Current Graduate Students

Among the many things you'll find exciting about the UMBC Intercultural Communication (INCC) Program are the wide range of career opportunities and the interesting people you'll discover here. This diversity gives you the opportunity to meet and learn with students pursuing a variety of career goals, yet who share common interests and background in language and culture. INCC students come from diverse cultural, social, economic, and educational backgrounds. Each student enriches the program and larger campus culture with his or her varied life story and experiences, and the classroom serves as an intercultural laboratory to explore and learn with others. INCC provides a supportive educational environment where individual difference are valued, allowing all students to achieve and contribute to their full potential.

UMBC Graduate Student Association (GSA)


Angela Alascia

I graduated from Ohio Northern University in 1991 with a major in French and Spanish. I obtained my Secondary Education certification at the College of Notre Dame of Maryland. I plan to study in Salamanca this summer, as part of the INCC program. I love to travel. It is my passion! I was an international flight attendant for ten years, so I had an opportunity to sample many countries. I'm happy to say that I have been fortunate enough to return to many of them for vacations. Most recently, my husband and I traveled to France with students. This spring we are headed to Costa Rica for a chance to experience its beauty and biodiversity. I currently teach French and Spanish at a high school in Carroll County, Maryland. I hope to instill in my students the same love for other languages and cultures that my teachers fostered in me. Earning this degree has completely changed the person that I am and how I view the world. It has made me a better teacher and has allowed me to truly understand cultural differences. Contact info:

Deanna Cerquetti

photo for bio
As a second year INCC student, I also work as a graduate assistant teaching undergraduate Spanish for the MLL department. This program first appealed to me because of its interdisciplinary nature and I have thoroughly enjoyed learning about intercultural relationships and cross-cultural issues from many different perspectives. Through in-class and off-campus discussions, I feel that I’ve been able to expand my knowledge of “culture” and apply what I’ve learned to real-life scenarios. Through the program, I was fortunate enough to travel to Salamanca, Spain and I feel that this experience not only helped to enhance my Spanish-speaking abilities but to really understand and appreciate a very rich culture different from my own. For me, INCC is a very unique program which offers many opportunities to engage with students and faculty from different countries, helping to create a rich community. In the future, I hope to apply what I’ve learned to teaching language at the university level and eventually pursuing a doctorate in a linguistics-related field. Contact info:

Sabrina Chacón

A native of Caracas, Venezuela, Sabrina E. Chacon has a striving passion for exploring various cultures and anthropological differences across the world. As a young adult, Chacon traveled to the United States to study at the University of Maryland Baltimore County to obtain a B.A. in Health Administration and a minor in her native language, Spanish. The cultural change from South to North America allowed Chacon to discover an excitement for new ways of life that are unlike her own. Along her journey, she has gained vital experience as an Intern at United States Hispanic Youth Entrepreneur Education (USHYEE). As a mentor for Hispanic high school students in the Baltimore-Metropolitan Area, Chacon brings her knowledge from across the world to guide and educate children from different traditions and customs to help better their experience in America. She also assists Hispanic children in motivation for higher education. Working toward a Masters of Art in Intercultural Communications combined with her own life experiences, will make Chacon an expert in her field and a willingness to communicate with cultures in hope to solve problems that can better the world. Contact info:

Laura Cooke

Laura July 2011 003
Laura earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in International Studies and French with a concentration in arts and culture from Texas A&M University. Passionate about language, Laura spent her junior year studying French at the University of Lausanne in Switzerland. After graduation, the Spanish Ministry of Education granted Laura a position as an English Language Assistant and English tutor in Talavera de la Reina, Spain. Laura’s lifetime interest in language and culture inspired her to join the INCC program at UMBC this year as a student and teaching assistant. Laura’s hobbies include running, hiking and traveling. Her most recent trip was to Anchorage, Alaska. Contact info:

Christina Crise

I am a 2006 graduate of Washington College with a major in French Studies and minors in Anthropology and Creative Writing. I also obtained my Secondary Education certification. I had the opportunity to study abroad in Aix-en-Provence, France my junior year of college and was able to also visit many different countries in Europe while there. I currently teach French at a high school in Howard County, Maryland. I hope to instill in my students the same love for French that my teachers gave me. When it came time to choose a graduate program, I knew I wanted something that mixed languages and culture together. My research very quickly led me to the Intercultural Communications program at UMBC and from there the decision was easy. This degree has helped me open my mind even further to the varying cultures that make up our world and I will be able to bring the lessons that I learn here in to my own classroom for the benefit of my students. Contact info:

