STARTALK: Instructors & Key Personnel

Romeena Kureishy

Program Director and Lead Instructor

Ms. Kureishy has been with the Penn Startalk Urdu Program since its inception in 2009. She attended the NYU Teacher Training in 2010. Ms. Kureishy was the Urdu group leader in Columbia University Urdu/Hindi Materials Development Workshop from Nov '10 till Jan '11. She developed 15 web based Urdu Learning Units modeled on the curriculum and lesson plans from the 2010 Urdu Startalk program at Penn and created Standards Based Urdu Learning activities, assignments, assessments, and other learning resources for students to review their lessons from 2010 and extend their skills further. She taught beginner and Intermediate Urdu courses in fall 2010 at Penn as an adjunct. She has completed training in and attended several workshops on: Standards Based curriculum, Teaching Heritage Students, Using Authentic materials, Integration of Language, Culture and Content, Using Target Language in Class, Differentiated Teaching, Student Centered Instruction, Backward Design Lesson Plans, ACTFL Reading and Oral Proficiency, Performance Based Assessment, Thematically Organized Assessment She continues to work with STARTALK students in monthly Saturday workshops and is affiliated with other local Urdu heritage language teaching efforts.

Tony Cordaro


Tony Cordaro was the TA at the Penn Startalk Urdu Program in 2011. He graduated from the University of Pennsylvania in 2011 with a major in South Asian Studies and minors in Anthropology and Arabic and Islamic Studies. He has taken beginning, intermediate and advanced Urdu classes in the South Asian Studies department at Penn. He has also spent a summer in Lucknow, India at the American Institute for Indian Studies, which focuses on thorough grounding of the student in the Urdu language through classes on poetry, literature, newspaper reading, idioms, film and radio, and conversational speaking, in addition to the traditional grammar and vocabulary components. He has also spent considerable amount of time in Hindi-Urdu speaking regions of India for fieldwork as an undergraduate. Tony is very familiar with the language-teaching and language-learning processes, particularly of those languages that use the Perso-Arabic script, as has also studied Arabic, Farsi, and Pashto in addition to Punjabi and Hindi at Penn. During summer 2007, he was employed at the Concordia Language Villages Al Waha Arabic language village where he planned and facilitated a number of lessons in Arabic for a beginner audience about Islamic calligraphy and the history of the Perso-Arabic script. After his B.A., Tony spent ten months in India on a Fulbright scholarship doing field work for a project on Bhojpuri-speaking migrant workers in urban Punjab. Upon returning to the U.S. in 2012, he attended a ten-day teacher-training program at New York University for the Startalk Urdu Intensive Summer Language Program in preparation for the 2012 program.

Bridget Goodman

Curriculum Specialist

Bridget Goodman is a Ph.D. Candidate in Educational Linguistics at the University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education and is the Curriculum Specialist for the Urdu program. She has 15 years of experience in language education and teacher development in the U.S. and abroad. As a U.S. Department of State English Language Fellow in Ukraine and Moldova from 2001-2004, she taught methods of foreign language education to high school and university teachers. In Togo she taught methods of content-based instruction to in-service and pre-service teachers. She has also conducted research at a Ukrainian heritage language program for high school students in the U.S., and at a language immersion program in a university in Ukraine.

Aisha Khan

Teaching Assistant

Ms. Khan has extensive experience in curating art exhibitions and organizing art-related events. With a degree in Social Work and English Literature, there is a socially aware angle to her work. Ms. Khan worked at Merrill Lynch for six years as AVP strategic and planning analyst and a financial analyst. Currently Ms. Khan is working on an Appraisal Studies program at New York University. Ms. Khan has been involved with Startlk Urdu in organizing various workshops for the students as part of the post program continuing classes. She is a native Urdu speaker and has attended a training workshop on Differentiated Instructional Strategies, Three Modes of Communication and Using Target Language in class