Dr. Christy Lao
Dr. Christy Lao is an Associate Professor of Education, Founding Director of the Confucius Institute at SFSU and Principal Investigator and Director of several major federal funded projects. As the founding director of CI at SFSU, Dr. Lao initiated, negotiated, and established the first CI on the West Coast in 2005. Under her direction, CI-SFSU provides programs and services including Chinese teacher training, Chinese curriculum development, Chinese language learning as well as a clearinghouse of Chinese language and cultural materials. Dr. Lao has also directed and taught in the Chinese Bilingual Authorization Program at SFSU.
Previously, she was a faculty member of the Bilingual/Bicultural Program of Teachers College, Columbia University and at Hong Kong Baptist University. For the past 20 years, she has worked with Chinese dual language programs in San Francisco, New York City, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and China. Dr. Lao has provided professional development in teaching Chinese as a Second Language in the U.S. and in many parts of the world.
Dr. Lao's scholarly specialization is in second language acquisition, bilingual education, and teacher education. Her most recent book is “Comprehensible and Compelling: The Causes and Effects of Free Voluntary Reading”, coauthored with Stephen Krashen and Syying Lee. Dr. Lao is a featured presenter at the National Association of Bilingual Education and at the California Association of Bilingual Education.
Dr. Stephen Krashen
Professor Emeritus at University of Southern California
Dr. Stephen Krashen is best known for his work in establishing a general theory of second language acquisition, co-founder of the Natural Approach, and the inventor of sheltered subject matter teaching.
A highly influential and prolific author, linguist, and researcher, Stephen Krashen has published over 550 and more than a dozen scholarly books the fields of literacy, language acquisition, neurolinguistics, and bilingual education and is the most cited scholar in language education (well over 100,000 citations) according to Google Scholar Citations. His books include The Power of Reading, Three Arguments against Whole Language and Why They are Wrong, And Foreign Language Education: The Easy Way, and Condemned Without a Trial: Bogus Arguments Against Bilingual Education. His most recent book is “Comprehensible and Compelling: The Causes and Effects of Free Voluntary Reading”, coauthored with Syying Lee and Christy Lao.
A global advocate of libraries and the importance of the role of reading in language acquisition, his publications have received numerous awards, including the Mildenberger Award (Modern Language Association), the Pimsleur Award (American Council of Foreign Language Teaching), the Ramon Santiago award (National Association of Bilingual Education) in 2022. In 2005, Dr. Krashen was added to the International Reading Association’s Reading Hall of Fame. He is the 1977 Incline Bench Press Champion of Venice Beach and currently trains at Gold's Gym in Venice, California.
Program Curriculum Developer
Eunice studied English and Fine Arts at the Chinese University of Hong Kong and holds master’s degrees in Communication and Media, Computing (Computer Science) and Information Studies (Librarianship).
Eunice worked for more than 4 years at television stations, where she was a producer for children’s programs. She was also the winner of the New York Festivals TV & Film Award for a children’s program entitled Just When You Thought You Knew Everything which she produced.
Prior to her relocation to the United States, Sin Yi worked at the University of Hong Kong (HKU) as Research and Data Services Librarian.
Eunice is now teaching at Alice Fong Yu Alternative School within a Bilingual Cantonese 6th and 7th Grade Classroom. She was also employed with the San Mateo-Foster City School District as a middle school para educator within a Mandarin language program at Bayside Academy.
Graduated from San Francisco State University, Selena holds bachelor degree in Hospitality Administration.
Worked as a program coordinator, she assisted Dr. Christy Lao to manage the previous STARTALK student program (SF-CLASS) and STARTALK teacher program (San Francisco Institute For Innovative Teaching of Chinese) at SFSU from 2009 to 2011.
She has education background and working experiences in China and Canada.
Book Club Lead
Alistair is a British national who learned Mandarin Chinese from his time teaching at an International Baccalaureate (IB) school in Shanghai, China.
He is currently studying for his Masters in Curriculum and Instruction at San Francisco State University, where he took the bilingual Mandarin Education track with Dr. Christy Lao and completed his teaching credential using Mandarin Chinese.
Book Club Lead
Born in China, Sharon immigrated to the United States after she finished elementary school. She is a native speaker of both Mandarin and Cantonese.
She holds bachelor degree in liberal studies with Teacher Emphasis at San Francisco State University (SFSU). Currently, she is working to achieve the teaching credential from SFSU, and also teaching in Chinese Immersion School (CIS) at DeAvila Elementary School in San Francisco.
Jessie graduated from Boston University with a bachelor’s degree in Public Relations.
Miguel Francesco Carrion
Miguel is a current Photojournalism student at San Francisco State University. His work has been published by the Philippine Daily Inquirer, a leading Philippine-based news publication and BBC News. He has also had experience as an assistant cameraman, writer, editor, and on-camera talent, and has helped cover stories that range from lifestyle and events, to protests and politics.
Featured Guest Speakers
Professor of Chinese San Francisco State University
Charles Egan (B.A., Yale; Ph.D., Princeton) is professor of Chinese in the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures and has also served as director of the SF State Chinese Flagship Program since its founding in 2009.
He has published extensively on the evolution of Chinese classical poetic genres and is a frequent translator. His book, Clouds Thick, Whereabouts Unknown: Poems by Zen Monks of China (Columbia University Press), was awarded the 2011 Lucien Stryk Prize in Asian Translation by the American Literary Translators Association. Currently he is preparing a new anthology of inscriptions and poetry from or about the Angel Island Immigration Station in San Francisco Bay.
Chinese Children's Literature Researcher
Graduated from Zhejiang Normal University, Zhiyuan Hu (胡志遠) holds bachelor's degree in Chinese language and literature, and master's degree from Hebei University with a major in education.
