College of Liberal and Fine Arts


UTSA to Host NACLO 2020 Contest

January 8, 2020

The UTSA Department of Modern Languages and Literatures is serving as a host for the 2020 North American Computational Linguistics Open Competition (NACLO).  

The contest invites high-school students to compete by solving linguistic puzzles. In solving these puzzles, students learn about the diversity and consistency of language, while exercising logic skills. No prior knowledge of linguistics or second languages is necessary.

Professionals in linguistics, computational linguistics, and language technologies use dozens of languages to create engaging problems that represent cutting edge issues in their fields. The competition has attracted top students to study and work in those same fields. It is truly an opportunity for young people to experience a taste of natural-language processing in the 21st century.

The contest consists of two events: the Open Competition and the Invititational Round and students need to register before January 22, 2020. Practice problems are available on the NACLO web site.

Open Competition

Invitational Round


More Information

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Linguistics Lab Recruiting Students for Research

December 4, 2019

If you are curious about how children acquire language in monolingual and bilingual settings and would like to engage in hands-on research experience for credit, the UTSA Linguistics Lab might be the place for you.

Dr. Pablo Requena is seeking highly motivated, detail oriented students who have studied Spanish or grew up speaking Spanish at home to assist with research in linguistics.  Projects investigate the acquisition of Spanish grammar by typically developing monolingual and bilingual children. The results will be useful to researchers interested in how to detect language delays in both monolingual and bilingual children.  Training will be provided.

Students who are interested should email Dr. Pablo Requena to be screened.  If selected, students will be enrolled in a 3-credit hour foreign language (FL) course.

The UTSA Department of Modern Languages and Literatures offers a minor in linguistics and a graduate certificate in linguistics

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National Foreign Language Honor Society Now at UTSA

November 27, 2019

UTSA students are now eligible to join Phi Sigma Iota, an honor society that recognizes outstanding accomplishments in the study of or teaching in foreign language, literature, or culture. Students who are enrolled in undergraduate or graduate programs with a major or minor in foreign langauges, comparative literature, linguistics, and other areas are eligible to apply for membership.

Applications are being accepted through March 15, 2020. 

Benefits of Phi Sigma Iota include eligibility for scholarships, subscription to the society's magazine, The Forum, networking, and more.

Lilian Cano is the program advisor for Phi Sigma Iota and Gilberta Turner and Liang Ward are coordinators.

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Donohue-Bergeler Presents at ACTFL

November 27, 2019

Dr. Devon Donohue-Bergeler co-presented two talks at the ACTFL Conference in Washington, DC in November, 2019. ACTFL (American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages) is a national professional organization that publishes proficiency guidelines and advocates for K-16 language programs and their instructors.

The talks were titled “Preparing German Teachers for the 21st Century,” and “Proficiency-Oriented Language Instruction: Authentic Texts for Cultural Competency.”

The second talk was based on revamping the curriculum at UTSA to combine intermediate and advanced German students in one course. In this cross-listed experiment, Dr. D taught several lessons using the FLLITE model, which develops multiliteracies through work with authentic materials from the target culture. She then empowered the advanced students to create similar lessons to teach their intermediate peers using self-selected authentic materials on topics as diverse as astronomy, Holocaust poetry, pregnancy, and the Eurovision Song Contest.

Her conference participation was made possible through funding from the UTSA Department of Modern Languages and Literatures.


Find out more about the German Program at UTSA



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Pazir Winner of Japanese Contest

November 18, 2019

Bilal Pazir

Bilal Pazir

Bilal Pazir, a student of Dr. Makiko Fukuda, is the winner of the J.LIVE Talk 2019 (Japanese Learning Inspired Vision and Engagement) contest, beating finalists from Georgetown University and George Washington University. The annual event, which is modeled after TED talks, provides a platform for students to showcase their proficiency in Japanese, share ideas, and polish their public speaking skills. 

In his winning talk, Pazir spoke of his love for Japanese and his desire to continue studying languages, which he developed after visiting the town of Minamisanriku, Japan in high school.

“The kindness of the people and the courage I observed while there had a great influence on me and still motivates me to continue learning Japanese,” he said.

He plans to pursue a career that involves putting his Japanese skills to use.

Pazir flew to Washington DC to participate in the final round where he won a six-week instensive Japanese language course at a university in Tokyo, a round-trip air ticket to Toyko, and a $2700 stipend.

Bilal was one of nine finalists selected from students across the United States.  


Find out more about the Japanese Program at UTSA

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Donohue-Bergeler Attends German Teachers Conference

November 6, 2019

Dr. Devon Donohue-Bergeler, Senior Lecturer in German at UTSA, participated in the AATG 3-Day College Faculty Seminar held from October 25–27, 2019, at Valparaiso University in Valparaiso, IN. The seminar was titled “Program Building through Curricular Reform, Co-Curricular Enhancement, and Inclusion” and will help Donohue-Bergeler with her plans to grow the German program at UTSA.

Her participation was made possible through funding from the American Association of Teachers of German (AATG) and the UTSA Department of Modern Languages and Literatures.

Find out more about studying German at UTSA

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In Memoriam: UTSA Founding Faculty and Former Department Chair Frank Pino Dies at Age 76

November 6, 2019

Frank Pino, Jr., professor emeritus in the UTSA Department of Modern Languages and Literatures, passed away on Oct. 10 at age 76. Considered one of UTSA’s founding faculty members, Pino served 39 years on the faculty until his retirement in 2012.

Recruited by former UTSA faculty member Tomás Rivera, Pino joined UTSA’s Division of Foreign Languages in 1973 as an associate professor. He served in various administrative roles, including 16 years as director of the Division of Foreign Languages, where he also taught upper-level and graduate classes in Hispanic Culture and Literature, including Chicano Literature.

“We remember Dr. Frank Pino mostly as one of the longest serving faculty members in our department,” recalled Marita Nummikoski, associate professor and most recent past chair of the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures. “The department faculty used to call him the oral historian of the university, as he was always referring to the early years of UTSA. Most of the programs we now have in the department were created under Dr. Pino’s leadership. He was an advocate of communicative language teaching and issues of Spanish heritage speaking students. He loved his students and students loved him. He was especially interested in teaching Mexican American Literature and History of Ideas, two courses he had created.”

He met his future wife, Barbara Gonzalez-Pino, in 1975 when she was hired as an assistant professor jointly appointed in the Division of Education and the Division of Foreign Languages. They married after 10 years of working together in a variety of capacities. After retiring as active faculty, together they participated in UTSA’s Retired Faculty Association until recent years.

Pino was involved in the civil rights movement and in the field of Chicano literature, creating short stories and poetry of his own in both English and Spanish.

“He was always very interested in social justice issues and sought to expand diversity and fair treatment in every setting,” recalled Gonzalez-Pino. “He also sought to broaden the study of languages beyond literature so that students of Spanish heritage could have additional advanced applications for their knowledge and skills.”

He was also active in several professional organizations and community groups, such as El Patronato de la cultura Hispanoamericana, the University Roundtable, Sembradores of San Antonio and the International Black and White Ball.

“Connections with the community were important to him as well,” Gonzalez-Pino said of her husband. “He was an outgoing person with many friends and someone who influenced many students and others in the community though his broad participation in it.” 

Pino served on the faculty of Michigan State University prior to coming to UTSA. He held bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Arizona State University and a Ph.D. in Romance Languages from Northwestern University.

 - - - - - - -

by K.C. Gonzalez

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Dr. Makiko Fukuda Selected Teacher of the Year

October 31, 2019

Dr. Makiko Fukuda, senior lecturer of Japanese and coordinator of the UTSA Japanese program, won the 2019 TFLA (Texas Foreign Language Association) Excellence in Teaching Award and 2019 TFLA Teacher of the Year.

TFLA selects its teacher of the year from Texas teachers of all world languages and levels (i.e., elementary, secondary, post-secondary).

Fukuda will represent the state of Texas at the 2020 SWCOLT, SouthWest Conference on language Teaching, in Los Angeles among other exceptional teachers from the states of Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Nevada, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Utah.

Find out more about the Japanese program at UTSA.

Find out more about faculty-led study abroad in Japan.

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TexLER Conference Presentation

October 9, 2019

Graduate students Layla Zamorra, Sabrina Marcano and Cynthia Gibson presented their research project “El efecto de la revolución bolivariana en el habla venezolana” (The Effect of the Bolivarian Revolution on Venezuelan Speech) at the 2019 Texas Language Education Research (TexLER) Conference in San Antonio, Texas. The theme of the conference was 21st Century Literacies: Critical Approaches for Social Transformation. The students wrote and researched the topic in Dr. Whitney Chappell’s La dialectología española (Spanish Dialects) class.

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Students Celebrate Chuseok (Korean Thanksgiving)

September 30, 2019

UTSA students who are taking Korean classes had a unique opportunity this fall to learn how Chuseok, or Korean Thanksgiving, is observed.

Instead of their classrooms, students met in the Demo Kitchen in the Wellness Center for a hands-on cooking experience and learned to make japchae, the most popular Korean holiday dish.  Once the cooking was finished, they enjoyed the japchae with steamed rice and kimchi.

Dr. Deukhee Gong heads the Korean Program in the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures at UTSA.

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Donohue-Bergeler Participates in German Teacher Conference

September 30, 2019

Dr. Devon Donohue-Bergeler co-presented “Coaching an Middle- und High-Schools in den USA: Ein Programm des Goethe-Instituts New York” at the GETVICO German Teacher Virtual Conference on Saturday, September 28, 2019.

In German, she discussed her experience coaching German teachers in pedagogical issues related to teaching German as a foreign language. The coaching program included 3 phases: 1) online consulting, usually about lesson planning or other pertinent issues; 2) in-person classroom observations and follow-up discussions; 3) continued support for pedagogical change and action research.

Both the coaching program and the virtual conference are free services supported by the Goethe Institute, which is funded by the German Federal Government.

Donohue-Bergeler is Senior Lecturer of German and coordinator of the German program at UTSA.

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Students Celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month

September 20, 2019

Students and faculty from the Modern Languages and Literatures Department celebrated Hispanic Heritage month at Calle UTSA this week. Students from Sigma Delta Pi, the Spanish Honor Society, and the Spanish Club were on hand to discuss their heritage with students and to give lessons in Spanish card games (baraja española).  Dr. Maria Cruz-Cruz, Spanish lecturer, provided entertainment, playing her guitar and singing songs in Spanish.

The event was organized by Lilian Cano, Piedad Flores, and Gilberta Turner, also Spanish lecturers at The University of Texas at San Antonio. 


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International Translation Day 2019

September 18, 2019

Mark your calendar for the International Translation Day event on September 30, 2019 in the UTSA Student Union's Travis Room 2.2.02.

This year's symposium will highlight the importance of effective translation and interpreting in our global community and is generously co-sponsored by Our Lady of the Lake University and Worldwide Languages. It will consist of a one-hour plenary address and a one-hour Spanish-language workshop for interpreters, as follows:

  • Keynote address: Public service interpreting in education and health services: What should Spain learn from the situation in the United States? Dr. Ana Isabel Foulquié Rubio, Lecturer, University of Murcia, Spain

  • Workshop (in Spanish): La traducción en el ámbito educativo: El español y sus registros, Alpha A. Martínez-Suárez, PhD Fellow, Culture, Language, and Literacy, University of Texas at San Antonio


  • Admission is free, however please "purchase" a ticket in order to reserve your seat. Please indicate when you register whether you will be attending both sessions or just one (the workshop is in Spanish).

  • Please be on time and calculate a bit more time to arrive, park, find the venue and register than you may be used to. 

  • Don't worry if you can't print your ticket or if you forget to bring it. Once you register, we know who you are!

  • There will be a separate sign-up sheet at the door for those attendees who would like to receive a certificate of attendance.

  • Please be advised that there is no free visitor parking on campus. We suggest the Ximenes Parking Lot or the Bauerle Parking Lot. You can plug them into your GPS or consult this campus map: For any doubts, please refer to UTSA's page on visitor parking at

  • Read down for more specific information about our presenters and the content of their talks. We are thrilled to offer this program and look forward to seeing you on September 30th!

Sponsored by the UTSA Department of Modern Languages and Literatures. Co-sponsored by Worldwide Languages and Our Lady of the Lake University. 

Admission is free but please reserve your seat prior to the event.  For more information, email Dr. Melissa Wallace or call 210-458-4373.


Additional Information

Dr. Ana-Isabel Foulquié-Rubio is a Lecturer at the University of Murcia. She holds a PhD in Translation and Interpreting in the field of Public Service Interpreting by the University of Murcia and a degree in Translation and Interpreting by the University of Granada. She holds a postgraduate in Aliens Law from the University of Granada and a Postgraduate in Intercultural Mediation by the University of Murcia. Since 2000 she has been a member of the GRETI research group (UGR). Since 2002 and until the end of 2018 she has combined her work as freelance translator and interpreter with lecturing in different universities such as the University of Ulster, the University of Alicante, and the University of Murcia. In 1999, she was appointed as a Sworn Translator by the Spanish Ministry of Foreign Affairs. She is also the Vice-president of APTIJ.

Keynote description:

Public service interpreting should be a must in some settings such as health and education services in order to grant citizens’ rights to understand and to be understood. However, linguistic presence in these settings depends heavily on policies at the country and even local levels. The result of this situation is that interpreting services in such settings are provided ad hoc by non-professional “interpreters”, usually relatives, friends, volunteers or “bilingual staff”. Therefore, non-majority language speakers are deprived of the right to understand and be understood. In settings such as education and health, this situation can lead to problems for non-Spanish speaking children and parents, and patients in the case of hospitals. Due to this de-professionalisation, there are no professional associations for public service interpreters. In this talk, the situation in Spain is presented and some comparisons with the state of affairs of public service interpreting in the United States are made.

Alpha A. Martínez-Suárez is a third year Ph.D. Fellow in the Culture, Language, and Literacy program at The University of Texas in San Antonio. She currently teaches Análisis Lingüístico y Bilingüismo (Language Analysis & Bilingualism)  to pre-service teachers at the College for Education and Human Development at UTSA. Martínez-Suárez is a two-time Academy for Teacher Excellence Presidential Distinguished Scholar awardee and two-time Who is Who in UTSA and Universities in the US awardee. She holds a B.H. in International Relations from the Universidad Autónoma de Tamaulipas in México and an MA in Bicultural and Bilingual Teaching Education, with honors. Her teaching experience includes English as a Foreign Language (EFL) and English as a Second Language (ESL), as well as Bilingual and Bicultural (BBL) settings both in private and public education in Mexico and the US. Her areas of research interest include social justice in education and the role of the teacher as a social justice advocate for historically marginalized populations as well as teacher education to pre-service teachers at Hispanic Serving Institutions (HSIs) and Minority Serving Institutions (MSIs institutions).

