Jenna Altherr Flores' Conference Summary


     Jenna Altherr-Flores
     Ph.D. Student
     Second Language Acquisition & Teaching

     Conference Summary
     2017 TESOL International Convention and Expo
     Seattle, Washington



The Herbert E. Carter Travel Award helped me to attend the 2017 TESOL International Convention and Expo in Seattle, Washington.  I had two roles at the convention: 1) as the incoming Chair of the Refugee Concerns Interest Section (RCIS), and 2) as a presenter on two invited panels.

As an Interest Section (IS) leader, I attended numerous leadership forums and meetings with the TESOL administration and other IS leaders; in these meetings, we discussed the restructuring of the IS system and the proposal adjudication system, put forward recommendations for TESOL International’s strategic plan for the next three years, and IS leaders met with each other to collaborate on panel selections for the 2018 convention in Chicago.  Aside from those meetings, I also met with the steering committee meeting of RCIS to discuss our activities for the 2017-2018 year, and ran our open IS meeting for all members of RCIS. At the open meeting, we elected new steering committee members and a new Chair-Elect-Elect, discussed the theme for our Academic Session next year, considered topics for webinars during the summer and fall, and chose issues we would like to cover in our newsletter, as well as ways to support continued engagement on the MyTESOL site. Members also had time to discuss successes and challenges in working with English language learners (ELLs) from refugee backgrounds.  Finally, we distributed classroom materials we had obtained from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, two policy briefs that we wrote about students with interrupted formal education, and about educating ELLs from refugee backgrounds, and an advocacy toolkit we made for people who are working with refugee-background students, or who wish to support refugees in the U.S. and worldwide.

In addition to the numerous IS meetings, as Chair of RCIS, I attended as many of the sessions that were listed as part of the Refugee Concerns track as I could, in particular, our Intersections and Academic Session; I also attended numerous Adult Education track sessions, though not in a leadership role. Furthermore, I ran a networking session for anyone who was unable to attend our RCIS open business meeting. Finally, RCIS members and I staffed a booth in the exhibit hall so that we could distribute information, and also speak with people interested in refugee concerns.

Aside from my duties as an Interest Section leader, I presented my research on two panels.  The first panel was "Connecting Research to Practice: Serving Adult Emergent Readers;" I presented with Dr. Martha Bigelow, Dr. Patsy Egan, and Dr. Raichle Farrelly. The second panel was "Political, Social, and Integration Implications for Refugees and Asylum Seekers;" I presented with Pindie Stephen, and Kinana Qaddour.  Both panels were well attended, and, from comments from attendees, well received.  I received excellent feedback from both the other panelists and attendees, and I also spoke with many researchers and practitioners about my work after the panels.

In addition to my presentations and my leadership, I attended a post-convention institute on serving adult emergent readers; this institute was run by Alysan Croyden. The institute provided excellent, hands-on application of theory and practice, and I was happy to see so many people in attendance.

The best part of the convention was continuing to build relationships with not only other researchers and practitioners who work with ELL adult emergent readers, and with those who work with students from refugee backgrounds, but also with other leaders within the TESOL International organization. I also appreciated the thoughtful feedback I received on my research.

I am grateful to the Graduate Interdisciplinary Programs for selecting me as a Herbert E. Carter Award recipient as this support allowed me to attend the 2017 TESOL International Convention.


Last updated 11 Apr 2017