Meet our Staff

Silvina Montrul

Director
Silvina founded the University Language Academy in 2010. She is professor of Spanish, Linguistics and Second Language Acquisition and head of the Department of Spanish and Portuguese at the University of Illinois. She was born, raised, and educated in Mar del Plata, Argentina, where she obtained degrees in teaching English as a foreign language and began her career teaching English to children. She holds a PhD in Linguistics and has been at the University of Illinois since 1999. She is the author of four books on the acquisition of Spanish and on bilingualism, and she is the mother of two bilingual children. Full profile

Arianna Traill

Director of Classics Summer Camps
Ariana Traill (BA Toronto, PhD Harvard) is an Associate Professor and Head of the Department of Classics. She advises future Latin teachers in the Foreign Language Teacher Education Program. Her professional experience includes teaching Latin, Greek and Classical Civilization at the University of Colorado and the University of Illinois, where she has been a faculty member since 2003. Her first teaching experience was in Latin, French and Music at a Canadian high school.

Christina De Angelo

Teacher
Christina was born and raised in Hamtramck, MI and began her Spanish studies at the age of 6. As a child she was introduced to the Spanish language in various language immersion programs and traditional second-language classrooms. At 16 she began teaching in Spanish immersion summer program for K-12 children. She completed her BA in Spanish at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. During her undergraduate studies, she lived in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Christina holds a Masters degree in Spanish Linguistics from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She has been teaching at the University Language Academy since 2011, in our three programs, which include our academic after school program, summer camps, and the University Primary School collaborative classes in K-5 grade classrooms.


Severina Cox

Teacher
Severina is a native speaker of Spanish from the Dominican Republic where she was born and raised. She has been working with pre-K-5 children for the last 6 years. She has an ESL Certificate and worked in the Arcola School District as an ESL teacher assistant for three years until 2012, when she joined the team at the University Language Academy. In the last four years, Severina has taught in our after-school academic program, our summer camps, and at the University Primary School collaborative classes in K-5 grade classrooms. Severina loves working with children and is a highly dedicated and creative teacher who always brings fresh and engaging ideas to our curriculum. Severina is currently working on her ACTFL OPI certification.

César Chávez

Teacher
César was born in Chicago, Illinois but was raised in Mexico since he was three months old. Cesar grew up speaking Spanish returned to live in the United States with his family when he was eight years old. César recently completed his BA in the Teaching of Spanish from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He has worked with the Language Academy as a summer camp volunteer and as a Spanish Teaching Assistant for K-5 grade students, and as serving as our summer camp head teacher. César is a Spanish teacher at Central High School in Champaign.

Begoña Arechabaleta Regulez

Teacher
Begoña Arechabaleta Regulez was born and raised in Bilbao, Spain, a city located in the Basque Country region of Spain. She holds a BA in Modern Languages from Universidad de Deusto and an MA in Spanish from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She is currently a doctoral student in Spanish second language acquisition. Begoña has extensive experience teaching young bilingual children in Spain and she teaches undergraduate Spanish classes at U of I. She has been teaching for the University Language Academy since 2013.

photo of María Elena Gutiérrez

María Elena Gutiérrez

Teacher
María Elena Gutiérrez was born in Evanston, Illinois, but was raised in Texas. She grew up speaking Spanish with her father and his family, who are from Madrid, Spain. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in Spanish and a Bachelor of Science in Applied Learning and Development from the University of Texas at Austin. María Elena also has an early childhood through 6th grade teaching certification in Spanish/English bilingual education. Before teaching at the University Language Academy, she taught a bilingual preschool class in Austin, TX, and is now a masters student in Spanish linguistics.