Program Faculty & Staff
Lisa vonReichbauer

Lisa vonReichbauer
WMELI Department Head
LisavonReichbauer@ferris.edu
(231) 591-2838

Lisa vonReichbauer is the Chair for the WMiELI program at Ferris. Lisa earned her master’s degree in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) from Central Michigan University in 2002. Lisa taught English for 11 years at CMU before coming to Ferris in 2011. In addition to teaching classes in the IEP, Lisa coordinates the IEP curriculum, the MyPLACE Program, and the Study Abroad Miles Program to help international students improve their English language skills and share their cultures with native-English-speaking students on campus.

Louis Arokiasamy

Louis Arokiasamy
WMELI Academic Coordinator
LouisArokiasamy@ferris.edu
(231) 591-2450

As the Academic Coordinator of the West Michigan English Language Institute, Louis Arokiasamy’s oversight of the Intensive English Program includes the curriculum, teacher schedules, student level placement, testing, and the MyPLACE program. He is also the manager of the annual Lighthouse Summer Symposium for TESOL teachers. He was instrumental in getting the Symposium off the ground in 2013. Louis has two bachelor’s degrees from Union College, a liberal arts college in Lincoln, Nebraska—one in English and the other in Education. He graduated with a master’s degree in TESOL from Arizona State University. Louis started his teaching career teaching high school English to Native Americans in Northern Arizona in 1989. After several years of teaching high school English in various schools—both private and public—he transitioned to teaching ESL at the college level for Mesa Community College in in the Phoenix metro area. Prior to joining Ferris in 2012, he taught a variety of English classes at Lake Michigan Community College and Western Michigan University. Louis is passionate about vocabulary acquisition as it pertains to language development in second language learners. Besides teaching, he enjoys cooking, reading, movies, and gardening in his spare time.

Bijaya Acharya

Bijaya Acharya
Faculty
BijayaAcharya@ferris.edu
(231) 591-2838

Bijaya Acharya earned his bachelor’s and master’s degree in English literature from Tribhuvan University, Nepal. He also has second master’s degree in TESOL from Winona State University, Minnesota. Bijaya has more than a decade long teaching experience in EFL and ESL setting. He taught English (EAP) at Little Angels’ High School for five years, and composition courses at College of Business Management (CBM) for four years in Kathmandu, Nepal. Bijaya joined West Michigan English Language Institute (WMELI) at Ferris in 2011 where he teaches a variety of ESL classes from low beginning to high advanced including Writing, Reading, Listening & Speaking, Grammar, and Academic Bridge. Besides teaching, Bijaya’s research interest lies in using English literature in the language classroom. He has presented papers and given workshops on this content area at several conferences in Nepal and in the United States. Along with teaching at WMELI, Bijaya also serves in curriculum development, test administration and grading, and test prep-workshop committee. Besides Ferris, Bijaya has also been serving as a screening committee member for the Fulbright Scholarship Program of Institute of International Education (IIE) New York since 2013. Bijaya lives in Big Rapids, Michigan with his wife and son. He enjoys travelling around, watching movies, and meeting people from different walks of life.

Ghada Mahdi

Ghada Mahdi
Faculty
GhadaMahdi@ferris.edu
(231) 591-2450

Ghada has completed her doctoral degree in Educational Administration/Adult and Higher Education with a focus on language and culture learning from the University of South Dakota. She also has a BA Degree in English language & Literature and a Master degree in English Language & Linguistics from the University of Baghdad. Ghada brings bicultural insights to teaching, having served as a TESOL professor in Iraq and Arabic language in the United States. She has been a published scholar, published articles in many different journals, including the Adult Learning & International Journal of Arts & Sciences. She has also presented in many professional conferences in the US. Her research interests are in the fields of second language acquisition, intercultural communication, and teaching and learning strategies in ESL and adult and higher education. Ghada joined West Michigan English Institute in the fall of 2012. Since then, she has taught all the ESL skills and level areas and served on various committees, including professional & curriculum development, language placement testing, and CEA accreditation. Besides teaching, Ghada provides advising support to native speakers of Arabic as needed and translation services to the Office of International Education and Ferris community in general. During her free time, she enjoys cooking, watching soccer games, and traveling with her family.

Ambria Johnson

Ambria Johnson
Faculty
AmbriaJohnson@ferris.edu
(231) 591-2450

Ambria received her B.A. in Journalism with a minor in English from Northwest Christian University in Eugene, Oregon. After graduating, she earned a TESOL certificate from Oxford Seminars and taught EFL at a South Korean public elementary school. This experience led her to pursue a master's degree in TESOL at CMU. She graduated in 2013 with her M.A.TESOL degree and worked as an instructor in CMU’s English Language Institute for two years. She recently joined the faculty here at the West Michigan English Language Institute, and is looking forward to sharing and learning from her new students.

In her free time, Ambria enjoys traveling, biking, swimming, and downhill skiing. She has traveled to Asia, Southern Europe, South America, and the Caribbean, and she hopes to make it to all seven continents someday.

Nisha vanLaar

Nisha van Laar
Faculty
NishavanLaar@ferris.edu
(231) 591-2450

Nisha van Laar received her master’s degree in TESOL from the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana in 2009. She has a bachelor’s degree in Fine Arts with a minor in French from Mount Holyoke College. Prior to joining Ferris State, she taught in Chicago at Illinois Institute of Technology and Northeastern Illinois University. Her international teaching experience includes four years at an IEP in Izmir, Turkey, and a year at three elementary schools in France. Nisha is interested in professional development and is a certified teacher trainer through the SIT Graduate Institute. She has worked as a teacher training in an IEP and given month long intensive courses. She has been involved with working on two CEA accreditation projects, conducting classroom observations and dealing with teacher orientation programs. Her personal interests include traveling, cooking and yoga.