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Dr. Laura Sicola

About Us

Dr. Laura Sicola is the founder of the Sicola Consulting Group, providing training for professionals seeking to improve their communication skills and instructional strategies to meet the needs of the increasingly global school and workplace.

The maps below show states and countries in which Dr. Sicola and the Sicola Consulting Group have delivered workshops and presentations, developed and executed long-term programming, and conducted private coaching sessions across the US and around the world.

Client List:

  • The Connecticut State Department of Education
  • IBM
  • JP Morgan/Chase Card Services
  • The World Bank Family Network
  • The Wharton School of Business
  • The Foreign Service Youth Foundation
  • Aramark
  • Absorption Pharmaceuticals
  • Susquehanna International Group
  • Horizons Youth Services/US Job Corps
  • Mercator XXI
  • The Archdiocese of Philadelphia
  • Foundations, Inc.
  • A&I Broadway Realty
  • And dozens of school districts across the country.


Dr. Sicola is faculty at the Graduate School of Education at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, PA, where she lectures on second-language acquisition theory and pedagogy and oversees the fieldwork component of the MA-TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) program. She has been an English/ESL/EFL teacher and curriculum designer for the University of Pennsylvania, for the Nagoya City Board of Education in Nagoya, Japan, and for the Los Angeles Unified School District at a bilingual elementary school in south-central L.A.


  • PhD, educational linguistics, the University of Pennsylvania
  • MA, multicultural education, California State University
  • Bilingual multiple-subject teaching credential, California State University
  • BA, international studies, American University, Washington, DC

Selected Conference Presentations:

  • Invited speaker, TESOL international, March 2012 (Philadelphia, PA)
  • Plenary address, Penn TESOL East, November 2011 (Abbington, PA)
  • Global Entrepreneurship Week (Cairo, Egypt)
  • Keynote speaker, TexTESOL II, February 2011 (San Antonio, TX)
  • TESOL (New York, NY and Boston, MA)
  • Japan-US Teacher Education Consortium (Tokyo, Japan)
  • The Association for Language Awareness (Lleida, Spain)
  • Families in Global Transition (Houston, TX and Washington, DC),
  • Task-Based Language Teaching (Honolulu, HI)
  • The Linguistic Academy University of Duisberg (Frankfurt, Germany), among others.


Dr. Sicola has published several books and articles on her primary research areas of cognitive processing in second/foreign language acquisition, phonology/pronunciation, and linguistic culture shock, including:

Sicola, L. (Forthcoming). Integrating pronunciation in the language classroom. In M. Reed and J. Levis (Eds.) Wiley-Blackwell Handbook of English Pronunciation. San Francisco: Wiley.

Pütz, M. & Sicola, L. (Eds.) (2010). Cognitive Processes in SLA: Inside the Learner’s Mind. Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John Benjamins.

Sicola, L. (2010.) Attention to Phonological Form: Modified Output in Task-Based Negotiated Interaction. In M. Pütz & L. Sicola (Eds.) Cognitive Processes in SLA: Inside the Learner’s Mind. Amsterdam/ Philadelphia: John Benjamins.

Sicola, L. (2009). “No, they won’t just sound like each other”: Attention to phonological form in NNS-NNS inter action on targeted L2 pronunciation tasks. Landau, Germany: Peter Lang Publishers.

Sicola, L. (2007) Review of: Along the Routes to Power: Explorations of Empowerment through Language. By M. Pütz, J. A. Fishman, & J. Neff-van Aertselaer (Eds.) New York: Mouton de Gruyter, 2006. For: Current Issues in Language Planning, v8 n1, pp. 119-128.

Sicola, L. (2005). Communicative Lingerings: Exploring Awareness of L2 influences on L1 of American Expatriates after Reentry. Language Awareness 14(2-3) pp. 153-169.

Sicola, L. (2005) Review of: Literacy and Language Diversity in the United States. By Terrence G. Wiley. (2nd edition) Washington, DC: Center for Applied Linguistics, 2005. Pp. v + 267. For: Linguistics in Education: An International Research Journal. v. 16, pp. 356-358.


