August 6, 2014


Giovanna Alessio, Center Director

Giovanna taught English and German in Mexico and in California for five years before joining the INTERLINK teaching staff. Having grown up in the San Francisco Bay Area, she counts herself as a California native but relocated to Greensboro to teach English at INTERLINK in 2013. She holds a B.A. in German Studies from the University of California Santa Cruz and a Masters in TESOL from the School for International Training in Brattleboro, Vermont.

Katheryn van Laar, Academic Coordinator 

Katheryn grew up in a very multicultural family in Canada and the U.S. Her love of cultures led her to study language acquisition. She attended the University of Ottawa, completing a B.A. in Second Language Teaching and M.Ed. in Second Language Education. Katheryn taught in Canada at the University of Ottawa, in Georgia at a local library, and in China at Shantou University. She has been at INTERLINK since 2014 and hopes to continue working with the great students here. She loves learning about new cultures and people and hopes to continue her education in that field.  Email:

Gloria Darby, Administrative Assistant 

Born and raised in Greensboro, NC, Gloria recently married and is the mother of two grown kids. After graduating from Dudley High School in 1974, she decided to join the United States Army, where she served for ten years. Gloria was a cheerleading and dance coach for the military recreation center in San Antonio, Texas and decided that whatever she did in life would revolve around working with kids. She is an active member of her community and church and loves all sports, especially golf. Gloria came to INTERLINK with 25 years of administrative experience and is very excited to be part of the team.

Heaven-Pearce-UNCG Heaven Pearce, Student Activities Coordinator  

Heaven majored in International and Global Studies with a concentration in Asian-Studies. She has and continues to be involved with INTERLINK as a conversation partner. Through this experience she has learned a lot and became better prepared for her work in international relations. Heaven is a member of the Global Leadership Program on campus and has studied abroad in Japan. E-mail:

Ellen Baumgartner, Instructor

Ellen joined INTERLINK first as a part-time instructor in August, 2006 and then began full-time in January 2007. Ellen did her undergraduate work at Drew University in Madison, NJ, majoring in Behavioral Science and Education. She taught for a few years in elementary schools and pre-schools and then decided that she needed a change. Due to her love of traveling and wanting to take advantage of her Swiss citizenship, she went to Switzerland in order to improve her French and learn German. On the way, she discovered English-language teaching and earned her CELTA certificate from International House, London in 1993. She then began teaching for a private language school in the cities of Zug and Basel in Switzerland. In 2002, she returned to the States after 13 years of living abroad and pursued her M.Ed. with an ESL concentration at UNCG. While doing this, she also taught ESL to immigrants at GTCC.  She loves her students at INTERLINK because they teach her so much about their cultures and because they are so motivated to learn. Email:

Geoffrey Butler, Instructor

Geoffrey was born in Alexandria, Virginia and majored in Classical Studies at the University of Virginia. After receiving his BA, he began teaching with the Peace Corps in Kyrgyzstan in 2003. Since that time he has worked in Japan, Costa Rica, South Korea, and the USA. He holds an M.A. in TESOL from the SIT Graduate Institute. He has been teaching at INTERLINK since August of 2015. E-mail:
Lara Kurth, Instructor

Lara majored in English and Spanish at the University of California Santa Barbara. After teaching Spanish and English, she obtained a M.A. in TESOL from the SIT Graduate Institute. Since then she has taught English in Costa Rica, Japan, South Korea, and the USA. She has been teaching at INTERLINK since August of 2015.  Lara loves language learning and teaching. E-mail:
  Janice Wu, Instructor

Janice is from Charlotte, North Carolina and earned her Bachelor’s degree with a double minor in both Spanish and Chinese language and literature. She then completed her Master’s degree in TESOL and has found her place in adult language education. She taught ESL in Honolulu, Hawaii before joining the Interlink team in Fall 2018. She enjoys sharing her love of language and is eager to learn from her students as well. Email:

Abdoul Diop, Instructor 

Abdoul grew up in Senegal before coming to the United States as a Fulbright fellow. Abdoul loves studying languages and is fluent in French, Arabic, Wolof, and English. He also studied German and Spanish in Senegal. Abdoul did his education in French up to the university level and then he went to Ecole Normal Superieure de Dakar to be trained as a French and EFL teacher at the secondary school level. He then had a Fulbright scholarship to further his studies as a cultural ambassador at the University of Texas at Austin with a major in English literature and a minor in education. After his B.A, Abdoul earned his M.A in TESOL and Applied Linguistics at Indiana State University where he taught Arabic, ESL, French, and Wolof as a teaching assistant. Abdoul has been teaching at INTERLINK since October 2016.  E-mail:

  Nick P. Cooper, Instructor 

Nick P. Cooper just completed two years teaching in Singapore. He was raised in Libya and Indonesia and attended international schools. While earning his MA in TESOL from SIT Graduate Institute, he taught adult literacy to refugees in New Hampshire. With sixteen years classroom experience, he has taught in the Indian pueblos in the deserts of New Mexico, ESL high school students in the mountains of California, and children and adults in the metropolis of Jakarta.

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