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College of Liberal and Fine Arts


Scholarship Winner Wants to Break Language Barriers

April 10, 2018

Lucero Valdez, a UTSA Junior majoring in Modern Language Studies, is the recipient of a department academic scholarship and plans to use it to study abroad in Japan this summer.  Before attending UTSA, Valdez studied Japanese on her own learning both the hiragana and katakana alphabets and reading Japanese comic books to learn vocabulary.  After additional study at UTSA, she has decided that she wants to increase her linguistic knowledge and skills to become a translator.  "I want to help people break language barriers ... and be a competent, capable, and skillful cutural broker," she said.


A top student in the Japanese program at UTSA, Valdez is a native Spanish speaker and knows firsthand the toll that language and cultural differences can take, having been held back in grade school for not knowing English well enough to keep up.  Her interest in improving her English skills led to her interest in Japanese and her love for language, linguistics, and translation. 


"In addition to her Japanese studies, she is doing advanced-level coursework in Spanish," said Dr. Melissa Wallace, Assistant Professor of Translation and Interpreting Studies. "Lucero brings a more nuanced perspective to class discussions as well as an appreciation for a world increasingly shaped by translated literature and intercultural communication."


Dr. Whitney Chappell, Assistant Professor of Spanish Linguistics, nominated Lucero for an award in ther Spanish phonetics and pronunciation course and noted that, "Her thoughtful and inquisitive nature will serve her well as she continutes to explore her passion for language and other cultures."

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