Department Head of Yew Chung International School
(Hong Kong SAR)
With 15 years as an educator in teaching Chinese as a second language, Ziv is familiar with many education systems. From GCSE, IGCSE, GCE AS/A Level, IB, and even the HKCEE. Under his leadership and direction as a department head in YCIS(HK), he and his team have devoted themselves to developing the necessary curriculum and implementing effective pedagogies at work. Outside of his professional career, he has obtained his doctoral degree from The University of Hong Kong. His research centered on the link between music and language acquisition and how he could utilize this to aid students in acquiring specific Chinese grammar points.
Head of Presidio Knolls School
Christopher M. Livaccari is the Head of Presidio Knolls School, and an educator, author, and former US diplomat who served in Tokyo and Shanghai as a Vice Consul, Deputy Press Attaché, and as Deputy Director of the Tokyo American Center. He was previously the Senior Advisor for China Learning Initiatives in Asia Society’s Center for Global Education in New York, the Chinese Program Director at Silicon Valley International School in Palo Alto, and a member of the board of trustees of Chinese American International School in San Francisco.
Chris is the author of New Ways of Seeing: How Multilingualism Opens Our Eyes and Trains Our Minds for a Complex World, and co-author of Structures of Mandarin Chinese for Speakers of English I & II, Chinese Language Learning in the Early Grades, and the Chinese for Tomorrow series, among many essays and articles on language, education, and culture. He has been a featured speaker at the Aspen Ideas Festival, has spoken on Chinese language education at the British Museum in London, and was the recipient of the U.S. State Department’s Meritorious Honor Award, citing outstanding speeches written for two U.S. ambassadors to Japan.
As a Foreign Service Officer, Chris supported visits to Asia by two U.S. presidents, two secretaries of state, and multiple congressional delegations. As Director of Education and Chinese Language Initiatives at Asia Society, he created a partnership and exchange network of more than 200 schools across 23 U.S. states and 28 provinces in China that included almost 100,000 students.
He studied modern Chinese, Japanese, Korean, & Russian literature at Columbia University; Classical Chinese, Japanese, Korean, & Sanskrit literature at the University of Chicago; and applied linguistics at New York University.
Assistant Dean University of Hong Kong
(Hong Kong SAR)
Elizabeth Ka-yee LOH is Assistant Professor, Assistant Dean (Knowledge Exchange) and Programme Director (Double Degree Programmes) at Faculty of Education, The University of Hong Kong (HKU). Her research interests include Chinese as second/foreign language education, IT-assisted language learning, teacher education, instructional design and practices, and learning motivation.
San Francisco Unified School District Teacher
Joanna Szeto has been teaching in the San Francisco Unified School District for 20 years. She has taught newcomer students for 14 years and now teaches a Cantonese bilingual class.
She is a National Board certified teacher in English as a New Language. She also writes her own Chinese books to use in the classroom.
Founder & President of California University-Silicon Valley
Philip Yang, General Master of China Yuan Gong (one of the medical qigong lineages ); founder of California University-Silicon Valley (CUSV)(used to be Nine Star University of Health Sciences) ; General Director of Overseas Chinese Worship Ceremony 2015-2018, Doctor of Oriental Medicine (OMD), Licensed Acupuncturist. (L.Ac).
Award-winning Journalist with USA TODAY
Elizabeth Weise, author of "A Parent's Guide to Mandarin Immersion", is a mother of two daughters who attend Mandarin immersion schools in San Francisco.
She was on the committee that helped start a Mandarin immersion program in the San Francisco Unified School District in 2005.
She was a founding member of the Mandarin Immersion Parents Council and spent three years on the board of the non-profit it became, the Jinshan Mandarin Education Council. The organization supports Mandarin immersion in San Francisco's public schools.
Weise writes the Mandarin Immersion Parents Council blog at http://miparentscouncil.org.
In her day job, she is an award-winning journalist with USA TODAY covering computer security and Silicon Valley out of the paper's San Francisco bureau.
Renowned Chinese Children’s Literature Author
Yimei Wang (王一梅）, Renowned Children’s literature author, Vice President of Suzhou Writer’s Association, Director of Children’s Literature Institute, Suzhou Vocational University; published more than 50 books; won National Outstanding Children’s Literature Award and the National Book Award.
Director of Cinematographer and Film Professor
Weimin Zhang, a track record award winning filmmaker and professional cinematographer. She is one of the China’s Sixth Generation filmmakers graduated from Beijing Film Academy in Cinematography.
Weimin Zhang has been working on numerous award winning feature films, documentary films, TV drama series in both China and the U.S for over 15 years. The award winning feature films that she worked as director of photographer include: Grandfather Ge, The Homebound Crane and CEO; The TV drama series that she worked as DP including The Opium War and The Legends of 100 Year Old of Chinese Business. Nushu – The Secret Writing of Women in China won the best documentary film at 8th Torino International Women’s Film Festival, Italy in 1999. Her feature documentary film, The House of Spirit won numerous awards in international film festivals. In 2007, The Library of Congress (Asian Division) acquisitioned her interactive multimedia DVD-Rom, “Nushu – The Women’s Secret Writing” for permanent preservation in its collection as a scholarly research project. In 2008, she worked in 2008 Official Olympic documentary feature film, Everlasting Flame: 2008 Beijing Olympic as the U.S. unit director and cinematography, she is now working on her own feature documentary The Last Days of Beijing Hutongs.
Since 2005, she starting teaching film production at Cinema department, Sang Francisco State University. The courses that she has taught are: Cinematography and Lighting; Film Production Workshop; Digital Cinematography; Chinese Documentary Film; Documentary and Social Justice; Visual Anthropology; International Documentary Workshop.