ELT Faculty and Staff


Program Director

Rhonda (2)

Rhonda Petree has been teaching ESL/EFL to learners of all levels since 1999. She has an MA in ESL from the University of Minnesota–Minneapolis and a BA in History and Political Science from the University of Wisconsin–Madison. She has studied a lot of Russian and German, and some Spanish and French. She has worked and lived in Australia, Switzerland, and Kazakhstan and has traveled throughout the South Pacific, Europe, and Central Asia. She is a frequent presenter at local, state, and international conferences. When not working, she likes to spend time outside with her family gardening, biking, playing frisbee, and cross-country skiing.

Rhonda Petree can be contacted at rhonda.petree@uwrf.edu.mail

Program Manager

Diane2Diane Jacobson has taught ESL in secondary schools in Wisconsin and North Carolina.  She has an MA in TESOL from the University of Wisconsin-River Falls and a BA in Spanish Education and TESOL from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire.  She has studied Spanish in Peru and Spain, taught English in Taiwan, and traveled in Oman, Fiji, and various European countries.  She lives in Red Wing, Minnesota, with her husband and two children.  Her favorite hobbies are downhill skiing in winter and berry picking in the summer.

Diane Jacobson can be contacted at diane.jacobson@uwrf.edumail.

Co-Curricular Coordinator

charlie2Charles Lavin has been teaching ESL/EFL since 2006.  He has taught English to children in Ecuador, teenagers in Chile, adults in Colombia, and military personnel in Saudi Arabia.  He has a BS in Finance and a BA in Business Administration from Florida State University and will soon graduate with an MA in TESOL from the University of Wisconsin-River Falls.  Additional travels and educational experiences have taken him to Taiwan, Mexico, Lebanon, Sri Lanka, and Vietnam.  He rides his bicycle extensively throughout St. Croix and Pierce Counties in Western Wisconsin.

Charles Lavin can be reached at charles.lavin@uwrf.edumail.

Summer English Language and Culture Programming Coordinator

conan2Conan Kmiecik has been teaching since 2005.  He began his teaching career as a certified middle school/high school Language Arts instructor before transitioning to higher education.  He possesses a dual M.A. in English – Language & Literature and TESOL from Winona State University, a Post-Baccalaureate Teaching Certification from Viterbo University, and a BA in English – Creative Writing from the University of Wisconsin–Madison,.  He has taught composition, literature, ESL, IEP, freshmen orientation, and WAGS courses.  In addition to his teaching experience, he is also an experienced program administrator and frequent conference presenter.  When he is not working, Conan enjoys spending time with his two sons.

Conan Kmiecik can be reached at conan.kmiecik@uwrf.edumail


Alex2Alex Hatheway is the liaison to the students from the Zhejiang International Studies University (ZISU) in addition to being an instructor in the ELT Program. Alex will soon graduate with an MA in TESOL from the University of Wisconsin-River Falls where he has previously been a grammar instructor in the ELT Program.  After earning his BA in History from the University of Minnesota-Morris, Alex spent four years between Taiwan and China where he taught English and studied Chinese. He enjoyed his experiences so much that he decided to teach English for his career. When he is not teaching English, Alex enjoys studying Chinese, listening to music, and reading science fiction. 

Alex Hatheway can be reached at alexander.hatheway@uwrf.edumail.


Amrit2Amrit Bidegaray has been teaching ESL since 1999.  She holds a M.A. in Teaching English as a Second Language, a M.S in Anatomy, and a B.S. in Biology. Before coming to the University of Wisconsin-River Falls, she taught ESL at the University of Minnesota and Rutgers University. She also lived and worked as an ESL teacher in Costa Rica for over 10 years. She has traveled to different countries in Central and South America, Europe and Asia. Amrit speaks Spanish and understands Punjabi. In her free time, she enjoys reading, cooking, biking, hiking, and spending time with her family. In the summer, she enjoys grilling and eating outside, and her favorite season is autumn because she loves to see the leaves changing color.

Amrit Bidegaray can be reached at amrit.bidegaray@uwrf.edumail.

Graduate Assistant

mary (2)Mary Zoubek was a grammar instructor in the ELT department last fall and is currently tutoring in the ESL center on campus.  She completed her BS in Political Science at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls and will be graduating next spring with an MA in TESOL with a K-12 ESL license.  Her first experience overseas was in 2008 when she participated in the Germany Study Tour and had the opportunity to visit England, Italy, Germany, and Austria.  She spent a year teaching English in South Korea and a year as a K-focused literacy tutor with the Minnesota Reading Corps.  Besides working and studying, Mary is passionate about fitness and hopes to run a half marathon in the near future.

Mary Zoubek can be reached at mary.zoubek@my.uwrf.edumail.

Graduate Assistant

Justin2Justin Otto has been teaching English since leaving his career in social work in 2008.  A 2006 graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire's social work program, he was inspired to travel by hearing the life stories of his elderly clients.  After working in Daejeon, South Korea for various employers (including Korea Baptist Theological University and Seminary) he returned to the States to pursue his Master's in TESOL at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls, which he hopes to complete this fall.  Justin's interests include social activism, creative writing, and abstract art. 

Justin Otto can be reached at justin.otto@my.uwrf.edumail.

Graduate Assistant

Emily TimblinEmily Timblin has been teaching or tutoring ESL since 2008. Her experience helping Hispanic adults learn English instilled in her a love for ESL and Spanish. While studying in Peru, she tutored at la Universidad de César Vallejo and taught at an elementary school. Emily graduated with a BA in humanities: cross-cultural studies from Maranatha Baptist Bible College in the spring of 2012 and then entered the MA TESOL and teacher licensure program at UW-River Falls that fall.  She taught English for Upward Bound and the Brazil Scientific Mobility Program at UWRF last summer. Currently, she works in ESL tutoring services. Emily enjoys traveling, playing volleyball, and being with family and friends.

Emily Timblin can be reached at emily.timblin@my.uwrf.edumail.


The ELT Program works with the Academic Success Center, which provides services for ESL students. ESL tutors are undergraduate and graduate UWRF students who assist with classwork and provide a comfortable location to practice English skills. 

University of Wisconsin-River Falls
410 S. 3rd Street, River Falls WI 54022 USA
Campus Information 715-425-3911