Workshop description (Note: this workshop is in Spanish)

En este taller, los participantes tendrán la oportunidad de aprender de las experiencias de la ponente como traductora de un distrito escolar del sur de Texas. Se tocarán temas como el registro en el idioma español al traducir una variedad de documentos que van desde manuales oficiales de procedimientos a nivel de distrito hasta cartas de comunicación entre las escuelas y los padres de familia. Diferentes aspectos del ejercicio traductorio serán incluidos en el taller desde temas lingüísticos y perspectivas en la selección de términos concretos para traducir conceptos y palabras claves hasta el activismo lingüístico-académico en la traducción, pros y contras, pasando por aspectos técnicos del negocio de la traducción tales como preguntas frecuentes de facturación, cómo hacer un estimado de traducción a servicios educativos, entre otros.

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Korean Tutoring Available

September 11, 2019

Tutoring for Korean students will be provided this semester by the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures in MH 3.01.05 during the following times:


Beginner students

  • Mondays, 2 - 4 pm

  • Tuesdays, 2 - 4 pm

  • Wednesdays, 12 - 2 pm

  • Friday, 12 - 2 pm

Intermediate students

  • Mondays, 3:30-4:40 pm

  • Wednesdays, 3:30-4:30 pm


For more information contact Dr. Deukhee Gong.

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Membrez Book on World Cinema Published

September 10, 2019

Memory in World Cinema: Critical Essays, edited by Dr. Nancy Membrez, has been published by McFarland & Company, Inc. and is now available for purchase

Drawn initially from presentations from a series of film conferences held at the University of Texas at San Antonio, this collection of essays covers multiple geographical, linguistic, and cultural areas worldwide, emphasizing the historical and cultural interpretation of films.

Included are works by Membrez as well as other UTSA Modern Languages and Literatures faculty, Dr. Melissa Wallace and Dr. Molly Zaldivar.

Membrez is an associate professor of Spanish literature, culture, and Spanish/Latin American film at the University of Texas at San Antonio and teaches film production. She edited two books on Eliseo Subiela's films, wrote the English subtitles for four Subiela films, and produced three featurettes for the Kino Lorber DVD/Blu-ray of Man Facing Southeast (Subiela, 1986). Her first feature film, Portrait in Sepia Tone, won Best Picture and Best Sound Track at the International Filmmakers Film Festival in Kent, England in 2008.

Discover more about media studies at UTSA.

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Teaching English in Japan Information Session

September 10, 2019

The Department of Modern Languages and Literatures will host a Teaching English in Japan information session from 12:00-12:50 p.m. on Thursday, September 12, 2019 in the Hidalgo Room (HUC 2.214) on UTSA’s main campus.  This information session is free and open to the public.

Alisa Tobin, JET Coordinator from the Japanese Consulate in Houston, will be on campus to introduce the Japan Exchange and Teaching (JET) Program.  The program is conducted by the Council of Local Authorities for International Relations with the combined efforts of the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology, and local government organizations.  It was created in 1987 and has gained an excellent reputation since.  

The goal of the JET Program is to promote cultural understanding between Japan and other countries.  To meet this goal, the program enhances foreign language studies in Japan and promotes international exchange.  

The JET program gives native English speakers the opportunity to teach English language and culture in Japan while simultaneously absorbing Japanese culture.  It is recommended that applicants be adaptable and have a strong interest in Japan and Japanese culture. This program is intended for those with a bachelor’s degree.  Two types of positions are available, both of which will be discussed during the information session.

The event is co-sponsored by the Consulate General of Japan in Houston and the UTSA Center for Professional Development.

For more information regarding the event, please contact Mimi Yu at 210.458.8558.

Discover more about the Japanese program at UTSA.

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Austrian Author Franzobel Visits UTSA

August 30, 2019

Franzobel | Image Credit: Georg Buxhofer/Paul Zsolnay Verlag

Franzobel | Image Credit: Georg Buxhofer/Paul Zsolnay Verlag

In “Das Floss der Medusa” (Zsolnay, 2017), the Austrian writer, Franzobel, re-tells the true story of one of the greatest disasters in seafaring history. Wrapped in a breathtaking novel, this is a story of suffering, moral, and human surviving that is as topical today as it was in the 19th century.

In cooperation with several universities in Florida, Texas, and Louisiana, the Austrian Cultural Forum New York presents a literary tour of the renowned and prolific Austrian author, offering an opportunity for talks and personal encounters with Franzobel, who is also undertaking research for his forthcoming historical novel.

On Wednesday, September 18 from 4-6pm in MH 3.01.28, Franzobel will facilitate a discussion (in English) about the current influx of migrants to Europe, the up-tick of right wing parties, and the parallels to his novel. He will also field questions from the audience in English and German.

Franzobel (*1967) is one of Austria‘s most popular and controversial writers. He is the recipient of numerous awards including the Ingeborg Bachmann Prize (1995), the Arthur Schnitzler Prize (2002) and the Nicolas Born Prize (2017). Zsolnay most recently published his novel Was die Männer so treiben, wenn die Frauen im Badezimmer sind (2012), the crime novels  Wiener Wunder (2014) and Groschens Grab (2015) and Das Floß der Medusa (2017), which was shortlisted for the German Book Prize 2017 and for which he was awarded  the Bavarian Book Prize.

This event is made possible through funding from the Austrian Cultural Forum New York and the UTSA Department of Modern Languages and Literatures.  Students of German, global affairs and other interested parties are welcome.  For more information, contact Dr. Devon Donohue-Bergeler.

BOOK SYNOPSIS: The Raft of Medusa
July 18, 1816, eleven o’clock in the morning: Off the West coast of Africa, the captain of the Argus spots a raft of about twenty meters in length. What he sees makes his blood run cold: hollow eyes, parched lips, hair stiff with salt, burned skin full of wounds and blisters … The emaciated, naked bodies that are the last 15 of the original 147-man group who have survived two weeks at sea after the sinking of the frigate Medusa.

This historical event, immortalized by the romantic painter Théodore Géricault’s oversized canvas painting, is the backdrop for Franzobel’s novel that explores the dark side of the human will to survive and the limits of civilization and humanity.

Discover more about the German program at UTSA.

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Apply by Sept. 6 for Mellon Humanities Fellowships

August 26, 2019

The Mellon Humanities Pathways Program is now accepting applications from undergraduate students who are interested in learning how to conduct research and plan for graduate studies.

September 6, 2019 is the application deadline.  The online process can be accessed from the UTSA Mexico Center's web site.

The UTSA fellows will be paired with a faculty mentor who is conducting research in the student’s area of interest. The mentors will work with the fellows one-on-one and share research and writing best practices.  

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Oleszkiewicz-Peralba Research in Crete

August 15, 2019

During the summer of 2019, Dr. Malgorzata Oleszkiewicz-Peralba travelled to the island of Crete, Greece, to present her paper “Symbolism and Mythology of Eurasia and the Americas: Manifestations in Artifacts and Rituals,” at the 22ndCongress of the Mediterranean Studies Association, at the University of Crete, Rethymnon.

The topic of her paper was related to Dr. Oleszkiewicz-Peralba’s new book manuscript by the same title. The work examines commonalities and continuity of a cohesive system of feminine symbols and patterns from Neolithic Eurasia that subsists in popular imagery of various cultures until today. This becomes evident during the analysis of popular art, mythology, and rituals of Eastern Europe and of Indigenous Americas.

While in Crete , Dr. Oleszkiewicz-Peralba continued her research in various museums and archeological sites in Rethymnon, Heraklion, Chania, Aptera, Phaistos, Knossos, and Malia, among others. She will be including her recent findings in her book and in her classes.



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Chappell editor of Hispanic Studies Review

May 9, 2019

Dr. Whitney Chappell, UTSA Assistant Professor of Hispanic Linguistics, has been invited to serve as the Associate Editor of linguistics for Hispanic Studies Review, an international, peer-reviewed, and open-access journal published by the College of Charleston’s Department of Hispanic Studies. The journal is well known for its innovative dialogues and interdisciplinary approach, publishing articles on applied and theoretical linguistics, cultural studies, and literature. In her new role, Chappell will oversee all linguistics submissions to the journal, which will contribute to an understanding of the intersection of language and society in the Spanish-speaking world.

The Department of Modern Languages and Literatures offers an undergraduate minor in linguistics and a graduate certificate in linguistics.

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UTSA student wins scholarship to study in Taiwan

April 30, 2019

Scholarship winner Aramis Babcock and Dr. Ward

Scholarship winner Aramis Babcock and Dr. Ward

UTSA student Aramis Babcock has received 2019 Huayu Enrichment Scholarship (HES) from the Ministry of Education of Taiwan.

Babcock is a sophomore majoring in Cyber Security at UTSA who is currently taking intermediate level Chinese courses under the tutelage of Dr. Liang Ward.  Beginning in the Fall 2020 semester, UTSA students will be able to major in Modern Langauge Studies or minor in Foreign Languages with a concentration in Chinese.

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Faculty reach out to K-12 students

April 30, 2019

Two UTSA language instructors have been volunteering their free time to visit local high schools and participate in student events.  Michael Rushforth (Spanish) and Isabelle Hall (French) were guest speakers at the French and Spanish honor society induction ceremony at Taft High School. UTSA Alumnus Nathalie Laborde-Martin teaches French there and initiated the collaboration, which is planned to continue and expand.

In a visit to McDermott Elmentary School during Multicultural Day, Isabelle Hall gave a well received presentation on French culture to second and fourth graders, which included information about Paris, French food, and French-English cognates.

The Department of Modern Languages offers two bachelor of arts degrees: one in Spanish and one in Modern Language Studies which can include a concentration in French.

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Arrowsmith receives Modern Languages Scholarship

April 29, 2019

UTSA Spanish major Michael Arrowsmith is the recipient of the Modern Languages Endowed Scholarship for 2019.  He graduated from high school in Laredo and after serving in the U.S. Army decided to attend college where he is studying Spanish and Kinesiology. His career goals are to teach Spanish or be an interpreter.

Arrowsmith loves to travel and plans to visit every Spanish-speaking country.

About the UTSA Spanish faculty, Arrowsmith says, "Dr. Chappell and Dr. Himelblau are amazing. Their energy and enthusiasm for their respective fields has continually inspired me to learn more."

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Chappell Receives Fulbright Award

April 29, 2019

Dr. Whitney Chappell, assistant professor of Hispanic linguistics at UTSA, has been selected as a Fulbright Scholar. Chappell will be conducting research in Spain during the Fall 2019 semester, working collaboratively with international partners in educational, political, cultural, economic, and scientific fields.

The U.S. Fulbright Scholar Program offers nearly 470 teaching, research or combination teaching/research awards in over 125 countries. 

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Honsalek wins scholarship

April 29, 2019

Elizabeth (Libby) Honsalek, a senior psychology major and Spanish minor, is the recipient of the 2019 Centro Cultural Cubano endowed scholarship. 

Originally from Dallas, Honsalek has served on the UTSA Student Government Association, was a co-founder of the UTSA Human Trafficking Awareness organization, worked with the Blue Ribbon Task Force, and received the University Life Award for Most Outstanding Junior in 2018.

Her future plans include pursuing a law degree, becoming a judge, and opening a treatment center for abused children.

The Centro Cultural Cubano organization promotes Cuba and Cuban culture in the United States.

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Dr. Fukuda on panel at Japan-Texas Leadership event

April 29, 2019

Dr. Makiko Fukuda served as a panelist at the recent Japan-Texas Leadership symposium held at the Henry B. Gonzalez convention center in San Antonio.  The panel addressed “Education and the value of Japanese culture and language to the U.S. Audience”.

The Japan-Texas Symposium is a program of Sister Cities International in partnership with the Koyamada International (KIF) Foundation, hosted by the City of San Antonio, and supported by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan.

Fukuda is senior lecturer and coordinator of the Japanese program in the UTSA Department of Modern Languages and Literatures.

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UTSA students win Japanese Video Contest

April 29, 2019

First prize winners Sarah Moon and Alani Hall with their faculty mentor, Mimi Yu

First prize winners Sarah Moon and Alani Hall with their faculty mentor, Mimi Yu

UTSA students took the top three prizes in at the recent 6th Annual Japanese Video Contest, which featured films made in the Japanese language by both high school and college students.

  • First place – Momohanako, by Sarah Moon, Alani Hall, Elexa Moore, and Christine Martinez

  • Second place – Why is Japan Great?, by Benjamin La Guardia, Logan Ulabarro, Chloe Palmer, Kimberly Casanova, and Jessica Lim

  • Third place – Famous Dream, by Kirby Shanklin, Drew Mausolf, Jayla Vicks, Andrew Espronceda, and Madeleine Toro

The event was sponsored by the UTSA East Asian Institute, the Japan Foundation, the Japan-America Society of San Antonio, and the UTSA Department of Modern Languages and Literatures. The judges were Noriko Baxter, Ian Cruz, Rieko Johnson, Fahad Khan, and Rudy Alba.

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Student selected to teach in Japan

April 29, 2019

UTSA student Wesley Van Fredenberg has been selected by the Japan Exchange and Teaching (JET) program to teach English in Japan.  A psychology major, Van Fredenberg has taken two years of Japanese at UTSA under the tutelage of Mimi Yu and Makiko Fukuda.

The JET Program is a highly competitive employment opportunity that allows young professionals to live and work in cities, towns, and villages throughout Japan. Being a JET is an opportunity to work and to represent the United States as cultural ambassadors to Japan. 

Van Fredenberg will depart for Japan in July for a one- to five-year teaching assignment in a private or public school.

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New Spanish courses for native and heritage speakers

April 23, 2019

Two new classes on the schedule for Fall 2019 are specifically geared toward native Spanish speakers and heritage Spanish speakers. Both are four credit-hour classes and meet only one day per week:

  • SPN 1014.010 23720, taught by Ms. Granados-Hinojosa, meets on Fridays at 9 a.m. It is a core curriculum course designed for native or near-native speakers of Spanish.

  • SPN 1014.013 10417, taught by Ms. Cano, meets on Fridays at 11 a.m.  It is also a core curriculum course and it is designed for heritage speakers (those who grew up with Spanish spoken around them but consider English to be their dominant language).

Use this link to enroll in either of these classes

For more information, please contact 210-458-4377.

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Grad student presents at Lisbon conference

April 12, 2019

Kenneth Bond, a UTSA graduate student in the Spanish masters program, presented his research on code switching between Spanish and English at the recently held VIII Jornadas Internacionales de la Linguistica Hispanica in Lisbon, Portugal, April 1-3, 2019. As a first time presenter, he was invited to several upcoming Spanish linguistics conferences.


Bond is a Teaching Assistant in the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures.  In addition to the M.A. program, he is enrolled in the Translation and Interpreting Studies and Linguistics graduate certificate programs.

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Student wins 2nd place in statewide Japanese speech contest

March 26, 2019

Blake Trumble, a modern language studies major, took the second place prize at the March 23 Japanese Language Speech Contest in Houston. Trumble's speech on artificial intelligence also garnered him a $300 scholarship.


