Listee Features — Language

Slavica Esnault-Pelterie


While she was living in Paris, Slavica Esnault-Pelterie met Evan Galebright, who was the U.S. ambassador in that city. He told her that he was looking for someone for American Express Bank, and that she was the perfect candidate for private banking because of the degrees she earned. She pursued a formal education at the University of Belgrade in Serbia, receiving a Bachelor of Arts in comparative literature in 1973. She then matriculated at Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut, where she attained a Master of Arts in economics, political science and law, with honors, in 1975. Ms. Esnault-Pelterie would like to continue to work in in private banking, and she has since opened new markets in Dubai, United Arab

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Working to support her four children, Virginia “Ginger” C. Opoczenski Whittington’s father immigrated to the United States from Poland in 1910 in order to avoid serving in the Russian Czar’s Army. Ironically, he became a citizen by volunteering as a member of the American Army Artillery and saw action in World War I. Her mother’s parents also immigrated from Poland in about 1900, before their marriage and her birth as the oldest child of nine in 1903 in Carnegie, Pennsylvania. Ms. Whittington was interested in teaching Spanish, which was her major, and it fit in with her children’s schedule with having summers off. Once she got into it, she learned to be an effective teacher and she could understand how

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Zema Jordan


Ever since she was young, Dr. Zema L. Jordan has loved English, writing and language. She was driven to help others find that same passion, and found education to be the perfect way to do so. She understood everything the teacher was talking about through writing notes to be sure she would remember what the teacher said. She always knew she wanted to teach, and thinks that sometimes your elementary teachers inspire you in some way. Although you’re only 5 or 6 years old, they leave an impression on you for life. The youngest of eight children, Dr. Jordan grew up in a private school that was a part of a college, and she was always on campus with students

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Leslie Grainger-Haynes


Traveling often with her mother, the owner of Taos Travel Agency, in her youth, Leslie Grainger-Haynes wanted to learn different languages so that she could speak to other people in their language. Today, she attributes much of her success as an adult to her education at Kent School for Girls for giving inspiring her. Ms. Grainger-Haynes served two decades as the president of International Transition Services in Denver from 1990 to 2010, previously serving in the same role at International Translation Services in Nashville, Tennessee, from 1980 to 1986. In addition to this tenure, Ms. Grainger-Haynes provided translation services to the entertainment industry, U.S. Tobacco and Nissan Manufacturing in Tennessee. Likewise, she provided translation and interpretive services for the entertainment

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Elisabeth Wilton


Adept in linguistics and psychology, Elisabeth S. Wilton, PhD, claims language is her first and greatest love because she likes words and why people speak the way they do. As president of her own company for 17 years, consulting at Wilton Associate, Inc. in McLean, Virginia, she worked with other contractors for the government. A couple of times Dr. Wilton contracted directly with the government. However, most of the time she was a sub-contractor to other contractors. She was doing training with the new employees that were hired. Prior to this role, Dr. Wilton began her career as a linguist, translating French, German, Spanish, and Romanian, for the U.S. government in Washington in 1959, remaining in this role for two

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Growing up on farmland in Kansas, Dr. Donna R. Vocate attended school in a small schoolhouse and always possessed an ardor for reading. Specifically interested in journalism and investigating word construction, her teacher would bring in whatever books she wanted and that opened her eyes to speech and language. As a full-time educator, she most recently served as a professor at Arkansas Tech University from 1990 until her official retirement in 2003. She began her professional career as an assistant professor at Eastern Montana College in 1980, remaining in this position for three years before transferring to the honors department of the University of Colorado, Boulder (UCB) from 1983 to 1990. She then joined Boston University as a full professor

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Elizabeth Buchanan


Raised in a family of educators, Dr. Elizabeth S. Buchanan took a trip to Canada at 16 years old that inspired her teach French because the language excited her. Since 1998, she has expressed her passion as an English as a second language (ESL) teacher at Tabernacle Elementary School in Asheboro, North Carolina. Prior to this role, she began her teaching career with Charleston County Schools in South Carolina in 1962, remaining within the district for six years. She then transferred to Wake County Schools in Raleigh, Virginia, from 1968 to 1972 and Fairfax County Schools in Reston, Virginia, from 1978 to 1998 before accepting a job instructing at Randolph Community College in Asheboro from 1999 to 2006. During this

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A Latin teacher for more than three decades, Joy K. King’s fascination with the language began in high school. Her mother signed her up for a college preparation program that required four years of Latin, and Dr. King ended up loving it. She even participated in a statewide Latin contest through which the top two senior students were awarded scholarships to colleges in Illinois. Dr. King ranked in the top two her sophomore and junior years of high school, but World War II halted the contest her senior year. She managed to persuade the donors to grant her a scholarship to Knox College anyway, and after adding three years of Greek to her repertoire, her good marks ensured it was

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When Louise Fay Despres was young, her mother began giving her French lessons and opened the door to a world of possibilities. Ms. Despres fell in love with the language almost instantaneously; she found it beautiful and compelling. She pursued the subject all through her childhood, from home to the classroom, and even then she wanted to know more. She proceeded to complete coursework at the American School of Music in Fontainebleau, France, and to earn a Bachelor of Arts in French from Connecticut College for Women (now Connecticut College), and a Master of Arts in French from Middlebury College in Paris, France. Another one of Ms. Despres’ passions was academia. Both her father and her aunt were teachers, and

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Outraged by the lack of empathy and care in the education of bilingual children, Linda B. Lewis White decided to take matters into her own hands. She became a certified bilingual and elementary teacher in the state of Texas with a Bachelor of Arts in home economics and a Master of Arts in social sciences from California State University, and jumped right into the field. Dr. Lewis White proceeded to serve as a bilingual teacher in the Arlington School District from 1977 to 1996 and then as a professor of reading at Eastern Michigan University. She continues to work in the latter to this day. Her responsibilities include teaching undergraduate students to become educators and teaching graduate students seeking a

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