ALI Staff

  • The instructors, tutors, and administrative staff at the American Language Institute are qualified professionals with considerable training and experience in working with international students. Our staff is committed to providing a quality educational experience for all students.


    Instructional staff at the ALI are selected for their expertise in English language teaching. All teachers have a minimum of a master’s degree in TESOL or a related area and experience working with English language learners.

    Tariq Al-Soud Tariq Al-Soud,

    Tariq earned a PhD in English Literature and Criticism from IUP. He earned his MA from Bridgewater State University, Massachusetts, majoring in English literature. He has also taught in the English department at Tafila Technical University in Jordan.

    Sahar Al-ShoubakiSahar Al-Shoubaki,

    Sahar is a doctoral candidate in the English Literature and Criticism program at IUP. She earned her MA in English Literature from Yarmouk University in Jordan. She has taught English at universities in the US, Jordan, and KSA. Her research interests include postcolonial literature, Arab American women writers, and identity politics. 

    Dr. Robin KneeRobin Knee,

    Robin earned a PhD in Romance Languages from the University of Pennsylvania. She taught a variety of French courses at Penn, Drexel, Ohio State, and Trinity University before embarking on an ESL vocation several years ago at La Roche College and other local intensive English programs.

    Nada Tayem 135Nada Tayem,

    Nada is a doctoral candidate in the English Department Literature and Criticism program at IUP. She has extensive tutoring experience and has taught English courses at the University of Jordan and the National Institute for Training. 

    Tewero TchekpassiTewero Tchekpassi,

    Tewero earned a PhD in English Composition and Applied Linguistics from IUP. He earned his MA at IUP. He has taught undergraduate English courses at IUP. He served as an English teacher and student advisor in secondary education in Togo. His interests include educational policy research, teacher education, and literacy.

    Begona Vilouta-VazquezBegoña Vilouta-Vázquez,

    Begoña earned a PhD in Literature and Criticism from IUP. She has been teaching foreign languages (English in Spain and Spanish in the United States) for more than 10 years. Begoña is the ACE Tutoring supervisor.

    Hany Zaky Hany Zaky,

    Hany is a doctoral candidate in the Curriculum and Instruction program at IUP with a focus on adult literacy. He earned his MA in International Education from American International College and TEFL qualification from the American University in Cairo (AUC). He has taught English and test prep courses for AUC and AMIDEAST. 

    Tong ZhangTong Zhang,

    Tong earned a PhD in English Composition and Applied Linguistics from IUP. She has experience teaching college composition courses and working with multilingual students from diverse backgrounds.

    The ALI hires qualified instructors who have studied in the U.S. and internationally. This policy provides students with models of excellence—teachers who know the experience of bilingualism and language learning from a personal as well as a professional perspective. All teachers are encouraged to engage in professional development with program support.

    ACE Tutors

    ACE Tutors In the American Culture and English (ACE) Tutoring program, tutors work with ALI students to develop cultural understanding and English language proficiency. Undergraduate and graduate students with teaching or tutoring experience and an interest in working with diverse populations can apply to become tutors.


    SkillZone SkillZone is a free drop-in center for all IUP international students and scholars (ALI, exchange, undergraduate, graduate, and visiting scholars) to access academic support. Tutors are hired from a variety of academic disciplines.

    Administration and Support Personnel

    Dr. Michele PetrucciMichele Petrucci, Executive Director

    Michele has been professionally active in the field of International Education for over 20 years. Since her arrival at IUP in 1997, Michele has worked in various capacities in both the ALI and the Office of International Education. She currently serves as associate vice president for International Education and Global Engagement.

    Emma ArcherEmma Archer, Director,

    Emma completed her MEd in Literacy at IUP and MA TESOL at American University. Before coming to IUP, she taught English learners at Northern Virginia Community College, served as a Peace Corps teacher trainer in Mongolia, worked with refugee families for the Greater Pittsburgh Literacy Council, and taught Spanish in Louisville public schools.

    Cindy SmeltzerCindy Smeltzer, Secretary,

    Cindy was born and raised in western Pennsylvania. She has an Associate’s Degree from Cambria Rowe Business College as a computer support specialist. She joined the ALI staff in 2011. In her spare time, Cindy enjoys reading, walking, shopping, eating out, volunteering with her children’s activities, and spending time with family and friends. Cindy lives in the Creekside area with her family.

    Student Advisors

    The ALI student advisors have extensive experience working with international students, learning languages, and studying abroad. They are dedicated to helping ALI students and are happy to advise them about academic issues and about adjusting to life in the United States.