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College of Liberal and Fine Arts


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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Two Spanish for Heritage Speakers Courses Now Offered

June 10, 2016

Two new courses in Spanish that are designed specifically for students who grew up with Spanish but may not have the oral and written skills of a native speaker are now being offered at UTSA.

These specialized sections fill in the gap for students who are not yet ready for upper level Spanish but are too advanced for beginning classes.

SPN 1034 and SPN 2034, Spanish for Heritage Learners I and II, are now available for students who can speak, read, and understand some Spanish but want to improve their language skills.

In addition to language skills, the courses focus on learning the culture of Spanish speaking communities in the United States.

Students will interact with other heritage speakers and work in a caring and supportive learning environment.  Rather than being intimidated in an advanced Spanish class or under-challenged in a beginning Spanish class, students will find themselves in a comfortable setting with others of similar experience.

The goals of the Spanish for Heritage Learners courses are:

  • Better  connect with culture and community in a deeper level, and help Spanish speakers in your city or in your area

  • Increase confidence when communicating with your Spanish speaking friends and family

  • Expand job opportunities by adding increased bilingual skills to your resume

SPN 1034 is offered Fall 2016 semester at 11 a.m. MWF; SPN 2034 is offered at noon MWF.  Students can register via ASAP.

For more information, contact instructors Lilian Cano and Juanita Campos or call 210-458-4373.  

Find out more about these courses
Register for these courses
Find out more about the Spanish major at UTSA

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Daydi-Tolson Book Reading in San Marcos

June 3, 2016

On Sunday, June 5 at 4:00 PM at the Centro Cultural de San Marcos will begin the first in a series of bi-monthly poetry and short story readings titled: Two Streams ~ One River: Readings from Our Lives/Dos arroyos ~ un río: Lecturas de nuestras vidas featuring authors from both north and south of the border, reading in both English and Spanish. Kicking off the series are gifted authors Santiago Daydí-Tolson and Octavio Quintanilla, who will be reading selections from their own works. The event is open to the public and refreshments will be served.

A native of Chile and an accomplished author and poet, Santiago Daydí-Tolson has lectured in universities in Chile, Spain, and throughout the United States.  He is the author of the 2013 novel Under the Walnut Tree and of two poetry collections, Insectarium (2014) and La lira de la ira (2015). He is also the founder and editor of Convivium Artium, an online journal on food in literature and the arts, and of Labrapalabra, an electronic literary magazine in Spanish. He currently teaches in the Department of Modern Languages and Literature at the University of Texas, San Antonio.

Octavio Quintanilla was born in Harlingen, Texas, and raised in Mexico and Weslaco. His work has appeared in numerous collections including Salamander, RHINO, Alaska Quarterly Review, Southwestern American Literature, and The Texas Observer.  He is a CantoMundo Fellow, regional editor of Texas Books in Review, and author of the 2014 poetry collection If I Go Missing. He currently teaches Literature and Creative Writing in the M.A./M.F.A. program at Our Lady of the Lake University in San Antonio, Texas.

The Centro Cultural Hispano de San Marcos is located at 211 Lee Street, San Marcos, Texas211 Lee St. San Marcos, TX.


For more information about this event contact Gloria Salazar at 512-878-0640.

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UTSA Student David Lawrence Wins Gilman Scholarship

May 4, 2016

David Lawrence, a UTSA senior Political Science major, is one of over 1,150 American undergraduate students from 377 colleges and universities across the U.S. selected to receive the prestigious Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship.  Lawrence is the only student from UTSA who was awarded a summer scholarship and will use his for an eight-week language program in St. Petersburg, Russia.  In addition to language study, the program includes excursions to Novgorod, Moscow, and other notable sites.

Lawrence is a former United States Army staff sergeant, originally from Rhode Island, who plans to go into international relations after he graduates from UTSA in December.   He has taken 11 hours of Russian courses under Dr. Marita Nummikoski and Ms. Anastasia Maltseva.

When asked about his upcoming adventure in Russia, he quotes Leo Tolstoy, “Without knowing what I am and why I am here, life is impossible.”

No doubt his experience will provide an opportunity for him to gain a better understanding of another country’s culture, language, and economy that cannot be gained in a classroom. 

According to Allan Goodman, President and CEO of the Institute of International Education, “International education is one of the best tools for developing mutual understanding and building connections between people from different countries.  It is critical to the success of American diplomacy and business, and the lasting ties that Americans make during their international studies are important to our country in times of conflict as well as times of peace.”


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Rowdy TV Now Available on YouTube

May 4, 2016

Watch Rowdy TV on YouTube

Watch Rowdy TV on YouTube

Rowdy TV (RTV) has published its first two episodes: In the Film Room, which covers all UTSA, local and professional sport news and Rowdy Roundtablean update and analysis of the latest pop culture news. 

The student-run broadcast organization was created to entertain, inform, and produce shows that appeal to UTSA students and the local community.  

In the Film Room is hosted by, Jocelyn Cortes and Shayla Hudson, along with their correspondents, Darryl Sherrod II, Kiara Washington, and Sergio Ramirez. They debated the most favored game: Kobe Bryant’s final game or Golden State’s 73rd record-breaking win, conversed about NBA playoff predictions, mentioned Spur’s defensive player of the year winner, Kawaii Leonard, engaged in an NFL mock draft, and analyzed the British Premiere League’s table results.  

Rowdy Roundtable is hosted by, Robert Vela III and Megan Ball, along with their correspondents, Sarah Marchan, Amari Cunningham, Jocelyn Cortes, and Darryl Sherrod II. In the first episode they discussed Justin Bieber’s meet and greet cancellation where his fans did not receive refunds after paying to meet him, Kat Williams picking a fight with a teenager, Russell Wilson’s ex-wife’s jealousy of his fiancé singer Ciara, and the best and worst stories of Spring Break.  

The process for production is divided into specific roles such as a producer or content manager, where each show has an assigned group message where topics are first introduced. Next, at the production committee meetings, each topic and segment are discussed thoroughly as a group. Lastly, the night before filming, the producer finalizes the show layout and the production committee director and organization president, Darryl Sherrod II, oversees the layout one last time before sending it out to all the hosts and correspondents who prepare their introductions and notes for filming day.  

The technical committee has done an outstanding job of preparing, filming and carefully editing each show to look and sound professional. Committee director, Sergio Ramirez explains, “Editing a show takes a lot of work. Creating something as simple as a title can take up to fifteen minutes, from there more time amounts as we work on switching up the camera angles for variety. It is also important that all the while we work on different graphics and transitions, lighting and audio remain stable in order to produce a high-quality show.”  

Rowdy TV continues to grow and strives to, “become the largest media organization on campus, surpassing Rowdy Radio and The Paisano and even becoming a suitable network for local San Antonio and eventually, Texas,” adds Sherrod.  

The UTSA Department of Modern Languages and Literatures supports Rowdy TV with the use of its video equipment, digital editing lab, and studio space.   

by Andrea Avalos

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Ana Laura Garcia Wins Modern Languages Endowed Scholarship

April 26, 2016

Ana Laura Garcia visits Bocca della Veritá in Rome

Ana Laura Garcia visits Bocca della Veritá in Rome

Ana Laura Garcia, Second year student from Temple, TX, has been awarded the Modern Languages & Literatures Endowed Undergraduate Scholarship.  Garcia, a Modern Language Studies major, eventually plans to go into medicine and is currently studying abroad in Italy, immersing herself in the art, history, and culture of the country.  

Garcia describes her gratitude for the scholarship, “It's a wonderful feeling knowing that there are people in the community who believe in higher education and believe in the importance of the liberal and fine arts.”  

“Studying abroad was an idea that seemed too farfetched and expensive for me to accomplish but with the help of the scholarship, I have been able to experience it – and it is unique and life changing.” 

Garcia urges all students to consider study abroad and apply for scholarships.   

“The biggest lesson I have learned during my experience abroad is that when you get lost, you actually find yourself,” she added. 

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by Andrea Avalos


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Luis Enrique Angel Receives Centro Cultural Cubano Scholarship

April 21, 2016

First year student Luis Enrique Angel has been awarded the Centro Cultural Cubano of San Antonio Endowed scholarship for Spanish majors, one of the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures undergraduate scholarships.  

Since moving from Jalisco, Mexico 12 years ago, Angel knew that getting an education was going to be a necessity to fulfill his dream of becoming a Spanish teacher. 

 As an undergraduate, Angel is committed to his studies in order to reach his end goal, “Being a first generation college student hasn’t been easy," he explains, "having to work two jobs at times has been a challenge but I have been able to stay in school."   

Angel works hard and keeps his grades up in spite of the difficulties.  "I serve as a role model for my nephews and nieces who look up to me as an example to follow,” he shared.  

This scholarship will allow Angel to more easily achieve academic success and he encourages all students to stay focused on their goals.


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By Andrea Avalos

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Marcos-Marín Selected as International Philology Mentor

April 18, 2016

Dr. Francisco Marcos-Marín, UTSA Professor of Spanish Translation & Linguistics (photo by Jordan Mkwanazi)

Dr. Francisco Marcos-Marín, UTSA Professor of Spanish Translation & Linguistics (photo by Jordan Mkwanazi)

UTSA Spanish Linguistics Professor Dr. Francisco Marcos-Marín was chosen by the International Mentoring Program (IMP) as one of its ten philology mentors for the 2016-2017 academic year.  IMP selects Spanish scientists and professionals of international reputation to share their experience and advice with selected undergraduate and graduate students in Spanish universities in order to improve their professional training and global opportunities.

As a philology mentor, Marcos-Marín will converse with doctoral students in Spain via Skype, attend a mentor conference in Spain in July, and be featured in a 40-minute film which highlights his professional career.

The video was filmed and edited in the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures video studio under the direction of Dr. Nancy Membrez, Associate Professor of Spanish Literature and Digital Filmmaking.   Membrez worked with three of her advanced video students Kendall Casas, Jordan Mkwanazi, and Kwan Swiger.

The film focuses on an interview with Marcos-Marín conducted by María Guadalupe Coreño, a graduate student in the Spanish M.A. program, where he provides career support and encouragement for college students.  Also included is additional footage of UTSA to show off the campus at its best shot by Membrez, and personal and historic photographs.  The team spent over 100 hours filming, editing, and creating titles and credits for the project.

Marcos-Marín has authored more than 30 books and over 300 papers and reviews published in specialized journals, collective volumes, or Festschriften, in several countries in different languages.  He has also published two books of poetry and several short stories, and has contributed widely to American, Latin-American, and Spanish newspapers, radio and TV broadcasts.  He currently teaches Spanish translation and linguistics in the UTSA Department of Modern Languages and Literatures.


 Watch video 


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Oleszkiewicz-Peralba Lectures at Women & Mythology Conference in Boston

April 8, 2016

Dr. Malgorzata Oleszkiewicz-Peralba has just returned from Boston where she delivered the paper “Liminality, Transgression, and Feminine Empowerment: The Case of Kali and Pombagira” at the Association for the Study of Women and Mythology Conference, as well as the lecture “Pombagira: The Afro-Brazilian Trickster” at Northeastern University.

While in Boston, she also conducted research for her new project “Continuity of Feminine Symbolism in Art from Prehistory to the Present” at the Museum of Fine Arts.

In addition, her book Fierce Feminine Divinities of Eurasia and Latin America: Baba Yaga, Kali, Pombagira, and Santa Muerte was nominated for the Sarasvati Award in Women Spirituality.

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Over 170 Students Awarded for Foreign Language Study

April 8, 2016

More than 170 foreign language students received awards at The Department of Modern Languages and Literatures annual Awards Ceremony on April 6.  The event is held each year to recognize outstanding students for their hard work and excellence in their foreign language studies.

Each awardee was selected by a faculty member based on his or her achievement in Spanish, Italian, French, Chinese, Russian, Japanese, Korean, German, Media Studies, Linguistics, or Comparative Studies in the Humanities.

