Jeff Mcllvenna, Associate Director of Academics at the English Language Institute at Pace University, was recently selected as an Alumni Ambassador for the U.S. Department of State English Language Fellow Program. Mcllvenna was an English Language Fellow in Paraguay from 2016 to 2018, and was chosen for this prestigious role based on his distinguished service in the TESOL field as a Fellow and back home in his local community.
While in Paraguay as a Fellow, Mcllvenna’s work was centered on teacher training for English language education. He taught undergraduate-level teacher training courses for students at the Instituto Superior de Educación in the capital city, Asunción. In addition, Mcllvenna was awarded a grant to conduct teacher training across rural Paraguay with populations with limited TESOL professional development opportunities. In conjunction with the U.S. Embassy, Mcllvenna also helped to revive Paraguay’s national TESOL organization by planning and hosting two annual TESOL conferences for teachers across the country.
Mcllvenna’s work as a Fellow in Paraguay gave him the experience needed to further his career in TESOL upon returning to the United States. “My fellowship gave me teacher training experience, which is obviously valued in the field, but it also gave me a lot of small project management experience within a context that is important to potential employers in the U.S.,” Mcllvenna explained.
While Mcllvenna had prior experience teaching overseas before becoming a Fellow, the English Language Fellow Program offered him a unique platform for professional development and learning. “Going to a new country and living in a new culture didn’t seem like it would be that different from my past experience overseas, but being a Fellow gives you experience in places that don’t usually have a lot of expat professionals, particularly teachers,” he noted. “It was a very different kind of environment, and it has changed the way I look at situations both in a professional way and in life matters.”
Today, Mcllvenna continues to share the impact of his fellowship and work in Paraguay across TESOL communities as an Alumni Ambassador and at Pace University. Follow English Language Programs on Instagram to see stories of his day-to-day impact this month.
Jeff Mcllvenna was an English Language Fellow in Paraguay from 2016 to 2018, and an English Language Specialist in Angola in 2018. He has 15 years of experience in the TESOL field, including teaching and teacher training in the Middle East, Eastern Europe, Africa, South America, and the U.S. Mcllvenna is currently the Associate Director of Academics at the English Language Institute at Pace University in New York, NY.