Originally from Granbury, Texas, Trumble fell in love with Japan when he was selected for an exchange program called Kizuna (bond) following the 2011 earthquake and tsunami.  He has visited two other times since then and wants to live there after he graduates. At UTSA he is studying Japanese and minoring in East Asian studies to prepare for a career in the translation and interpreting industry.


UTSA students participate in the speech contest, sponsored by the Japanese America Society, every year.   Trumble is a student of Dr. Makiko Fukuda, the coordinator of the UTSA Japanese program.

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Hispanic author joins UTSA Modern Languages faculty

March 25, 2019

Dr. Isaura Contreras Rios will be joining the faculty of the UTSA Department of Modern Languages and Literatures this fall as assistant professor of Latin American Literature and Culture.  Contreras Rios  received her M.A. from Universidad Nacional  Autónoma de México (UNAM) in 2011 and her PhD from UCLA in 2017.  She comes to UTSA from Earlham College where she was an assistant professor.

At UTSA Contreras Rios will be teaching Spanish literature and culture courses at the undergraduate and graduate levels.  

She is also the author of the short novel La casa al fin de los días (2007) and the children’s book Un día en Kilimaján (2012). In 2010 she won the Premio Nacional de Novela Breve Rosario Castellanos with the novel Cosecha de Verano (CONECULTA).

The Department of Modern Languages and Literatures offers a B.A. in Spanish, a minor in Spanish, an M.A. in Spanish, and a graduate certificate in Translation and Interpreting Studies.

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Linguist joins UTSA Faculty

March 11, 2019

Dr. Pablo Requena, a linguist from the University of Montana, will be moving south this summer to join the faculty of the UTSA Department of Modern Languages as an assistant professor of Hispanic linguistics.  

Requena completed his undergraduate degree at the National University of Córdoba, Argentina, and an M.A and Ph.D. in Spanish with Dual Title in Language Science at The Pennsylvania State University.  His research focuses on how children acquire adult-like use of their community language/s. In particular, he is interested in how monolingual and bilingual children acquire aspects of Spanish morphosyntax such as aspectual or mood distinctions, case marking, and morphosyntactic variation. 

Requena previousy taught at the University of Montana, Pennsylvannia State University, and Universidad Nacional de Córdoba.  At UTSA he will be teaching Spanish and linguistics courses at the graduate and undergraduate levels, as well as continuing his research agenda.

The Department of Modern Languages and Literatures at UTSA offers a minor in linguistics and a graduate certificate in linguistics.

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Students visit Latin American Art exhibit at the McNay

March 11, 2019

On Thursday, March 7, students from Dr. Malgorzata Oleszkiewicz-Peralba’s class, SPN 3623 Latin American Culture and Civilization, visited the exhibit Estampas Chicanas at the McNay Art Museum, and attended the related lecture “Resistance and Affirmation” by the renowned Los Angeles-based Chicana muralist and educator, Judy Baca. Several of her paintings were on view at the exhibit. This visit was a fascinating and inspiring experience for the entire class.


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Linguistics Students Hold Academic Mini-Conference

March 8, 2019

Linguistics students present posters in class

Linguistics students present posters in class

Students in Dr. Whitney Chappell's Sociolinguistics class participated in an academic mini-conference on Tuesday, March 5th, sharing the results of their linguistic experiments in poster presentations. The students followed William Labov’s famous 1966 methodology in which Rapid and Anonymous Surveys were conducted in public places, and the responses of different age groups, genders, and social classes were recorded. Such an approach allows for correlations to be drawn between linguistic and social variation.

Students explored how UTSA students pronounce the word “garage,” which social groups are more likely to produce “going to” or “gonna,” and how social class is related to the use of double negatives, among many other topics. Congratulations to UTSA’s sociolinguists for their hard work on this project.

The Department of Modern Languages and Literatures at UTSA offers a minor in linguistics and a graduate certificate in linguistics.

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UTSA Students win 1st, 2nd, & 3rd in Japanese speech contest

February 26, 2019

UTSA students took the top three  prizes in the recent Japanese Speech Contest in San Antonio.  Daniel Trumble, Han Ji Yeon, and Kirby Shanklin won first, second, and third prizes, respectively, in the college division at the event.  All are students of Dr. Makiko Fukuda, Senior Lecturer and coordinator of the Japanese program in the UTSA Department of Modern Languages and literatures.  Trumble and Yeon will compete in the state competition in Houston in March.

The event was sponsored by the Japanese America Society of San Antonio.

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Bond invited to Nida School of Translation Studies

February 26, 2019

Kenneth Bond, a graduate student in the UTSA Spanish M.A. program, has been selected to attend the Nida School of Translation Studies summer program.


The Nida School of Translation Studies is a prestigious institute dedicated to translation and interpretation theory and practice. It offers a yearly instruction session to assist students in furthering their research in the translation and interpretation fields.


Bond applied to this year's session concerning interpreters and interpretation in war/conflict zones. His recent research in this field deals with Iraqi interpreters during the second Gulf War and the challenges they faced there.


Bond teaches Spanish as a Teaching Assistant 2 for the UTSA Department of Modern Languages and Literatures. In addition, he is a fulltime Spanish instructor at CACI and retired from the U.S. Air Force after 21 years of service as a cryptologic language analyst.

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UTSA Students win Japanese Art Contest

February 18, 2019

UTSA students Marshall Goldsmith, Kayla Byrd, and Cary Inzerello

UTSA students Marshall Goldsmith, Kayla Byrd, and Cary Inzerello

UTSA students recently participated in the 2019 “Year of the Boar” AATJ NENGAJO contest hosted by the American Association of Teachers of Japanese (AATJ). The contest revolved around creating a drawing of a boar, with several categories including artistic, comical, original and computer graphics. The contest went from the lower grades such as elementary school all the way up to college. There were “758 cards submitted by 126 teachers across the United States” according to an official release by the AATJ.

Winners selected through a blind decision, meaning the judges had no idea from which schools or universities the art was coming from.

UTSA students Cary Inzerello and Marshall Goldsmith won first and second place respectively in the computer graphics category. Another UTSA student, Kayla Byrd, also received an honorable mention for her art. Kayla Byrd had this to say about her art. “I based my art off of Kagami mochi which I learned was a traditional decoration, so since it is the year of the boar I wanted to put a happy boar family taking the place of the Kagami mochi with the baby being the orange on top.”


Kayla Byrd, Honorable Mention


Marshall Goldsmith, Computer Graphics


Cary Inzerello, Computer Graphics

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Comanches in the Texas Hill Country Presentation by Wickham & Gelo

February 12, 2019

On Saturday, Feb.9, 2019, Dr. Christopher Wickham, Dept. of Modern Languages and Literatures (German), and Dr. Daniel Gelo, Dept. of Anthropology, delivered their presentation “Comanches and Germans on the Texas Frontier” at the Falls on the Colorado Museum in Marble Falls, Texas. Dr. Wickham and Dr. Gelo spoke to an overflow audience of around 75 about the 1851 German publication of the first Comanche dictionary, and its background story of German settlement, Comanche language and culture, treaty making and hostage taking in the Texas Hill Country. Their findings are published in the book Comanches and Germans on the Texas Frontier: The Ethnology of Heinrich Berghaus (Texas A&M Univ. Press, 2018).


Photo by Gabrielle Gelo

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Rushforth Receives VR Grant

December 20, 2018

Dr. Michael Rushforth, UTSA Senior Lecturer in Spanish, has been awarded a $12,600 grant from the UTSA Office of Information Technology to research the effectiveness of using virtual reality (VR) in the classroom.  The grant will fund virtual reality headsets for the department computer lab that students will use for culture-focused assignments in their introductory Spanish classes, allowing them to take virtual tours of culturally significant sites in Spanish-speaking countries, such as El Zócalo in Mexico City, El Escorial in Spain, and La Plaza de Mayo in Argentina.  Students will be assigned pre and post reading and writing activities that will guide them to use their language skills at the same time they are gaining a greater understanding of what those sites mean in the broader culture of their home countries.

Rushforth also hopes to explore other applications of VR that are emerging in the area of language instruction -- simulated conversation partners, immersive training environments for interpreters, etc. Having the equipment in place will allow the UTSA Department of Modern Languages and Literatures to be at the forefront of developing innovative programs for language learning.

Students in Rushforth's introductory Spanish classes have been experimenting with virtual reality for several years.  His classroom was featured on Kens5 News and UTSA Today in the spring of 2017.

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Chappell Elected as MLA Delegate

December 20, 2018

Dr. Whitney Chappell, UTSA Assistant Professor of Hispanic Linguistics, has been elected to the Modern Language Association (MLA) Delegate Assembly for a three-year term.  Chappell is one of nine scholars representing Language Studies and Linguistics in the organization.

The MLA is a leading advocate for the study and teaching of languages and literatures and serves as a clearinghouse for professional resources for teachers and scholars. 

Dr. Chappell is a Hispanic linguist,specializing in sociophonetic variation across monolingual and bilingual dialects of Spanish and languages in contact with Spanish. Her research sheds light on how different phonetic realizations are used to encode meaning and negotiate identity within a broader social setting, contributing to our understanding of sociolinguistics, phonetics, and dialectology.  She is the advisor for the UTSA Graduate Certificate in Linguistics program.

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Students Visit Spanish Painting Exhibition

November 12, 2018

Students in Dr. Nancy Membrez’s Spanish Civilization class (SPN 3613) recently visited the “Spain: 500 Years of Spanish Painting from the Museums of Madrid” exhibition at the San Antonio Museum of Art. Students picked their favorite painting, took a selfie, and wrote a thoughtful essay on their experience. A good time was had by all.

“Spain: 500 Years of Spanish Painting from the Museums of Madrid” featured works by El Greco, Diego Velázquez, Bartolomé Esteban Murillo, Jusepe de Ribera, Francisco de Goya y Lucientes, Joaquín Sorolla y Bastida, and Pablo Picasso, and was organized in celebration of San Antonio’s 300th anniversary.


Learn more about the Spanish Program at UTSA

Learn more about the Spanish Club at UTSA





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Humanidades Hispánicas Book Now Available

September 6, 2018

Humanidades Hispánicas: Lengua, Cultura y Literatura en los Estudios Graduados, a new book designed for graduate students of Hispanic language, culture, and literature is now available on

Edited by Professor Emeritus Dr. Francisco Marcos-Marín, the volume has 12 contributors, five of whom are UTSA Department of Modern Languages and Literatures faculty: Dr. Melissa Wallace, Dr. Nancy Membrez, Dr. Whitney Chappell, and Dr. Santiago Daydi-Tolson.

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Donohue-Bergeler Heads German Program

September 6, 2018

UTSA’s newest senior lecturer of German, Dr. Devon Donohue-Bergeler, brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures.  

After growing up in Dallas, Texas, Donohue-Bergeler studied German language and literature at Boston university. Post-Graduation, she supported U.S. study abroad participants and completed her M.A. at the Technische Universität Dresden with a focus on teaching German as a foreign language. She then complete a traineeship at the European Parliament in Luxembourg and an administrative job at the Universität Hamburg.  

Following that, Donohue-Bergeler made her way back to Texas to complete her Ph.D. in Foreign Language Education at the University of Texas in Austin. Her time spent teaching in the Department of Germanic Studies served as inspiration for her dissertation work.  

“I developed and implemented a semester-long professional development opportunity in drama-based pedagogy aimed towards graduate student instructors teaching German in the collegiate lower-division curriculum,” Donohue-Bergeler said.  

Finding herself back in the area, Professor Donohue-Bergeler made the decision to come to UTSA, which was easy for more ways than one.  

“I landed in the central Texas area and I wanted to stay. I did my Ph.D at the University of Texas at Austin so I’m excited to stay in the UT system, but I’m also excited to get to know a new study body,” said Donohue Bergeler. “I feel the diversity here, the stories, the backgrounds that students are coming from is really inspiring.” 

Donohue-Bergeler hopes to provide an environment that inspires growth by learning from mistakes. That is something the professor stresses to everyone, no matter the class.  

“I want to foster an atmosphere that feels safe where students can try things out, where they can speak without being afraid of making mistakes,” said Donohue Bergeler. “ I try to share my own mistakes as a way of learning to provide a model that you don't have to be perfect. Growth happens when you put effort in and you’re making a sincere effort.” 

Isaiah Alonzo 


Learn more about the German Program at UTSA 

Learn more about the German Club at UTSA

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Human Trafficking to be Explored at ITD 2018

September 5, 2018

For the fourth year in a row, the UTSA Department of Modern Languages and Literatures will host an International Translation Day colloquium in order to highlight the importance of effective translation and interpreting in our global community. 

This year’s conference will focus on how language disparities affect already vulnerable individuals (victims of human trafficking and sexual assault, victims of gang violence, and unaccompanied minors) as they navigate healthcare and justice systems. 

Morning session:

10 am

  • A workshop for practicing interpreters and interested community members entitled “Human Trafficking and Sexual Assault in a Healthcare Setting: Best Practices for Identification and Intervention” by Manuel Higginbotham, President of the Texas Association of Healthcare Interpreters and Translators (1.5 CCHI hours)

11:45 am

  • "Interpreting for Victims of Gang Violence in Central America” a workshop by Janis Palma, federally-certified judiciary interpreter.   

Afternoon session:

12:45 pm 

  • Welcome by Dr. Nathan Richardson, Chair, UTSA Department of Modern Languages and Literatures; opening remarks by Dr. Melissa Wallace, UTSA Assistant Professor of Translation and Interpreting Studies

1 pm

  • Keynote Address by Ludmila Golovine, CEO of MasterWord Services, “Interpreting for the Vulnerable: Language Access and Cultural Mediation for Survivors of Human Trafficking”, keynote speaker (1 CCHI hour) 

  • Ineffective and Inaccessible: A Closer Look at Language Access for Unaccompanied Children in the U.S. Immigration System,” by attorney Carlos Iván Hernández and Katherine McCoy, both who work on the frontlines with unaccompanied minors on the border

3:30 pm

  • Door prizes, closing remarks

Where noted, the sessions are already pre-approved for  continuing education credits by the Certification Commission for Healthcare Interpreters (CCHI). 

The colloquium will take place on Saturday, September 29th, and will run from 10 am to 4 pm in Ballroom 2 - HSU 1.104 (Student Union).  The event is free and open to the public but reservations are required and can be made online via Ticket Tailor.  In addition, a box lunch can be purchased for $10. 

Parking is available free at any surface space  marked A, B, or C. (Note: do not park in green reserved spaces). Please see the UTSA  campus map for more information. 

International Translation Day 2018  is organized by the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures  and is co-sponsored by  MasterWord ServicesWorldwide LanguagesUTSA Department of Kinesiology, Health, and NutritionUTSA Mexico CenterUTSA Institute for Health Disparities Research; and the UTSA Child and Adolescent Policy Research Institute (CAPRI).