“I was not expecting to win this many awards,” said modern language studies major Alexandra L. Duhaime, who won two lower and two upper division awards for Russian, “My faith pushed me towards studying this language and I thank my professors, Dr. Nummikoski, Ms. Maltseva, and Dr. Rushforth for supporting me throughout the process.”

Alejandro Patricio Mendoza, a business major who was awarded in Italian and German, identifies both Spanish and English as his native languages. “Learning Italian and German was not easy, it required a lot of dedication, but it is extremely rewarding,” he said.

 “I am very thankful to my professors, Dr. Wickham and Dr. Zaldivar, who pushed, encouraged, and inspired me to master these languages. It was an achievement for the both of us,” Mendoza added.

“It is important to note that only 4% of 4,300 foreign language students received an award tonight and these awards are based on both performance and contribution to positive atmospheres in the classroom,” Department Chair Dr. Marita Nummikoski pointed out.

Nummikoski, who is stepping down as chair, was also awarded for her 15 years of service and dedication to the Modern Languages Department and received a much-deserved standing ovation.  

Students and their families filled the Denman Ballroom in the University Center for the event and reception.  Entertainment included a traditional Chinese dance featuring student Blair Pan, the Korean Club K-Pop dancers, and a poetry reading by the Spanish Club.

Students who were unable to attend the ceremony may pick up their awards in the Modern Language offices in room 4.01.01 McKinney during normal business hours.

Photographs can be found on the department FaceBook page.


The awards winners are as follows:

Lower Division:


  • Michael Black

  • Ka Ying Cheng

  • Carlos Eduardo Dinkel

  • Salazar

  • Jiewei Yang

Comparative Studies in the Humanities: Italian

  • Michael “Max” Oliver

  • Aidan J. Watson-Morris


  • Pamela Brewer

  • Miles M. Bryant

  • Mari Carmen Castellano

  • Raquel Chavez

  • Justin Copisarow

  • Aissatou Fall

  • Kayly Ann Ginsberg

  • Kristen Handy

  • Isabel Meza-Roquebert

  • Blaine Morris

  • Laura Pisani


  • Madeline Johnson

  • Kelly Kleifges


  • Sheri DeCoste

  • Alejandro Patricio Mendoza

  • Gustavo Ochoca

  • Melina Quintanilla


  • Melody Bostdorf

  • Samantha Campbell

  • Daniel G. Esquivel

  • Joseph Lupardus

  • Raymund Machacon II

  • Illya Maxwell

  • Amanda Yvette Moralles

  • Yvette A. Palacios

  • Melissa Alexandra Perez

  • Cynthia Rodriguez

  • Giancarlo Sanz

  • Alexandra Savage

  • Christopher Weiss

  • Meghan Williamson


  • Nicholas Quinn Velie

  • Maggie Zhang


  • Alexandra L. Duhaime

  • Javier Flores Del Campo

  • Sabrina L. Gozdzialski

  •  Aaron A. Jahns

  • Mariam Kerfai

  •  Blake Sablatura


  • Audrey Ahumada

  • Maura Patrícia Sebastião António

  •  Luciano Barraza

  • Jeffrey A. Bonnin

  • Taylor Bowman

  • Brandon Brewer

  •  Madison B. Brock

  • Haley Nicole Bulls

  • Lindsay M. Carleston

  •  Yao H. Chang

  • Amrit K. Chhina

  • Madison Chilton

  • Marcus T. Codrescu

  • Sydney Colon

  • Alejandra Jasmin Cortes

  • Amelia Cunningham

  •  Reed T. Deangelis

  •  Rebecca Doll

  • Jordan Easley

  •  Elijah Z. Echeveste

  • Dominick Edison

  • Kady J. Felder

  •  Crispín Feliciano

  •  Gabrielle Celeste Franco

  •  Suma Ganji

  • Ana Garcia

  • Tyler Garcia

  • Elizabeth Gonzalez-Gonzalez

  •  Lawrence T. Goodwyn

  • David Hafner

  • Kacey Harris

  • Derrick Hernandez

  • Jessa L. Knox

  • Julienne Kornegay

  • Rohan Lakhani

  • Sabrina N. Lalani

  • Angela Limones

  • Maya B. Lofton

  • Ruben Lozano

  • Derek A. Machen

  • Krystyn Malveaux

  • Aspen Manning

  • Kyle M. Mansell

  • Ilianna M. Martinez

  • Kaitlin Elizabeth Mazza

  • Ashley McCowan

  • Cesar Daniel Munoz

  • Tayloy E. Oberg

  • Daphne Okoro

  • Sabina Ortega

  • Marie Erika Poitevien

  •  Andrew T. Ray

  •  Lori A. Ray

  • Christianna A. Reimherr

  • Javier Reza, Jr.

  • Gabriela E. Rodriguez

  • Tiger Rodriguez

  • Marcela Sanchez

  • Prachi Shah

  • Valeria Solis

  • Steven A. Stringfield

  • Mark A. Stryker

  • Karla Valenzuela

  • Sirena Vandervort

  • Amber Vo

  • Ryan A. Warrior

  • Mateo Whelton

  • Terralyn Wilburn

  • Chris York

Upper Division:

Comparative Studies in the Humanities: French

  • Diego Gonzales

  • Jenny Lewis

  • Dustin Linson-Holland

  • Steffanie Sparrow


  • Mariam Kerfai

  • Maria Trevino Camargo

Comparative Studies in the Humanities: German

  • Kaitlin  Beach

  • Morgan Wendlandt


  • Alejandro Patricio Mendoza

  • Carla Celina Perkins

  • Caroline Williamson

Achievement in International Goethe Institut Exam

  • Alejandro Patricio Mendoza

  • Carla Celina Perkins

  • Caroline Williamson


  • Marissa Arellano

  • Nishant Gandhi

  • Mathieu Gregg

Media Studies: Italian

  • Christian Lauren Treviño

  • Eric James Vasquez


  • Tristan A. Enos

  • Laura Pisani

  • Jennifer Quiroga

  •  Zachary Sanchez


  • Alexandra L. Duhaime

  • Thomas MacGahan

  • Evan Turner


  • Jesus Dair Banuelos

  • Daniel Barba

  • Rose Marie Camacho

  • Katherine K. Carrizales

  • Douglas Ceffalo (2)

  • Jasmine Contreras (2)

  • Maria Victoria Corchado

  • Jocelyn Cortes

  • Elisa Covarrubias

  • Echo Kambria Dagget

  • Alan Omar De Los Santos Acuña (3)

  • Brittany Alexandria Edwards

  • Ana Laura Garcia

  • Dulce Beatriz Guajardo

  • Sally Kordab

  • Walter T. Leigh

  • Amber Maldonado

  •  Kevin A. Milla

  • Maritza A. Olvera

  • Darlene T. Ortiz

  • Annalee Rebollar

  • David Rios

  •  Eva Rivas De Miguel (2)

  • Omar Alejandro Rodriguez

  •  Kelyn Salazar

  • Michael Thomas

  • Michelle Valenzuela

Graduate Students

  • Alejandra Barrientos

  • Kathleen J. Croom

  • Patricia S. Demotte

  • Veronica F. Forde

  • José A. Hernández (2)

  • José Jacobo

  • Paula Andrea Perilla-Duque

  •  Mariana V. Prado

  • Yaisy Rodriguez

  • Maria A. Shelledy

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Russian Children’s Theatre to Perform at UTSA

April 7, 2016

A Tale of Lost Time, a musical play, will be performed at UTSA by the Russian Children's Theatre of Houston (Radost) on April 23 at the Buenva Vista Theater on the downtown campus.

The play, a funny and educational tale that illustrates the hazards of wasting time on foolish things, focuses on main character Petya Zubov, who is constantly late for school, disruptive, and has failing grades.  Wicked wizards devise a plan to teach Petya and the other miscreant students a much needed lesson in an entertaining way.

Performed in Russian entirely by children, this unique event can be entertaining for all -- even those who do not speak Russian.  A detailed play synopsis in English, which thoroughly describes each scene, will assist you.

Radost has staged a number of plays including The Wizard of Oz, The Adventures of Pinocchio, and Winnie the Pooh and has performed throughout the United States.

The event begins at 3 p.m. on April 23.  Tickets are $20 and are available online at Brown Paper Tickets or at the door.  For more information, email Radost or call 713-857-3520.  

The Buena Vista Theater is located at the UTSA Downtown Campus at the intersection of Buena Vista and South Frio Streets.  Free parking is available across the street in the Monterrey lot in any space designated employee A, employee B, or commuter. 

This event is co-sponsored by the UTSA Department of Modern Languages and Literatures.

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Graduate Student Works Toward Career in Translation

April 4, 2016

As a mother of two, a full- time Spanish M.A candidate, and a student of the Translation and Interpreting Certificate Program at UTSA, Yeni Dávila still manages to surpass educational expectations.

Born and raised in Mexico until the age of fourteen, Dávila then immigrated to California where she graduated from South Tahoe High School in 1996. Shortly after moving to Texas, Dávila attended Alamo College where she earned a degree in Liberal Arts. However, her true passion derives from her ability to translate for others and help them communicate – hence her enrollment to UTSA in 2012.

While pursuing her Master’s in Spanish and continued commitment to her Translation and Interpreting studies, Dávila has expanded her knowledge by producing multiple research papers on topics which encompass bilingual and English-language learners (ELL) education.

The first of three research proposals was accepted in February at this year’s Graduate Portuguese and Hispanic Symposium (GRAPHSY 2016), which was held at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. For this year’s topic, “Herencia y Tradición: Looking Back, Moving Forward,” Dávila presented a paper titled, “El Bilinguismo y La Identidad de Una Tejana” (Bilingualism and Identity of a Texan Girl). This paper was inspired by her former employer, who takes pride in her heritage and being bilingual but does not condone “Spanglish.”

Thus, a qualitative approach was chosen and a sociolinguistic interview was performed. However, Dávila elaborates on the value of the mixed language, “It is wonderful to use Spanglish as a communication tool for heritage speakers if that is the variation that speakers know, nonetheless, as educators we want to promote the use of academic Spanish.”

Following her appearance at GRAPHSY 2016, Dávila delivered her second research paper at UT Austin for the, “XXII Graduate Colloquium of Iberian and Latin American Languages and Cultures” symposium and at the University of Massachusetts Amherst for the “UMass Translation Studies Conference” in late April. The title of the paper presented at both campuses is, “La interpretación mediada en el ámbito educativo” (Meditated interpretation in Educational Settings). Working for the ELL department at North East Independent School District (NEISD), she was motivated to learn more about it and its value in the classroom. “ELL students can really benefit from the use of a mediated interpreting during parent teacher meetings to ensure that they get all the opportunities their English monolingual peers have,” Dávila explains.

Aside from being a dedicated researcher, Dávila is one of three recipients that have won the National Association for Judicial Interpreters and Translators (NAJIT) 2016 Scholar Award Program. This scholarship allows her to attend the annual conference held May 13-15 this year in San Antonio.

All of Dávila’s papers are written in Spanish and target education professionals, policy makers in educational settings, and researchers of language mediation and linguistics. Dávila’s long term goal is to provide high quality translation and interpreting services to all of Texas and its ELL students.

 “Yeni thrives on the challenge of solving a problem through research. She is passionate about the practice of translation and interpreting, but is equally aware of the need to advance her academic skills at the service of the profession. I have seen her galvanize a group and spark conversation. We need confident, informed language mediators who care about bridging theory and practice, and Yeni is an amazing ambassador for the Graduate Certificate in Spanish Translation and Interpreting Studies,” comments Dávila’s professor and mentor, Dr. Wallace.


Dávila hopes to be an inspiration to young Hispanics and encourage them to pursue higher education. Her dedication to her studies and research have continued to present countless academic opportunities.

