Skip to main content

Alumni Profiles

Heather Dunham

Heather Dunham participated In PROPEL and completed her Master’s of Education in English Language Learning.

"Collaborating with fellow teachers and Peabody professors has had such a great impact on my instruction. Learning the best ELL practices has given me valuable tools to help improve the lives of my students." 


Heather Dunham recently moved to Nashville in 2009 from Marietta, Georgia to attend Vanderbilt University for her undergraduate studies. She is currently working as a second grade ELL teacher and works as a member of the school’s Instructional Leadership Team. Working while participating in the ELL M. Ed program (Propel) has given Heather the ability to adapt lessons and strategies based on her findings in class on a day-to-day basis. Heather is interested in discovering the best service model to meet the needs of the large ELL population within her school. Heather identifies the challenges of meeting the needs of ELL students while abiding the laws and how the Vanderbilt program has helped support her to create the best model for instruction. During her time at Peabody, Heather utilized the library and professors who tailored her program to help fit her needs. “The best thing about Peabody and the ELL program is how knowledgeable the staff is and how willing they are to collaborate with teachers,” states Heather Dunham. Professor’s interest with research amplifies the quality of the courses at Peabody, giving professional students opportunities and support to implement new theories and strategies in the classroom. Heather is working towards becoming an ELL coach and recommends Peabody to those interested in English Language Learning. She writes, “If you have the opportunity to attend this college, I wouldn’t pass it up. There’s no other place I can imagine that will give you both the content and support you need to be successful.” 


Serena Guo

"Peabody College's outstanding educators and staff contributed greatly to my overall personal development as an effective ESL teacher.  I always felt welcomed and encouraged to do my best with their daily support and easy accessibility.

Serena Guo is originally from central China. She is currently working as a Mandarin Teacher at Rogers Park High School of UNO Charter School Networks in Chicago, IL. Her responsibilities include designing curriculum and lessons for high school Mandarin courses, monitoring students progress through assessments, and supporting twenty-one sophomore girls emotionally and socially during Advisory time. The school population is made up of 80% Hispanic Students, and over 30% of students are English Language Learners.         

The practicum and use of Peabody Career Services and courses targeted many aspects of ELL education, helping Serena achieve her goals in her current field. She hopes to one day teach Chinese at a college level. Her experience at Vanderbilt provided her with a strong understanding of assessment, curriculum, analysis of teaching, and language acquisition theory.