The Sicola Consulting Group works with a cadre of affiliate organizations and independent experts in the fields of globalization, cross-cultural communication, language and education:

Dr. Sicola and affiliates are also active members in such professional organizations as

Team Members:

Amy Nichols

Amy Nichols is a business English coach for the Sicola Consulting Group. She also lectures in the English Language Programs at the University of Pennsylvania and coaches international executives who are preparing for Wharton Executive Programs. She has extensive experience developing, designing, and teaching business English courses for both general classroom and custom programs.

Amy has a BA in English and Anthropology from Duke University, a MBA from Georgetown University, and an MS in TESOL from the University of Pennsylvania. She has worked as a teaching assistant at The Wharton School, a manager at GE Capital Corporation, and a consultant for a software company. She has presented at TESOL (Boston: “Profiting from Business Case Studies”) and co-authored a chapter in New Product Success Stories. Ed. Robert J. Thomas. New York: John Wiley & Sons, 1995.


Dr. Diana Paninos

Dr. Diana Paninos is faculty at the Graduate School of Education of the University of Pennsylvania, where, since 2004, she has lectured on second language acquisition theory and pedagogy, cross-cultural communication, and World Englishes, and teaches the internship/seminar course for TESOL Masters students. She has also served as adjunct faculty at other area universities. Since 2011, she has been with the Sicola Consulting Group as a Project Manager, supervising interns on curriculum design for adult ESL learners. She holds a PhD in Educational Linguistics from the University of Pennsylvania, as well as an MEd in TESOL and a BS in Science. Diana is fluent in Modern Greek, manages with French and Italian in survival situations, and can read French in the area of applied linguistics. She also has a beginner’s knowledge of Spanish and Mandarin Chinese.


Elizabeth Gillstrom

Elizabeth Gillstrom joined the Sicola Consulting Group in January 2012. She also serves as the ITA program coordinator at the University of Pennsylvania English Language Programs, where she trains and assesses international teaching assistants from many of Penn’s schools. Prior to teaching at Penn, Elizabeth taught ESL at Grand Valley State University (where she also acted as the IELTS administrator), and at Drexel University ELC. She has taught English abroad in Kolkata, India, and Chachapoyas, Peru. Additionally, Elizabeth has worked as a rater for Educational Testing Services and is a certified ACTFL OPI interviewer. Elizabeth received her Bachelor’s in English language and literature from Kalamazoo College in Michigan, and her MS.Ed in TESOL from the Graduate School of Education at the University of Pennsylvania.


Yuting Wang

Yuting Wang is a business development intern at Sicola Consulting Group. After achieving her B.S in educational technology in Shanghai International Studies University, she started working in English First, Ltd as a full-time English teacher in Shanghai China. Later on, she came to U.S for further study and will receive her Master’s Degree of Education in TESOL from University of Pennsylvania in May, 2013. She has taught ESL students reading and writing both in high school and elementary school in Philadelphia. She is also the president of TC@Penn (Teaching Chinese @ Penn), a student organization in promoting Chinese language and culture. She is trilingual in Mandarin, Shanghainese and English, and speaks intermediate Japanese and elementary French.


Xiaoying Wang

Xiaoying Wang is a business development intern at Sicola Consulting Group, with responsibilities for market research and data management. She will receive her Master’s Degree of Education in TESOL from the University of Pennsylvania in May, 2013. She has various teaching experiences in local not-for-profit organizations and works closely with immigrants. She is bilingual in Mandarin and English, and has studied Japanese and Spanish.


Yuhuang Wang

Abraham Wang is a business development intern for the Sicola Consulting Group. He has been teaching English as a second/foreign language since 2008. Prior to coming to the US, he taught English as a foreign language to adult students for three years in Wall Street Institute, the largest language institution in China. He is currently a graduate student in the TESOL program (teaching English to speakers of other languages) at University of Pennsylvania. In the meantime, he is also a Chinese/English instructor at the Family Resource Center and Cross-cultural Language Fellow at the Graduate Student Center in the University of Pennsylvania. Abraham has always been passionate about providing language training for different communities. He is now coordinating two language programs serving Chinese immigrant children in Chinatown and American-born Chinese children in West Philadelphia.


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