Meet our 2020-21 Language Teaching Assistants!


Runqi Deng ~ Chinese

Where do you live?  Changsha, China

What is your academic background?  This past April I graduated from University of Pittsburgh with a Master degree of Education.I am passionate about language education, psychological education and cross-cultural studies. I also achieved a B.A in Economics.

What do you want people to know about your country? China is not only one of the four ancient civilizations with rich history and culture, but also a rapidly changing developing country. Home to great rivers and mountains, friendly people, flourishing cities, and,of course, Panda. China consists of 56 ethnic groups, each with beautiful culture,dialects,traditions… Generally, I like to describe my country as harmonious, dynamic and transforming.

3 fun facts about me: 

  • Languages are my passion. I am learning a third language, hoping to become trilingual fluently.
  • Delicacy food videos are one of my favorite healing methods.
  • I am learning web developments in computer science.I desire to contribute my efforts on languages instruction and learning, and remote learning.

Maxence Nicaise ~ French

Where do you live?
In France I live in Nantes, a really nice city on the west coast of France.

What is your academic background?
I have graduated from a double degree in Law and Applied Foreign Languages at Nantes University.

What do you want to see or learn about in the U.S.?
I came to the United States because I wanted to discover new things such as college life or American politics. I am really ecstatic about being a French TA this year at Allegheny as it is the perfect opportunity to share my experience and learn as much as possible about the american culture in a challenging environment.


Felix Kirchhof ~ German

Where do you live?
Cologne, Germany

What is your academic background?
I got a B.A. in English, Social Sciences and Educational Sciences and I am enrolled in a teacher education program (Master of Education, M.Ed.). In my studies I focus on critical pedagogy, right-wing extremism, antisemitism and critical theory.

What do you want people to know about your country?
Do I consider Germany to be »my« country? I don’t really know. I was born in Cologne and lived here most of my life. I have been to many regions of Germany: Attitudes vary, you can encounter several types of dialects, the cuisine and the humor differs, and – last not but not least – also the beer. So in case of the widespread love for beer in Germany, the process of nation building was successful.

But in general, I would like to encourage everyone to make concrete experiences with German people, society and culture. At best, these experiences offer deeper insights into the contradictory parts of Germany and are not pre-shaped by existing stereotypes and clichés.

3 fun facts about me:

  • I was born on June 6 (06.06) – D-Day (okay, a few years later).
  • I got a tattoo on my left foot with the abbreviation for the neighborhood
    I grew up in and its postcode – KV 226.
  • I love doing sports, especially Muay Thai, a martial art from Thailand.

Gabo Ortiz ~ Spanish

Where do you live?
I live in Ecuador, its capital is Quito, but my city of birth is a little city called Ibarra.

What is your academic background?
I have a BA in Liberal Arts from de University San Francisco Of Quito. I specialize in Humanities, with a big interest in Hispanoamerican Literature, Poetry, children’s literature, philosophy of language, philosophy of emotions, phenomenology, and Art History.

What do you want people to know about your country?
When I have to talk about Ecuador and how it is living here, I always try to be realistic. My country is a magic place with four different regions of weather in a minimal space of land. I do not usually feel Ecuadorian, but always the culture catches me. Here, we have more than 15 indigenous nationalities, and a lot of diversity in nature, but more importantly in people. Only in my country I have seen more than ten kinds of dialects of Spanish. Here there are no seasons, the sun shines or the rain falls, and it could be whatever day. The fields are green most of the time, and people always try to make their lives better.

While I was studying at university I learned and saw the bad things of the country, I had to be critical of all that was happening here. I view art as an expression of criticism to society, and I love it. Certainly, we have to get better at some things, but being part of the change is the best part of living here.

3 (or 4) fun facts about me:

  • I write some short stories and poems, and I have published some of them.
  • I usually make some stencil and graffiti, but everything is legal.
  • I have four dogs, so it says that I love dogs, and animals too.
  • One more, I like to drive off-road cars.