• Tiffany Choi, High School French Teacher

    "I believe that Luther gave me the skills to think critically about any topic and demonstrate my learning through writing."

Tiffany Choi '09

Impacting Communities through Language and Learning

As a student, Tiffany was highly involved in Luther’s campus activities. She was a part of Ultimate Frisbee, choirs, the A Beautiful Mess vocal ensemble, the annual Vagina Monologues play, and was president of the Performing Arts Committee.

But her impact went beyond school clubs and organizations. While a student, her interest in helping marginalized communities grew. She wrote feature articles for the Public Relations Office about Luther’s interaction with Postville after the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) raids in 2008. She also interned in the Refugee Resettlement Department of Lutheran Family Services in Minneapolis. Through this experience, she learned about the refugee resettlement process and helped several families ease their transition to the US.

Post-Graduation Experiences Draw on Undergraduate Research

After graduating, Tiffany traveled to France to teach English on a Fulbright scholarship, which she found to be a life-changing and affirming experience. She taught with six English teachers in a marginalized community outside of Paris. At a diversely populated school, Tiffany was able to co-organize a talent show with one of her English classes. “We ended up raising several hundred Euros, which we then donated to the victims of the Earthquake in Haiti,” she says. By the end of the school year, she says, “It affirmed my passion for teaching and I saw the positive effect of creating relationships with students and faculty.”

Tiffany taught at Lycee Evariste Galois, near Paris, which is located in a type of community that she had studied intensively for her senior Honors Project. She had focused on how the poetry of French rap lyrics functions to express unrest among immigrant minorities (rather than to threaten traditional French society). Music assisted the formation of a new Francophone cultural identity representing France’s growing multiculturalism. During her junior and senior years, Tiffany presented her research at four conferences and published her first paper.

Liberal Arts Immersion Fosters a Critical Lens

Tiffany now teaches at East High School in the heart of Denver, Colorado. “Studying French allowed me to perfect my French language skills and become more proficient, which makes me  a more effective language teacher,” Tiffany says. Learning French was not the only skill Tiffany gained at Luther. “I am highly analytical and critical, especially of the authorities that govern my school district and education policies. Teachers need to be advocates for their students and their careers. I would not be able to do this without my liberal arts training from college,” she says.

Feels She Was Prepared

“I believe that Luther gave me the skills to think critically about any topic and demonstrate my learning through writing. I was also given several opportunities to develop my public speaking and leadership skills,” Tiffany says. “Outside of that, Luther helped me cultivate an appreciation for wellness both physically and spiritually. Since I’ve been on my own, I’ve continued to maintain an active lifestyle and worship at an ELCA church in Denver.”

Pushing the Limits

“Anyone studying another language should know that a language major on its own is not enough to get you to where you want to go,” Tiffany says. “A career path, whether education, business, translation, government, or nonprofit is essential.” She recommends that students expand their time studying abroad to at least a year.

Advice for First-Year Students

Find a club or activity that you’re really passionate about and stick with it. This will create opportunities to make friends. But don’t try to do everything at once. You have four years!

—Tiffany Choi '09