By Andrea Avalos, Modern Languages Department Communication Intern , April 4, 2016


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UTSA Grad Student Wins NAJIT Scholars Award

March 29, 2016

UTSA graduate student Yeni Davila is one of three recipients of the National Association for Judicial Interpreters and Translators (NAJIT) 2016 Scholar Award Program which includes a full scholarship to the organization's Annual Conference.   Other winners were Garrett Michaelson Bradford of the University of Maryland and Odilia Peña from Tulsa Community College.

Davila is currently in the Spanish M.A. and Translation and Interpreting Certificate programs in the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures.  During the current academic year she has presented research papers at the University of Massachusetts Translation Studies Conference, the Graduate Portuguese and Hispanic Symposium in Georgetown, and most recently at the Graduate Colloquium of Iberian and Latin American Languages and Cultures at UT Austin.

NAJIT will hold its annual conference in San Antonio May 13-15.  NAJIT promotes the highest professional standards in legal interpreting in order to ensure due process, equal protection, and equal access to the administration of justice for non-English speaking individuals.

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Annual Awards Ceremony for Language Students

March 28, 2016

The Department of Modern Languages and Literatures has announced its annual awards ceremony to be held on April 6, 2016 at 5:30 p.m. in the University Center's Denman Room.

Over 175 undergraduate and graduate students who have excelled in their foreign language studies in Spanish, French, Korean, Japanese, Chinese, Russian, German, Italian, or Linguistics during the past academic year will receive awards.  

Dr. Christopher Wickham, Professor of German, will serve as master of ceremonies and entertainment will be provided by the Spanish, Chinese, and Korean Clubs.  A reception will follow. 

Students who will be receiving awards have been notified via email and text message.  

For more information, contact the department support staff.

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Two Graduate Students Present Research at UT Austin Conference

March 28, 2016

Spanish M.A students, Yeni Davila and Mariana Prado were given the opportunity to present their research papers this past weekend at the “XXII Graduate Colloquium of Iberian and Latin American Languages and Cultures” held at UT Austin.

Davila presented a paper titled, “La Interpretación Mediada en el Ámbito Educativo” (Meditated Interpretation in Educational Settings) which was inspired by her experience in the ELL (English Language Learners) Department at North East Independent School District (N.E.I.S.D).

Prado presented a paper titled, “Child Brokering” that covers the developmental benefits and consequences of a child performing translation and interpretation for their Spanish-speaking parents in daily life situations.

Both graduate students have remained dedicated to their research and hope to create an impact for Hispanic-Americans nationwide. 


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Graduate Student Leads Elementary Students to Educational Success

March 25, 2016

Education has become more than a four year commitment for Spanish M.A student, Veronica F. Forde, who is currently finishing up her third degree while working full time to spread the importance of education. 

Before Forde immigrated to San Antonio from Mexico City at the age of 22, she enrolled at UNAM (Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México) for two years to learn English and translation skills. Following her move, Forde transferred to UTSA where she earned a B.A in Interdisciplinary Studies and fulfilled her dream of becoming a teacher. However, her desire for a higher education was relentless. 

“I love learning, so I decided to go back to school to pursue a Master’s degree and I graduated in December 1999 with a Master’s in Education,” Forde shared. 

The first couple of years as a fourth grade teacher, Forde’s students were producing low test results which encouraged her to introduce a new teaching technique, the Forde-Ferrier Mastery Method.

 Founded by her husband, Jason Forde and his colleague, Dagan Ferrier, this teaching package was initially designed to prepare students in grades 3 through 5 for state mandated assessments such as TAAS, TAKS, and now STAAR. Exercising this plan generated scores of 100 on all major subjects. Although the Forde-Ferrier method was doing remarkably well for students in Southwest ISD, the founders decided they were limiting their resources, so expanding their product to schools all across Texas became the next target. Math, reading, writing, and science workshops were supplied for every school visited. Since becoming a teacher in 1992, Forde has been able to witness many students, including her own, succeed tremendously after applying the Forde-Ferrier Mastery Method. 

Forde eventually developed a translated version of the different workshops to help students practice their Spanish skills. A few of her books include, Ultimate Math Series grades 1-2-3-4-5, STAAR Bright Reading grades 2-3-4-5, STAAR Write Writing Editing and Revision grades 3-4-7, STAAR Writing Prompts grade 4, and STAAR Write Writing Test book grade 4.

This process became very time consuming – creating, translating, and editing the product from English to Spanish. Consequently, it took up a lot of family time but as Forde describes, “It has been 18 years of a lot of work, but also very gratifying.”

The journey does not end there, however. Forde-Ferrier was interviewed and contracted by “In America,” a television series hosted by esteemed actor, James Earl Jones, which educates and entertains the nation with short stories on the latest topics and trends. Shortly after, a segment was produced which highlighted the great impact this mastery method has made in classrooms across Texas. The Common Core books and services, which consists of the various workshops provided by the Forde-Ferrier company, were later released to the following states that followed Common Core. 

The long term goal of Forde-Ferrier is to provide its products and services to schools all across the nation. This process has officially begun and continues to make progress every day. The purpose has, and will always be “making it easier for teachers to achieve success, not only on the assessment, but student mastery as well,” as explained by Forde. 

 By Andrea Avalos, Modern Languages Department Communication Intern , March 25, 2016


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Class Studies German Immigration at ITC

March 23, 2016

Dr. Christopher Wickham’s course “Introduction to German Literature and Culture: 1700-the Present” took a field trip to the Institute of Texan Cultures.

The course had been covering the history of German immigration to Texas and its cultural context.

At the ITC the class drew on the exhibit displaying German immigration history to expand its knowledge of migration patterns, education, music, religion, and German clubs in Texas.

Following the visit, some students completed the experience with a visit to Schilo’s German deli to eat Kartoffelpuffer, Braunschweiger, and Streuselkuchen.

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Students Research Italian Art at the McNay

February 23, 2016

Students of Intermediate Italian I presented research in Italian on works of art by Italian artists at the McNay Art Museum here in San Antonio.  The students, Ana Garcia, Jose Hernandez, Alejandro Mendoza, Mariana Siller-Alvarez, and Kyle Wienecke lectured Dr. Molly Zaldivar and members of the Italian community here in San Antonio on artworks ranging in variety from lithographs for set designs of operas, a white marble bust of a woman, altar pieces from 13th century Italy, and a painting by Modigliani.

"The findings were thorough, provocative and thoughtful," Zaldivar said.  "All of these students prove proficient speakers of Italian."

Italian is spoken on five continents, and  is the official language of six countries, including Italy, of course, Switzerland, Ethiopia, Somalia, Croatia and Slovenia.

UTSA offers a two-year Italian language sequence and literature and culture courses with varied topics such as the literature and art of the Renaissance, Medieval to contemporary Italian literature, Italian Cinema and modern Italian culture. 

For more information about studying Italian at UTSA, contact Dr. Zaldivar or visit the Modern Languages department web site.

- February 22, 2016

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Cheng Receives Undergraduate Research Award for Cantonese Language Study

February 15, 2016

Her dedication to helping Cantonese-speaking Chinese learners has earned Ka Ying Clarin Cheng an undergraduate research award which compares the language transfers or L1 interference, applied knowledge from one language to another, between Cantonese and Mandarin Chinese. Her research studies how Cantonese-speaking Chinese learners adapt to the different semantics system provided by the UTSA textbook series, Great Wall Chinese.  

Born and raised in Hong Kong, Cheng’s first and only language was Cantonese until she moved to San Antonio and learned English. After fulfilling her mother’s wishes to attend college and earning a bachelor’s degree in Sociology, she dedicated herself to learning Mandarin Chinese. This influenced her to produce a research project that would benefit Mandarin Chinese studies for its corresponding teachers and Cantonese-speaking students.  

For this research project, a qualitative approach, which consists of collecting data, interviewing participants, reviewing previous research, and finalizing the analyzed results, was chosen. Cheng quickly adapted to the Mandarin Chinese language due to the similar writing system it has with Cantonese. She studied Taiwanese movies and talk shows such as Kangxi Lai Le to aid in her learning process. Although both languages originate from the same roots, the dialect pronunciation is very different.  

In October of 2015, Cheng applied for a UTSA Undergraduate Research Award. Her goal is to essentially improve Chinese writing skills for students and teach professors more on the background of the language. While Mandarin Chinese is the more-widely spoken language of China, Cantonese continues to be one of the nine regional dialects of the nation which is why this research will not only benefit non-Chinese speaking Cantonese-families in America, but in China as well.  

While Cheng’s initial goal was to earn her foreign language credit, it developed into what could possibly be one of the most helpful additions to making Mandarin Chinese easier for Cantonese speakers to learn. 

Ashley Ying Li, Chinese lecturer and Cheng's mentor, comments on the study, “This research is very valuable for this area of teaching Chinese. It is important to reveal this work to Cantonese-speaking Chinese learners since it could ultimately be an essential skill.”  

On February 19, Cheng and Li will present the study at the Texas Language Education Research Conference (TexLER) sponsored by the UTSA College of Education and Human Development during the Testing and Assessment: Research Methods session.  She will also participate in the UTSA 2016 Undergraduate Research and Creative Inquiry Showcase on April 21.  


Learn more about Undergraduate Research opportunites.

Find out more about studying Chinese at UTSA. 



By Andrea Avalos, Modern Languages Department Communications Intern

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Chinese Classes Celebrate Year of the Monkey

January 29, 2016

February 8, 2016 ushered in the Chinese New Year --  “Hóuzi de yī nián” or the year of the monkey -- and UTSA language students in CHN 1024 and 2023 celebrated it in the traditional Chinese style. 

Also known as the Spring Festival, this 15-day celebration marks the beginning of the Chinese New Year and ends with the traditional Lantern Festival. With this festival being the most important in Chinese culture, UTSA’s Chinese Club chose the most traditional form of celebration for this lunar year, Miao Hui, or temple fair. It is believed that this fair originated from the opposition between the two major religions of China -- Buddhism and Taoism -- which were the most popluar (and competing) religions during the Tang and Song Dynasties. Thus began the competition for the most temples, elaborate rituals, and worship festivals in order to attract more followers. Though the original foundation of Maio Hui has declined due to secularization, it has evolved into a gathering of traditional folk dances, participation in a commercial Chinese market, and enjoying classic Chinese cuisine.

The Chinese Club at UTSA hosted a Spring Festival on Monday, February 8 in the HUC 2.212. Students got a chance to explore more about the rituals of the Spring Festival which included learning how to make traditional foods, attending a Chinese craft workshop, practicing Chinese calligraphy, watching the Spring Festival TV Gala, and participating in an authentic Chinese market where students received a Red Envelope which allowed them to buy and sell during the festival.

The Chinese Club is a student organization advised by Dr. Ashley Li, UTSA Lecturer of Chinese. For more information, visit the Chinese Club Facebook page. 



By Andrea Avalos, Modern Languages Department Communications Intern

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Modern Languages Department Announces New Study Abroad Program in Oaxaca, Mexico

November 11, 2015

Students will be able to earn 6 credit hours exploring Mexican cultures in Oaxaca in the summer of 2016

Students will be able to earn 6 credit hours exploring Mexican cultures in Oaxaca in the summer of 2016

The Department of Modern Languages and Literatures has announced a new faculty-led study abroad program in Oaxaca, Mexico which focuses on Mexican culture and civilization, including the indigenous peoples of the region; religiosity and the role of women; art and architecture; and contemporary Mexico.

UTSA is collaborating with Centro de Investigaciones y Estudios Superiores de Antropología Social (CIESAS) for this four-week program.  Under the instruction of Dr. Malgorzata Oleszkiewicz-Peralba, UTSA Associate Professor of Spanish and Latin American Literary and Cultural Studies, students will be able to earn six hours of upper level Spanish credits. 

While in Mexico, students will visit famous archeological sites such as Monte Albán, Mitla, and Yagul, which are some of the oldest in Mesoamerica.  Other excursions include Yanhuitlán, the oldest indigenous settlement, and The Isthmus of Tehuantepec with its matrifocal culture.

Located in Southwestern Mexico, Oaxaca is best known for its indigenous peoples and cultures.  The Zapotecs and the Mixtecs are the most well-known but 16 groups are officially recognized.