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Richardson New Head of Department

August 23, 2018

Dr. Nathan Richardson has joined UTSA as Chair of the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures and Professor of Spanish.  Richardson comes to UTSA from Bowling Green State University in Bowling Green, Ohio where he taught Spanish and served as Chair of the Department of Romance and Classical Studies. He holds a PhD from the University of Kansas and an MA from Brigham Young University.

Richardson is author of Constructing Spain: the Re-Imagination of Space and Place in Narrative and Film 1953-2003 and Postmodern Paletos: Immigration, Globalization, and Nation Building in Fifty Years of Spanish Narrative and Film, as well as numerous journal articles.

The UTSA Department of Modern Languages and Literatures offers B.A. degrees in Spanish and Modern Languages Studies and minors in French, German, Japanese, Russian, and East Asian Studies.  Graduate programs include a Master of Arts in Spanish, a certificate in Linguistics, and a certificate in Translation and Interpreting Studies.

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World Affairs Internship Program

August 23, 2018

The World Affairs Council of San Antonio (WACA) is now accepting applications for its fall intership program.


WACA is an educational nonprofit that seeks to enhance the international educational offerings that exist in the city of San Antonio. This is done through a number of efforts, including programming, educational outreach, and community engagement to “bring the world to San Antonio and San Antonio to the world.” The organization hosts interns from area universities during Spring, Summer, and Fall terms. The internships are great for students interested in international affairs or international business, the humanities, non-profit management, development, marketing and communications, and linguistics. 

Interns within this program are placed on one of four main tracks, based on their aptitude and interest in particular areas:  

  • Education: assist with educational outreach, organization of high school and college programming, and work with educators to bring international education to San Antonio students.

  • Development: assist with fundraising, grant writing, and donor relations.

  • Communications/Marketing/Public Relations: digital & print, website, social media

  • Programs: research, planning & logistics including Young Professionals and General Programming.

To apply, students will need to submit a resume, cover letter, and 2-3 references. There is no deadline to apply—applications are received until positions are filled—but it is highly recommended that any interested students apply as soon as possible, as the program tends to fil up quickly.

For more information, contact Olivia Morales Gomez, visit the World Affairs Council of San Antonio web site, or call  210-683-7632. 

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Oleszkiewicz-Peralba Speaks at LASA

August 17, 2018

In May 2018, Dr. Malgorzata Oleszkiewicz-Peralba delivered a paper on Brazilian female tricksters at the International Congress of the Latin American Studies Association  (LASA) in Barcelona, Spain. Her paper was part of the panel “Brazilian Cultural Heritage: Traffickers and Tricksters”. She then spent three weeks conducting research on feminine images and symbols in various locations of Spain and Portugal.

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Moran Receives PhD from Birmingham Univ

July 26, 2018

Linda Moran, an alumna who received her MA in Spanish from UTSA, is now the recipient of a PhD from the University of Birmingham in the United Kingdom.  


Moran has taught in Texas and Arkansas and currently is an assistant professor of Spanish and program coordinator at Freed-Hardeman University in Henderson, Tennessee.  At UTSA she was a graduate research assistant for Dr. Malgorzata Oleszkiewicz-Peralba.

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Daydi-Tolson to Read from New Book

May 22, 2018

Emeritus Professor of Modern Languages and Literatures, Santiago Daydi-Tolson will be reading from his most recent non academic book, El cuaderno de don Baruj (ALJA Ediciones), a collection of brief prose texts of a meditative, lyrical character with some anecdotical narration and dialogue involving the figure of don Baruj, and old ironic wise observer of people and the world.


The presentation and reading, followed by a period of questions and answers, will take place at UNAM in San Antonio's Hemisphere Park on Thursday, May 24 at 6:30 p.m.  

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Juarez Wins Endowed Scholarship

May 21, 2018

Ana María Juarez, a senior Spanish major at UTSA, has been awarded the Centro Cultural Cubano Endowed Scholarship for the 2017-18 academic year.  A native of Mexico, Juarez  eventually plans to become a Spanish teacher to "transform young minds and hearts into passionate learners."  After she graduates with her bachelor's degree next fall, she will continue in a master's program either in Spanish or education.


Juarez's record of service at UTSA includes many hours of volunteer tutoring and serving as vice president of Sigma Delta Pi, the Spanish honor society, as well as membership in the Spanish Club and National Society of Leadership and Success (NSLS).


Her enthusiasm for studying the Spanish language and culture, her academic success at UTSA, and her leadership qualities have made her an excellent role model for other students.  

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Spanish MA Graduate Fellowships Available

May 17, 2018

The Department of Modern Languages announced today that the College of Liberal and Fine Arts (COLFA) has made it possible to award two Dean’s Fellowships, in the amount of $2,500 each, to two of the most outstanding new applicants to the master’s degree in Spanish.

In order to be eligible for consideration, graduate students must be officially admitted to the MA program and must be enrolled in two graduate-level courses for the fall 2018 semester. The Graduate Studies Committee will review the applications of all eligible incoming graduate students and will select the fellowship recipients based on the strength of their applications, with special emphasis on students’ personal statement, letters of recommendation, and potential to develop as researchers in literary studies, cultural studies, or linguistics. No additional application is necessary.

Applicants may apply online by the June 15th deadline at

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Love of Language Fuels Translation & Interpreting Career for Grad Student

April 19, 2018

UTSA Graduate Student Layla Zamora is carving out her own niche in the growing translation and interpreting field by using her Spanish and English language skills to more effectively help patients, caregivers, physicians, nurses, other healthcare workers, social workers, and the various departments at WellMed Medical Management Group in San Antonio communicate.

A native of Laredo, Texas, Zamora spent much of her early childhood there and in Nuevo Laredo, Tamaulipas, Mexico, before she moved to San Antonio with her family at the age of seven. Her bilingual and bicultural upbringing helped fuel her fascination to understand the complexities of human speech and language and their relationship to translation and interpreting.

“There is so much to contemplate beyond simply looking up words in a bilingual dictionary—such as context, nuance, register, dialect, cultural norms, and cultural idiosyncrasies,” she points out.

At WellMed, a physician-led health care delivery system serving more than 320,000 older adults in Texas and Florida, Zamora translates various types of documents, phrases, and texts; researches medical codes and acronyms; proofreads, and edits for the other translators on the team; and conducts English-Spanish interpretations over the phone. She knows how important it is to translate and interpret by choosing the correct words, especially when someone’s health is at stake.

The skills she acquired from the UTSA Spanish Translation and Interpreting Studies Certificate program that she completed in 2016 are being put to good use. She is currently working on a M.A. in Spanish and enrolled in the newly created Linguistics Certificate program at UTSA. In addition, Zamora is a member of the American Translators Association which helps her stay current on developments and innovations in translation and interpreting across many industries.

“It’s important to have skilled translators that possess command of both languages doing the work. Translation software and applications in isolation lack the ability to create authentic, relevant, meaningful translations that express the complete, intended, culturally appropriate message,” said Zamora.

In addition to her work in the medical management field, Zamora has an entrepreneurial side and now has a small business offering English-Spanish translation and interpreting services. 

“People’s lives are sincerely impacted by the translation and interpretation services they have access to,” Zamora said. 

Zamora articulated that this is evident not only in the healthcare field, but also in the judicial system for the protection of basic human rights as adequate language access is a human rights issue given the migratory, intercultural world we live in.


Learn more about the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures

Learn more about the Spanish Translation and Interpreting Studies Graduate Certificate program at UTSA

Learn more about the Graduate Certificate in Linguistics at UTSA

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UTSA Student Wins Scholarship To Study in Russia

April 13, 2018

Maltseva (left), Kerfai, Nummikoski

Maltseva (left), Kerfai, Nummikoski

Born and raised in Tunis, Tunisia, Mariam Kerfai moved to San Antonio five years ago. Since then, her passion for languages has earned her the fully funded Critical Language Scholarship (CLS) program as part of the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. Kerfai will be attending the KORA Russian Language Center in Vladimir, Russia during the Summer of 2018.

Though Kerfai is fluent in Arabic and French, she wanted to add an additional foreign language to her studies. Russian was presented to her as an option and in the Fall of 2015, Kerfai formally began studying Russian at UTSA with Ms. Anastasia Maltseva, Lecturer 1 of Russian. She continued perfecting the language in the Spring 2016 with Dr. Marita Nummikoski, Director of Undergraduate Language Programs and Associate Professor of Russian.

“Mariam’s perseverance to master everything quickly and efficiently has led to this opportunity,” Maltseva said. “This experience will be yet another challenge she will so effortlessly conquer.”

The CLS program offers a full language and cultural immersion to students through intensive language instruction and structured cultural enrichment experiences. Additionally, CLS plays an important role in preparing students for the 21st century's globalized workforce and increasing national competitiveness.

“I look forward to a positive, enriching experience by establishing friendships with my host family, language partner, and other peers with the same aspirations as me,” expressed Kerfai. “Most of all, I am eager to improve my linguistic skills and gain deeper cultural knowledge of Russian society.”

Kerfai hopes to use this experience to expand her career goals of becoming an international translator or interpreter.

The Modern Language Studies major and Business Administration minor is set to graduate in the Fall of 2018 and hopes to begin her career in the Peace Corps serving in Armenia as a TEFL Volunteer.


-Andrea Avalos


Connect with The Department of Modern Languages and Literatures on Facebook.

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Chappell Speaks at International Conference

April 11, 2018

Dr. Whitney Chappell recently presented her research at the International Workshop on Spanish Sociolinguistics, held at Queens College in New York. Her presentation, entitled “Mexican listeners’ evaluations of [v] in native, heritage, and L2 speech”, showed that Mexican listeners perceive [v], e.g. [v]ino, as a hyperarticulation strategy evaluated positively in women’s speech and negatively in men’s speech. Additionally, she shows that Mexican listeners’ negative attitudes towards heritage speech are apparent after a single sentence, highlighting the linguistic discrimination faced by many bilinguals in the United States.

Chappell is Assistant Professor of Hispanic Linguistics at UTSA and the advisor for the Graduate Certificate in Linguistics. She specializes in sociophonetic variation across monolingual and bilingual dialects of Spanish and languages in contact with Spanish. Her research sheds light on how different phonetic realizations are used to encode meaning and negotiate identity within a broader social setting, contributing to our understanding of sociolinguistics, phonetics, and dialectology.  

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Media Students Win Big at COLFA Conference

April 10, 2018

UTSA students J. Matthew Góngora and Olivia Wood won first and second prize respectively at the recent COLFA 18th Annual Spring Research Conference.  Both entered original films in the Digital Media category moderated by Dr. Seok Kang.


Góngora's entry, A Word With An Artist, is a documentary and Wood's Date Night is a thriller.  They are studying Digital Video Production under the direction of Dr. Nancy Membrez in the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures.

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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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Scholarship Winners Heading to France

April 6, 2018

UTSA students Crystal Hernandez and Jonathan Riojas will have a little more spending money in their pockets when they visit France this summer.  Both were recipients of Modern Languages & Literatures Department academic scholarships.


Hernandez and Riojas are both modern language studies majors and plan to study in France this summer with the department's faculty-led program headed up by Mde. Isabelle Hall, Lecturer 2 in French.  The students will spend five weeks studying the French language in Annecy, located in the French Alps, and an additional week exploring Paris and the surrounding areas. 


Last summer Hernandez was able to study abroad in Costa Rica, which she remembers as a mind opening experience.  "Being raised in a Mexican household, I didn't realize that there is more to Latin America," she said, "...I truly feel that I now know more of myself." 


After UTSA, Hernandez plans to go to graduate school and study sociolinguistics.  She recently presented her research findings at the COLFA Undergraduate Research Conference, an impressive accomplishment for a young scholar.  "It is obvious to anyone who knows Crystal that she is very passionate about foreign languages and cultures," says Dr. Whitney Chappell, Assistant Professor of Spanish Linguistics at UTSA.  


In addition to the French language, Riojas loves French literature and culture, which he plans to study in graduate school.  According to Mde. Hall, "Jonathan is very dedicated to his studies and has a passion for the Middle Ages."  She expects his trip to France to help soothe his thirst for knowledge as he visits medieval castles, churches, and libraries. 


Riojas is currently serving as the secretary of the UTSA French club and is described as reliablle, helpful, polite, and accomplished. "I have seen him help other students with their homework outside of class," Hall said.

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Grad Student Presents Research at UA Conference

February 14, 2018

Amber Aubone Crawford, a graduate student in the Linguistics Certificate program, presented "The Devil’s in the Details – A Sociolinguistic Explanation of Failed Integration of National and Rebel Forces in the Democratic Republic of Congo" at the University of Alabama Language Conference in Tuscaloosa.

Crawford's paper addressed why military integration as a form of peacebuilding in post-conflict, multilingual societies is less likely to be fully implemented than in less linguistically diverse, post-conflict societies, examining the case in the Democratic Republic of Congo from a sociolinguistic perspective. The implications of the study highlight the importance of sociolinguistic theory and empirical studies for peacebuilding theory and practice.

In addition to her studies and research, Crawford is also a Teaching Assistant II in the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures, teaching SPN 1014.

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French Tutoring Sessions

February 13, 2018

For the Spring 2018 semester, tutoring in French is available for UTSA students on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 2 to 4pm.

Tutoring sessions are held in the McKinney Humanities Building (MH) room 3.01.05.  Mariam Kerfai, senior Modern Language Studies major, provides instruction which will be based on availability (first-come, first-served).  Email her ahead of time at to pick a slot and inform her of what you would like to review (if you have a book or a hand out, bring it too). Also, feel free to contact her with any questions you may have as well.

For more information, call 210-458-4373.

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Dr. Oleszkiewicz-Peralba’s Book Available in Paperback

February 13, 2018

Dr. Małgorzata Oleszkiewicz-Peralba, Professor of Hispanic Literary and Cultural Studies, releases her book, Fierce Feminine Divinities of Eurasia and Latin America: Baba Yaga, Kali, Pombagira, and Santa Muerte. It is now available in hardback, e-book, as well as paperback from Palgrave Macmillan.

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Bridging Scholarship Recipient Wins $2,500 to Study Abroad in Japan

February 5, 2018

Born and raised in Dallas, Texas, J’ayla Vicks’ love for the Japanese language and culture has earned him a scholarship with the U. S-Japan Bridging Foundation. As the only Texas recipient amongst twenty-six undergraduate students across the United States, Vicks will be attending a Study Abroad in Japan during Spring 2018.  

“Growing up, I really enjoyed watching Toonami or One Piece anime shows that would premiere on Cartoon Network,” Vicks said. “I liked it so much that I would go online to watch the rest of the untranslated episodes that did not air on television, so I made it my goal to be able to watch and understand Japanese-only anime shows just as I watch and understand any other show in English.”

In 2015, Vicks formally began studying Japanese with Dr. Makiko Fukuda, Senior Lecturer of Japanese at the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures, who became a mentor and essay editor during the application process.

“J’ayla has always been a very determined and hardworking student whose creativity truly translated into his essay,” Fukuda said. “I believe this opportunity will allow him to use the Japanese perspective in future business ideas. J’ayla possess traditional Japanese values which are evident in his respect for the customs.”

