Ali grew up in New Hampshire and Vermont, and went to Oberlin College in Ohio for her undergraduate studies. She moved to Scotland after graduation, where she lived for 17 years. Ali worked in adult literacy and ESL in Aberdeen, before pursuing a master's degree in TESOL from the University of Edinburgh. She came back to the U.S. in 2015 in order to spend more time with her extended family, and settled in Columbia with her husband, two children and a variety of pets. She likes being outdoors, spending time with family and reading fiction. In the classroom, Ali aims to create opportunities for vibrant communication, and likes to draw on students' interests to make learning more engaging.