling to Perú and living with a host family between my junior and senior years in high school. And here at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign I had the opportunity to study abroad last year in Granada, Spain. It was an unforgettable experience. I loved my host family in Granada and cannot wait to go back to visit. I love being part of the FLTE program and have learned so much. I am looking forward to sharing what I have learned, and I hope that I can inspire students the way my teachers inspired me.

Sheila Jara-Espinoza

My name is Sheila Jara, I am from Chicago, Illinois. I am completing the FLTE program in order to teach Spanish. I have always been passionate about my culture and roots. My parents are from Ecuador. My love for language has grown over the years, but everything started when I went to Panama to teach English for a month. Spanish being my first language, and now that I am bilingual, it is special to me to teach spanish so that students can learn a new language. Being a native speaker, I would love for there to be higher representation of teachers who are native speakers. Growing up, I didn’t see not one native speaker as my Spanish teacher which is something I want there to be a change to and I hope I can inspire my future student to be a part of that change.Being able to teach a new language as well as show my culture and other cultures is something that brings me joy. This program has given us the opportunity to view different grade levels in the Champaign area which has helped us when thinking about the grade level we would like to teach.

Elisa Jennings

My name’s Elisa, and I’m from Hinsdale, Illinois! I got my BA in Linguistics and Ancient Greek language from Arizona State, and I’m getting my MA in Latin here at University of Illinois. I’m also completing the FLTE program so that I can get certified as a high school teacher. I’ve been tutoring other people in Classical languages since my junior year of high school in 2015, and in all those years, I’ve never experienced anything as fulfilling as handing down my love of antiquity to others. 

I am half Puerto Rican, and although the field of Classics has traditionally been an elitist, white field for the thousands of years it’s been around, I want to encourage diversity in the Classics field by making it more accessible to students regardless of their native language, dialect, or educational background. For me, the FLTE program has changed the face of language learning. It has moved me out of teaching how I myself was taught and into more student-centered teaching, using context and culture to make language come alive for them, and backwards design to crystallize my goals for what I want my students to accomplish.

Wil Schneider

My name is Wil Schneider and I am from Waterloo Illinois. I am a German major in the FLTE program and I have a minor in political science as well. I initially took German as a way to pay tribute to my German heritage. I fell in love with the language and culture after a month long student exchange after my sophomore year in high school where I got to visit the town my family is originally from. The FLTE program has introduced me to a professional community that I have learned so much from.

Macy Sherwood

My name is Macy Sherwood and I am from Tinley Park, Illinois. I am currently pursuing a German BAT. I began learning German eight years ago as a freshman in high school and immediately fell in love with the language and culture. As a prospective German teacher, I am driven by the desire to share this beautiful language with others, empowering them with the tools to connect with the vibrant culture of Germany. Being a Golden Apple Scholar, it is my mission to enhance German programs in underserved communities throughout Illinois. Participating in the FLTE program has not only equipped me with the knowledge needed to excel as a world language teacher but has also fostered new friendships within my cohort, enhancing both my professional growth and personal connections.

Sophia Warnement

I am from Arlington, Virginia, and I am completing the FLTE program in order to become a secondary school Latin teacher. I have a BA in Classical Studies (Latin concentration) from the College of William & Mary (2021). Currently, I am a MAT student in the Classics Department (planned graduation year 2024). I decided to become a Latin teacher in 2016 after I attended a residential summer program for high school Latin students, which encouraged my love of the language and my desire to share it with others. The FLTE program has been incredibly beneficial to me because it has helped me learn how to be a better teacher, not just a better Latinist. The program’s focus on learning and applying contemporary SLA pedagogy has doubled the tools I have to draw on as teacher and has inspired me to incorporate many successful ideas in the language classes that I teach as a TA. I have also enjoyed getting experience in the 9-12 classroom as a student observer, something that the FLTE program makes possible.

Kaysee Williams

My name is Kaysee Williams and I’m from Round Lake, Illinois. Growing up in an area where Spanish was spoken by around half of the community, I felt disconnected not only from my friends, but also my community as well. In reality, I found my inability to communicate in Spanish was doing a disservice to those who I was in contact with. After beginning Spanish classes in middle school and high school, I fell in love with the Spanish language. I always enjoyed language classes because it was a way to learn about different cultures and broaden my knowledge about countries and traditions that I had not previously known. When I realized I wanted to become an educator, choosing to be a world language educator was the obvious choice. With that being said, I hope that I can make an impact on children the way that my previous teachers left on me, and inspire others to explore the world and open their minds to the world that is present around them. I do not yet have a preference on a grade level that I would like to teach yet, but I have had experience working with all grade levels during my educational and professional careers. However, I know that whatever grade level that I ultimately decide to teach will leave an impact on me and I hope to inspire their young minds as well.