Scholarships from the Carlos and Malú Alvarez International Study Fund will be available for all participants.

The tentative travel dates are June 11 through July 9, 2016.

Interested students should contact the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures via email or call 210-458-4377.   

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Reading While Listening Research

November 4, 2015

Dr. Makiko Fukuda and Ms. Erina Romanowich presented their recent research on Japanese language learning at the Texas Foreign Languages Association (TFLA) conference in Houston in October.

The two UTSA faculty members' research centers around the introduction of the Reading While Listening (RWL) approach in beginning level Japanese language classese. RWL is the process of providing audio aid when a language student is reading a book.  Research has shown that this process helps learners improve reading fluency and is more efficient than reading only. Fukuda and Romanowich point out the importance of providing a lot of language input during the early stages of learning a new language.  However, they note that the number of available RWL materials is very limited. Currently they are creating online audio books for elementary level Japanese students and conducting research comparing the efficacy of RWL with reading only on reading fluency.

Fukuda is a Senior Lecturer and coordinator of the UTSA Department of Modern Languages and Literatures Japanese Program and Romanowich is a Lecturer of Japanese.  

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Whitney Chappell Research Presentations

November 4, 2015

Dr. Whitney Chappell, Assistant Professor of Spanish Linguistics, recently presented her research at UT Austin, the University of Illinois, and UTSA’s International Translation Day.

At the Hispanic Linguistics Symposium at the University of Illinois, Chappell presented "The Importance of Motivated Comparisons in Variationist Studies" on September 25.  She used quantitative data on Nicaraguan /s/ reduction to illustrate how drastically the results of a statistical model can change based on differential treatments of the dependent variable. Ultimately, she calls for better, linguistically motivated practices in variationists' model construction.

At UTSA's International Translation Day Colloquium on September 30, she presented "The Tangible Consequences of Invisible Forces: How Language Attitudes Shape Language Use.” In this talk, Chappell explored how the sociopolitical status of the languages spoken in a bilingual community contribute to the languages' use and structure. The presentation examined the effect both social prestige and legal status have on the Spanish and English spoken in the United States, with a focus on language use and language attitudes in San Antonio.

In addition, Dr. Chappell was invited to present her research on "Perceptions of Intervocalic /s/ Voicing: Gendered Access to [z]'s Indexical Field" at The University of Texas at Austin on October 22. She discussed her new work on intervocalic [z] perception in Costa Rican Spanish, arguing that female speakers' limited access to the positive social meanings associated with [z] hinders their production of the variant.

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UTSA Chinese Classes Celebrated Mid-Autumn Festival 2015

November 4, 2015

UTSA students and faculty from Chinese Elementary and Intermediate classes gathered at the University Center to celebrate the Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival 2015 in September.

During the two-hour celebration, more than 50 students and several guestslearned about the tradition of the Mid-Autumn Festival by watching Chinese Mid-Autumn Celebration TV shows, listening to the legendary story of Houyi and Chang’e, dressing in traditional Chinese costumes, and sampling moon cakes—which are typically eaten during the festival. The students also learned and sang one of the popular Chinese songs, “The Moon Represents My Heart."

The Chinese Mid-autumn Festival is an important traditional holiday celebrated by ethnic Chinese and Vietnamese people throughout the world. The celebration is held on the 15th day of the 8th lunar month each year, and is an important time for reunion with friends and family. On this festival day, family members gather to appreciate the bright full moon, eat moon cakes, and express strong yearnings toward family members and friends who live near and afar. In addition, there are other customs such as playing lanterns, and dragon and lion dances in certain regions in China.

“Overall, I thought this celebration was a great cultural learning experience for many of my students. There were a lot of memorable moments, but the most rewarding was having the students try the red bean moon cakes for the first time! This celebration would not have been possible without the support from the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures and Confucius Institute at UTSA”, as reflected by Ashley Li, instructor for both Chinese classes. 

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Wallace selected as Fulbright Scholar

October 30, 2015

Dr. Melissa Wallace will spend spring semester researching court interpreting principles in Finland

Dr. Melissa Wallace will spend spring semester researching court interpreting principles in Finland

Dr. Melissa Wallace has been granted the Fulbright – University of Tampere Scholar Award by the Fulbright Scholar Program and will be spending the spring 2016 semester in Tampere, the third largest city in Finland. While there she will be carrying out research directly related to her line of scholarship in transnational court interpreter education and accreditation.  

Finland is currently at the forefront of complying with European legislation (Directive 2010/64/EU) which guarantees the assistance of qualified court interpreters in criminal proceedings, and Wallace’s project will research the impact of the Directive on the teaching of court interpreting at the university level, focusing on an innovative course called Principles of Authorised Translation. First opened to active members of the Finnish Association of Translators and Interpreters (SKTL) at the Universities of Tampere, Helsinki and Turku, Principles (which has since expanded to two other universities) bridges the academy and the profession, and thus invites examination and possibly importation to US universities.

Wallace is hopeful that her research and semester in Finland will “establish a relationship with a well consolidated program.” Wallace will be residing in Finland for five months and plans to visit other cities and universities in addition to Tampere, a city located in the southwest of Finland with a population of approximately 220,000 people.

The Fulbright Program is the flagship international educational exchange program sponsored by the U.S. Government and is designed to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries.  The program awards 8,000 Fulbright Scholar grants annually in over 160 countries.

Wallace is an Assistant Professor and directs the Graduate Certificate in Spanish Translation and Interpreting Studies in the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures at UTSA. 

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Wallace appointed to NAJIT research & education board

October 6, 2015

Dr. Melissa Wallace has been appointed to the national board of the Society for the Study of Translation and Interpretation (SSTI), the educational and research wing of NAJIT (National Association of Judiciary Interpreters and Translators).

SSTI recognizes that Wallace’s credentials as researcher, educator, certified court reporter, and healthcare interpreter make her an invaluable member of the organization’s board of directors. 

SSTI’s mission is to support research and to develop curricula for the profession and related fields by funding and producing research that supports best practices in legal translation and interpretation in order to become a universally recognized source of information, statistics, and research on translation and interpreter issues.

Wallace is currently assistant Ppofessor of Spanish Translation and Interpreting Studies in the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures and directs the graduate certificateprogram in translation studies.  A certified court interpreter and certified healthcare interpreter, she served two terms as an appointed member of the state Supreme Court Committee to Improve Translation and Interpreting in Wisconsin Courts and has just begun a 5-year term on the Licensed Court Interpreter Advisory Board of the Judicial Branch Certification Commission for the Supreme Court of Texas. She is an active appointed member of the Standards and Training Committee of the National Council on Interpreting in Health Care (NCIHC), and is co-lead on the Webinars Work Group of the NCIHC’s Home for Trainers initiative.

Wallaces research focuses on indicators of aptitude on court interpreter certification exams, interpreter and translator training, and policy innovations as language access activism.

She holds a Ph.D. in Translation and Interpreting from the Universidad de Alicante, Spain.

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Rowdy TV to Begin Filming on Campus in October

October 2, 2015

A new UTSA television station is just now starting up on campus -- Rowdy TV -- which plans to begin broadcasting on YouTube in October.  Rowdy TV is a student-led organization run by Darryl Sherrod and Sergio Ramirez. Auditions are planned for next week and the station intends to offer news and entertainment shows as well as sports coverage.


Auditions will be held in JPL room 2 on these dates and times:

  • Tues, Oct. 6  9-11 am

  • Wed, Oct. 7 10 am-2 pm

  • Thur, Oct 8  9-11 am & 6-8 pm

  • Fri, Oct 9  10 am-2 pm


The Department of Modern Languages and Literatures is supporting the new undertaking by providing studio space in McKinney and equipment for filming and editing.   


For more information, contact Darryl Sherrod or Sergio Ramirez.  

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Translation Day Colloquium Examines Language Policies & Social Justice Issues

September 18, 2015

Six leading experts on translation and interpreting will share their insight and interact with the public at the International Translation Day @UTSA Colloquium on September 30.  

International Translation Day is celebrated every year on the 30th of September in commemoration of the feast of St. Jerome, the Bible translator considered to be the patron saint of translators.

In observance of this internationally-recognized day for bringing visibility to a profession that is becoming increasingly vital in our era of globalization this public colloquium will provide an opportunity to examine the role of language mediation in our everyday lives, with an emphasis on languages in contact in South Texas and the importance of language access to healthcare and the justice system.

The colloquium, which aims to raise awareness of the crucial role that interpreters and translators play in a global community, will combine presentations by leading researchers in Texas followed by a panel discussion led by experienced Texas translators, interpreters, and policy makers.

Topics of discussion include:

  • How language attitudes shape language use (Dr. Whitney Chappell, University of Texas at San Antonio)

  • Concepts of nationality and language policy (Dr. Gabriel González Núñez, University of Texas –Río Grande Valley)

  • Audiovisual translation as a valuable integration tool for the vision and hearing impaired (Dr. Nazaret Fresno Cañada, University of Texas – Río Grande Valley)

  • How emerging translators and interpreters can continue to build their skills while building a clientele (Marco Hanson, Austin Certified Translation, LLC)

  • Recommended qualifications for Texas healthcare interpreters and translators (Mary Esther Díaz, ATA certified translator and interpreter trainer)

  • The role that advocacy can play in language access policy (Cristina Helmerichs, FCICE & NAJIT certified conference/judicial interpreter and trainer).

The colloquium, which is free and open to everyone, will be held on Wednesday, September 30 at 6 p.m. in the Assembly Room on the 4th floor of the John Peace Library on the UTSA main campus in San Antonio.  Paid parking is available next door in the Bauerle Garage.  Visit the UTSA web site for maps and directions.

International Translation Day @UTSA Colloquium 2015 is sponsored by the Department of Modern Languages at the University of Texas at San Antonio with the support of Worldwide Languages and a grant from Humanities Texas, the state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

For more information, contact Melissa Wallace, Assistant Professor of Spanish Translation and Interpreting Studies, Department of Modern Languages and Literatures at UTSA, phone 210-458-5317.


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Complete List of Speakers and Lecture Titles:


Dr. Whitney Chappell, University of Texas at San Antonio

The Tangible Consequences of Invisible Forces: How Language Attitudes Shape Language Use

How does the sociopolitical status of the languages spoken in a bilingual community contribute to the languages' use and structure? This presentation explores the effect both social prestige and legal status have on the Spanish and English spoken in the United States, with a focus on language use and language attitudes in San Antonio.


Dr. Gabriel González Núñez, University of Texas – Río Grande Valley

‘This is America… Speak English!’  A Look at Translation Policy and Language Attitudes

Language issues stir passions. This is so, in part, because the idea of nationality has become integrally linked to language, hence the motto "one state, one nation, one language." This idea is alive and well in the United States. Even so, historic and demographic realities challenge the notion of monolingual states. Faced with a very real multilingual reality, the U.S. approach to linguistic diversity has leaned heavily on very limited, civil rights exceptions to monolingualism on the part of the authorities. Translation and interpreting play a key role in furthering this policy approach.


Dr. Nazaret Fresno Cañada, University of Texas – Río Grande Valley

Accessibility to the Media: Translating Sounds and Images into Words

Audiovisual translation is aimed at making audiovisual products accessible to all receivers. Through interlinguistic translation, audiovisual translators dub or subtitle films, video games or mobile applications so that foreign addressees can understand them. However, these professionals also work for specific audiences: those with hearing or sight impairments. Using specialized translation techniques, they provide the deaf and hard of hearing with subtitles that include the dialogs as well as the relevant sounds that they cannot perceive. In addition, audiovisual translators describe verbally the visual information that the blind and visually impaired cannot see so that they enjoy audiovisual products or events. This presentation will emphasize this little-known social dimension of audiovisual translation, and will highlight its role as a valuable integration tool.


Marco Hanson

I’ve Learned My Second Language. Now What?