Administered by the American Association of Teachers of Japanese (AATJ), the Bridging Scholarship program has supported more than 1,600 students studying abroad in Japan since 1999. AATJ strives to,  "foster professional development, the promotion of Japanese and foreign language education, and the exchange of research, and seeks to coordinate its activities with related organizations to promote Japanese studies, including a network of state and regional affiliate organizations."

Along with the help of the Hazelwood Act financial program, Vicks will not only will gain an unforgettable experience as defined by AATJ, but hopes to understand the Japanese business structures and models well enough to influence and incorporate into American business culture.

The Psychology major and double minor in East Asian Studies with a focus in Japanese, is set to graduate in the Fall of 2018 and intends on pursuing a career in international business.


-Andrea Avalos

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Dr. Chappell publishes article on Miskitu language attitudes in Hispanic Studies Review

November 20, 2017

Dr. Whitney Chappell, Assistant Professor of Spanish Linguistics and Graduate Language Certificate Advisor at the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures, recently published an article on Miskitu language attitudes titled, Las ideologías lingüísticas de los miskitus hacia la lengua indígena (el miskitu) y la lengua mayoritaria (el español) in Hispanic Studies Review.

The article investigates the linguistic attitudes of bilingual miskitus and the transmission from Spanish and Miskitu to children. A study was performed with 10 sociolinguistic interviews and 27 written surveys which resulted in Spanish being perceived as a more universal language than Miskitu. Chappell elaborates on how native Spanish speakers tend to evoke the power dynamics between languages. Miskitu speakers unlike native Spanish speakers, do not believe in the same hierarchical relationship. She comes to the conclusion that it is less likely that Miskitu will be transmitted to children if their parents acquired Spanish before Miskitu, which poses a potential threat to the future of the Miskitu language in the cities of the Atlantic Coast.

Read the complete article here.

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Cano Inducted into Phi Kappa Phi

November 16, 2017

Lilian Cano, Lecturer II in Spanish for the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures was inducted into Phi Kappa Phi. 

Founded in 1897 at the University of Maine, Phi Kappa Phi is the nation's oldest and most selective all-discipline honor society. This organization strives to recognize and promote academic excellence in all fields of higher education and engages the community of scholars in service to others. This Honor Society has chapters at over 300 college campuses in North American and the Philippines. Officers are composed of faculty, staff and student members and lead their chapters in recognizing and promoting academic excellence while serving others. Each chapter hosts events ranging through community service projects, informational sessions, test prep courses, and lecture series.

UTSA's chapter aids in the process of maintaing the university at a Tier One rank. Phi Kappa Phi awards $1 million biennially to outstanding students and chapters through graduate fellowships, undergraduate study abroad scholarships, member and chapter awards, and grants for local and national literacy initiatives. UTSA students have won a number of these awards, including the Marcus L. Urann Fellowship for $15,000. The society also offers career assistance and networking and training opportunities. Finally, members can receive discounts through Phi Kappa Phi's corporate partners, including AT&T Wireless, Apple, Dell and GEICO.

Membership is by invitation only to the top 10 percent of seniors and graduate students and 7.5 percent of juniors. Faculty, professional staff and alumni who have achieved scholarly distinction also qualify.


To learn more about Phi Kappa Phi, visit:

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The Grand Adventure Spring 2018

November 14, 2017

What is a roadtrip class?

It is taking an American travel ideal and analyzing how other cultures would interpret it. Some of the different references this course studies include Jack Kerouac’s "On the Road" and John Steinbeck's "Travels With Charley."

This online discussion-based course takes the concept of movement with the ability to move and hold conversations. Instructor, Dr. Budarz elaborates, "This course is designed to understand the idea of crafting our life to be a good story, which events are worth re-telling--where does the intentionality of living come from?"

Reigster now under GER 2333/GER4003/CSH3023 to experience the journey of a class that embraces travel and resists ethnocentrism. Space is limited.

The class is taught in English.


For more information, contact: Dr. Sara Budarz

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Dr. Wallace Edits Legal Translation and Court Interpeting Book

November 13, 2017

As the demand for legal interpreters rise, the regulations and standards must be maintained. Recently published by Frank & Timme, “Legal Translation and Court Interpreting: Ethical Values, Quality, Competence Training” adheres to advocates of language justice and legal translation and interpreting studies.

The publisher elaborates:

This multidisciplinary volume offers a systematic analysis of translation and interpreting as a means of guaranteeing equality under the law as well as global perspectives in legal translation and interpreting contexts. It offers insights into new research on

• language policies and linguistic rights in multilingual communities

• the role of the interpreter

• accreditation of legal translators and interpreters

• translator and interpreter education in multiple countries and

• approaches to terms and tools for legal settings.

The authors explore familiar problems with a view to developing new approaches to language justice by learning from researchers, trainers, practitioners and policy makers. By offering multiple methods and perspectives covering diverse contexts (e.g. in Austria, Belgium, England, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Ireland, Norway, Poland), this volume is a welcome contribution to legal translation and interpreting studies scholars and practitioners alike, highlighting settings that have received limited attention, such as the linguistic rights of vulnerable populations, as well as practical solutions to methodological and terminological problems.


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Classic Theatre of SA Performs A Doll’s House

October 26, 2017

A Doll's House, the play by Henrik Ibsen, opens live in San Antonio on November 3 at the Classic Theatre.  Performances extend through November 26.

Directed by Kelly Roush, The Classic Theatre’s production of A Doll’s House is the second show celebrating the company’s 10th anniversary season. Familiar faces at Classic like Kacey Roye (Bus Stop, The Tempest), Nick Lawson (Born Yesterday, The Merchant of Venice), Christina Casella (Private Lives, The Importance of Being Earnest), John Boyd (The Seagull, The Merchant of Venice) and Zach Lewis (School for Scandal, 9 Circles) return to the stage. 

Set in 1950’s America with a Mad Men flair, The Classic Theatre’s production of A Doll’s House written by Henrik Ibsen in 1879, is the “modern tragedy” that changed theatre forever. It opened the door to realism. So explosive was the message, that a marriage was not sacrosanct, that a man’s authority in his home should not go unchallenged, and that the prime duty of anyone was to find out who he or she really is and to become that person, that the play shocked audiences then and still resonates with them today. Sometimes the perfectly presented family and home are not what they seem… Sometimes finding your home means finding yourself first.

For more information and to purchase tickets call 210-468-3900 or visit the Classic Theatre of San Antonio's web site.

Students receive a discounted ticket price of $17.

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Critical Language Scholarships Now Available

October 25, 2017

Applications are now beeing accepted for the Critical Language Scholarship (CLS) Program, an intensive overseas language and cultural immersion program for American students enrolled at U.S. colleges and universities. The program includes intensive language instruction and structured cultural enrichment experiences designed to promote rapid language gains.  CLS is part of a wider government initiative to expand the number of Americans studying and mastering foreign languages that are critical to national security and economic prosperity. CLS plays an important role in preparing students for the 21st century's globalized workforce and increasing national competitiveness.


Summer 2018 Deadline

November 15, 2017


Program Overview

The Critical Language Scholarship (CLS) Program, through the US Department of State, is an intensive overseas language and cultural immersion program for American students enrolled at U.S. colleges and universities. Students spend eight to ten weeks abroad studying one of 14 critical languages. The program includes intensive language instruction and structured cultural enrichment experiences designed to promote rapid language gains.


Program Benefits 

The CLS Program covers most of the costs of participating in its overseas institutes, including:

  • International and domestic travel between the student's U.S. home city, Washington, D.C., and the CLS Program site

  • Related costs for a mandatory pre-departure orientation in Washington, D.C.

  • Visa fees, language instruction, room, board, program-sponsored travel within the host country

  • All entrance fees for program activities


Languages Offered

Offered at all levels

  • Azerbaijani

  • Bangla

  • Hindi

  • Indonesian

  • Korean

  • Punjabi

  • Swahili

  • Turkish

  • Urdu


Requires at least one academic year of prior target language study or the equivalent

  • Arabic

  • Persian


Requires at least two academic years of prior target language study or the equivalent

  • Chinese

  • Japanese

  • Russian


Students can apply online at the CLS website.

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Dr. Fukuda Presents Research at TFLA Fall Conference

October 24, 2017

The Teachers Foreign Language Association (TFLA) Fall Conference was held at Arlington, Dallas on October 13th and 14th, 2017. Dr. Makiko Fukuda, Japanese senior lecturer, presented “Teaching perspectives of the Japanese people with film.” Her research effectively teaches the unique perspectives of the Japanese culture—such as modesty, patience and determination, ambiguity, dependence, and so forth with films. During the presentation, Fukuda stressed the importance of language education that incorporates culture by focusing more on perspectives and ways of the mind than products and practices.

 Fukuda explains, “Learning what people eat on what occasion is the information about the product, e.g., food and practice e.g., New Years’ tradition, which is indeed exciting information to share. However, what students need to know is why a certain people follows such practice so that when it comes time for the students to experience it, they can examine the differences objectively and respect the culture.”

She emphasizes introducing empathetic and awareness perspectives in the foreign language course provides the students with the understanding on how to respectfully interact with people from different cultures without making any judgements. This benefits students to become globally competent individuals who knows how to communicate ideas effectively with diverse audiences. Dr. Fukuda offers the film class every spring semester under course title Japanese Film.


For more information:

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Internship Opportunies for Spring and Summer 2018

October 24, 2017

The Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU) National Internship Program (HNIP) is providing Hispanic students the opportunity to receive work experience through paid internships with federal agencies and private corporations nationwide. HNIP matches a student's career interest, educational background and previous experience with needs and demands of federal and corporate partners. Recipients will receive paid round-trip airfare, housing arrangement assistance, emergency medical insurance, a weekly stipend, and most attend an intern orientation in Washington D.C. Students will also participate in a wide range of professional networking and cultural activities.

The deadline to apply for a Spring 2018 internship is October 27, 2017.

The deadline to apply for a Summer 2018 internship is February 16, 2018.


Visit the HACU webpage to apply online and/or call the Washington D.C office at 202-467-0893 or email your questions to for more information.

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Undegraduate Research Scholarship Available

October 24, 2017

Are you an undergraduate student performing research this Spring 2018?

The Office of Undergraduate Research (OUR) is providing students with scholarship support for students who perform research with a faculty mentor during the 2018 Spring Semester.

Scholarship recipients will receive $1,000 upon completion of the project and expect to award 15 scholarships, pending availability of funds.

Eligibility is as follows:

       Have an overall GPA ≥ 3.0;
       Be enrolled full-time (at least 12 credit hours);
       Have a faculty mentor and an endorsement letter from the mentor;
       Have a project planned or underway with a mentor at the time of application submission.

The submission deadline for scholarship is November 17, 2017 at 5:00pm.


Visit the Office of Undergraduate Research webpage to learn more about this opportunity.

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COLFA & CACP Announce New Study Abroad Program in Rome

October 23, 2017

Faith and Power in Italian Art, Architecture, and Urban History is new three-week interdisciplinary study abroad program in Italian culture and history.  It will consider the broad themes of faith, power, and politics through the lens of the art, the architecture, and the urban spaces of major Italian cities.  The focus will be on Rome; however, the class will also visit Florence, Siena, Assisi, Tivoli, and Herculaneum.  Lectures will cover and consider the many layers of Italy’s rich past—from classical antiquity, through the Medieval and Renaissance periods, to the contemporary present.  

Within Rome, the group will plan to visit ancient classical sites such as the Forum, the Coliseum, the Pantheon, and the Baths of Diocletian.  We will also spend time in the Vatican Museums, in which we will see the Sistine Chapel and the expansive St. Peter’s Basilica. In addition, there will be day field trips to Tivoli where we will explore the Villa Adriana and Villa d’Este. In Florence, we will visit Michelangelo’s “David,” and other famous sites such as Santa Croce, the Duomo, and Palazzo Vecchio.

The course also includes an Italian cooking class.  There will be a lecture about Italian food and wine, including a tasting, which will provide an understanding and appreciation of Italian culture.

Interested students should plan to attend an informational meeting on Friday, October 27 at 3:30 pm in the UC Mesquite Room 2.01.24.

Course instructors are: Urban historian David R. Johnson, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus, Department of History, COLFA; Art historian Annie Labatt, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Department of Art and Art History, COLFA; Architect Robert M. Baron, Professor, Department of Architecture, CACP.

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Kwanggeaeto Korean Percussion Team

October 23, 2017

The East Asia Institute (EAI) will host the Kwanggaeto Korean Percussion Team on Monday, November 6, 2017 in the Denman Room (UC 2.01.28) on UTSA’s main campus. The program will begin at 5:30 p.m., and will be free and open to the public.

The Korean delegation will be led by Consul-General Hyung Gil Kim of the Consulate General of the Republic of Korea in Houston, who will be giving a speech on the current affairs in Korea. With more than 20 years of experience in foreign affairs, Kim became Consul-General in April of this year.

The Kwanggaeto Korean Percussion Team is based on the great spirit of King ‘Kwanggaeto’ of the Great Kingdom of Goguryeo, who ruled the kingdom from 391-413; he was the nineteenth monarch of Goguryeo. Under Kwanggaeto, Goguryeo began a golden age, where it became a powerful empire and one of the great powers of East Asia. With this in mind, instructors of “Honam Udo Nongak” (one of three musical pieces which represent band traditions of distinct geographical regions used in the genre of samulnori )came together and created the professional percussion band, Kwanggaeto.

The Korean percussion concert performance will include four types of traditional percussion ensembles led by Art Director, Kwon Jun Sung; these ensembles are performed sitting down. Also included is a solo percussion performance by Lee Boo San featuring the lion dance, which showcases a dancer from Kwanggaeto who wears the mask of a lion and performs a traditional Korean dance.

 The audience will also experience the traditional percussion ensemble, which is performed standing. Attendees of the event are welcome to join a meet-and-greet reception after the performance to meet

Consul-General Hyung Gil Kim and the performing artists. For more information regarding the event and parking, please visit the East Asia Institute’s homepage or contact the EAI at, or 210.458.8550

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La Santa Muerte: A Folk Saint in Texas

September 24, 2017

On Thursday, October 5th, Texas Folk Life presented La Santa Muerte: a Folk Saint in Texas, a new documentary film screening featuring an interview with Dr. Malgorzata Oleszkiewicz-Peralba, other scholars, and practitioners. Following the film, there was a panel discussion with Dr. Malgorzata Oleszkiewicz-Peralba, Dr. Andrew Chesnut, and the filmmakers. The event ended with a booksigning and a chance to meet the speakers. 

