Faculty Profile: Tatiana Nekrasova-Beker

Dr. Tatiana Nekrasova-Beker is currently teaching graduate courses in the TEFL/TESL program and working with INTO-CSU to help support students in the Pathway program. Tatiana received both her M.A. and Ph.D. in Applied Linguistics from Georgia State University and Northern Arizona University, respectively. Her research interests include usage-based approaches to L2 acquisition, the role of formulaic language in fluency and syntactic development, interactionist approaches to SLA, project-based methods in L2 instruction, and corpus-based analyses of ESP texts. When she is not working, Tatiana likes to travel (AKA attend conferences), go hiking with her husband Tony and their son Mikhael, and do yoga.

How would you describe your work in the English Department?
Very satisfying. I love being in academia and working with students. The grading part is not my favorite, but it is important, too.

What brought you to CSU?
My husband. He started his new position at CSU, so we moved to Fort Collins a few years ago. When a new position in the English department opened up, I felt it was meant to be…

What do you enjoy most about your work?
I like seeing students become excited about their profession, their projects and future prospects.

Why do you think English and the Humanities are important? They help you to understand life in a larger context.

When I was about to submit my college application and could not decide between Chemistry and Philology (Literature + Language), my high school Biology teacher told me this: When you study Literature, each year you feel you expand in what you know in many areas that are related yet different. That helps you to get a more holistic picture of the world you live in and you can talk to people about that. When you study Biology (or Chemistry), you expand your knowledge about a specific topic within the discipline. My teacher was studying rats and their behaviors. As she said, nobody wanted to talk about rats at parties.

What inspired you to pursue a degree in English and teaching?
My very first English teacher. She was sophisticated and very kind, and I liked hearing her British accent.

What had the greatest influence on your career path?
My professors and mentors from Northern Arizona University. I look up to them and hope to be as good as they are one day.


Tatiana with her dissertation co-director and mentor, NAU professor Joan Jamieson

What did you want to be when you were a kid?
Up until I turned 10, I wanted to be a singer or an actress. At 10, when I started learning English in school, I decided that I would be an English teacher.

Can you describe your experience at CSU so far? What do you want to accomplish while you’re here?
My experiences have been very positive. Since the very first summer we came to Fort Collins, colleagues in the department have been extremely supportive and welcoming. It felt nice to have people around who care about your well-being, remember your birthday, and are always happy to help. While I am at CSU, I am hoping to help the TEFL/TESL program grow.

What is your favorite thing about teaching what you teach? The topics we discuss in my classes are complex, but have direct practical applications. I like both – the complexity (as it exercises your brain) and the application (which helps you to stay level-headed).

What is the best advice you’ve ever received?
One of my mentors gave me professional advice: Do not do (or publish) sloppy work. It is a waste of time.

What accomplishments are you most proud of?
Being able to build a life in a foreign country.

What is the last great piece of writing you read? What are you currently reading?
I just finished a co-authored manuscript about the complexity of listening sub-skills. I have read a few great studies with excellent research design, which made them pleasurable reading pieces for me. Outside of academia, I am reading Jo Baker’s Longbourn.

When you’re not working, what do you like to do?
I like to travel, hike, and do yoga.

Which three people, living or dead, would you invite to dinner?
My family (dad, mom, and my sister). We live so far from each other and don’t get to see each other very often, so I would rather enjoy my dinner with them.

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