Wilkes University

Meet IEP Faculty


From left to right:
Natasha Young, Domicella Balice, Anita Williams, Cheryl DeFrain, Karen Lau

Karen Lau, M.A. TESOL - Full Time ESL Program Specialist

Karen Lau holds a master’s degree in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages from Wilkes University. She earned a bachelor’s degree in Education from College Misericordia, in 1994 and received certification as an ESL Program Specialist from Kings College, in 2003.  She taught ESL in public schools until 2006, when she began working in the Intensive English Program at Wilkes University. In addition to her other classes, she teaches TOEFL and IELTS test preparation courses to intermediate and advanced level students in the IEP. Mrs. Lau has worked as a Hebrew language aide, a bi-lingual registrar for a school in California, and currently serves as a sign language interpreter for church services. She loves working with international students and particularly enjoys the environment of understanding and respect that is created in the IEP through the open sharing of ideas and culture that takes place both in and out of the classroom.

Contact Karen at karen.lau@wilkes.edu

Cheryl DeFrain, Instructor

Cheryl DeFrain has been teaching in the Wilkes IEP since August, 2007.  She holds a bachelor's degree in education from Geneva College, Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania, an ESL Teaching Specialist certificate from the state of Pennsylvania, and a master’s degree in TESOL.  Ms. DeFrain particularly enjoys the challenge of helping beginning level students to develop their English language skills as well as to adapt to the many cultural changes they experience in their new environment.

Contact Cheryl at cheryl.defrain@wilkes.edu

Anita Williams, ESL Program Specialist and Instructor

Anita Williams has been teaching in the Wilkes IEP since May of 2007. She received her BA degree in Education from Wilkes University, MA in Education/Reading and Curriculum & Instruction from King's College, and certification in English as a Second Language from King's College.  Prior to her present position at Wilkes University, she taught in local school districts, including the position as a Reading Specialist.  Growing up in a family that hosted many international students through the Rotary Exchange Program, Anita developed a special interest in foreign cultures.  She is able to continue this interaction with diverse cultures and address their individual needs in her position as reading instructor in the IEP.

Contact Anita at anita.williams@wilkes.edu

Natasha Young, ESL Program Specialist and Instructor

Natasha has been working in the Wilkes Intensive English Program since the fall of 2006. Prior to joining the program at Wilkes, she taught English to corporate and government employees in Tallinn, Estonia. She received her B.A. in International Relations from Ursinus College and an M.S. TESOL degree from Wilkes University.  She obtained the Cambridge University CELTA certification in Budapest, Hungary, and also holds the London Chamber of Commerce and Industry Further Certificate for Teachers of Business English. Locally, she has been involved with adult learners in LCCC’s ALTA program and worked with young learners for two summers at CSIU’s Northeast Migrant Education Summer Program held at Penn State Hazleton. In addition to working in Estonia, she has lived in Sendai, Japan, teaching English on the JET Program and Antwerp, Belgium, working in the export and sales department of a manufacturing company called Total Containment, Inc. She has a passion for travel and thoroughly enjoys her job and the opportunity it brings to meet and interact with a diverse and ever-changing group of students.

Contact Natasha at natasha.young@wilkes.edu

Domicella Balice, Instructor 

Domicella Balice earned a bachelor degree in education from Shippensburg University in 1971, a Masters Equivalency in education from the Department of Education in 1975, and a Program Specialist certification in English as a Second Language from Misericordia University in 2004. She received extensive writing training through the Pennsylvania Department of Education Writing Project from 1984 to 1986, and became a state writing consultant for the department of education in 1985. Mrs. Balice has worked in the education field for forty five years and her experience includes teaching in both public and private schools. She also has extensive experience in developing writing curriculum. She taught ESL at a high school level and to special needs students. In 2006, she accepted a position at Wilkes University in the Intensive English Program where she created a multi-level academic writing program which focuses on the individual needs of her international students.  In 2015, Mrs. Balice developed, and currently teaches a course entitled ESL 001, Methodologies and Assessments in Teaching, for the MEDUCA Bilingual Panama Program at Wilkes University for Panamanian educators.  This class focuses on The Sheltered Instruction Observation Protocol Model (SIOP) and academic ESL skills.

Contact Domicella at domicella.balice@wilkes.edu