"Texas is one of the epicenters of devotion to La Santa Muerte, a controversial Mexican folk saint who personifies death. Through the perspectives of devotees, scholars, the media, and members of the clergy, La Santa Muerte: A Folk Saint in Texas explores the rising presence of Santa Muerte in communities across Texas; from its controversial significance as a folk saint, to its condemnation by the Catholic Church, the impact it has on religious freedom and the place it holds among censored female deities." -Texas Folk Life 








For more information:

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Spanish Tutoring Available

September 18, 2017

The Spanish Club will be providing free tutoring services for UTSA students in MH 3.01.05 during the following times:

  • Mondays, 4:30 pm to 6 pm

  • Tuesdays, 1 pm to 2 pm

  • Wednesdays, 2 pm to 3:30 pm

  • Thursdays, 1 pm to 4 pm


For more information, contact Luis Angel, the president of the Spanish Club.

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International Translation Day Conference 2017

September 14, 2017

For the third year in a row, UTSA will host an International Translation Day conference organized by the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures.

The all-day event will be held on September 30, 2017 in the Faculty Center located on the 4th floor of the John Peace Library (JPL) and will focus on Language Access and Health Disparities. Workshops, a panel discussion, and a keynote address will feature experts in their fields and cover a variety of health-related topics.

The Certification Commission of Healthcare Interpreters (CCHI) has pre-approved the event for a total of four continuing education credit units.  

Speakers include:

  • Jorge Ungo, Strategic Account Executive, Languageline Solutions Commissioner, Certification Commissioner for Healthcare Interpreters (1 CEU)

  • Michelle Pinzl, Assistant Professor, Viterbo University, Certificate in Community Interpreting Director (2 CEU)

  • Ludmila Golovine, President of MasterWord Services (1 CEU)

  • Lucinda Nevarez, Assistant Professor of Social Work, University of Texas at San Antonio

The program will open at 10 a.m. with a workshop led by Ludmila Golovine titled Vicarious Trauma and Professional Interpreters.   Michelle Pinzl will present Emotional Situations and Difficult Conversations for Interpreters: Mindfulness Matters from11 a.m. to 1 p.m. After lunch the keynote speaker Jorge Ungo, former President of the Texas Association of Healthcare Interpreters and Translators (TAHIT), will present Solidarity and Intersectionality in Language Access. The final event will be a panel discussion in which the presenters, Michelle Pinzl, Jorge Ungo, Ludmila Glavine, and Lucinda Nevarez, discuss language access and health disparities issues followed by a question and answer session. 

There will be various drawings for door prizes (donated by MasterWord) and coffee and snacks will be served courtesy of the UTSA Department of Modern Languages and Literatures.  Lunch is on your own.  Parking is available free at any surface space marked A, B, or C. (Note: do not park in green reserved spaces). Please see the campus map for more information.  

International Translation Day 2017 is organized by the UTSA Department of Modern Languages and Literatures and is co-sponsored by Worldwide Languages, MasterWord Services, the San Antonio Kidney Disease Center, the UTSA College of Liberal and Fine Arts

The event is free and open to the public. 




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Department Chair Search Underway

September 13, 2017

The Department of Modern Languages and Literatures in the College of Liberal and Fine Arts at the University of Texas at San Antonio invites applications for the position of Department Chair at the rank of a tenured Associate or Full Professor, to begin July 1, 2018.  Candidates should demonstrate considerable management experience, and a proven ability to lead a thriving multidisciplinary department at a Hispanic-serving university on the path to becoming a Tier 1 research institution.  Candidates are also expected to have a distinguished record of scholarship and teaching excellence at both the undergraduate and graduate levels, and exhibit a strong commitment to interdisciplinarity.  We seek a candidate with any area of specialty relevant to a language department of the 21st century, such as transnational literary and cultural studies, global affairs, cyber security, linguistics, language acquisition and teaching, digital humanities, media studies, translation studies, or any other field applicable to language studies.  Primary expertise in Spanish is preferred; candidates with primary expertise in French, German, Japanese, or Russian will also be considered.

The Department of Modern Languages and Literatures offers vibrant undergraduate and graduate programs, including an MA in Spanish, a BA in Spanish, a BA in Modern Languages Studies, minors in French, German, Russian, Spanish, Comparative Literature, East Asian Studies, Foreign Languages, and Linguistics, and courses in Chinese, Italian, Korean, and Japanese. Our Spanish graduate program is unique to the San Antonio area with foci in literary studies, cultural studies, and linguistics. The department also houses graduate certificates in Translation and Interpreting Studies and in Linguistics, as well as an undergraduate Media Studies component.

Responsibilities include:

  • Forging and implementing long-term departmental goals

  • Recruiting students and faculty members

  • Developing the curriculum

  • Fostering faculty development and leadership

  • Teaching graduate and undergraduate courses as appropriate

  • Maintaining an active research agenda

  • Contributing to the university and community through service activities

Required Qualifications:

  • Doctorate in any relevant language discipline

  • Considerable management experience

  • Evidence of an ongoing research agenda with extensive publications

Preferred Qualifications:

  • Evidence of ability to secure grants and external funding

  • Demonstrated excellence in teaching at the undergraduate and/or graduate level

Applicants must apply online at and submit online a letter of application, curriculum vitae, a 25-30 page writing sample, a statement of teaching philosophy, a statement of administrative philosophy, and three letters of recommendation by November 1, 2017. Preliminary screening interviews will take place at the MLA convention in January.  

Applicants who are selected for interviews must be able to show proof that they will be eligible and qualified to work in the United States by time of hire.

UTSA is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer. Women, minorities, veterans, and individuals with disabilities are encouraged to apply.

Tenure is contingent on Board of Regents’ approval.

Contact Information:

Marita Nummikoski, Interim Chair

Department of Modern Languages and Literatures

The University of Texas at San Antonio

One UTSA Circle

San Antonio, TX 78249

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Student Receives Endowment Scholarship

April 26, 2017

Congratulations to undergraduate student, Alexandra Laura Duhaime, for her award of the Modern Languages Endowment scholarship. In this final year to receive a B.A in Modern Languages and Literatures, Duhaime will once again return to Russia to enhance her intensive Russian study with the help of Project Global Officer. With Project GO, Duhaime will perfect her language skills, regional expertise, and intercultural communication skills as a future military officer. In addition to her study abroad experience, Duhaime’s credibility is demonstrated through various awards and leadership experience. A few of the most notable: Achieving President’s List 3 times for scholastic distinction in a semester of a GPA of 4.0, AFROTC (2014 and 2015) for outstanding performance as both AS100 and AS200, and multiple honor awards for outstanding achievement in Russian. Most recently, in April she received The Military Academic Excellence Award on behalf of the Billy Mitchell Chapter and the AOC Educational Foundation, Inc.

Apart from her achievements, Duhaime has developed her leadership skills through: the Air Force Reserves Officers’ Training Corps, where she is currently positioned as a Standards and Evaluations Squadron Commander; Victory, where she as a co-leader for group bible study for ROTC cadets; an Honor Guard Commander, and has completed all her Air Force Field Training at Camp Shelby Joint Forces Training Center.

Duhaime further expressed, “This scholarship for me is vital. It allows me the privilege to continue studying and concentrating not only on my role as a student, but also as a future leader. It allows me to exert my full potential into my education and further allows me to advance in my proficiency of Russian as well as my understanding of Russia and the surrounding region. This scholarship will enable me to set the foundations of my education which I will not carry over, but also build upon, when I enter my job. I am extremely grateful for this opportunity.” 


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Rushforth Class Featured on Kens5 News Show

March 2, 2017

Dr. Michael Rushforth's Spanish class was featured on Kens5 news for their use of virtual reality in language learning.  

The news station visited one of his elementary Spanish class and interviewed Rushforth and some of his students about their experiences in the class.

The segment is available to watch on the Kens5 website.

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UTSA Japanese Students Win at 2017 Nengajo Contest

February 24, 2017

UTSA Japanese students won several prizes for the 2017 Nengajo Contest organized by Japan-America Society of Dallas/Fort Worth. Nengajo (年賀状)means New Year’s cards in Japanese and people exchange cards on January 1st with their loved ones.

 In order to deepen the understanding of the Japanese culture and tradition, UTSA students enrolled in elementary Japanese II classes learned how to make the New Year cards along with the traditional food and customs on this special day. Every year, all students make their own card, and the best 10 are sent to the Nengajo contest. This year, there were 84 cards submitted from 13 different schools across Texas. Each card is judged under three categories: artistic, creative, and humorous. A judge mentioned the selection of winning designs focused on two factors (1) use of interesting artistic technique, and (2) understanding of cultural concepts of Japanese New Year.

The four UTSA winners are: Cindy Do (Artistic, 2nd prize), Krystelle Santos (Creative, 1st prize), Miranda Fermin (Creative, 2nd prize), Naomi Gordon (Humorous, 1st prize), and Angela Castillo (Humorous, 2nd prize). The winners’ cards were displayed at the New Year’s Celebration in Dallas/Fort Worth where the guests were very impressed by the students’ effort.


(left to right: Cindy, Angela, Krystelle, and Naomi)


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Graduate Students Present Research at Conferences

February 22, 2017

Yeni and Daniela in D.C for GRAPHSY

Yeni and Daniela in D.C for GRAPHSY

UTSA graduate students, Daniela Hernandez and Yeni Davila presented their research at the 10th annual GRAPHSY (Graduate Portuguese and Hispanic Symposium)  hosted by the Department of Spanish and Portuguese at Georgetown University.

The theme for GRAPHSY X was Movements and Waves within the fields of Linguistics or Iberian and Latin American Literature/Culture.

Davila presented a paper titled, “The Impact of Inadequate Translation of Educational Materials on Bilingual Students’ Academic Achievement: A Case Study” which argues that an inadequate translation has an unfavorable effect on the academic performance of bilingual education students.

Apart from GRAPHSY, Davila was also represented by her daughter/co-presenter, Maghally Davila, who presented her poster titled, “El bilingüismo y la identidad” which illustrated the relationship between identity and bilingualism at this year’s TexLer conference which was held at UTSA from February 17-18. 

Hernandez presented the first chapter of her Master's thesis provisionally titled “El relato amoroso y la construcción lingüística de la identidad gay en tres novelas latinoamericanas del siglo XX.” She also presented a paper titled, “El sujeto activo y pasivo en 20 poemas de amor y una canción desesperada de Pablo Neruda (1924) y El libro blanco (1907) de Delmira Agustini,” which she wrote in Dr. Whitney Chappell's course, that explores how sexuality is semantically represented in four poems written by Pablo Neruda and Delmira Agustini.

In addition to her GRAPHSY appearance, Hernandez will also be presenting “Un análisis sistemático del rol de la mediación cultural en los servicios de interpretación de salud mental dentro de la comunidad Latina estadounidense (1990-2015)” on March 23 at the 17th Annual College of Liberal and Fine Arts Spring Research Conference hosted at UTSA.

Following the Spring Research Conference, she will present the second chapter of her Master’s thesis titled, “La ciudad violenta y erotica en la literatura gay latinoamericana: Santos-Febres (200) y Gutíerrez (1988)” and “El SIDA y la violencia de género en Sirena Selena vestida de pena (2000), Salón de Belleza (1994) y El Rey de la Habana (1988)” at NeMLA (Northeast Modern Language Association) from March 24-26 in Baltimore, Maryland.

Finally, Hernandez’s last presentation takes place from April 7-8 at the Department of Languages and Literatures of Lehman College (CUNY) in collaboration with the Fashion Institute of Technology (SUNY): Fashion and Clothing in Hispanic Literatures. Here she will present, “La transformación del traje de tehuana desde el siglo XVI hasta el siglo XIX: un análisis de los aspectos socioculturales del estuario típico Oaxaqueño hasta su contemporaneidad,” which outlines the represenations of fashion in Hispanic literature.

Both Davila and Hernandez have put in an extensive amount of effort and time in order to acquire the necessary information to advance their academic research projects. The UTSA Department of Modern Languages and Literatures offers a MA in Spanish and a Graduate Certificate in Translation and Interpreting Studies.


By: Andrea Avalos


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Spanish Students Pisani and Prado Win Scholarship to Translation Workshop

February 20, 2017

Laura Pisani and Mariana Prado won a scholarship to attend a professional three-day workshop, Consecutive Interpreting for Legal Settings. Taught by Janis Palma, the course is designed to enhance performance levels in legal settings of English-Spanish interpreters. Lectures include vocabulary, cultural and pragmatic aspects of language, and auxiliary skills such as note-taking. Drills range from short to long consecutive, and from street slang to technical vocabulary.

Hosted by the Graduate Certificate in Translation and Interpreting Studies of the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures in conjunction with the Institute for the Professional Development of Interpreters and Translators, the event was held at UTSA.

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Rushforth Shares Virtual Reality Research at AATSP

February 20, 2017

Dr. Michael Rushforth, Senior Lecturer in Spanish at UTSA, presented his research on using virtual reality in the classroom to teach languages at the American Association of Teachers of Spanish and Portuguese meeting at San Antonio College.  Rushforth is using virtual reality headsets in his classroom to assist students who are beginning to learn Spanish.  The headsets allow the students to virtually visit Spanish-speaking countries and experience such sights as Machu Pichu in Peru or Chichen Itza in Mexico.


Rushforth's innovative teaching technique was recently featured in an article on UTSA Today.  Virtual reality technology can be adapted to the study of any language.

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UTSA students Win Japanese Speech Contest

February 17, 2017

From left to right: Mrs. Romanowich (EAI), Jessica Stevens, Cullen Carroll, Christina Nuncio and Dr. Makiko Fukuda (MLL)

From left to right: Mrs. Romanowich (EAI), Jessica Stevens, Cullen Carroll, Christina Nuncio and Dr. Makiko Fukuda (MLL)

UTSA students excelled at the Japanese Speech Contest held February 11 and 28 in San Antonio at San Antonio College. Three students currently enrolled in UTSA Japanese classes with Dr. Makiko Fukuda, participated in the contest under Division IV: Free speech for College and University level. In this division, students had to write, memorize, and perform a two to three minute speech in front of judges and other contestants. Competing alongside seven other contestants, UTSA students Cullen Carroll, Christina Nuncio, and Jessica Stevens won first, second, and third prizes respectively. Carroll focused on how Japanese language and weightlifting are similar in terms of his personal enrichment such as gaining patience, self-control, and determination.

“Only practice and dedication will lead to perfection,” mentioned Carroll.

Nuncio’s speech was titled, “I am pancake” which explained the Russian translation of strength of mind and described the process of overcoming her anxiety in learning Japanese. Finally, Stevens presented a speech that elaborated on 17 years of Japanese learning experience by describing the path that she has taken to reach this point and how she plans to incorporate Japanese into her future career. The first and second winner (Carroll and Nuncio) will compete at the state speech contest held at Rice University on March 4, 2017. 

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Daydi-Tolson article published

January 31, 2017

Kudos to Department of Modern Languages and Literature’s Interim Department Chair, Dr. Santiago Daydi-Tolson, whose article has recently been published in La diversidad en la literatura, el cine y la prensa Española contemporánea (Andavira Editora: Santiago de Compostela)

 “Valente ante la diversidad estética” by Daydi-Tolson, explores the poetic work of José Ángel Valente, one of the best-known Spanish poets of the Generation of 1950. Developed from a talk he presented at an international conference at Cambridge University in June 2015, Daydi-Tolson was inspired by the topics of Spanish literature, film, and journalism.

