Nhu Phong is a fourth-year Biochemistry major who has been volunteering with Project SPELL since Fall 2013. She is passionate about contributing to the UCLA community and its employees as a SPELL tutor. She likes coordinating and planning events for SPELL’s tutors and learners. Besides Project SPELL, Nhu enjoys volunteering in Santa Monica Medical Center’s emergency room, where she gets to observe and learn interesting procedures from various medical staff. She also likes to watch TV and cook.
Marissa Mayeda is a third year Psychobiology major and has been a part of Project SPELL for two years. Project SPELL has truly brought joy and new perspective to her college experience and life. She is confident that all of you will be inspired by your learners and impacted by the good you will spread in Project SPELL. She is so grateful for the contribution of your great energy and passion to our program. Thank you for your time and vision!
Ivonne is a second year Microbiology major. Having joined Project SPELL in Fall 2014, this program has already become a very meaningful experience
to her. Ivonne comes from a family of non-native English speakers and deeply understands the hardships of adults who have trouble communicating in English. Joining Project SPELL finally gave her the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of people who want to learn English. Ivonne’s motto is that if we as individuals have the ability to help others, then we should. She is so proud of all of the Project SPELL tutors who put so much effort into their work, and hopes that everyone comes to know that they do indeed make a difference in the lives of their learners. She is very excited to see what Project SPELL holds for her in the following two years of her college life.
Bell Chan – A 4th year Economics major and French minor from Malaysia whose passions lie in languages, Polaroids and literacy welfare, she updates and manages the social media pages for Project SPELL in collaboration with the UCLA Volunteer Center. Empowered by the impact and progress she has been making with her learners, she values immensely her experience as an ESL tutor with Project SPELL for the past 3 quarters. She spends her free time precariously attempting not to drink coffee while cafe hopping, reading bildungsroman literature and strumming her ukulele.
Natasha Schimka is a third year linguistics major with a computing specialization and a cognitive science minor. Although she only joined Project SPELL last fall, teaching and connecting with her learner has been a highlight of her experience at UCLA. In her free time, she loves skydiving with sharks and overthrowing local monarchies but mostly the simple things in life, like watching paint dry. She is also a writer of stories, a reader of fiction, a climber of trees, and a shameless nerd.
Izzy Villagomez is a third-year Sociology major and Disability Studies minor who has been volunteering with Project SPELL since Fall 2014. One of her passions is education, particularly inclusive education towards individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Besides Project SPELL, Izzy enjoys volunteering and helping out the community in any way possible. She is part of several organizations that focus on children, teaching, education and disability studies. For example, Izzy is an active member and director for Best Buddies which promotes friendships with individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities, Amigos de UCLA that focuses on educational enrichment with elementary and middle school children, and UniCamp which is UCLA’s largest student run charity organization that inspires nearly 1,200 children from low-income families to envision brighter futures by sending them off to an outdoor summer camp.
Arman Sharif – a first-year Human Biology major and Middle Eastern studies minor, has been involved with Project SPELL since his first quarter at UCLA. Born and raised in Northern New Jersey just outside of New York City, he hails from the east coast with much pride but appreciates the diversity in language and cultural background that Los Angeles, UCLA, and its enthusiastic employees have to offer. Arman speaks Spanish and Persian, with his Iranian-American heritage playing a large role in his identity. He is heavily involved with several other extracurricular activities at UCLA including his role as staff editor at the Daily Bruin and member of the Alumni Scholars Club, and ultimately wishes to practice law.