Patricia Davila


I graduated from UMBC in spring of 2011 with a degree in Interdisciplinary Studies with concentrations in photojournalism and social issues. During my undergraduate career, I had the opportunity to do my capstone research in Perú, where I did a photojournalistic study on Andean identity in Lima. This visual thesis drew many concepts from intercultural communication, and so I was intrigued when I learned of the INCC graduate program. After graduation, I went on to work in the field of health care, where I faced many challenges with collecting medical records for foreign patients, and trying to submit a translated version of these records to health advisers and doctors. It was through this process that I realized how difficult it can be for the immigrant community in the U.S. to access appropriate, interculturally competent health care, whether it is because of intimidation due to status, or discomfort with assimilation into the English language. I came to the conclusion that immediate and frequent urgent health care needs do not wait for linguistic adjustment or cultural assimilation, and any misunderstanding or misinterpretation between the patient and provider can lead to the wrong treatment, or even death in severe cases. It is because of this realization that I will be pursuing a concentration in policy, in an effort to make a difference in the health care industry when it comes to serving immigrant families with limited proficiency in English. In my spare time, I like to cook, take photos, and most of all, travel as often as possible. My most recent trip was to Morocco and I don’t plan on slowing down anytime soon! Contact info:

Yu Hao

Yu's photo
Hi, my name is Yu Hao and I am currently a graduate student of INCC. The reason I chose INCC program is that I experienced many intercultural conflicts or stereotypes while communicating with my friends from other countries. Moreover, I found out that there were even intercultural conflicts between Chinese people from different areas. Apart from my graduate study at UMBC, I am also a teaching assistant teaching undergraduate Chinese for the MLL Department and the Chinese mentor of the ILE program. I am doing the Intercultural Training Track in INCC program as well as the TESOL certificate. After graduation, I would like to help people gain a better understanding of others, especially communication with Chinese people. More important, people should realize that intercultural communication cannot be ignored anymore and people should be much more open-minded to different cultures. Contact info:

Sarah Holmquist

Hi , my name is Sarah Holmquist and I have just graduated from Westmont College in Santa Barbara, California with a major in Spanish and a minor in Art History. My study-abroad experience in Seville, Spain and my other cross-cultural experiences in the US during my undergraduate years led me to desire further study in the field of intercultural communications. While in the INCC program at UMBC, I would like to take the Intercultural Training track, in hopes of working in that field after graduation. I would like to work toward bringing better understanding between people of different cultures and helping people be more sensitive and open minded to cultural differences in daily life, whether that be as a foreign-student advisor, an intercultural trainer, or a language teacher.

Katie Kohler

Hola! My name is Katie Kohler, and I graduated from Muhlenberg College in Allentown, PA in 2004 with a B.A. in Communication and Spanish. After graduation, I spent some time working at a local Maryland farm as a volunteer coordinator, working with developmentally disabled adults. After the harvest season was over, I made a connection with a volunteer organization in Barcelona, Spain and spent the next year and a half living and working overseas teaching English and writing for a local magazine. In 2006, I decided to start something new with my career and become licensed and certified to do financial advising. Although I have been running my own financial services business in Germantown, MD since then, my dream is to change career paths and return to my passion for language and communications. I was excited to find that UMBC’s Intercultural Communication program has exactly what I was looking for: a unique Communication program that has a focus in a foreign language. I believe that we live in a global society, and the study of other languages other than our own is essential to progress and peace. My other interests include health and fitness, ballroom and latin dance, and traveling. I look forward to the next two years in this M.A. program at UMBC! Contact info:

Molly Lemoine


My name is Molly Lemoine, and I come to UMBC from the beautiful Hudson Valley region of New York State as a Peaceworker Fellow at the Shriver Center. Following undergraduate study in Political Science and French at Syracuse University, I joined the Peace Corps and spent the next two years serving as a university English teacher in the republics of Guinea and Mali, West Africa. After completing my Peace Corps service, I worked for a USAID economic development project in Bamako, Mali. Passionate about intercultural collaboration and understanding, I am pursuing a Master's degree in Intercultural Communication at UMBC. I am also the graduate coordinator for cultural programs in Student Life’s Mosaic Center for Cultural and Spiritual Diversity, focusing on student outreach and programming. I am excited to make connections on campus and in the Baltimore community to promote cultural awareness, as well as facilitate an environment that celebrates learning and sharing among students of all backgrounds. After completing my studies at UMBC, I hope to start a career in international development, preferably focusing on education development in West Africa. Contact info:

