Elizabeth Mariscal: An Inspirational Instructor

Elizabeth Mariscal, Instructor for Intensive Legal English and TEFL Certificate programs, UC San Diego English Language Institute

Elizabeth Mariscal has been an instructor at UC San Diego Extension’s English Language Institute for nearly 30 years.

In her role, she’s often as much a learner as a teacher.  “Through my students, I love keeping in touch with what’s going on in the world,” she said. “I always enjoy learning how their cultures are changing.”

Students describe their interactions with Elizabeth as life-changing. Rachel Nero, a former Intensive Legal English student who is now enrolled at the University of San Diego School of Law, exclaimed, “I would like to give very special thanks to Elizabeth Mariscal because she changed my life. She was always so passionate and dedicated that it was impossible not to be excited about the classes. It was my first contact with American Law and I loved it. Her classes sparked my interest in pursuing further education in Law and if it wasn’t for her I think I wouldn’t have considered applying to an LL.M. program. She is very special to me and I am thankful I had the opportunity to be her student!”

Colleagues at the English Language Institute agree that Elizabeth motivates her students.  “Elizabeth Mariscal teaches her classes with enthusiasm and professionalism, while ensuring her students’ intellectual needs are met,” said Lisa Kovacs, the academic coordinator for the English Language Institute’s 10-week English language programs.

Roxanne Nuhaily, executive director of UC San Diego Extension International Programs added, “For many years, Elizabeth has contributed to the quality of UC San Diego’s English Language Institute and its success in meeting the needs of international students preparing for their academic and professional goals.  Through her excellent teaching she continues to inspire students.”

Elizabeth is certainly one of the English Language Institute’s most versatile instructors.  Her areas of expertise are many:  Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL); training younger ESL instructors;  TOEFL preparation (she has consulted for a publisher on TOEFL products); medical writing seminars; editing medical manuscripts; and U.S. politics, government, and law.

“My primary goal is always to help my students learn English,” she said. “But they all have diverse goals.” These goals could be attending law school, teaching English, or simply being able to communicate in English around the world for personal reasons.

With expertise in course design, Elizabeth has developed the curricula for several ELI classes, including the Intensive Legal English program.  This program is geared toward advanced students who would like to enroll in a law school in the United States, or who are already practicing attorneys in their home countries and would like to become familiar with American legal practices. Many Intensive Legal English students take advantage of conditional admission to LL.M. (Master in Laws) programs in San Diego, including the University of San Diego, Thomas Jefferson School of Law, and California Western School of Law.

“When they first get here, I find many students know very little about the American legal system or they have misconceptions about it,” she said. “They’re always surprised to learn how diverse we are, and the wide range of people’s thoughts, views, subcultures, and the role of law in our society.”


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