CASLS Staff Directory
Julie Sykes, Director
Julie Sykes earned her Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota. She is the Director of CASLS and an Associate Professor in the Department of Linguistics. Her research focuses on applied linguistics and second language acquisition with an emphasis on technological and pedagogical innovation for interlanguage pragmatic development and intercultural competence. She has taught courses on second language teaching and learning, methodology and research, language learning and technology, Hispanic linguistics, and interlanguage pragmatic development.
Julie’s experience includes the design, implementation, and evaluation of online immersive spaces and the creation of place-based, augmented-reality mobile games to engage language learners in a variety of non-institutional contexts. She has published various articles on computer-assisted language learning (CALL)-related topics, including synchronous computer-mediated communication and pragmatic development, gaming and CALL, and lexical acquisition in digitally mediated environments. Julie is the recipient of the 2018 University of Oregon Research Award for Impact and Innovation.
Ryan Chang, Information Technology Consultant
Ryan Chang serves as CASLS’s IT Consultant. Prior to joining CASLS in February 2020, he was a full-stack programmer for the Oregon Career Information System at the University of Oregon. Ryan has extensive knowledge of software development and systems administration, which he uses to support CASLS’s projects and services.
In 2015, Ryan was the principal developer for the National Science Foundation Grant “Does Active Learning Build Grit?” at California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo. For the project, he led the development of Android and iOS apps, as well as the backend systems.
Ryan earned his B.S. in software engineering from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo. When not at his computer, he enjoys walks around campus and cheering for the Oregon Ducks.
Christopher Daradics, Development and Learning Strategist
Christopher Daradics earned an M.A. in philosophy and the history of Western thought from St. John’s College and an M.A. in applied linguistics from the University of Oregon. His work centers on the ecological basis of meaning making with a specific emphasis on the social and metacognitive benefits of functional language learning in mixed- and extended-reality contexts. He has presented and written on developing strategic language competence through mindfulness training, on designing mixed-reality experiences for social benefit, and on labor market development in the language-technology sector.
At CASLS, Christopher leads international teams in various capacities, including technology integration, design research, and project development. His work currently focuses on immersive experiences that foster innovation and public-private partnerships focused on organizational, community, and social development. Outside of his work at CASLS, Christopher manages the Resonance Building, a community focused healing and arts center in downtown Eugene.
Stephanie Knight, Assistant Director
Stephanie Knight holds an M.A. in Latin American Studies from the University of New Mexico. Her research and development of pedagogical interventions focuses on constructivist approaches to language acquisition and the intentional incorporation of digital and mixed-reality tools in learning experiences. She has taught all levels of Spanish to grades 5-16 and language methodology courses. Before working at CASLS, Stephanie served as the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme Coordinator at a public high school in Tennessee.
Stephanie has designed and implemented mixed-reality communication and language learning experiences for educational and professional contexts. She has published on digital gameplay and mobile applications for language learning and on learning portfolios. She has also presented nationally and internationally on best practices for planning, instruction, professional collaboration, and the intentional incorporation of digital tools in the world language classroom. One of her ultimate goals is the long-term retention of learners in language coursework.
Tigre Lusardi, Curriculum Specialist
Tigre Lusardi joined the CASLS team in November 2021. He holds an M.A. in Language Teaching Studies from the University of Oregon and a B.A. in Music and Italian Language and Literature from Smith College. His M.A. research focused on strategies and materials for incorporating awareness and use of pragmatic functions, meta-pragmatic information and reflective practices into novice-level ESL coursework. He is passionate about developing pedagogical approaches that help language learners to grow their own voice and sense of self in their L2(s), such that they can both advocate for themselves and build meaningful connections to others all while using the target language.
At CASLS, Tigre develops curricular elements for a wide variety of projects, including CASLS’ mixed-reality experiences as well as the weekly InterCom e-newsletter. He has also worked on developing materials for the digital-mediated language learning sections of UO’s Language Teaching Studies program curriculum and has provided training and support for teachers or groups who are using CASLS-developed materials. Outside of work, Tigre puts his previous career as a vegetable farmer to good use tending a large vegetable and flower garden, listens to lots of opera, and hikes the hills around Eugene with his dogs.
Li-Hsien Yang, East Asia Programs Director
Li-Hsien Yang earned a M.A. in language teaching specialization, a M.S. in educational technology and virtual schools, and a M.Ed. in K-12 licensure with endorsements in Mandarin Chinese, Japanese, and ESOL from the University of Oregon. She has been part of the CASLS team since 2010, when she worked as a graduate student for the Chinese Flagship Program. Li-Hsien has extensive experience in supporting the teaching and learning of Less Commonly Taught Languages. She was the co-director for Swahili StarTalk Program, Chinese Flagship Coordinator, and has taught various secondary courses in area public schools for learners of Chinese (both heritage and L2).
Li-Hsien now leads the Oregon International Internship Program and the Oregon Experience Program, a program that provides learning experiences for students studying abroad in the U.S. from institutions in mainland China, Japan, and Taiwan. Li-Hsien is primarily interested in building, maintaining and coordinating mutually beneficial relationships with overseas partners and departments on campus. All of her international students’ customized programs involve internship opportunities at local school districts and development in place-based learning approaches. Li-Hsien provides additional supports to local school districts by mentoring teachers.