After much success, the Utah State University Aggie Translators has expanded their English language teaching program.
Aggie Translators is a program in the USU Service Center and is directed by Corbin Kasteler and Jazmin Bybee.
Kasteler said teaching English has always been a part of the Aggie Translators mission, which is to break down language barriers in the valley to create a unified community.
“Often times English is the cause of those barriers for some in the valley,” Kasteler said. “We have interpreted at Parent Teacher Conferences throughout the valley for several years, and in the past three years, several community organizations have reached out to us to help with their English classes. We as an organization do not organize the classes themselves. We simply arrange the volunteers and help out where we can. Helping with these classes is just one way we hope to further our mission to increase unity in the community through language capability.”
The success of the program has allowed for expansion and more classes.
“We have helped teach English classes now for three years,” Kasteler said. “Only recently has the program expanded much more due to previous success. We used to only help teach one class twice a week for one hour. We now send volunteers to teach 10 classes each week, reaching anywhere between 20 to 35 community members. Classes are small and allow for individualized interaction between volunteers and English learners. We teach according to instructions from our community partners as well as feedback from those we teach.”
Kasteler said the success was due to student volunteers.
“We have already seen a very large increase in the number of student volunteer hours given,” Kasteler said. “More students are volunteering than before and are doing so more often. Last year we hit our goal of 1,000 hours logged as an organization. We hope to further increase that number as word gets out about our program.”
Programs like Aggie Translators give students the opportunity to interact with and serve the community.
“The cultural cohesion that has been taking place has also allowed for USU students to become further integrated into the Cache Valley community and put into practice languages that have been learned right here on campus,” Kasteler said. “Giving students an opportunity to serve and utilize their talents and skills produces well rounded individuals, who will go out into the world and make USU proud.”
The Service Center Vice President, Emma Brain, said she was proud of what co-directors Bybee and Kasteler have accomplished.
“Corbin and Jazmin are the most enthusiastic, consistent, humble people and hard workers,” she said. “The things that they do for the community and opportunities they provide for students are wonderful. We are lucky to have them at USU.”