This practical presentation offers a snapshot of the job market for bilinguals, especially interpreters and translators. How do you get hired without experience? What’s the difference between working for a company and contracting as a freelancer? Will machine translation programs help or hurt your career? And, how can you build your skills to reach the next level while still earning a living?


Mary Esther Díaz

Recommendations by the Texas Advisory Committee on Qualifications for Healthcare Translators and Interpreters

HB 233 of the 81st Texas Legislature created an Advisory Committee to establish and recommend qualifications for healthcare interpreters and translators in Texas. This Advisory Committee has met for the past six years to develop these recommendations under the auspices of the Texas Health and Human Services Commission. This presentation will provide an overview of the recommendations and offer the opportunity for questions and answers.


Cristina Helmerichs

Policy and Advocacy in Language Access

Ms. Helmerichs’ expertise in language access policy and training transcends the borders of Texas as her expertise is often sought at the state, national and international levels. In this presentation, she will share the importance of solidarity, collegiality and activism in a profession that is little understood by both policy makers and the public at large. For citizens who care deeply about fairness and access to healthcare, justice and social services, policy is a realm in which all citizens have a stake and in which we can all participate in order to bring about positive social change.

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Undergraduate Research Opportunities

September 17, 2015

The Office of Undergraduate Research is offering financial aid opportunities for qualifying undergraduate students.

Internships: Freshman or sophomores looking to gain applicable research experience, who are eligible for work-study and have at least a 2.75 GPA may apply. Faculty or units can choose top-performing students or advertise their position on Rowdy Jobs through the UTSA Career Center. Programs are first-come, first-serve and pays 75% of students’ $9/hr for 19hr/week max. Requesting unit will pay only 25% of their student’s salary.

There are an expected 15 research, internship opportunities expected to be available every semester. Any college offering degrees or research unit can secure a maximum of 2 intern positions.

Research Scholarship: The Office of Undergraduate Research offers first-time researchers scholarships ranging from long semester awards ($1000 each) or summer awards ($2000). Spring 2016 applications are open now until November 23rd, 2015. More information and access to the application can be found on the Office of Undergraduate Research website. Students can only receive one scholarship while at UTSA.

For more information contact:
Donovan Fogt, Ph.D.

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UTSA student featured on German TV

September 10, 2015

A German TV station visited San Antonio in order to to film UTSA student Alma Ochoa riding the new Batman roller coaster at Six Flags.  Ochoa was featured in the short piece tha aired on Pro7 in Germany.  The station wanted a German speaker to describe the experience and Ochoa was up to the challenge -- and even Batman himself showed up. Her reaction surpassed any language barriers. 



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New Opportunities for Spanish Translation and Interpreting Graduate Students

September 10, 2015

UTSA graduate students will soon be working alongside healthcare practitioners gaining translation and interpreting skills

UTSA graduate students will soon be working alongside healthcare practitioners gaining translation and interpreting skills

In keeping with UTSA’s mission of community engagement and public service, the Graduate Certificate in Spanish Translation and Interpreting Studies program has recently developed new practicum opportunities with three new community partners in the city of San Antonio, allowing emerging translators and interpreters to gain real-world practice.

Students wishing to gain experience in healthcare interpreting may opt to interpret on-site at the University of Texas Health Science Center’s Cancer Therapy and Research Center, where they will work in breast oncology, clinical trials, genetics clinic, and infusion/chemotherapy settings.

Practicum students at the Kendall County Women’s Shelter in Boerne will translate written documents for victims of domestic violence, while American Gateways, an organization which serves men, women and children currently held in detention centers who are seeking asylum in the United States, will offer students the opportunity to translate the personal narratives of detainees in order to support their applications for asylum.

Current or prospective students who are interested in these opportunities should contact Dr. Melissa Wallace, Associate Professor of Translation and Interpreting Studies in the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures at UTSA or call the department at 210-458-4377.

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Oleszkiewicz-Peralba book on feminine divinities published

September 9, 2015

New book examines the origins and worship of feminine deities.

New book examines the origins and worship of feminine deities.

Fierce Feminine Divinities of Eurasia and Latin America by Dr. Małgorzata Oleszkiewicz-Peralba is now available from Palgrave Macmillan Press in hardcover or ebook format.

The provocative book examines untamed feminine divinities from around the world. Although distant geographically, these divine figures are surprisingly similar–representing concepts of liminality, outsiderhood, and structural inferiority, embodied in the divine feminine. These strong, independent, unrestrained figures are connected to the periphery and to magical powers, including power over sexuality, transformation, and death.

The book focuses on a study of the origin and worship of four feminine deities across cultures and continents: East-Central Europe’s Baba Yaga, India’s Kālī̄, Brazil’s Pombagira, and Mexico-Central America’s Santa Muerte. Although these divinities have often been marginalized they continue to be extremely attractive, as they empower their devotees confronting them with the ultimate reality of transience and death. This scholarly work examines how these sacred icons have been adapted and transformed across time and place.

Dr. Małgorzata Oleszkiewicz-Peralba is Associate Professor of Latin American Literary and Cultural Studies in the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures at UTSA. Her publications include The Black Madonna in Latin America and Europe: Tradition and Transformation (2007), and Teatro popular peruano: del precolombino al siglo XX (1995), as well as numerous scholarly book chapters and articles.


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New Daydi-Tolson Book: Insectarium

September 8, 2015

Professor Dr. Santiago Daydi-Tolson’s most recent book, Insectarium, is about – you guessed it – the diverse and colorful world of insects. This unique collection of poems about insects deals with the desires and fears of all life forms as represented in the different insects that surround us in a persistent determination for survival. Life, the blind forces of biological continuity, finds in insects its iconic representation.


Dr. Daydi-Tolson, who teaches Spanish Literature in the UTSA Department of Modern Languages and Literatures, has authored several other books: El último viaje de Gabriela Mistral, Voces y ecos en la poesía de José Angel Valente, The Post-Civil War Spanish Social Poets, and Under the Walnut Tree.  He is also author of a blog on Hispanic culture and literature, Café Labrapalabra.


Insectarium is available for purchase on Amazon.

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UTSA Delegation Explores Collaboration in Oaxaca & Puebla, Mexico

August 26, 2015

Dr. Malgorzata Oleszkiewicz-Peralba recently returned from Mexico where she spent eight days in August as part of an official UTSA delegation to explore partnerships and establish collaboration agreements with universities in Oaxaca and Puebla.

Included in the group were UTSA President Ricardo Romo, Vice Provost for International Initiatives and Senior International Officer, Dr. René Zenteno, other top university officials, and the representatives from two other UTSA departments. 
The group visited three universities in Puebla, namely Benemérita Universidad Autónoma de Puebla (BUAP), Universidad Popular Autónoma de Puebla (UPAEP), Universidad de las Américas Puebla (UDLAP), as well as Universidad Autónoma Benito Juárez de Oaxaca (UABJO), and the Centro de Investigaciones y Estudios Superiores en Antropología Social (CIESAS) in Oaxaca.

Currently, Dr. Oleszkiewicz-Peralba is working with the faculty of CIESAS to create a UTSA Spanish graduate program component in Oaxaca with their collaboration, to start in Summer 2016.  More information on this new program will be available at a later date.



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Daydí-Tolson Presents Paper at Historic Cambridge University

August 24, 2015

Dr. Santiago Daydí-Tolson was invited to the XVI Congreso Internacional de Literatura Española Contemporánea Conference held at the University of Cambridge in England during the summer.  At the conference, held at Emmanuel College, he presented a paper on “Valente ante la diversidad estética”.

Daydí-Tolson is Professor of Spanish in the UTSA Department of Modern Languages and Literatures.



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What Doe[z] Our Speech Say About Us? The intervocalic [z] in Costa Rica

August 21, 2015

Dr. Whitney Chappell

Dr. Whitney Chappell

This summer, Dr. Whitney Chappell conducted a perceptual experiment in Costa Rica to determine the social characteristics that are associated with intervocalic [z], e.g. así 'like this' produced as [azi].

With the help of research assistant Yeni Dávila, over 100 participants were recruited to listen to and evaluate six native Costa Rican Spanish speakers on a range of social features, such as kindness, masculinity, and level of education, among others.

The speakers were recorded as they gave directions in a map task, and two sentences were taken from each speaker's recording. These sentences were manipulated to include (i) only intervocalic [s] and (ii) only intervocalic [z], e.g., vas a la casa 'you go to the house' as (i) [bas a la kasa] and (ii) [baz a la kaza], and both audio files were presented to the listeners interspersed with filler recordings.

Based on a preliminary review of the listeners’ evaluations and comments, Dr. Chappell hypothesizes that [z] is associated with masculinity, lower levels of education, and a local identity, and a statistical analysis will be conducted to determine the validity of these suppositions. This research helps us understand how we subconsciously form social judgments about people based on their speech and how much a single sound can tell others about who we are.


Dr. Chappell is Assistant Professor in Spanish Linguistics in the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures.  She works in Hispanic Linguistics, specializing in sociophonetic variation across monolingual and bilingual dialects of Spanish and languages in contact with Spanish.  She holds a PhD from The Ohio State University.

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Japanese Tutoring Available on Campus

August 21, 2015

The Japanese Language Tutoring group is offering private tutoring, group tutoring sessions, and other resources for students of Japanese in the McKinney Humanities Building.  A student led organization, the tutors are students at UTSA who have taken Japanese classes and have a driving passion for learning Japanese. They are offering their services free of charge in order to pass along their tips and tricks to other students.

For more information, visit the group’s Facebook page.  To schedule a private tutoring appointment, e-mail

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Summer 2016 Study Abroad Opportunities

August 20, 2015

Students will have the opportunity to choose from three for-credit study abroad trips in the summer of 2016.  The Department of Modern Languages and Literatures will be sponsoring trips to:

  • Germany -- Munich

  • Costa Rica -- Heredia

  • France -- Annecy and Paris

  • Japan -- Kyoto and Tokyo


The Munich trip will be led by Professor Christopher Wickham and will include trips to Dachau concentration camp, Salzburg, Ulm, and other notable sites.  Students may sign up by contacting Dr. Wickham.


Students who choose to study in Costa Rica will participate in many local cultural activities and enjoy activities such as white water rafting, ziplining through the rain forest, and of course, visiting the beautiful beaches there.  Dr. Marita Nummikoski is the contact person for this opportunity.


Plans for the France study abroad trip are still being finalized.  Last year the group studied in Annecy and visiting Paris and the Swiss Alps, among other sites.  Anne Lohezic is coordinating the trip.


Students interested in studying in Japan should contact Mimi Yu.


Updates will be posted as they are received.  For more information, contact the department office at 210-458-4377.

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Quand En Haiti

August 18, 2015

Language student makes documentary about her Haitian roots


Allie Gallion will never forget the summer of 2015.  Instead of lounging around the pool or working a boring summer job, the senior modern languages major made her first trip to Haiti to immerse herself in the island nation’s culture.  During her three weeks there, Gallion created the short documentary film Quand En Haiti which explores the art, culture, and spirit of Haiti. 

Gallion has previously been recognized for outstanding achievement in German film studies and outstanding achievement in provincial Spanish film studies by the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures.  She has studied historical film, Italian film, African Francophone film, and video production at UTSA.

In the spring of 2015 Alexandra worked with Intercollegiate Sports as an Assistant videographer for the University of Texas at San Antonio Football team.

Gallion will graduate in the fall of 2015 with a B.A. in Modern Languages, French emphasis, and a minor in Film Studies.  She looks forward to a career as a videographer or a French teacher.


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New Class Offering for Spanish Heritage Speakers

July 16, 2015

Did you grow up speaking Spanish at home?

If so, you may be a Spanish heritage speaker and UTSA now has a class tailored specifically for you in order to improve your bi-lingual skills, SPN 1024: Spanish for Heritage Speakers.  If you want to build on the skills you already have in Spanish, then this is the perfect class for you.

If you can answer “Yes” or “Sí” to most of these questions, then you should take this class: 

  1.  Did you grow up speaking and listening to Spanish at home, or with friends?

  2. Can you understand Spanish when someone speaks to you?

  3. Can you read some Spanish?

  4. Do you feel you have a grasp of the language but need to improve on your listening, writing, reading or speaking skills?


This course is designed to help you:

  • meet other “heritage speakers” like yourself, and work in a caring and supportive learning environment.  You won’t feel scared or intimidated because you don’t speak or write Spanish well enough anymore, everyone in the classroom is in the same learning situation

  • gain a better knowledge about your own culture, and other Spanish speaking communities in the United States

  • connect with your community in a deeper level, and help Spanish speakers in your city or in your area

  • be more confident to communicate with your Spanish speaking family

  • have better opportunities and advantages when seeking a job

Spanish for Heritage Speakers is offered for Fall 2015 semester as SPN 1024 section 4, CRN 18587 at 11:00 a.m. MWF.  

If you have any questions, please contact: Lilian L. Cano at (210) 458-7714.

Heritage speaker is defied as: “A student who is raised in a home where non-English language is spoken, who speaks or merely understands the heritage language and who is to some degree bilingual in English and the heritage language”                           (Valdés, 2000)


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UTSA Student Takes Second in Japanese Speech Contest

April 22, 2015


At the 26th annual Japanese Speech Contest, hosted by the Japanese-American Society of San Antonio, UTSA student Assel Krymkulova won second place in the College Free Speech category. Making her debut into competitive speaking, Krymkulova entered her speech in the “free” category and presented it in Japanese to a room full of other contestants and judges.  She walked away with a second place title for the regional event.

Krymkulova has studied Japanese for three years after being inspired to do so by her grandfather’s admiration for Japanese culture. Originally beginning her studies in Kazakhstan where she and her family lived, Krymkulova continued studying the language at home and through UTSA’s classes and organizations. The speech contest was her first JASSA proctored event, however, she is the current president of the Japanese Club at UTSA and has been a member for three years.

“I’m trying to incorporate teamwork,” she explains when talking about her leadership of the club, “I want to make it bloom.”

Senior Lecturer and Program Coordinator, Dr. Makiko Fukuda heads the Japanese program at UTSA. Fukuda participated in the speech contest by judging events both regionally and on the state level. The Japanese program works with JASSA to continue spreading information and inspiration for the Japanese language and culture to all members of the community.

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Foreign Language Students Receive Awards

April 17, 2015

Students and their guests filled Retama Auditorium at the annual Foreign Language Awards Ceremony

Students and their guests filled Retama Auditorium at the annual Foreign Language Awards Ceremony

The Department of Modern Languages and Literature held its annual Awards Ceremony to recognize outstanding students for their hard work and excellence in their foreign language studies.
Each awardee was selected by a faculty member based on his or her achievement in Spanish, Italian, French, Chinese, Russian, Japanese, Korean, German, Media Studies, Linguistics, or Comparative Studies in the Humanites.  Scholarship recipients were also recognized at the event.

The upper division awards were given out by Department Chair Dr. Marita Nummikoski and Senior Lecturer Dr. Samuel Zadi. The lower level awards were given out by Assistant Professors Dr. Whitney Chappell and Dr. Melissa Wallace.


The event took place in the Retama Auditorium in the University Center and was followed by a reception for students and their families.

Students who were unable to attend the ceremony may pick up their award in the Modern Language offices in room 4.01.01 McKinney during normal business hours.

The awards winners are as follows:

Lower Division:


  • Michael Black

  • John M. Cashman

  • Ka Ying Clarin Cheng

  • Shuangyue Cui

  • Quynh Anh N. Dang

  • My Linh Thi Duong

  • Mingwei Gu

  • Gabriel J. Hernandez

  • Carl D. Hertz

  • Rebecca M. McCarthy

  • Xianli Qiu

  • Kirsty Wang

  • Junjie Xu

  • William Zhu

Comparative Studies in the Humanities: Italian

  • Demi-Jessica M. Roden

  • Aidan J. Watson-Morris


  • Liam Bolster

  • Sarah Fernandez

  • Rebecca  McCarthy

  • Gerardo Peña

  • Diana Solis

  • Anna Francesca Umeno

  • Haley Christian White

  • Erica H. Yim

  • Nia S.  Bradley

  • Alejandro Patricio Mendoza

  • Lorraine Tochuwku Okafor

  • Abigail M. Reno

  • Angelie  Severino

  • Brandon Treviño


  • Josue Caleb Contreras

  • Alexandra Maree Crawford

  • Melissa Geedman

  • Alejandro Patricio Mendoza

  • Aubrey Lynn Moore

  • Kyrylo Olenych

  • Carla Celina Perkins

  • Melissa Reiger

  • Christopher Sliger

  • Emily Joy Varvel

  • Morgan Wendlandt


  • Alfredo Berrospe

  • Heather Gartrell

  • José R. Hernández

  • Brian G. Mendez

  • Alejandro Patricio Mendoza

  • Christine Sidell


  • Kaitlin Beach

  • Adam Bishop

  • Melody Bostdorf

  • Stephany Chang

  • Raphael Costa

  • Kalie Gallaher

  • Victor M. Gonzalez Jr. (2)

  • Mathieu Lee Gregg

  • Bryana Guerra

  • Xiang Liao

  • Atzimba Morales

  • Samuel Perez

  • Ali H. Qadri


  • Jessica Lynn Jensen

  • Serenity Morales

  • Russian

  • Gabriel Madrigal Diamante (2)

  • Stephanie Garza

  • Christopher Scott Hullum

  • James Moriarty

  • Sophia Schwab

  • Alexandra Laura Duhaime

  • Blake Sablatura

  • Nathanael Kupec

  • Edward Thomasson


  • Erika Beatrice Alvarez

  • Jocelyn Ascencio

  • Aimianiosa O. Asowata

  • Megan Reanna Ball

  • Imisha Bhakta

  • Joshua Bracken

  • Christian Von Buettner

  • Samuel E. Burr

  • Jesus A. Carranza

  • Hilario C. Carrizales

  • Faye (Mary) Cheung

  • William D. Covey

  • Grandee Dang

  • Danilo De Luca

  • Diana DiMeglio

  • Ysela Garcia

  • Tristen C. Gorske

  • ReAnne M. Granchelli

  • Caitlin A. Haney

  • Brittany Haywood

  • Rebecca J. Henry

  • Kendra Rose Herbst

  • Hannah Hlavaty

  • Megan Horner

  • Benjamin Johnson

  • Bianca Jones

  • Linh H. Mai

  • Ayasha Mays

  • Matthew McWhorter

  • Inga Metivier

  • Juan Jose Morales II

  • Kimberly Morrow

  • Nicolas Morton-Gonzaba

  • Jessica S. Peden

  • Mayra Alejandra Pedraza

  • Elyssa D. Perez

  • Antoniette M. Price

  • Andrew T. Ray

  • Tiger D. Rodriguez

  • Zachary K. Sanchez

  • Nicholas Shumpert (2)

  • Taylor N. Spice

  • Amy Stewart

  • Marie-Louise N. Tangu

  • Michael Thomas (2)

  • Justin D. Tran

  • Al Valdez

  • Ashley N. Vega

  • Aidan J. Watson-Morris

  • Marlee R. Westerman

  • Moises Ybarra

Upper Division:

Foreign Language (Spanish)

  • Stephanie Alvarado

  • Rose Marie Camacho

  • María G. Coreño

  • Kristin Lepage

Media Studies

  • Alexandra Isabelle Gallion

  • Alberto Guajardo Jr.


  • Katherine Nicole  Cadena

  • Nicole Elizabeth DeSilvester

  • Karen Veraza Uriarte

  • Joel  L. Williams

Comparative Study in the Humanities (Italian)

  • Lindsey Fett


  • Marissa Arellano

  • Shelby Nelson

  • Anna Francesca Umeno


  • Gabriel Madrigal Diamante

  • Jordyn Seillier

  • Linguistics

  • Mariaa-Annette Castaneda

  • Nigelle R. Cochran

  • Kelsey Negaard

  • Susana Villarreal

  • Catharina Ybarra


  • Jenny S. Alfaro

  • Anndrea E. Brown

  • Rose Marie Camacho

  • Jasmine Contreras

  • Maria V. Corchado

  • Maria G. Coreño

  • Jocelyn Cortes Silva (2)

  • Elisa Covarrubias (2)

  • Yeni Dávila (2)

  • Brittany Edwards

  • Victor Hugo Estrada

  • Stephen R. Fitzsimon

  • Dariella Italia Flores

  • Veronica F. Forde (2)

  • Josue J. Garcia

  • Anelia P. Gomez-Cordova (3)

  • Diana E. Jewell (2)

  • Fernando D. Ledezma

  • Walter Thomas Leigh III

  • Luis Lopez

  • Marlen Saras Mata

  • Andrea Maria Martinez

  • Viviana Coral Ramirez (3)

  • Eva I. Rivas de Miguel

  • Magdalane Y. Rodriguez (2)

  • Maria Fernanda Sacramento

  • Ninfa Sanchez

  • Maria Luisa Villarreal Bonilla

  • Jesse Wilson

  • Katherine L. Wright


  • Erica F. Collins

  • Kathleen J. Croom

  • Patricia Sarat DeMotte

  • Beatriz Paneque Gonzalez

  • José A. Hernández

  • José Jacobo

  • Erika Said White

Program Awards

  • French

  • Katherine Nicole Cadena

  • Nicole Elizabeth DeSilvester

  • Joel  L. Williams


  • Gabriel Madrigal Diamante


  • Centro Cultural Cubano - Eva I. Rivas de Miguel

  • Modern Languages Endowed Scholarship - Carla Celina Perkins

  • Modern Languages Donors - Sophia Schwab

  • Modern Languages International Education - Iredi Rodriguez

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Alaydi Wins Conference Prize with Paper on Palestinian Women Refugees

April 16, 2015

Dr. Rolla Alaydi won the Walter G. Craddock Prize for research on Palestinian women refugees

Dr. Rolla Alaydi won the Walter G. Craddock Prize for research on Palestinian women refugees

Dr. Rolla Alaydi, Lecturer of Arabic at UTSA, won the Walter G. Craddock Prize for best paper presentation for her research on Palestinian women refugees at the Southwestern Social Science Association (SSSA) Conference in Denver, Colorado this month.

Alaydi’s research explores the perceptions of Palestinian women in the refugee camps of the Gaza Strip and the relationship between their education and their social and economic status in the society. She examines how education is shifting the status quo of gender roles among Palestinian refugees.

Her findings indicate that the increased social and financial mobility will inevitably lead to cultural, economic, and eventually political changes.

SSSA is an academic and professional organization that promotes collaboration in the social sciences in the areas of economics, history, international studies, political science, social work, sociology, and women’s and gender studies.  It holds annual meetings and publishes a quarterly journal.

Alaydi has taught Arabic classes at UTSA since 2009.  She holds a PhD from the University of the Incarnate Word.  She has also worked as an English-Arabic interpreter.  She emigrated to the United States from Palestine in 2001.


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Media student’s short film wins second place prize

April 16, 2015

Student Media Lab Assistant Kendall Casas wins two prizes in COLFA Research Conference

Student Media Lab Assistant Kendall Casas wins two prizes in COLFA Research Conference

“Information Man,” a video short film made by senior Kendall Casas, won second place in the 15th annual COLFA Conference Multi Media category.

Casas, a lab assistant in the Department of Modern Languages Media Lab, is pursuing a BA in English with a concentration in Creative Writing and minor in Film Studies.  She entered her short film “Information Man” to the COLFA Conference under the guidance and mentoring of her instructor, Dr. Nancy Membrez, UTSA Associate Professor of Spanish and Media Studies.

As a student in MES 3333, the department’s digital video production course, Casas was able to use the studio, equipment, and editing software maintained by the department.  She and her team made and submitted “Information Man” as their final project in the course.

The film was inspired by a poem originally written and performed by contemporary poet Buddy Wakefield. With his permission, Casas was able to create her visual representation of the poem, using a loose narrative structure with images of life going on outside of the two central characters. Among the other entries, “Information Man” placed second in the Multi Media category. 

In addition to her entry in the multimedia category, Casas also submitted a flash fiction called “Life of the Mountain” to the COLFA Conference under the guidance of her Creative Writing professor, Dr. Cynthia Hawkins. This piece was originally inspired by a collaborative effort with the Art Department. Using only the words erosion, society, and time, she had to create a story that moved away from something expected and into a new creative realm. The flash fiction “Life of the Mountain” is a poetically structured first person narrative from the point of view of a mountain as it grows and inevitably erodes.

Outside of her work in the media lab in the Department of Modern Languages at the university, Casas also directs live stage performances and produces films with the collaboration of other local directors. After she graduates from UTSA, she plans to pursue a master’s degree in film production and directing.

Opportunities that UTSA provides, such as the COLFA conference and collaborative classes in the fine arts, have given Casas the experience and outstanding achievements that will ultimately help send her in any direction she chooses to go.

Aspiring to be a notable film director and producer, Casas hopes to get accepted into the New York Film Academy, UCLA, USC School of Cinematic Arts or NYU Tisch for her master’s degree in film production and directing.


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Korean Speech Contest at UTSA

April 7, 2015

On April 4, 2015, the East Asia Institute at UTSA hosted San Antonio’s Inaugural Korean Speech Contest. This event was supported by a generous grant from the Korea Foundation and Department of Modern Language and Literature at UTSA as well as Houston Korean Education Center and the Consulate General of the Republic of Korea in Houston. Students from four different local colleges and groups participated at the speech contest. ​

UTSA student Assel Krymkulova won first place in the Intermediate/Advanced division. For the beginning level, three more UTSA Korean language students placed 1st, 2nd, and 5th and they were Serenity Morales, Jennifer Stevens, and Bridget Rios respectively, who are all Dr. Deukhee Gong’s students. Dr. Gong is a lecturer of Korean at UTSA.

The Inaugural Korean Speech contest was a huge success and has encouraged all participants to further advance their Korean language studies. 

Students who were awarded prizes during the competition are:

  • Paulina Martinez - Intermediate 2nd

  • Assel Krymkulova - Intermediate 1st

  • Bridget Rios - Beginner 5th

  • Bella Palacios - Beginner 3rd

  • Serenity Morales - Beginner 1st

  • Jasmine Morales - Beginner 4th

  • Jennifer Stevens - Beginner 2nd




(From left) Bridget Rios (UTSA), Serenity Morales (UTSA), Jennifer Stevens (UTSA), Bella Palacios (UIW), Jasmine Morales (UIW), Assel Krymkulova (UTSA), Paulina Martinez (Dallas)

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Breaking Down Language Barriers through Translation and Interpreting

April 3, 2015

The Interpreting in Legal Settings course was offered for the first time at UTSA Spring 2015.

The Interpreting in Legal Settings course was offered for the first time at UTSA Spring 2015.

When President Jimmy Carter visited Poland in 1977 he insulted the Polish people in his speeches, telling them he had abandoned his country and wanted to have sex with them! What a scandal. Of course he did not actually say those things. His inept interpreter mistranslated his speeches, causing a major world leader to look foolish and putting a strain on international relations.


It is easy to see how language barriers can cause problems, not just for diplomats, but also for people in everyday situations who do not speak the primary language of government or business of their hometown or places they are visiting.


With the world becoming more and more connected, multiple languages are now a part of everyday life. Thanks to international travel and the help of the Internet, many people are exposed to lots of foreign languages in casual and professional settings. At times, if one is not multi-lingual, the amount of translation needed can seem overwhelming. Don’t fear, though, UTSA’s Department of Modern Languages has expanded its areas of study to now include interpreting with the translation program headed by Dr. Melissa Wallace. The program was established about ten years ago by Dr. Marcos Marín, originally with a focus on translation.


While both translating and interpreting require a mastery of the language in question, translation deals with written documents as opposed to the spoken word. Medical forms, legal documents, books, websites, or essays are among the many things that need well-versed translators; however, interpreting takes place every day in myriad community settings related to healthcare, the law, social services, and education. .


We are opening up possibilities for students by incorporating interpreting studies as well,” Dr. Wallace informs, “the program seems to be growing fairly rapidly. I’m hoping that we can offer this first academic stepping stone for people interested in language mediation so they can go out into the world and provide access to health care and access to justice.”


In today’s job market, it is incredibly important for students to find employment after they graduate from college. With this program, students will be able to utilize the professional training they’ve received at the university.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the employment of translators and interpreters is estimated to increase by 46 percent between the years 2010 and 2020. In the United States alone, there is a huge demand for Spanish-speaking translators, as well as Chinese, German, Portuguese and American Sign Language. Because the US does not have an official language, the need for translators and interpreters will continue to rise as the immigration population continues to rise. Roughly “20 percent of international migrants reside in the United States,” states the Migration Policy Institute, “which accounts for less than 5 percent of the world’s population.” With migrants and immigrants coming into this nation, and maintaining their native tongue, it is crucial to train well equipped translators and interpreters. With this program specifically dealing with translating and interpreting now being offered, UTSA will be able to provide a quality education on the subject and give its students the confidence they need to succeed in this field.


“For instance,” Dr. Wallace adds, “this semester (spring 2015) we are offering our very first course in interpreting, Interpreting in Legal Settings. We will have another course in the fall, which will be Theory and Practice of Interpreting.”


Dr. Wallace received her Ph.D. in in translating and interpreting from the Universidad de Alicante, Spain, and has been a certified court interpreter since 2005. With two terms of service in the state Supreme Court Committee to Improve Translation and Interpreting in Wisconsin Courts, and recently being appointed by the Texas Supreme Court to the Licensed Court Interpreter Advisory Board, Dr. Wallace is highly experienced in both courtroom settings and healthcare situations.

As Dr. Wallace explains, “This area of study is also a very legitimate academic discipline.” The Graduate Certificate in Spanish Translation and Interpreting Studies intends to offer students an opportunity to see the field as a viable professional option, not only a vocational option.


-- By Kendall Casas, Modern Languages Department Communications Intern

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Cano Wins Outstanding Faculty Award

March 27, 2015

Lilian Cano, Lecturer II in Spanish, received the Outstanding UTSA Faculty Member Award from the Honor's Alliance

Lilian Cano, Lecturer II in Spanish, received the Outstanding UTSA Faculty Member Award from the Honor's Alliance

Lilian Cano, Spanish Lecturer II, was awarded the Outstanding UTSA Faculty Member award at this semester’s Honors Alliance Spring 2015 Luncheon.

Cano received her Masters of Arts in Spanish and started teaching as a full-time Spanish lecturer at UTSA in 2008. During her seven years at UTSA she has been involved with several translations, magazines, and books including Aprendiendo paso a paso, the student workbook for SPN 1014, 1024, and 2013.  

Each year the Honors Alliance at UTSA hosts a luncheon where they award faculty and staff for their hard work and contribution to UTSA students’ education.

Sophomore and Management/International Business major, Jenny Alfaro, who took Cano’s class SPN 3033 Oral Communication, nominated her for the award.

After receiving the award, Cano was “honored and grateful that [her] students see the dedication and commitment to [her] job and their education.” She feels humbled that they would nominate her and hope they see her as motivation to continue with their Spanish studies.

The Department of Modern Languages and Literatures offers a major and minor in Spanish, a minor in Spanish linguistics, a masters degree in Spanish Literature, and a graduate certificate in Spanish Translation and Interpreting Studies.

A summer study abroad for-credit program in Costa Rica is available for qualified students. Stop by the department offices in the McKinney Humanities building, suite 4.01.01 for more information.

Be sure to follow the department on Twitter, Instagram: @UTSALanguage and on Facebook at UTSA MLL.


-- by Jordon Reese, Department of Modern Languages and Literatures Communications Intern


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Spanish Club Sponsors Food Drive

March 27, 2015

Look for the big red barrels in McKinney to make your food donation

Look for the big red barrels in McKinney to make your food donation

Colecta de Alimentos! Food Drive!

UTSA’s Spanish Club is partnering with the San Antonio Food Bank to collect 1000 pounds of donated food to serve the community.

The members of the Spanish Club, under the guidance of Yeni Davila, club president, have distributed posters and collection barrels around campus.

The food drive will be run from March 1st to April 30th. Anywhere a red collection barrel is, feel free to drop off canned or non-perishable food items.

On Wednesday, April 15 a special "Drive-By" event is planned from 5 to 7 pm in front of the Main Building.  Just drive through and drop off food or monetary donations without getting out of your car!


Preferred donations include:

  • peanut butter

  • canned tuna

  • cereal

  • rice

  • macaroni and cheese

  • canned chili

  • canned stews and soups

  • canned luncheon meats

  •  “pop top” food items

  •  full meals in a can or box

Any sort of non-perishable food items will be accepted as a donation, but be sure not to bring anything in a glass container.

All of the Spanish Club members, and some staff in the Modern Language Department, will be participating in the food drive. Look for the red barrels, or the boxes on the fourth floor of the MH building. Let’s all work together to hit the 1000 pound food goal!

For more information contact Yeni Davila or Carlos Alanis.


-- by Kendall Casas, Communications Intern

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UTSA Alumnus Anthony Bright Teaches in Russia

March 25, 2015

Anthony Bright, UTSA Modern Languages Studies graduate, is now teaching in the arctic city of Murmansk, Russia

Anthony Bright, UTSA Modern Languages Studies graduate, is now teaching in the arctic city of Murmansk, Russia

Anthony Bright has taken what he learned at UTSA and put his education to use on the other side of the world.

Bright now teaches English in the far north of Russia in the port city of Murmansk, the largest city in the Polar Circle, known for its downhill skiing, subarctic climate, and icebreakers.   Located 1,000 miles (or 1,500 kilometers) north of Moscow on the western side of the country, it would be hard to find a city more different from San Antonio.  

Bright’s desire to experience new lands is what drove him to moving abroad. He graduated from UTSA with a BA in Modern Languages Studies and a minor in Linguistics in 2014.

As a student at UTSA, he was part of the faculty-led, study abroad trip to St. Petersburg and Moscow, Russia headed up by Associate Professor of Russian Dr. Marita Nummikoski. These two cities in particular, are major cities in the country, and attract quite a bit of tourism from America and England. Although the trip was eventful Bright expresses that he wanted to “experience something a little more isolated.”

Since moving to Russia in 2014, Bright has worked as an ELS -English as a Second Language- instructor teaching several courses to Russia students. He was offered the position by a former Russian tutor and instructor, at UTSA, and within a few months he was on a plane.

His impact on the people of Murmansk has been a positive one. With the political situation between Russia and the US, the travel bans and asset freezes for incursions into Ukraine territory, Bright is able to show his students and others in the city that “there is a lot of grey in the world.” It’s an opportunity for him to prove that the political differences between the two countries are not always as harsh as the media portrays.

The adjustment to the new culture has not been too difficult for Bright. Having visited Russia with the university, he knew what he was getting into, and wasn’t caught off guard by any of the social norms. “If someone is easily unaffected by others’ personalities, then he/she should be okay here,” says Bright.

In his free time, Anthony likes to spend his days walking around and discovering the city. He describes the town as “sublime for the calm explorer.” The layout is relatively compact, which gives the illusion that it’s larger than it is, but it pales in comparison to San Antonio, acreage wise. The public transport system, and a little walking, can open up a wide world of unique places to discover. He also enjoys a “French toast kind of dish” made by one of his students. While American style French toast is served with syrup, this particular dish is served with a crème cheese spread.

Moving to Russia has had, “Without a doubt…a tremendously positive impact on me.” He now has a higher sense of ambition and better understands the goals he wants to accomplish and what path he wants his life to take, such as, teaching in other countries besides the US and Russia.

His advice to students who are aspiring to travel the world is: “Travel because you are curious and don’t expect anything, yet be open enough to handle anything.”


The Department of Modern Languages and Literatures offers courses in foreign languages, culture, and literature as well as opportunities for students to study abroad. Stop by the department offices in the McKinney Humanities building RM 4.01.01 for more information.


-- by Jordon Reese, Communications Intern

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Linguistics Student Presents Prize Winning Research

March 20, 2015

To most people linguistics is the study of language but to Nigelle Cochran it is also about understanding people, culture, diversity, and society.  Her passion for linguistics study becomes obvious when she talks about the importance and power of language.

“We use language to marginalize others, to show we fit in, and to create an identity,” Cochran explains, “Language then becomes an extension of people.”

Cochran, an English major with a linguistics minor, began to study vowel sound patterns of her hometown of Cape Girardeau, Missouri while finishing up her senior year at UTSA.  Her research resulted in an invitation to the recent UT Arlington Student Conference on Linguistics and TESOL where her poster presentation, “Acoustic Analysis of Vowels in Cape Girardeau, MO: A Case Study,” took first place in the undergraduate competition.  Following a win with another win, she took first place in the undergraduate poster competition in the COLFA Spring Research Conference

Her case study, the first of its kind based on that geographical area, investigated vowel sound patterns and their influence by immigration, settlement patterns, and contact with other dialects.  In it she challenges the concept of a single Midwestern (Midland, to linguists) accent and suggests that it would be more accurate to examine this area on a smaller scale so it would no longer be categorized as an ambiguous dialectal zone where inhabitants exhibit features of northern, southern, and midlands speech.

According to Cochran, the Cape Girardeau speech pattern indicates a potential hybrid dialect with Southern features.  She believes there is a need to examine dialect regions on a much smaller scale than linguists have previously done and hopes to open a dialogue on Midland and Missouri English. 

She views language as one of the most influential parts of our daily lives.

“By understanding language, we are able to understand the diverse range of people and their diverse ways of thinking,” she said.

Cochran, who has been mentored at UTSA by Assistant Professor of Spanish Linguistics Dr. Whitney Chappell, will graduate in May and is looking into PhD programs in linguistics in her home state of Missouri and elsewhere.  In the meantime, she continues to study people and culture through their language.

"Our UTSA linguists are on fire," Chappell said, "and Nigelle has a very bright future ahead of her."


-- by Dena Bruedigam, Department of Modern Languages & Literatures Senior Administrative Associate

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Four UTSA Students Win Awards in Nengajo Contest

February 20, 2015

As a cultural tradition in Japan, many people send out nengajō, Japanese New Years cards, to celebrate the New Year with friends and family. Japanese language students at UTSA recently entered their own hand-made nengajō to the Japan-America Society of Dallas/Fort Worth Nengajō Contest in Dallas. The students entered in three categories, Creative, Artistic, and Humorous; out of these categories four students from UTSA were given awards.

First place in the Creative College Division went to Mariah Acevedo(1), with Alexandra Sarria(2) taking third. Second place in the Artistic, College Division went to Kayla Johnson(3), and in the Humorous College Division Sabrina Grivich(4) was awarded second place as well.

All the students from UTSA who participated had taken JPN 1014 taught by Makiko Fukuda or Mimi Yu.  This is the third year in a row that UTSA students participated in the contest.

The Modern Languages and Literatures Department offers classes in beginning, intermediate, and advanced Japanese language, Japanese culture, and study abroad in Japan.  For more information, contact Dr. Fukuda, the Japanese Program Coordinator,  or visit the department web site.

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Spanish Honor Society Hosts “Velada Literaria” Featuring Love Poems

February 20, 2015

The UTSA Spanish Honor Society, Sigma Delta Pi Omicron Zeta Chapter, recently held a velada literaria (literary evening) at a local restaurant to read love-themed poetry written by Hispanic poets in honor of Valentine's Day.

Members read poetry written by Delmira Agustini, Gustavo Adolfo Bécquer, Rosario Castellanos, Rubén Darío, Francisco de Quevedo, Gabriela Mistral, Pedro Prado.

It was an evening of colorful discourse about the poems and the role and importance of poetry altogether. 

For more information about the Spanish Honor Society, contact Gilberta Turner or visit the group’s web page.

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Chappell Linguistics Publication

February 17, 2015

Dr. Whitney Chappell, Assistant Professor of Spanish Linguistics in the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures, has had her research published at the University of Pennsylvania. The paper titled "Reanalysis and Hypercorrection Among Extreme /s/ Reducers" can be found on the link below and is part of the University of Pennsylvania Working Papers in Linguistics (PWPL), published by the Penn Graduate Linguistics Society, the organization of linguistics graduate students at the University of Pennsylvania.

Dr. Chappell works in Hispanic Linguistics, 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 etting, contributing to our understanding of sociolinguistics, phonetics, and dialectology.

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Sprachfest Annual German Contest at UTSA Feb 7

February 2, 2015

Every year as many as 700 students from 20 or more local schools visit UTSA for Sprachfest, a fun-filled day of contests built around the German language and culture.  Students from grades 8-12 participate in this regional competition in a wide variety of categories from poetry, prose, music, and crafts to vocabulary, reading comprehension, and grammar. 

Build a gingerbread house, sing in German, or show off your photography, design, or needlework skills.  You will find a little bit of everything German represented at Sprachfest.

The annual competition began in 1976 at MacArthur High School in San Antonio and has been hosted by UTSA for the last 11 years.  Simultaneous events are held in Houston and Dallas and are coordinated by the Texas State German Contests and the American Association of Teachers of German. 

Sprachfest winners go on to participate in the Texas State German Contest on February 28.

Dr. Christopher Wickham, Professor of German in the UTSA Department of Modern Languages is the on-site coordinator for Sprachfest.

UTSA offers a minor in German with a three-year German language sequence and literature and culture courses with varied topics such as Medieval to Contemporary German literature, German Fairy Tales, German Drama, and German Cinema, and courses on contemporary issues and the cities of Berlin and Munich.  For-credit study abroad programs are available in Berlin and Munich.

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Wallace Authors Chapter of New Translation Textbook

January 27, 2015

Dr. Melissa Wallace, Assistant Professor of Translation and Interpreting Studies in the department of Modern Language and Literature at UTSA, has participated in the publication of a new textbook, Handbook of Research on Teaching Methods in Language Translation and Interpretation.

Wallace is the author of chapter two of the book, “Team-Based Learning in Introductory Translation Courses,” which explores the implementation of teaching and learning strategy that lends itself propitiously to social constructivist-oriented introductory translation courses.

Handbook of Research on Teaching Methods in Language Translation and Interpretation was published by IGI Global Press and, according to the publisher, presents an interdisciplinary approach to educational contexts across cultures for the study of verbal and written linguistics in order to broaden students’ communicative and problem solving abilities.

Wallace is the program advisor for the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures a Graduate Certificate in Translation and Interpreting Studies.

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Take the Leap - Study Abroad

January 21, 2015

By Jordon Reese


It’s Monday, and you’re getting ready for school, except today you didn’t wake up in San Antonio. Instead, you’re rising to the fresh scent of ocean breezes and the sound of the Mediterranean wafting through your window. You decided to take a chance and study abroad. Granada, Spain is where you’re spending the next five months.

That may seem like a fantasy to most people, but for one individual it is all too real. Jacie Keith, a senior at UTSA, has committed her last semester to visiting Spain on a study abroad adventure. Jacie will be leaving the country in late December, and returning after five months at the end of May.

Jacie is working toward a Spanish major at UTSA and in order to get the most out of her education she was inspired to immerse herself in the culture and lifestyle of Spain and spend her last semester in Europe.

A lot of preparation goes into planning a study abroad trip. Jacie had to apply for a student visa to allow her to study, get classes approved for transfer credit, and fill out all the required paperwork showing that she has insurance coverage and meets the financial requirement of $11,000.

UTSA offers many programs for studying abroad but Jacie has elected to use a third party travel agency, Sol Education; a decision she says was brought on because the university does not currently offer any five month study abroad trips for Spain, only Italy.

A lot of students might think that studying abroad is not for them, or they will not be able to afford it, but Jacie tells us otherwise. She states that it is “totally doable” and that the $11,000 she had to save might seem intimidating, “but for five months, it’s a great price!” Jacie currently works as a server here in San Antonio, and with the help of her dad and family, she was able to raise the money in a little over a year for her trip. She also tells us to not be afraid, that “its not as hard as it seems to study abroad.”

Traveling the world and experiencing other cultures has been a life-long dream for Jacie. "Studying abroad will be a wonderful opportunity to further my education outside of the general classroom setting.  My hope is that by being an independent traveler and learning how to interact within a foreign community, I will be better prepared for any 'out-of-the-box' experiences that may challenge me in the future."

The University of Texas at San Antonio offers many study abroad opportunities to students who are interested in travel.

The Department of Modern Languages and Literatures sponsors faculty-led trips to Berlin, Munich, France, Japan, Russia, and Costa Rica. Most are three to five weeks and students can earn three to six credit hours. An entire semester can be spent in Italy studying language, literature, art, history, architecture, and more at the University of Urbino. The trips allow students to immerse themselves in other cultures and provide learning opportunities far beyond the normal classroom experience.

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Translation Students Share Research Findings

December 16, 2014

Students from FL 5043 Principles of Translation shared their research findings in short, results-oriented presentations that were open to faculty, students and friends on Thursday, December 4th. The presentations at this Primera conferencia exprés represented the marriage of students’ individual research interests with main currents in contemporary translation theory.

Congratulations to the following presenters: Stephanie Alvarado, “Consideraciones culturales en la traducción audiovisual”; Erica Collins, “La traducción infiel: un análisis de tres traducciones de La casada infiel de Federico García Lorca”, Kathleen Croom, “El estatus y disponibilidad de servicios de interpretación en Kerrville, Texas”; Yeni Dávila, “La importancia de traducciones adecuadas en un programa bilingüe y su efecto en el desempeño académico en los alumno”; Patricia DeMotte, “Estudiantes sensoriales en un ambiente intuitivo”; José A. Hernández, “Análsis de dos Biblias disparejas”; José Jacobo, “La variedad del español impuesta en el doblaje de Ratatouille”; Marcela J. López, “Consideraciones y estrategias al traducir antropónimos en la serie de libros de Ana Tarambana (Clarice Bean)”; and Beatriz Paneque González, “Una verdad en tres versiones: estudio comparativo de traducciones de tres textos bíblicos.”

The Department of Modern Languages and Literatures at UTSA offers a graduate certificate in Translation and Interpreting Studies.

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Spanish for Heritage Speakers

December 10, 2014

The Department of Modern Languages at UTSA is offering a new Spanish class specifically for heritage speakers – people who grew up speaking Spanish but have limited writing, listening, and speaking skills.  The class is an opportunity for heritage speakers to come together and connect with their community, become more confident, and improve job opportunities through a better understanding of Spanish.

The course will be offered in spring 2015 as SPN 1024 Section 005 Spanish for Heritage Speakers. The goal of the class is to better refine the skills you already have in a caring and supportive learning environment. Students who can understand and read and write some Spanish will feel right at home. This course also provides students the chance to better understand the culture and heritage of many Spanish speaking communities in the U.S.  

The course will be taught by Spanish Lecturer Lilian L. Cano and is offered MWF at noon in McKinney room 3.03.14.   Enrollment via ASAP is open now.  Be sure to choose section 005 with CRN 28442.

If you have any questions or would like more information about the class, please contact:

Lilian L. Cano (210) 458-7714.

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Wickham Interviewed on German Radio

November 18, 2014

On October 30, 2014, during a research visit to Munich, UTSA Professor Christopher Wickham was interviewed on German radio on the subject of Heimat, the German concept of home or homeland.

The interview, conducted in German, will be used in six segments during programming of the Bayerischer Rundfunk (Bavarian Radio) during 2015.

Dr. Wickham is a professor of German in the UTSA Department of Modern Languages and Literatures. He published a book on Heimat in 1999.

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