Diego Pascual PhD’13 was born in Madrid, Spain, and grew up in Granada. Diego recalls his first reflections about language as “a really cool thing” to observe and to study came while visiting family in Valencia: “It amazed me to see my relatives switch back and forth effortlessly between [Spanish and Catalan]. It amazed me even more that I was able to understand it all.”
These experiences would later fuel his interest in linguistics and his current research on bilingualism. As an undergraduate student at the University of Granada, he took some linguistics courses, but it was during his first years in the U.S. that he delved into the theoretical and applied study of language acquisition. Thanks to the help and encouragement he received from his professors and friends at Northern Illinois University, where he earned his MA degree, Diego decided to pursue his doctorate.
Diego’s first months at UF were intense and challenging, but rewarding as well. He recalls, “I had the opportunity to work with incredible mentors that trained me and helped me to move confidently forward in my career and in life. The training in research, teaching and service that I received while there has been invaluable in my current job.” Beyond the academics, Diego’s fondest memories involve his family and his classmates, most of whom he knows will remain lifelong friends. Even now, sitting in his office in Texas, Diego can close his eyes and remember with joy and happiness the parties, the trips to the beach, and lunch dates at the Plaza of the Americas.
Since he graduated from UF in 2013, Diego has served as Assistant Professor of Hispanic Linguistics and Director of the Spanish Heritage Language Program at Texas Tech University. While he has received both teaching and research awards, he considers his most important achievement to have been able to awaken an interest in research in his own students. “Going to conferences and seeing them present their own work makes me very proud,” he says. “Now I understand what my professors felt. I hope I made them proud.”