Ana Leal Lobáto

Foto I
My name is Ana Isabel Leal Lobato and I am from the beautiful Spanish region of Andalusia. I graduated from the University of Granada in Translation and Interpreting Studies. For the past three years I have been working combining my two passions: interpreting and teaching. Working as a Conference Interpreter in Brussels, I had the opportunity to meet people coming from all over the world while in the process of communicating. I realized how important it is to gain a good insight into the culture associated with the language in order to be able to communicate effectively. I also had the opportunity to teach my mother tongue but I felt that I needed additional training so I decided to pursue a Master’s in Education and Iearned a Master’s in Teaching Spanish as a Second Language from the Spanish Open University (UNED). I found teaching so rewarding that I had a revelation: I want to teach linguistic-related matters at University level so I applied for a Fulbright grant to come to the US and do a more research-oriented Master’s. I am in my second semester in the INCC program and planning to go on a PhD when I am back in Europe, applying Intercultural Communication to the field of Translation and Interpreting. Contact info:

Gail Love

The INCC program at UMBC appealed to me for many reasons. I knew it would give me the opportunity to study abroad at the University of Salamanca in Spain, and I had the privilege to go for 2 consecutive summers. The experience allowed me to tweak my abilities to speak Spanish and to understand complex grammatical structures. I also celebrated with Spain when their soccer team won the World Cup in 2010. I am looking forward to applying what I have learned during my time abroad to my future INCC classes at UMBC and in my classes as a high school world language teacher. Contact info:

Veena Namboodri

Internationalization is like creating a round-toed shoe that fits people with all types of feet. It is not as comfortable as a perfectly fitted shoe and doesn’t fit snugly, but can be worn by many people – David Debry.

This quote, perhaps, best describes my intentions of studying Intercultural Communication at UMBC; to design that amorphous product of communication that fits us all with little alteration. The essence of this course, that I eagerly look forward to pursue, is not just that we get to study the norms of intercultural interaction, but the opportunity we have in being able to interact among a multi-cultural group and also the choice of studying closely the thumbprints of a specific culture that we personally might be interested in.

I studied Bachelors of Business Management from the University of Mumbai, India. During my undergraduation years, I discovered how much there is in today's steadily growing globalized world to apply profound knowledge of culture and variety patterns of communication to be able to successfully appeal to different publics with the same core product your business has to offer. In terms of culture, my ability to acknowledge variety has partially been facilitated by the amount of religious and cultural diversity there is within the national boundaries. However, I couldn't contain my intrigue and compelling desire to learn beyond national boundaries of how Global Intercultural Communication makes or breaks businesses, governments and the Global Economy per se. I wish to apply all that I learn at UMBC to bettering cross-cultural understanding and opening the floodgate to international-intercultural communication and relations in India on the advent of the universal Cultural and Economic integration that presents us with the challenge of intercultural interaction at a new level altogether and that is foreseen to continue to grow at an unprecedented rate. Contact info:

Olimpia Pérez Broncano

Originally from Madrid, Spain, I arrived at UMBC in August 2010 as a Fulbright grantee for starting my M.A. in Intercultural Communication. These studies are broadening my previous education in Linguistics, providing me with a theoretical framework to study and understand intercultural relationships. At the same time, I am taking some courses for obtaining a TESOL certificate. As a result of my interest in the topics and issues I am being introduced to, I decided to collaborate with the Refugee Youth Project, an after-school program for refugee kids in the Baltimore area run by Baltimore City Community College. I first worked as a volunteer through the Shriver Center at UMBC and after that I interned with them during the summer. Starting my third semester in the INCC program, I am going to apply my developing skills working as a T.A. of Spanish in the MLL department. Contact info:

