Congratulations to all our graduating students!

November 18, 2020 by Berenice Villagómez

The Department of Spanish & Portuguese offers most heartfelt congratulations to all our students celebrating their convocation on Saturday, November 21, 2020. We join their family and friends in recognizing their academic achievements and we wish them success in the path ahead.

Four students will receive Master of Arts degrees: Estefanía Gordo García, Krzysztof Maksyminko, Betty Pinas Marin and Alexander Tough.

Betty said, “I had professors who were eager to guide me and for that, I am very grateful”. Alexander also chimed in: “What I most enjoyed in the Department was the career advice that faculty shared, as well as their encouragement of my intellectual pursuits.” Krzysztof echoed this sentiment, “I enjoyed the fact that the department allowed me to take a wide variety of courses according to my needs and interests whether they were taught in the department or the departments closely related to ours. I also enjoyed the help and guidance I received from many members of the department.”

When asked about what attracted them to pursue a graduate degree in our department, Krzysztof mentioned “the fact that it is the best graduate program in Hispanic studies in the country despite its short length”. Alexander credits an opportunity to collaborate in a research project with Prof. Pérez Leroux for being the push he needed to pursue a MA.

Reflecting on her experience in our department, Betty commends the program for offering students many opportunities to enhance their abilities: “The teaching style, lectures, various current research projects, and assignments, helped me develop skills as a researcher. Additionally, the hands-on approach through tutoring undergraduate students makes this program an excellent option.”

We are also proud to share that three students will receive their PhD degree in the same ceremony: Ailén Cruz, Olivia Marasco and María Soledad Zabalza.

Ailén coincided with her fellow MA students as she highlighted the collegiality of our department: “I most enjoyed the sense of comradery I shared with my cohort, as well as the mentoring I received from my supervisor and more senior graduate students.”

Her dissertation, titled “From the Griffin to the Axolotl: The Resurgence and Reimagining of the Medieval Bestiary in Contemporary Hispanic Literature”, examines the rise of the bestiary genre in Hispanic literature during the 20th Century. She credits her courses in our department and the guidance of her supervisor as an important factor that allowed her to “understand a new dimension of literature and develop the skills necessary to bring a project of a previously intimidating scope to fruition.”  

Olivia counts as “one of the great strengths of the Hispanic Linguistics program is the opportunity to collaborate with like-minded researchers in other departments such as French and Linguistics.” Her dissertation, titled “Are you asking me or telling me? Perception and Production of Y/N Questions and Statements in L2 Spanish” was an opportunity to research specific aspects of second language learning – in this case, intonation.

We extend our warmest recognition to all the undergraduate students who are also completing programs in our department and celebrating their convocation this Fall: Ashley Campos completed a Major in Portuguese, while Andrea Valentina Morales Rodriguez finished a Minor in Latin American Studies. Congratulations as well to Oscar Esteban Burbano, who completed a Major in Spanish. And a final round of applause to the students who competed a Minor in Spanish: Lijin Bei, Adara Anisman, Qiwei Shao, Mathilde Kathleen Taylor, Alexandra Ellen Bayer, and Jin Young Lee.

¡Felicitaciones a todos! Follow our social media channels during the week before Fall Convocation for more detailed profiles of some of our graduating students.