“A poet essayist and translator, Valente was well versed in the aesthetics of contemporary Europe. He taught in England in his youth and lived most of his mature life in Switzerland, Italy, and France. Several times he visited Latin America, Chile, in particular to remain a close relationship with his family,” elaborates Daydi-Tolson.

The book is available online from Andavira Editora.

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Marcos-Marin Noted Speaker at Conferences in Pakistan & Germany

November 18, 2016

Dr.  Francisco Marcos-Marín was the keynote speaker at the International Conference of the Pakistani Linguistic Association at the University of the Punjab in Lahore, Pakistan, where he delivered the inaugural lecture on October 18. Marcos-Marín is Professor of Spanish Linguistics in the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures at UTSA.  At the conference he spoke on “Historical Linguistics: Afro-Romanic and the origins of Ibero-Romance languages.”

In his lecture he noted that little has been said about Latin in Roman Africa, its development, the use of Afro-Romanic variants by Berbers in al-Andalus after the Islamic conquest (711 AD), and the contact among those variants and Ibero-Romance. His research was presented from the linguistic and the Romance Philology perspectives.

While in Lahore, Marcos-Marín also completed additional research on the Arabic manuscripts in the University Library and the Harara seals in the Museum, related to the Indus Valley script, a subject on which he had worked extensively in the past.

From Lahore, he travelled to Bonn, Germany, where he was also plenary speaker, at the Coloquio Internacional Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn: El pluricentrismo de la cultura lingüística hispánica y sus reflejos en los medios de comunicación masiva – perspectivas empíricas. He delivered his lecture, in Spanish, titled “The Myth of Policentrism and the Reality of Translation” where he discussed the Ontology of Pluricentrism and analyzed the concept of linguistic standard in mass media in Spanish in the United States and other aspects of the use of Spanish in translation.

Both presentations will be published shortly.

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Spanish Class Uses Virtual Reality to Learn Language

November 11, 2016

Imagine standing at the edge of the Iguazu Falls in Argentina without actually being splashed. Or at the top of the Eiffel tower, overlooking the people below, wondering why your fear of heights has suddenly been conquered. What if you could be anywhere in the world without leaving the comfort of your home? Virtual reality allows people to travel and partake in environments they have only dreamed of.  

This latest fad in technology has created more than a photo-realistic environment for one class at UTSA.

Dr. Michael Rushforth, Spanish Senior Lecturer at the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures, is enhancing his Spanish classes by giving students the opportunity to experience the world of virtual reality.

While working at the Institute for Creative Technologies in Southern California, which is associated with the U.S Army and USC, Rushforth learned to utilize virtual reality for training environments.  Seeing this as a perfect fit for language learners, he developed a new teaching tool to engage students in the subject on a more immersive level.  Virtual reality is a hands-on approach which aids in learning and retention. Two high schools in West Tennessee are taking advantage of virtual reality by allowing its students to virtually dissect a human body.

Rushforth applies virtual reality to guide his students through a variety of Spanish-speaking countries and tour the cultural sites that otherwise would be impossible due to financial or logistical reasons.  

A simple requirement of two applications, Nearpod and Google Carboard, and students can be on the other side of the world in a matter of minutes. The virtual reality headsets in use do not have the nauseating effects some do and have practical focus settings and head adjustments.

“Learning what approaches and activities are best suited for VR has been the biggest challenge and opportunity,” says Rushforth. He specifies the importance of the educator’s knowledge and use of this technology.

As for this digital generation, the use of Virtual reality seems to be the next breakthrough for learning advancements in classrooms.

By: Andrea Avalos

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Boren Awards for Study Abroad

October 25, 2016

The application for the 2017 Boren Awards is now open at

Boren Awards fund U.S. undergraduate and graduate language study and research abroad in world regions critical to U.S. national interests (including Africa, Asia, Central & Eastern Europe, Eurasia, Latin America, and the Middle East). Boren Awards promote longer-term linguistic and cultural immersion overseas, and are available to applicants in most fields of study.

Boren Awards will give preference to applicants planning to study in Eastern European and Eurasian countries, including Albania, Armenia, Belarus, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Georgia, Hungary, Kosovo, Latvia, Macedonia, Moldova, Montenegro, Poland, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, and Ukraine. Preference is also give to students who are willing to study abroad for longer periods of time and are highly motivated by the potential to work in the federal government once completing the program.

The Boren Scholarships provide up to $20,000 for undergraduate students for language-focused study abroad.

The Boren Fellowships provide up to $30,000 for graduate students to fund language study, graduate-level research, and academic internships abroad.

Webinars on aspects of the Boren Awards, including special regional initiatives and components of the application are scheduled throughout the 2016-2017 academic year. Sign up today at Additional information on preferred countries, languages, and fields of study can be found at   

Applicants are encouraged to contact their Boren Awards campus representatives, listed in a directory on the website, for institution-specific guidance. They may also contact Boren Awards staff directly at 1‑800‑618‑NSEP or

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Oleszkiewicz Researches Feminine Symbolism in Art

October 24, 2016

Professor Malgorzata Oleszkiewicz-Peralba has recently spent five weeks in the Ukraine and Poland, conducting research for her Fall 2016 Faculty Development Leave project, “Continuity of Feminine Symbolism in Popular Art from Prehistory to the Present.” She visited eight museums and cultural centers, collected materials, interviewed experts, and documented their collections of both prehistoric Tripolyan culture objects and designs, and nineteenth to twenty-first century collections of embroidered ritual cloths (rushnyky), woven kilims, decorated Easter eggs (pysanki), ritual breads, embroidered folk costumes, paper cut-outs (wycinanki) and furniture ornaments, among others. Her findings prove that there is a striking persistence of design patterns since the Neolithic era and beyond, through millennia, up to contemporary East-Central European and Near Eastern popular art. Currently, Dr. Oleszkiewicz-Peralba is reviewing her findings in order to publish an extensive article on this topic, which later will be expanded into a work that includes Asia, and the Americas.  


On October 11, 2016, Texas Folklife Resources from Austin, TX, filmed an interview with Dr. Oleszkiewicz-Peralba for a documentary on Santa Muerte, one of the topics of her recently published book, Fierce Feminine Divinities of Eurasia and Latin America: Baba Yaga, Kali, Pombagira, and Santa Muerte. Next week she is scheduled to appear on Texas Public Radio as an expert on this topic.

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Innovative Japanese Teaching Method Presented at TFLA

October 17, 2016

This year’s TFLA (Texas Foreign Language Conference) included UTSA Department of Modern Languages and Literatures Japanese instructors, Makiko Fukuda and Erina Romanowich.

The two presented a project titled, “The Effect of Reading While Listening (RWL) Approach on Reading Fluency of Elementary Japanese Students.” This quantitative approach consists of using an online book in a classroom setting to teach elementary level Japanese students enunciate the language better. The online book would use the recorded voices of the teachers, along with the lesson, in order to grasp a more clear understanding on the way different words are pronounced and read in their respective contexts.

As Romanowich states, “Students in Texas have limited opportunities to listen to native Japanese speakers outside of the classroom, which is why this system aims to perfect speech and reading without the physical interaction.”

The online book is currently being developed for elementary level classes and if effective, could be utilized in other language courses as well as other levels and various age groups as young as elementary aged children.

Fukuda was awarded the 2016 Sawtelle Financial Teaching Innovation grant last year.

The ultimate goal is to improve reading fluency and help students learn the Japanese language by connecting to different Japanese characters.

The presentation was October 15, 2016 in Austin, Texas.

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By Andrea Avalos

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Learn more about . . . 

Japanese Program at UTSA

Japanese Clubs at UTSA

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TexTESOL II 2016 Regional Conference

October 7, 2016

Translation and Interpreting graduate student, Alpha Martínez Suárez, will be co-organizing and presenting at the annual state educational conference, TexTESOL II. This conference will be hosting Texas teachers who teach English as a second language and various educators from across the nation. Martinez and her team, ATE Presidential Scholars, recognized by the Academy for Teachers’ Excellence, will be participating in this year’s regional conference.

TexTESOL uses notions of home literacies training and awareness to assist teachers in the design of a more culturally relevant and inclusive pedagogies in the classroom.

Martinez, along with two other participants of the BBL (Bicultural and Bilingual Studies) Department, will be presenting their proposal titled, "Reinvigorating Reading and Writing: The Symbiosis of the Home and the Classroom.”

Working closely with Dr. Melissa Wallace, Assistant Professor of Translation and Interpreting Studies in the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures at UTSA, has sparked an interest in “the intersectionality between the role of the translator/interpreter as language broker and advocate in education especially with children and families within the SLIFE umbrella (Students with Limited or Interrupted Formal Schooling),” says Martinez.

Do not miss this year’s TexTESOL II Regional Conference – “The Art and Practice of Teaching ESL” held Saturday, October 8th at UNAM in San Antonio from 8:30 am-3:00 pm. 

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International Translation Day 2016 Colloquium

September 28, 2016

Walter Benjamin once said, “It is the task of the translator to release in his own language that pure language that is under the spell of another, to liberate the language imprisoned in a work in his re-creation of that work.”

Translation has become one of most valuable skills worldwide. Communication and translation coincide with one another. In our every day lives, we translate books, posters, texts, other people’s words either to ourselves to help us understand or to others to help them understand.

Therefore in light of such an honorary ability, UTSA Department of Modern Languages and Literatures along with Worldwide Languages presented the Second Annual International Translation Day Colloquium. This yearly event takes place in commeoration of the feast of St. Jerome, the Bible translator considered to be the patron saint of translators.

In continued observance of this increasingly vital era of globalization, this public colloquim welcomed five leading researchers, and practitioners in linguistics, translation, interpreting, professional engagement, training and policy:

  • Melissa Fischer, General Administrative Counsel of Bexar County Criminal District Courts is a San Antonio native. She received her Bachelor of Arts from Texas Christian University in 1986 and her Doctor of Jurisprudence from the University of Texas School of Law in 1989. Fischer was appointed to the newly formed Licensed Court Interpreter Advisory Board in June of 2002 by then Govenor Rick Perry, and is currently the Chair of that Board and the only original member still on the board.
  • Jeff Rinard, the Director of Texas Office of Court Administration’s (OCA) Judicial Branch Certification Commission (JBCC). After serving eleven years in the United States Air Force, he spent eight years as the Investigations Manager wth the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation. He continues to manage the Texas Guardianship Compliance Pilot Project and is responsible for the development and implementation of statewide guardianship reporting software for auditing of guardianship filings.
  • Dr. Virginia G. Kaklamani, professor of medicine in the division of hematology/oncology at the UT Health Science Center San Antonio, and is the leader of the Breast Cancer Program at the Cancer Therapy & Research Center. Completeing her residency in internal medicine at Newton-Wellesley Hospital in Boston was only the beginning for her medical field experience, she soon completed her fellowship in hematology/oncology at Northwestern University and also headed the Translational Breast Cancer Program at NU. Her research interests include studying high risk families and identifying genetic mutations that are associated with an increased risk for breast, colon, and prostate cancer. She has identified several genetic mutations related to obesity that increase the risk of breast cancer. Dr. Kaklamani is a clinical invesitagor with expertise in designing clinical trials with targeted agents.
  • Sandra L. Dejeux, Mexican-American Interpreter and Translator with a BA in International studies from the University of Monterrey, Mexico. Dejeux holds a Spanish Master Level License as Court Interpreter in Texas and a CCHI Healthcare Interpreter certification. She has worked with several International Custom Broking Agenciese handling import and export procedures. Dejeux currently works at the Fort Bend Justice Center as an in-house interpreter and translator for all 17 County and District Courts. Finally, Dejeux serves as the President of the Houston Interpreters and Translators Association (HITA) as well as a Texas Delegate for the Certification Commission of Healthcare Interpreters (CCHI), and on the Advisory Board of the T &I Certification Program at HCC.

Special thanks to:

  • Worldwide Languages, a local, certified, woman owned enterprise providing linguistic solutions to the healthcare industry, school districts, law enforcement, military entities, government agencies and businesses involved in the global economyfor their generous donation which aided in making International Translation Day 2016 Colloquium possible.
  •  Artist, Kat Cadena for the meaningful painting, Hikoukigumo 
  • Faculty members, Marcela J. Lopez and Dr. Melissa Wallace for organizing the event. 


 Worldwide Languages states the significance in translators and interpreters, "Respecting and supporting the language access rights of individuals with limited communication in English is crucial for Worldwide particularly in light of our increasingly linguistically diverse population.  When a patient requires medical care, a teacher shares information about a school program with a student's parents,  a police officer or a paramedic provides assistance in a critical situation, our soldiers carry out humanitarian or peace keeping operations, or a public official provides assistance with housing or job training, language is the bloodline allowing these interactions to happen.  For our LEP and non-English speaking populations, they are impossible without the language access services provided by interpreters and translators."


By: Andrea Avalos 

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5 tips for learning a language

September 27, 2016

Have you ever been in a situation where you “look like you speak Spanish” but you really don’t or perhaps you’ve been sitting at your desk for about an hour and still have no idea what your French exam is saying? What if there was an easier, quicker, and more efficient way of learning a new language?

Here’s a list of 5 simple ways you can master any language you desire to learn:


1. Immerse yourself.

               *Disclaimer:  you may accidentally learn a new culture along with the language.*

To immerse yourself in a new language, means to overexpose yourself to it. If you’re learning Japanese, expose yourself to its culture and go have some sushi. While you’re enjoying your favorite roll, get on your phone and look up the history of sushi in Japan. As you read you will be more intrigued to learn about the Japanese way of life, because ultimately, culture influences language.

2. Label your home.

Take all the sticky notes from the office and start labeling different objects in your house. As you walk around, you’ll eventually learn that “puerta” is door  and that your pet goldfish is not a “pájaro”

You may even become so fluent, you won’t remember what “gato” in English is.


3. Befriend and practice with a native speaker.

That’s right, go buy youself a translating dictionary or download a translating application on your phone. Make friends with native speakers and use your translating tools to help you speak at a better flow.

 It’ll come in handy when you finally visit Italy and you’re able to converse with the handsome guy who came up to you instead of just smiling and nodding.


4. Watch foreign movies.

There’s a variety of foreign movie options on Netflix. But an easier way would be choosing a movie you have already seen and watch it with English subtitles. Perhaps your favorite Disney movie is is Russian! “Let it go” sounds way better as “отпусти ситуацию” (otpusti situatsiyu)


5. Listen to foreign music.

Finally, for something more “on the go” music and lyrics will help you learn at any time of the day, wherever you are. If you don’t know what K-Pop is, stop reading this article, go type it in your YouTube search engine and enjoy. You can also find out what German hip-hop is and why rappers like Sido are so cool.

click this link for the coolest K-POP ever


By: Andrea Avalos

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Study Abroad Scholarships for ROTC students

September 23, 2016

The Project Global Officer (GO) program at Georgia Tech provides summer study abroad scholarships for Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) students to study foreign languages. The scholarships cover tuition, program fees, international airfare, room and board, and most other costs associated with participation.


