Alumni News

March 1, 2018 at 3:16 pm

Happy Beginnings | From Ukraine to D.C., Linguistics Alum Writes Story of Her Life

Tanya Bychkovska stands in front of the United States Capitol

Tetyana Bychkovska, ’17M, stands in front of the United States Capitol

Editor’s Note: The Happy Beginnings series features recent College of Arts & Sciences graduates who are getting started in careers, graduate school and service.

By Mary Vandeman
Linguistics Department

As a part of a summer exchange program, Ukrainian college sophomore Tetyana Bychkovska ’17M visited the United States for the first time. During her three-month stay, she fell in love with American culture and knew this was where she wanted to complete her master’s degree in linguistics.

Bychkovska, doubted the possibility of making this dream a reality, but in Fall 2015 she found herself admitted to the OHIO M.A. in Applied Linguistics M.A. program and working with the English Language Improvement Program.

Now she is a Writing Center English as a Second Language (ESL) Specialist at George Mason University in Virginia.

Experience as Teaching Assistant

Working as a Teaching Assistant for ELIP was instrumental for Bychkovska, whose assistantship went far beyond teaching multilingual writers in ELIP course ENG D160: Fundamental English Usage Skills. She had the opportunity to deliver 13 conference presentations, work with Linguistics professors on research projects, and even publish a research article with her adviser, Dr. Joseph Lee.

“When I think about the most memorable times with ELIP, I always think of my collaboration with ELIP faculty members. I had a chance to work with almost every one of them,” Bychkovska says. “Be it a research project, teaching observation, writing lab coordination, course improvement, or online course development, every time I was admiring how devoted and passionate these people are about the work they do and about ensuring their students’ success. And, you know, this attitude is contagious!”

“I really appreciate the education and support I received from Ohio University,” says Bychkovska. “Working with ELIP and studying in the Linguistics Department, I got to interact with so many different types of students, learn about a variety of cultures, develop a deeper understanding of academic writing as a researcher and teacher, and enjoy so much that beautiful Athens has to offer.”

Bychkovska presented at 13 conferences while studying and working with ELIP and the Linguistics Department

Bychkovska presented at 13 conferences while studying and working with ELIP and the Linguistics Department

Not only did her experience with ELIP prove to be invaluable to Bychkovska’s success during her studies at OHIO, but is also directly related to the position she now holds at George Mason University in Virginia.

A typical day for Bychkovska at George Mason University includes anything from tutoring multilingual writers to delivering workshops and training other tutors – all things that had become second nature to Bychkovska while working as Assistant Coordinator in the ELIP Undergraduate Writing Lab in Gordy Hall.

“Training tutors to work with multilingual writers makes me go back to my notes from almost every course I took during my M.A. studies: second language acquisition, language assessment, phonetics, syntax, semantics and pragmatics, English for specific purposes … you name it! Tutors who have limited prior experience with multilingual writers find this information useful and fascinating,” Bychkovska says.

Bychkovska misses her “second home” since graduating in Spring 2017

Bychkovska misses her “second home” since graduating in Spring 2017

ELIP Director Dr. Dawn Bikowski isn’t surprised about Bychkovska’s success.

“She was a strong student, critical thinker, and effective communicator from the minute she arrived on campus. She really contributed to the courses she taught—we’re still using many of the creative ideas she brought to her classes. Tetyana left a legacy behind here at OHIO and we miss her,” Bikowski says.

Lee agrees, adding that he “couldn’t have asked for a more dedicated, responsible, and thoughtful student. I’m extremely proud of who Tanya has become as both an educator and scholar, and I have every confidence that she’ll have a prosperous and productive career.”

Bychkovska sees the importance and application of her skills and knowledge acquired during her master’s studies at OHIO and is determined to continue her education by pursuing a PhD in Applied Linguistics. For now, she is just excited when she gets to keep in contact with her “OHIO Linguistics family.” She can’t wait to see everyone: “I look forward to going to conferences to be able to meet my friends from ELIP and OHIOU Linguistics!”

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