Get To Know Our PEARLL Scholars

One of the goals of Project PEARLL is to create a pipeline of newly authorized multiple subject and bilingual teachers to support English Learners in California by supporting teachers-in-training to complete their California teaching credential and bilingual authorization by providing Project PEARLL scholarships to students who meet criteria. Our PEARLL Scholars are LMU preservice students preparing to obtain their California Teaching Credential and EL or Bilingual Authorization.


Monet Thompson

Monet T. ‘24 is a third-year Undergraduate Screenwriting major receiving her Elementary Education Credential. She aspires to be a teacher that creates culturally affirming spaces for her students and makes school a safe place to express yourself.

What inspired you to become a teacher?

Everyone in my life knew I wanted to be a teacher except me. I tutored a student and I was able to help them achieve. I wasn’t expecting to see someone progress that quickly.

What excites you about being a PEARLL scholar?

I am excited to do things that feel more interactive and to step into a professional space. I am also looking forward to hearing more from people who have been studying Bilingual Learners and English Language Learners and getting more into the research spaces.

Zijing Zhou

Zijing Z. is a first-year graduate student pursuing a Master of Arts in Elementary Education with a Bilingual Authorization in Mandarin. She decided to come to the U.S. from China because she wanted to work with multilingual students from diverse cultural backgrounds. Zijing also wants to support second-generation Chinese immigrants speak, read, write, and understand their home language so they can better communicate with their family members.

What inspired you to become a teacher:

I am from China, Shanghai and grew up there. I studied in UT Austin – John Hopkins and had one year teaching in an afterschool bilingual program in LA. If want to be a qualified teacher in U.S., I need a totally different learning experience. I have wanted to be a teacher since I was seven or eight years old. I want to be a leader in my classroom and want students to become a comprehensive person to have success in academic areas for their future lives. 

What excites you about being a PEARLL scholar?

I’m really excited. I did not grow up in the U.S. so I’m looking forward to seeing more school districts. I want to see more schools, especially those that have bilingual Mandarin program to help me seek a job in the future.

Sara Bunge

Sara B. ‘24 is a third-year Elementary Education and Theatre Arts major at Loyola Marymount University. She credits her transformational experiences abroad with instilling an interest in learning about languages, cultures and connecting with others. Sara studied Spanish for 12 years and has been able to use her skills while working with students in Costa Rica and Los Angeles.

What inspired you to become a teacher:

I was impacted by educators. I have found it so important to create connections with the people who are educating me. They are superheroes, inspiring, knowledge-carrying people. Seeing them and viewing them as idols, people that I wanted to be like inspired me. When I started student teaching – I saw that can make an impact on students, some days the whole class, some days one kid and felt the same level of fulfillment.

What excites you about being a PEARLL scholar?

PEARLL is collaborative and an opportunity to get yourself out there in more school districts. I’m excited to keep up my Spanish and trying to speak it when I can. To be able to speak it at work is an exciting way to integrate that into my passion.

Anthony Lagrange-Rojas

Anthony L. is a third-year Undergraduate Liberal Studies major receiving his Elementary Education Credential. He has many family members in the field of education so he has witnessed the sense of purpose that this field can instill. His aspirations to build strong school communities have been reinforced through his studies.

What inspired you to become a teacher:

I have a lot of family in education like principals and others who work in districts. I have been able to see how much fulfillment they have had during the years. As I started to work, I enjoyed seeing how rewarding it could be for me and students.

What excites you about being a PEARLL scholar?

It seems like a high level of involvement and a good transition into my career. This feels very real coming into my junior year.

Katherine Rodriguez

Katherine R. ‘24 is a first-year graduate student pursuing a Master of Arts in Elementary Education with a Bilingual Authorization in Spanish. She is very excited about supporting bilingual students to succeed in school in both their native language and English. When she was in school, she did not get much support as a Spanish-speaking student, so she is motivated to ensure that her Spanish-speaking students are supported.

What inspired you to become a teacher:

Ever since I was a little girl I have always wanted to teach. I have always enjoyed working with children and want to make a difference with the new generation to come. Helping people has always been something I enjoy. Seeing that look on a student's face when they finally understand something is great.

What excites you about being a PEARLL scholar?

I am looking forward to getting to work with Bilingual students. My culture is very important to me so I want to help others embrace their culture.