  • ROTC students from any university are eligible (Army, AirForce, Navy/Marine) as long as they are:
  • Contracted or non-contracted AROTC, AFROTC, NROTC student on track to commission through ROTC
  • U.S Citizen
  • Matriculated in an undergraduate or graduate degree program

Georgia Tech Project GO scholarships provide funds for ROTC students to study abroad in the following languages: Chinese (Shanghai and Qingdao, China), Japanese (Beppu, Japan), Korean (Seoul, South Korea), and Russian (Riga, Latvia and Vilnius, Lithuania).

Applications are accepted online.  The application deadline for the Summer 2017 program is January 9, 2017.

For more information about what Project GO has to offer please contact Jesse Brannen, Project GO Coordinator.

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Success in the Humanities Isn’t Always What You Think

September 19, 2016

Alumus Eric Ysasi reflects on how his language studies at UTSA led him on an unexpected career path and opened doors for future success.


You’ve been there – when your family and friends hear that you’ve started a degree in the humanities, they can’t help but ask, “So, what kind of jobs can you get with that?” And they’re not wrong to ask, because your friends who are grinding away at their business and marketing degrees or those mathematically minded young men and women who are striving toward engineering degrees have a well-laid, sunlit path they will tread with little resistance when they graduate.

You, however, have not a career ahead of you, but a deep and boundless adventure that will delight and surprise you, and you may find out some things about yourself you didn’t know along the way.

Indecision and Redecision

I, too, undertook a humanities degree at the University of Texas at San Antonio. Foolishly, though, I selected an English major out of laziness and apathy. I’ve never been so lucky.

My strength in grade school was English, both the structure and literature, and the only subject for which I felt a small fire in my heart. It was in no small part thanks to the zeal of my English literature and structure of English professors, who cultivated an ongoing environment of discovery, analyzation, and a healthy scrutiny of language and its principles, that I nurtured and kindled that fire into a small flame. And the sparks from that flame lit other fires in the subjects of science, mathematics, and a forest of disciplines. Soon, my earth burned with the desire to learn and grow infinitely.

Midway through my degree, upon my miniature quest to acquire my foreign language credits, I learned of a buried affection for all languages, not just English. The brilliance and tenacity of my Japanese professors Mimi Yu, Keri Toma, and Dr. Makiko Fukuda inspired a plunge into the mysteries of the Japanese language, a study that I continue six years later. With little hesitation, I added Modern Language Studies to my major and set off on a path I found I was blazing on my own, with a few fearless companions lighting my way.

An Unexpected Journey

The decision to double-major shifted my focus and future so profoundly that it no longer aligned with what I had imagined. Through the encouragement of Mimi Yu Sensei and my endlessly supportive wife, Alexis, I applied for the Japan Exchange and Teaching (JET) Programme. JET is a Japanese government sponsored teaching program run by the Council of Local Authorities for International Relations (CLAIR). It has sent over 50,000 men and women from countries all over the globe to Japan to teach English since its inception in 1987. It’s a prestigious program, and it’s just as tough to get into as it is famous in the language community.

Conquering the JET Program

After a thorough application process, a series of sweaty, confidence-breaking interviews, and several long periods of silence, I received an acceptance letter to move to the town of Kikonai in the northernmost island of Hokkaido, Japan to teach young Japanese students the subtleties of English. What a shock it was to learn that a lowly humanities student could impress a panel of educators and government bigwigs enough to secure a paid position in an exotic land.

Some paperwork, an unforgettable wedding ceremony, and a few months later, Alexis and I were tossed across the Pacific Ocean into a land teeming with sights, tastes, and smells that excited my being in ways I had yet to experience. The Japanese classroom was only a trickle from the fountain of freshness that Japan brought to my life.

Surreal Life Among a New People

Even from my serene, rural town of Kikonai, I climbed my first mountain, made friends with a local celebrity, biked from shore to shore, grew my first garden, built my marriage, dove with friends into icy cold ocean water, played my first live musical show, and explored the wonders of beauty and cuisine across the country with Alexis. I also made one of the best friends I’ve ever had out of a local Starbucks barista, who was my guide to learning what my family, friends, and wife truly mean to me, and I will be in her debt forever.

The Japanese classroom, though just a few drops in my pool of experience, created ripples that still grow within me today. Together with the kids that I taught, I learned how similar humanity is across our world, the potential of good and honest children, and the value of belief in something bigger than oneself. The kids taught me patience and understanding, they taught me to fail fast and move forward, and they showed me that I can overcome my worries and inhibitions with a little bit of bravery.

Rethinking Adulthood

I took these values, experiences, and friendships back to the United States, where I found that despite what I thought was an impactful resume, I had to start at square one with a career. I searched for work as a translator, interpreter, technical writer, creative writer, and copywriter. Every day I sent out a handful of resumes with unique cover letters, and got silence and despair in return.

Then, a unique opportunity arose. In the burgeoning industry of search engine optimization (SEO), I found a place to put my writing skills to work. I shook off the rust at a growing Austin startup learning the basics of SEO and how to write copy for modern Internet audiences, and quickly grew my abilities. The knowledge came quickly, and after a falling out with the company, I decided to leave for the greener grass on the other side.

Unbridled Personal Growth

With the assistance of some fabulous friends from my previous company and armed with the knowledge to compete, I launched the solo Japanese translation enterprise, Kuma Language Services. Since building a business is such hard work (and the money doesn’t flow so quickly when you begin), I also took a full-time job as a copywriter for a local marketing company called Leverage Marketing. In just the few months that I’ve been with the company, I’ve started expanding my role to include new content marketing opportunities such as video marketing, social media, and email marketing.

What Lies Ahead for a Humble COLFA Alum

I’ve come to expect that from this point forward, I can’t try to steer the ship of my destiny. Instead, I let life do the steering for me. I consider my English degree to be a pivotal piece of the puzzle in the journey to happiness, as it has afforded me the chance to complete more firsts than I ever could have imagined, and it shows no signs of letting me rest. Each new step is more like a leap, and any student of the UTSA College of Liberal and Fine Arts who may doubt his or her decision to pursue a culture-rich discipline that leads down a path thick with the unknown would do well to remember that heroes are never the ones who take the traveled roads, and the most epic of journeys are those that keep you guessing – and hungry.

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By Eric Ysasi

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Department Chair Search

September 8, 2016

The Department of Modern Languages and Literatures in the College of Liberal and Fine Arts at the University of Texas at San Antonio invites applications for the position of tenured Full or Associate Professor of Spanish who would also serve as the Department Chair, to begin July 1, 2017. Scholars specializing in Latin American Studies with expertise in hemispheric relations, social and cultural transformation, global affairs, border studies, or transnational cultural studies are particularly encouraged to apply. Candidates should demonstrate a distinguished record of scholarship, excellence in teaching at both the undergraduate and graduate levels, a strong commitment to interdisciplinarity, considerable management experience, and a proven ability to lead a thriving multidisciplinary department at a Hispanic-serving university on the path to becoming Tier 1.

The Department of Modern Languages and Literatures offers vibrant undergraduate and graduate programs, including an MA in Spanish, a BA in Spanish, a BA in Modern Languages Studies, minors in French, German, Russian, Spanish, Comparative Literature, Foreign Languages, Spanish, and Linguistics, and courses in Arabic, Chinese, Italian, Korean, and Japanese. Our Spanish graduate program is unique to the San Antonio area with foci in literary studies, cultural studies, and linguistics. The department also houses a graduate translation certificate and an undergraduate Media Studies component.


Responsibilities include:

  • Forging and Implementing long-term departmental goals

  • Recruiting students and faculty members

  • Developing the curriculum

  • Fostering faculty development and leadership

  • Teaching graduate and undergraduate courses as appropriate

  • Maintaining an active research agenda

  • Contributing to the university and community through service activities


Required Qualifications:

  • Doctorate in Spanish, Latin American studies, or linguistics

  • Native or near-native knowledge of Spanish and English

  • Management experience

  • Evidence of an ongoing research agenda with extensive publications


Preferred Qualifications:

  • Demonstrated excellence in teaching at the undergraduate and/or graduate level

  • Evidence of ability to secure grants and external funding

  • Interest in Digital Humanities and Multimedia


Applicants must apply online at Applications require a letter of application, curriculum vitae, two publications, a statement of teaching philosophy, a statement of administrative philosophy, and three letters of recommendation by November 1, 2016.

Applicants who are selected for interviews must be able to show proof that they will be eligible and qualified to work in the United States by time of hire.


UTSA is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer. Women, minorities, veterans, and individuals with disabilities are encouraged to apply.


Tenure is contingent on Board of Regents approval.


Contact Information:

Santiago Daydi-Tolson, Interim Chair


Department of Modern Languages and Literatures

The University of Texas at San Antonio

One UTSA Circle

San Antonio, TX 78249

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New UTSA German Senior Lecturer, Sara Budarz

August 31, 2016

Meet Sara Budarz, the newest addition to the German faculty in the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures at UTSA.

Budarz comes to San Antonio from Chapel Hill, North Carolina where she earned her PhD and taught German at the University of North Carolina.  Although raised by a Finnish mother and an American father in Frankfurt, Germany, she grew to consider North Carolina home.

Her love for reading and researching literature, combined with her love for the German language and culture, cultivated an interest in teaching. Considering Berlin, Germany her second home, Budarz’s research focuses on the intersection of architecture and literature in Berlin and on how the spaces we inhabit change our behavior or sense of self. Mainly concentrating on the architecture of the 1920s and 1930s, Budarz is interested in the changes in the design of homes and offices at the time. She is also currently co-authoring a new version of the German-language textbook, Weiter Geht's.

She describes her classroom setting as “very student- and communication-centric,” in other words, students will enjoy coming to class. As a Senior Lecturer of German, Budarz will be teaching elementary and intermediate this semester and will add a literature and culture course in the Spring.

UTSA’s diversity is what drew Budarz to join the Roadrunner team. She hopes to create more activities outside of the classroom such asYoga auf Deutsch for German students. Budarz has high standards for the outcome of her classes and taking advantage of the German language, “My ultimate goal is to equip students with a framework for how to approach uncertainty, in any aspect of life, and feel confident in their ability to make the best decisions possible,” said Budarz.

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By: Andrea Avalos


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New UTSA French Lecturer, Isabelle Hall

August 17, 2016

Isabelle Hall joins French Faculty at UTSA

Isabelle Hall joins French Faculty at UTSA

Meet Isabelle Hall, the newest addition to the French faculty in the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures at UTSA.

Born and raised in the Provence region of France, Hall began to learn English at the age of eight in a home-taught program, then later in the sixth grade followed by German in the eighth grade. After earning her Bachelor’s degree or une License in Langues Etrangeres Appliquees (Applicable Foreign Languages),  she began to tutor English to middle school students and French refugees.  Soon after, a French professor from Brigham Young University offered her a Teaching Assistant position on the condition she completed her B.A. in French there. After that she earned an M.A. in  technology and cinema and Francophone literature and culture.

Shortly after graduating, Hall and her spouse traveled to South Korea where she had the chance to teach English and some French to Korean people of all ages. A study abroad program was organized with her former students in Korea to visit San Antonio, where she fell in love with Texas.

Following the commitment to her children’s developmental years, Hall took the opportunity to teach French courses at Northwest Vista College and has been there for the last 13 years where she helped create an active French club and great relationships with her students. Learning that most of her students transferred to UTSA, Hall set out to do the same.

As Lecturer II, Hall will be teaching FRN 1014, 2013, 2333, and 3023 this Fall semester and looks forward to being part of the Roadrunner family.  She is replacing Anne Lohezic Mutidjo, who has returned to France.

“I am thrilled to bring my passion for teaching, my love for the students, my enthusiasm for French Club and study abroad programs, and my advanced knowledge of French to the campus. The program has been growing for a few years and I desire to contribute to its expansion and its success,” Hall said.

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By Andrea Avalos

Learn more about:

     The French program at UTSA

     The UTSA French Club

     Study Abroad in France

     Isabelle Hall

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Dr. Marcos-Marin presents “Ibero-Romance” to students at Queen Mary University of London

July 21, 2016

Dr. Francisco Marcos-Marin presented his paper titled “Romania submersa and the origins of Ibero- Romance” at the 25th Colloquium Medieval Hispanic Research Seminar on June 24, 2016  at Queen Mary University of London in London, England.  

An abstract of Dr. Marcos-Marin’s paper:

Little has been said about the use of Afro-Romanic variants by Berbers in al-Andalus, and the contact among those variants and Ibero-Romance. This paper will try to present a summary of the state-of-the-art, particularly from the linguistic and the Romance Philology perspectives. Questions to be considered are of the following kind: How much do we know about the continuity of Latin in North-West Africa between the 5th and the 10th centuries? How well do we know Afro-Romance? Could we determine some basic linguistic features of Afro-Romanic and, if yes, which ones?  Which data are consistent with the presence of Berbers, Afro-Romanic speakers, in al-Andalus? To what extent Afro-Romanic may have exerted an influence on Andalusi Romance? Which consequences this may have on our knowledge of Iberian Romance languages? Some of the answers are startling and all of them imply a turn in what is known about the origins of Ibero-Romance.

You can learn more about Dr. Marcos-Marin and his various studies and publications by visiting any of the following websites:

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Spanish Students Study Abroad in Oaxaca

June 10, 2016

The first Modern Languages and Literatures Department study abroad trip to Oaxaca, Mexico lasted from June 4-July 2 for eight graduate and advanced Spanish students.


Under the guidance of Dr. Malgorzata Oleszkiewicz-Peralba, the group took classes at Centro de Investigaciones y Estudios Superiores en Antropología Social and studied culture and civilization through excursions to Arrazola, Mitla, Yagul, Yanhuitlan, Juchitan, and Tehuantepec, among others.  Highlights include the Danza de la Pluma (Dance of the Feather) in Teotitlan del Valle and visits to the ruins at Monte Albán.


Students received six hours of graduate or advanced Spanish credit upon successful completion of the program.  The curriculum included:


  • The main aspects of Mexican culture and civilization, including indigenous cultures from the past and present;

  • The colonial culture and society of Mexico with  a wealth of masterpieces of Baroque painting, sculpture, and architecture;

  • Official and unofficial devotions, including Catholicism, Shamanism, and Indo-Catholic syncretism;

  • The role of women in mainstream Mexico in contrast with the matrifocal society of the Tehuantepec region;

  • Contemporary Mexico, including globalization, drug trafficking, and their consequences in the economy, religious practices, and the society in general.


The trip was funded in part by a generous grant from the Carlos and Malú Alvarez International Study Fund and is part of UTSA President Ricardo Romo’s Latin American Initiative.


For more information, contact the Department of Modern Languages at 210-458-4377.

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