Instructors & Staff


When it comes to a rewarding learning experience, especially learning in a foreign language, the quality of the instructors and staff can make all the difference. The International & English Language Programs at the University of Washington are proud to feature some of the best teachers and staff in the country.

All of our classroom instructors are well-trained, experienced English language teachers. All of them possess advanced degrees in the field. A considerable number of them have written or contributed to published textbooks and professional articles about teaching English as a foreign language, and many have presented at conferences around the United States. Our instructors have lived and worked with people of different cultures from all over the world. See a list of International & English Language Programs instructors.

Our staff and advisors are also highly knowledgeable and have undergone extensive training. They have decades of combined experience working with international students like you, and will make sure that you get the most out of your time studying at the UW.

See below to learn more about a few of the IELP staff members who are available to help answer your questions and make sure your needs have been met.

  • suzy cowgill

    Suzy Cowgill

    International Student Advisor, UW Tower IELP Office

    Suzy has more than 15 years of experience working in education and has been a staff member of UW IELP since 2010. Suzy is a native of Dallas, Texas, and graduated from the University of North Texas. She says she "enjoys getting to know the international students at the UW and learning about other cultures." She likes cooking and reading in her spare time.

  • ethan decoster

    Ethan DeCoster

    International Student Advisor, Downtown IELP Office

    Ethan is thrilled to work with International & English Language Programs at the UW. He has worked in the field of education for 13 years and in higher education for eight years at both the community college and university level. He graduated from Marquette University and has a Master of Arts in Education from Seattle University. He served as a professional volunteer in Belize and has lived and worked in Greece, Mexico and India. His passion for international education began as a student, and he hopes to continue to show hospitality to students from all over the world. Outside of work, Ethan loves exploring the beauty of the Pacific Northwest, cooking and traveling.

  • marissa dioso

    Marissa Dioso

    Manager of International Student Advising, UW Tower IELP Office

    Marissa is a true Husky, having received her bachelor's degree from the University of Washington. She went on to earn a master's degree in student development administration from nearby Seattle University. She has worked in her current role at UW IELP since 2005. Marissa says she is "often amazed at the progress students make in their English language ability and the increased confidence they build in a relatively short period of time." A native of Hawaii, she is also a passionate foodie who enjoys traveling, dancing and spending time with friends and family.

  • paoline ferrese

    Paoline Ferrese

    Admissions Program Coordinator, UW Tower IELP Office

    Paoline was born in the Philippines and grew up living and traveling all over Asia, with stints in Cambodia, China, Thailand, Myanmar and Laos. She first came to the United States as an international student and went on to receive her bachelor’s degree in communications from Linfield College in 2011. Paoline’s background makes her passionate about international education and helping other students visiting the United States. In her spare time she likes to travel, spend time with her family and volunteer at animal shelters.

  • carol lowe

    Carol Lowe

    Front Desk Receptionist, UW Tower IELP Office

    Carol is often one of the first people whom IELP students meet when they visit our main office. She is a Maryland native and received a degree in education from Skidmore College in New York. Carol has a background in teaching and social work, but she has also spent time as a cook on yachts and as an in-house caterer for the president of the UW. She joined IELP in 2006 and says she loves interacting with the students. In her free time, Carol enjoys volunteering, reading and traveling.

  • michelle foshee

    Michelle Foshee

    Academic Advisor, UW Tower IELP Office

    Michelle graduated from the University of Washington and also earned a teaching degree at the University of Arizona in Tucson. She has studied and lived in Russia, Kosovo and Poland. In addition to advising, she is also a teacher in the department. She thinks that talking with students is the best part of her job. When she is not at work, she enjoys reading and talking about books, sailing, and making clothes and hats.

  • elisabeth mitchell

    Elisabeth Mitchell

    Director of Student Services, UW Tower IELP Office

    Elisabeth has dedicated her professional career to working with students and people from other cultures, both in the United States and abroad. She has an undergraduate degree from Lewis and Clark College in Oregon and received her master's in teaching English to speakers of other languages (TESOL) from the UW. She served in the Peace Corps in the Sultanate of Oman and later returned there and worked with two women's organizations. Elisabeth spent a decade working with international fellows in several UW programs before taking her current job with IELP in 2010. "I love having contact with students from all over the world," she says. "Thoughtful cross-cultural experiences can lead to a more peaceful world, and I enjoy being part of that peace-making."