Instructor Stories

Photo of Chris FathmanChris Fathman

English Instructor

Years at IG: 15



Hobbies: snowboarding, playing tennis, reading

Having taught abroad in Thailand, Chile and India, Chris brings his international experience with him to the classroom. E-waste, conflict minerals, diet and the environment are just some of the trending topics discussed in Chris’s Global Issues elective class.  

A fun fact about Chris? He enjoys cooking when he’s not teaching.  Soups are his favorite during the cooler winter months. Ask Chris for his butternut squash soup recipe when you see him!

Chris’s ADVICE to students: “Don’t forget that success is not just about preparing for the TOEFL.  It’s about language skills. You have to combine test-taking skills and English language skills to succeed.”

Photo of Kim Green

Kim Green

Associate Director / English Instructor

Years at IG: 20

Hobbies: cooking, traveling, being active

Along with her duties as Associate Director, Kim also teaches the elective class, “The Story of America” every Monday and Wednesday.

A few fun facts about Kim ~ Although Kim is at every student activity engaging with students, she’s shyer than she appears to be.  With her love of travel, Kim would like to visit Morocco one day or revisit Cuba.

Kim’s ADVICE to current and future students, “Ask questions and learn from those answers. Don’t be shy.”



Photo of Ben SollerBen Soller

Academic Coordinator / English Instructor

Years at IG: 16




Hobbies: playing the violin, reading, listening to music

Most students will have the opportunity to get to know Ben as a student in his class or as a student seeking academic advice.  In addition to his multiple roles as teacher, advisor, and academic coordinator, Ben can be seen as Santa during Christmas or Uncle Sam on Independence Day.  Ben’s love for working with and learning from people from other cultures has kept him at International Gateways for 13 years.

Ben lived and taught in Japan before joining International Gateways.  He’s also traveled throughout Europe, Central America and Southeast Asia.  A fun fact about Ben is that he can say “no problem” in 10 different languages!

Ben’s ADVICE for students: "Read a lot. Watch English movies with subtitles. Using the language with native English speakers is the best way to learn."


Photo of Marianne WheelerMarianne Wheeler

English Instructor

Years at IG: 23


Hobbies: kayaking, gardening, reading, spending time with her children

In her 20 years with International Gateways, Marianne has worn multiple hats.  Many former students may remember her as the former Custom Programs Coordinator.  Marianne managed, organized and taught  groups of students for a unique cultural and language learning experience.  Her welcoming smile and positive energy helped students adjust smoothly to American culture and teaching styles.

Marianne’s ADVICE to students: “The students that make the most progress and that are happiest are those that take risks in their speaking, and have fun with the language and culture.”


Photo of Julie YangJulie Yang 

English Instructor

Path to SJSU Degree Program Manager

Graduate Student Advisor

Years at IG: 17

Hobbies: traveling, watching Korean dramas

Julie knows what it means to be an international student. In her early 20s, she left China to pursue her academic career. After earning her Ph.D. in International Education in England and then working in Canada and Boston, Julie set roots at International Gateways. In addition to her professional accomplishments and in-depth knowledge of the admissions process, Julie's warm personality and commitment to student success help to define the "heart" of International Gateways.

Julie's ADVICE to students: “Embrace the study abroad experience. Don’t be scared.”