Greg Rosenthal

Greg is a community organizer and human rights educator. He has over ten years of experience in organizing in movements against war and for social and economic justice. He is currently a Leadership Organizer with the United Workers, a Baltimore-based economic human rights organization led by the poor themselves. Greg is also a strategic campaign consultant and co-founder of, a training institute in art of corporate campaigning, building power and developing effective strategies for social change. Greg's work has been published in, Z Magazine, MRZine and the Baltimore Independent Reader. When Greg is not out fighting for economic justice, he likes doing Yoga, hiking and being close to the ocean and sun. Contact info:

Claudia Tonguino

The reason I am studying intercultural communication at UMBC, is to further enhance my knowledge about how communication relationships work, coexist, impact and influence people around the world. As a bilcultural individual I have become aware that even though I know a language, it does not guarantee that I know everything about the culture that it pertains too. Furthermore as a teacher I want to be able to share with my students a piece of the real cultures that exist in the world through a classroom setting, in which just teaching him or her a language would not be the limit to their cultural exposure. I want to help the outside world as well as myself better comprehend what it means to learn about a culture via communication and embrace as much as possible without being judgemental. Understanding to see beyond what is placed in front of you is crucial into keeping an open mind about the world we live in and the people that inhabit it day to day. Contact info:

Emily Tyler

Emily Tyler is a second-year MA student in the INCC program. Originally from Boston, Emily discovered her passion for languages and education during her undergraduate years at Middlebury College and while serving as a Peace Corps volunteer in Mauritania, West Africa. She moved to Baltimore to participate in the Shriver Peaceworker Fellowship program at UMBC and has since become a devoted Baltimorean. Emily is following the INCC Policy Track, and is also pursuing a TESOL certificate. Since starting the MA program last year, Emily has served as a founding member of the UMBC Interculturalists Graduate Student Organization, organizer of the First Annual Interculturalist Graduate Research Expo, and Coordinator for the Intercultural Living Exchange, an undergraduate Living Learning Center run by the MLLI department. After UMBC, Emily hopes to be involved in education/language policy and spend more time abroad. In her free time, she can be found singing karaoke terribly, hugging trees or challenging friends and family to Bananagrams tournaments. Contact info:

Arideng Wang

Born in the French-speaking part of Cameroon - a Bilingual country in Central Africa -  I was exposed very early in life to the reality of Intercultural Communication when I started learning English as my second (or rather third if I add my dialect to the list) language while still in elementary school. In high school, I added Spanish to the list of my languages and went on to earn a Bachelor's degree in Foreign Languages (English & Spanish) from a local university. So, for more than two decades now, French (my native language), English and Spanish have been a big part of my life and my dream has always been to specialize in language studies. I am therefore very exited to finally start the journey that will turn me into a professional in the Intercultural Communication Field. Contact info:

Kate Witt

Hello, I am Kate from the rural state of Indiana. For my Bachelor’s degree, I went to Lake Forest College (Illinois) to double major in Sociology/Anthropology and Theater. After graduation I moved to Guatemala where I spent 27 months as a Peace Corps volunteer in the Sustainable Agriculture program. I mainly planted family gardens, vaccinated chickens, and taught cooking classes to 8 different indigenous villages. I also taught nutrition at my local school, as well as art and theater classes; we even put on The Wizard of Oz in Spanish for Mother’s Day! I spent the last 6 months in Antigua, Guatemala writing for an English tourist magazine, Revue, on the “must see” sights of Guatemala. This is my first time on the East coast, so I am looking forward to eating a lot of fresh seafood! Also, I am looking forward to refining my career and research interests, which I believe that the Intercultural Communications degree will do. Through the core classes, I will decide which path of international development I would like to take. The full immersion Spanish classes will complement my existing Spanish. The most important part of the Intercultural Communications program, for me, is its array of electives, as well as an endless choice of research topics, that drew me to the program. However, most important, I hope to meet students and faculty that will enrich my experience at UMBC, and will ‘set the stage’ for a career in an international setting! Contact info:

Chencheng Zhou

Chengcheng Zhou came to University of Maryland, Baltimore County in 2011 spring. She is currently a graduate student in Intercultural Communication (INCC) program. Since coming to INCC, she has been selected as the Chinese ILE mentor for Fall 2011 and the OSL’s (Office of Diversity Educator intern. She is active in a variety of cultural organizations including Women in Arts and Mosaic Center. Outside of academia she volunteered for Refugee Youth Project (BCCC) in Baltimore as an assistant tutor this summer. Contact info: