Laurel Hodges Abreu MA’06, PhD’09 completed her sixth year at the University of Southern Mississippi, where she is an Assistant Professor of Spanish. Her article entitled “Changes in Beliefs about Language Learning and Teaching by Foreign Language Teachers in an Applied Linguistics Course,” was published in Dimension 2015. A second article, “Teaching Hispanic Linguistics: Strategies to Engage Learners,” written with Stephanie Knouse (UF PhD 2009) of Furman University, and Timothy Gupton of the University of Georgia, was published in the June 2015 issue of Hispania.
Jennifer Cabrelli Amaro PhD’13 is an Assistant Professor of Spanish Linguistics at the University of Illinois at Chicago, where she teaches graduate and advanced undergraduate courses in phonology and language acquisition. She also directs the Multilingual Phonology Laboratory, focused on a phonetically-driven approach to adult phonological acquisition, and the investigation of third language acquisition in adulthood. Since 2014, she has served as editor of the book series Issues in Hispanic and Lusophone Linguistics (John Benjamins).
Claudia Costagliola PhD’13 was hired as part-time faculty at Linn-Benton Community College after she and her family moved to Corvallis, Oregon. She also teaches Spanish at Crescent Valley High School, where she serves as Adviser to the Emerging Majority, a group of students dedicated to promote diversity and to support minorities. She writes: “My husband, our two younger sons, and I live in a house in the middle of the woods, away from civilization, and in the good company of friendly deer, wild rabbits, and turkeys. We miss Gainesville.”
Claudia Garcia MA’05, PhD’07, Associate Professor of Spanish and Literature with the Department of Foreign Languages at the University of Nebraska at Omaha, was the recipient of the 2014 UNO Alumni Outstanding Teaching Award. She teaches undergraduate and graduate courses on language and Latin American literature. Also a faculty member of the Office of Latino and Latin American Studies (OLLAS), García has led students in the Perú Study Abroad program, which offers a unique interdisciplinary focus in culture, water, public health and civic engagement. With the assistance of the UNO Service Learning Academy and in partnership with several community organizations, she has developed numerous service and community learning projects, such as Gallery Talks in Spanish at the Joslyn Art Museum. She also founded the annual Creative Writing Contest in Spanish, open to all Nebraska students in grades 5-12. Her research focuses on Guatemalan and Central American literatures, particularly Indigenous and women’s writings.
Michael Johns ’14 has continued his studies in Hispanic Linguistics at Penn State, where he is currently a graduate fellow in the Department of Spanish, Italian, and Portuguese. Working with Dr. Jorge Valdés Kroff, Dr. Ana de Prada-Pérez, and Dr. Gillian Lord gave him the opportunity to learn new methodology and gain insight into research that he is now conducting at Penn State. Currently, his research is focused on code-switching, looking at the effects of global switch costs on sentence processing, phonological cues in code-switched noun phrases, and the encoding of form and meaning in the comprehension of code-switched utterances. He writes: “SPS at UF gave me so much, and I’m honored and excited that I’ll be able to keep close ties with the program for years to come!”
Nidza Marichal MA’01 worked for eleven years at Oak Hall in Gainesville, teaching high school Spanish courses. She served as the Chair of the Department of World Languages for five years. Presently she is pursuing a PhD with a concentration in ESOL/Bilingual Education at UF’S College of Education.
Laurie Massery PhD’09 began working as an Assistant Professor of Spanish teaching courses in language, Hispanic Linguistics, Second Language Acquisition, and Instructional Methodology. Beginning in 2012, she became part of the Modern Languages faculty at Randolph-Macon College in Ashland, VA, where she published several articles on topics including the second language acquisition of morphosyntax and the development of functional categories in L2 Spanish; two of her recent publications are based on research she conducted, and data she compiled, for her doctoral dissertation at the University of Florida under Drs. Gillian Lord, Teresa Antes, Joaquim Camps and Eric Potsdam. More recently, however, she has been the recipient of several research grants which have allowed her to continue her investigations in L2 Spanish. Since graduating in 2009, she married former Gator, Richard Cardellino.
Alicia Mercado-Harvey PhD’13 is now working in local television back in her hometown of Rancagua, Chile. In May, 2015 Alicia took over her mother’s life’s work, a political and community service show called Contrapunto. The show had been running for the last 10 years on the local cable network Sextavision, 7 VTR. When Alicia took over the show, it was renamed Contrapunto 2.0, continuing the mix of interviews with local representatives, health care and education professionals. A smaller portion of the interviews are done in the area of culture and art with writers, professors and cultural promoters. Since her mother’s passing Alicia is committed to continuing her mother’s legacy as a TV host.
Cindie Moore MA’11 celebrated World Toilet Day, November 19, 2015, in Guatemala with an indigenous women’s association. The day focuses on the more than two billion people in the world who lack access to improved sanitation and the consequent health problems. The association provided a latrine to each of two families whose previous latrines were no longer usable. The sturdy latrine provides privacy and security to women and girls. In addition, its design traps the flies that spread disease. The association also has a micro-loan project and education programs. It works with Heifer International on animal agricultural projects. Heifer International helps low income individual around the world help themselves.
Alex Quintanilla PhD’09 is currently an Associate Professor at Butler University (Indianapolis). In Fall 2015 he had his first sabbatical semester and lived in Alcalá de Henares, Spain. For the term 2016-2019 he will serve as the Chair of the Department of Modern Languages, Literatures and Cultures at Butler. He writes: “My academic training at UF has been very helpful in my current position. I’ve been lucky to teach most of the classes I took and loved at UF (Intro to Linguistics, Phonetics, Dialectology, Spanish in Contact, etc.).”
Antonio Sajid-Lopez PhD’15 wrote an article titled “«¿Qué vamos a hacer con esas impostoras?» Orquídeas a la luz de la luna o el fenómeno del cine a través de la máscara,” which has been accepted for publication in the Latin American Theater Review. He has been included in a poetry anthology, Abrazos del Sur Vol. 6, published in December 2015 in Santo Domingo (Dominican Republic).
Javier Sampedro MA’08 soon to be a University of Pennsylvania PhD graduate, is presently an adjunct lecturer of Spanish in the UF Department of Spanish and Portuguese. Besides his passion for teaching about Hispanic history, culture and language, his current research is oriented towards the ambiguity in the discourse about Cuban culture in relation to a Caribbean poetics. He seeks the connections between marginal literatures during the time of transition to the socialist state and the postcolonial literary tradition of the Caribbean. He also studies the representations of caribeanness, insularity, exceptionality and subalternity within Cuban cinematography of the ´60 and ´70s as forms of departure and rupture with the notion of a national tradition, and as a critique of the ideological program performed by the socialist state during this period, even from inside the official cultural discourse. He is interested in the notions of mimicry, choteo, the language of the absurd, visual fluidity and cinematic exuberance as forms of resistance.
Zinnia Sotolongo ’14 (BA Spanish and BS Biology) just started her second year of dental school at UF. She was able to see first-hand how important a second language is when she went on a mission trip to the Dominican Republic last year. She writes: “Even just knowing how to say “It’s ok”, “don’t worry” and “friend” can go a long way when people are scared out of their wits about a drill going in their mouths (and I’m sure most people can relate).”
Alexander Torres PhD’15 defended his dissertation, entitled Bastardos de la modernidad: el Bildungsroman roquero en América Latina, in September of 2015. Thank to the recommendation of his thesis director, Dr. Efraín Barradas, two very important books defined his research: Refried Elvis (Eric Zolov) and La modernidad de lo barroco (Bolívar Echeverría). Marrying the two resulted in rock, modernity, and an ontology known as the Baroque ethos. Today, the Baroque ethos resists modernity in its dominant form. Rock music also does the same in the face of the modernity: rationalized, market-driven, and intolerant with respect to that which lags behind on the road to “progress.” And there is a corpus of Latin American narratives that brings rock and the Baroque together, taking from the dominant form of modernity those cultural forms (e.g. rock) that can be considered superfluous to it and grafting them onto the Latin American lifeworld. The stories Alex worked with belong to the Bildungsroman genre, which he discovered thanks to the influence of Emeritus Professor Dr. Reynaldo Jiménez. Alex also acknowledges the important feedback that his other committee members, Dr. Luis Álvarez-Castro and Dr. Tace Hedrick provided.
Vinodh Venkatesh MA’08 was promoted to Associate Professor in the Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures at Virginia Tech and he is the Director of Graduate Studies in the MA-FLCL program. His research is primarily centered on issues of gender, subjectivity and the urban space in contemporary Hispanic narratives. A secondary area of research concerns the cinematic production of Spain and Latin America. His current work focuses on ethics, politics, and spectacularity in Spanish cinema. His teaching duties include courses on the Spanish language, culture and literature.
Roberto Weiss PhD’14 is currently teaching at Stetson University in DeLand, FL. He teaches Intermediate and Advanced Spanish courses as well as a survey on Spanish-American Film and Culture. He has also created the “Cuban experience studies traveling program” which connects American college students with their counterparts in Cuba and offers summer and Spring Break workshops and Spanish courses in Havana, Cuba. He is currently involved in several research projects which include a collaborative study on politics and culture of the 80s in Argentina co-authored with University of Buenos Aires professors. Lastly, he is in the final stages of writing a book on Argentine culture and the Falklands War which will be published in Buenos Aires in 2016.
Sara Zahler MA’12 is ABD at the University of Indiana. She is presently teaching at UF in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese Studies, and at the English Language Institute as an adjunct, while writing her dissertation. Her dissertation topic is on the second language acquisition of sociolinguistic variation and she hopes to graduate in 2017.