Alexa Jeffress

Virtual Learning Liaison

Alexa Jeffress is a doctoral candidate in her fifth year of studies in the department of Spanish, Italian & Portuguese at the University of Virginia. She completed her bachelor’s (2015) and master’s (2017) degrees in Spanish at the University of Virginia as well. Alexa taught a variety of Spanish courses at UVA, including Span 2010 (Intermediate Spanish), Span 2020 (Advanced Intermediate Spanish), Span 3010 (Grammar and Composition), Span 4040 (Translation from Spanish to English). In addition to teaching responsibilities, Alexa participates in programs through the university's Center for Teaching Excellence. She is a participant in their program called Tomorrow's Professors Today, and also served as a Graduate Student Liaison for the 2018-2019 academic year. Her research interests include 20th-Century Spanish literature and film, with a particular focus on works that depict Barcelona. Alexa is also interested in translation studies, ecocriticism, pedagogy and technology in the classroom.

Hannah Sturtevant, PhD

Instructional Designer

Dr. Hannah Sturtevant has experience in college teaching, international student support, mixed methods evaluation, and research on evidence-based instructional practices. A native of Washington State, she gained a B.S. in chemistry at Western Washington University (2011), earned her PhD in chemistry with emphasis in chemical education at Purdue University (2016), and completed a postdoc at the University of Virginia's Center for Teaching Excellence (2019). She has taught Teaching Methods in Higher Education courses for undergraduate and graduate TAs in biology, chemistry, physics, astronomy, and engineering at the University of Virginia and currently teaches general chemistry at Ohio Northern University as a Visiting Assistant Professor. Her research interests include 1) effects of teaching methods courses on TAs and their students 2) faculty barriers to using evidence-based instructional practices, and 3) metacognitive training and inclusive teaching methods for student success. 

Inara Laganovska

Program Manager

Inara Laganovska earned her M.A. in European and Russian Studies from Carleton University and another M.A. in Public Administration from University of Latvia, where she also obtained her B.A. in Business Administration. Inara has a long-lasting interest in human rights and education. Inara’s prior employers include Human Rights Watch and Yale University. She has experience researching and writing on human rights issues, designing and teaching a course about European Union to Canadian high school students, as well as teaching Russian. Inara possesses strong organizational skills and has served as a liaison between offices located in different countries. All strong assets for Gazelle International’s work with higher education institutions around the world. Inara is fluent in English, Russian and Latvian, and also has a basic knowledge of French.

Karen deFur-Maxwell, Ed.D., MA

Curriculum Consultant

Karen deFur-Maxwell, Ed.D., MA, teaches in the Graduate School of Education at Quinnipiac University.  Her career has included that of Curriculum Supervisor of World Languages for New Haven Public Schools, 25 years as a schoolteacher, public speaking engagements, conference presenter and a Board of Education elected position.  Karen advises in areas of curriculum development and teaching methods.  She was awarded the honor of Chevalier des Palmes Académiques by the French Embassy in 2013 for her role in the development of the first public school French immersion program in Connecticut.

Joseph Wei 

Data Analyst 

Joe Wei is a doctoral candidate in English at the University of Virginia. His research interests include contemporary American poetry and critical refugee studies, with an emphasis on Asian American literary and cultural studies. Joe is also interested in: American studies, critical race theory, psychoanalysis, critical theory, immigration history, and pedagogy. At UVA, he has taught writing and literature courses, including courses on Asian American poetry and Literature of the South. Before starting his doctoral program, Joe worked for an investment management firm in data analytics and reporting.

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