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Meet the Director

Dr. Deborah Roney Dr. Deborah Roney loves Language in Motion and has been directing the program at Juniata since its inception in 2000. Spending time with students interested in other countries is exciting, and she enjoys helping them share their experiences with others in the county and beyond. She also teaches linguistics and composition classes at Juniata.

Roney graduated from Dartmouth College with a B.A. in Russian, having studied abroad in Russia and Germany. She earned an M.A. in Slavic Languages & Literatures and, in 1981, a Ph.D. in Slavic Linguistics from The Ohio State University, working primarily on phonology and child language acquisition. Much of her dissertation research was conducted in Warsaw and Wroclaw, Poland, with a grant from the International Research and Exchanges Board. Her work since then has focused on language teaching methodology and second language acquisition, including having co-authored a series of individualized instruction manuals for English speakers learning Polish.

Although she grew up in a monolingual town in New Jersey, Roney remembers liking languages in elementary school, volunteering to attend after-school classes in French in fourth grade. In high school, she studied Latin and French and was fascinated when her senior English teacher played a tape of an actor reading Chaucer in Middle English, hearing bits of what sounded like English and German and French. Meanwhile, her experience hosting an exchange student from Germany taught her many things about the wider world, the people in her town, and herself.

Roney’s professional and personal lives reflect her strong commitment to education and service. She is an active community volunteer, having served on several school district committees involving gifted education, the boards of the Huntingdon Soccer Club and of West Central PA Odyssey of the Mind, and many Parent-Teacher Group enrichment activities for local school children. She is especially dedicated to the American Association of University Women (AAUW) and has served on the state board five times. While Education Chair for AAUW-Huntingdon Branch, she started the Career Shadowing program for local sophomores, 8th grade Career Fairs, and workshops on parenting preschoolers. She has also served in many other AAUW board positions, having chaired Meet the Candidate Nights and the Huntingdon County Sister-to-Sister Summits. The branch twice won AAUW-PA Impact Awards for these projects.

Roney has lived in Huntingdon with her family since 1988. Her husband, Jim, is Professor of Russian and International Studies at Juniata. She enjoys spending time with him and their two sons and a daughter-in-law (two are lawyers in DC and the other is working in DC in the not-for-profit world). Reading, walking, camping, and traveling bring her joy.