Paul Aoki
Principal Investigator

Paul Aoki is a native of Seattle and is Director of the University of Washington Language Learning Center which works collaboratively with more than fifty language programs that are offered at the UW. His PhD is in theoretical linguistics and has been able to study a half-dozen languages from around the world including German, Japanese, French, and Russian. Before coming to work at the UW in 1988, he worked for the federal government on a variety of joint agency projects focused on language pedagogy, assessment, maintenance, and technology. Over the past 25 years at the UW, he has been Principal Investigator on over a dozen grants and contracts ranging from Bangla to Farsi to Russian totaling over $1.5M. He considers himself very fortunate to work with an exceptionally talented and collaborative team of experts for the third summer Startalk Russian programs for teachers and students at the UW.

Michele Aoki
Startalk Program Consultant on Integration and Innovation

Dr. Michele Anciaux Aoki, International Education Administrator for Seattle Public Schools, has a Ph.D. in Slavic Linguistics and taught Russian at the University of Washington for a number of years. For over 15 years she has been actively involved in the planning, implementing, and evaluating of K-12 Dual Language Immersion programs. From 2008 until 2014, she served as World Languages Program Supervisor at the Washington State Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction, where she provided world language support to 295 public school districts and professional development for world language teachers across the state. During that time she worked with the Professional Educator Standards Board on the implementation of new state tests for teachers to earn world language endorsements, and with the State Board of Education and Washington State School Directors Association on developing and implementing a model policy and procedure for Competency-Based Credits to award high school credits to students with demonstrated language proficiency. She also championed legislation for the Seal of Biliteracy. In 2011, Michele was the Program Director for the UW Russian STARTALK Teacher and Student Programs and in 2012, Program Director for the Teacher Program. Since 2013 she has served as a program consultant on integration and innovation.

Svetlana Abramova
2016 Teacher Program Director and Student Program Lead Instructor

A native speaker of Russian Svetlana Abramova received her Ph.D. in Russian Language and Methodology from the Moscow State Pedagogical University. She is an experienced teacher, who has taught Russian to both native and non-native Russian students in Russia and the USA. For more than ten years she has worked as a teacher with high school students specializing in physics and mathematics, which sets high requirements on students’ competence in wide range of social registers of Russian, including the academic style. Her teaching practice, as well as her research interests, are specifically oriented to learner-centered pedagogical techniques, such as research projects in Russian language, which are the main subject of her Ph.D. thesis and a monograph, published by the major Russian educational publishing house “Prosveshchenie”. Constantly interested in her professional development, she has been participating in many conferences, seminars, and trainings. In 2011, Svetlana had a unique opportunity of becoming a student in the STARTALK Teacher Program, “Preparing Russian Teachers for the 21st Century” at the University of Washington. This program gave her a chance to apply her teaching experience, as she successfully taught most of the STARTALK Student Program lessons related to STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math). In 2012, she was the Lead Instructor of the STARTALK Student Program, which she almost single-handedly redesigned to focus on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) and Russian culture.

Bridget Yaden

2016 Teacher Program Lead Instructor

Dr. Bridget Yaden, Associate Professor of Hispanic Studies and Director of the Language Resource Center at Pacific Lutheran University, has worked with the Seattle STARTALK grant for the past five years to offer PLU’s World Language Methods course to Chinese and Arabic teachers in the STARTALK Cohort for Alternative Route Certification. She regularly coaches and mentors pre-service teachers during the school year. In 2011, 2012, and 2015 she was the Lead Instructor for the UW Russian STARTALK Teacher Program. In 2013 and 2014, Dr. Yaden participated as a guest lecturer for the professional development activities for the Teacher Program. Although Dr. Yaden’s primary teaching language is Spanish, she has also studied Russian. Her PhD is in Linguistics from the University of Washington. She has been actively involved in professional organizations (WAFLT, ACTFL, IALLT, and others) and is passionate about teacher professional development.

Anatoliy Klots
2016 Student Program Director and Instructor

Anatoliy Klots holds a MA in Slavic Languages and Literatures from UW and is currently a doctoral student in the UW Slavic Department. He is a native speaker of Russian who was educated in Russia and the US. Anatoliy taught Russian language, literature, and culture courses at the UW, and helped to develop and implement digital text, audio, and video components into a learning management system (MOODLE) for Russian, Slavic, and Scandinavian language and literature courses at the UW. He has a broad experience with technology and is passionate about incorporating technology into language learning. He became a part of UW STARTALK in 2013 when he completed the STARTALK Teacher Program and taught technology in the STARTALK Student Program. In 2014, he developed and implemented a Russian History and Culture course for the STARTALK Student Program. He is excited to join STARTALK as a director in 2015.

Marina Zamarashkina
2016 Student Program Instructor

A native speaker of Russian, Marina Zamarashkina is a professional astronomer. She got her Ph.D. in Math/Physics from Saint-Petersburg State University (Russia), Department of Mathematics and Mechanics. For more than twenty years she has been working in one of the most famous astronomical institutions in Russia – Institute of Applied Astronomy (Saint-Petersburg). Her research is related to the problems of computational celestial mechanics. Her teaching interests are focused on STEM programs. She has extensive experience in public speaking and participation in a large number of scientific conferences. The list of her scientific articles consists of more than thirty items in Russian and English languages. She has considerable knowledge of Space Exploration, Space Flight, Satellite Dynamics and Planet Science. Moreover, she is a specialist in modern Math and programming. Her knowledge and experience are a great addition to the STARTALK Student Program. In 2013, Marina completed the STARTALK Teacher Program and taught daily in the STARTALK Student Program. Her knowledge and experience are a great addition to the STARTALK Student Program.

University of Washington Language Learning Center Seattle, WA 98195-4340    Phone:(206) 543-0536     Email: