Recent News

College of Arts and Science

The Department of Spanish & Portuguese
Alumni Newsletter - Spring 2017

Miami students in Nicaragua

Shelly Jarrett Bromberg

Chair's Welcome

Dear Alums:

¿Cómo están? ¿Qué hacen Uds. hoy en día? Todo va muy bien aquí. We have had another outstanding year filled with remarkable guests, wonderful recognition for our faulty and continued awards for our many amazing Spanish majors and minors.

Our community partnerships continue to grow, ranging from collaboration with local school districts to sustainable engagement abroad. In 2016, we participated in the first Cinco de Mayo celebration at Linden Elementary, with a day-long program including talks by two of our faculty and 500 “mini panels” for the children! In the fall we had the pleasure of co-hosting Pulitzer Prize winning author Sonia Nazario with Sycamore High School, providing opportunities for both high school and college students to interact with the author and her wonderful stories of immigration and perseverance.

We were also fortunate enough to host two of our alumni who returned as part of the Alumni Association's “18 of the Last 9,” which highlights the many accomplishments of our alumni both in the United States and abroad. It is our hope, in fact, that this newsletter will help us keep in touch with you and enable us to invite even more alumni back to campus for a variety of celebrations.

Our faculty also continue to win amazing awards. Katie Fowler Córdova was recognized for her dedication to the Latino/Hispanic community by the Ohio Latino Affairs Commission. Nohelia Rojas Miesse, who created our first study abroad program in Nicaragua, was selected as the ACTFL (American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages) recipient for their Global Engagement Initiative Award and was honored at the Boston convention in the fall.

This year is also a time of transition. We will say good-bye to two of our most senior faculty, Dr. Charles Ganelin and Dr. Patricia Nisbet Klingenberg. Dr. Ganelin and Dr. Klingenberg have been in our department for 15 years, and we wish to extend our sincerest gratitude for their many contributions to our students and faculty. We also welcomed Dr. David Beard in the fall of 2015 and celebrated his first full year as a key member of our outstanding Linguistics program. This coming fall, we will welcome Dr. Jessica Gordon-Burroughs, who brings an amazing body of work on Border Studies and archives.

Of course, all of these accomplishments are, ultimately, signs of our dedication to our students and their futures. We are so proud of our students, past, present and future! As this issue highlights, they too continue to win recognition and awards, many of which are because of the generous donations of our alumni.

Thank you!

Shelly Jarrett Bromberg

Sonia Nazario presenting the lecture “Enrique’s Journey & America’s Immigration Dilemma”

Sonia Nazario

On September 22, Pulitzer Prize winner Sonia Nazario presented the lecture “Enrique’s Journey & America’s Immigration Dilemma” at Sycamore High School and Miami University.

Thanks to the Student Achievement Grant from the NEA Foundation and the sponsorship of the Department of Spanish and Portuguese, students from not only Sycamore but also a variety of local school districts had the opportunity to attend her lecture in the morning.

In the evening, she presented her lecture at McGuffey Hall and then answered insightful questions from our students. In her talk, she discussed the challenges that she has overcome, from the death of her father at age 13 and living through the Dirty War in Argentina, and then examined the lives of immigrants, in particular immigrant women, who leave their homes in Central America and México seeking a better future for their families.

She discussed the children that they have left behind and how this has led many unaccompanied immigrant children to embark on the dangerous journey, riding on top of freight trains, to reunite with their families in the U.S. Furthermore, she focused on the most recent influx of unaccompanied immigrant children due to the increase in violence in Central America, in particular Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala. Finally, she provided novel solutions to the contentious issue of immigration. After the talk, there was a book signing in which many of our students had the opportunity to dialogue with Nazario.

Visiting Alumni

Two honored alumni who majored in Spanish visited Miami University and shared their experiences with Spanish students last October.

Emily Hennell
Emily Siedlak Hennell, class of 2008, is a foreign service officer at the U.S. Department of State. She is currently a vice consul at the U.S. Consulate General in Monterrey, Mexico.
  • Education: B.A. in Spanish, B.A. in Diplomacy & Foreign Affairs
  • Foreign Service Officer, Department of State
Alyssa Hopun
Alyssa Hopun, class of 2013, works in Nicaragua as a social innovation leader with Community Empowerment Solutions. See her interview video for the College of Arts and Science.
  • León, Nicaragua
  • A.B. in International Studies, B.A. in Latin American Studies, B.A. in Spanish Social Innovation Leader, Community Empowerment Solutions

Alumni-Sponsored Awards

  •  Outstanding Senior Award: Erika Robota
  •  Irvin Essay Award: Erika Robota, Tabitha Nolan, William Smeal
  •  Glenn Barr Essay Award: Tabitha Nolan, Lainey Viau, Ricardo Calles
  •  Willis Knapp Jones Essay Award: Kendel Fiorita, Emma Watson
  •  Timothy J. Rogers Memorial Scholarship: Olivia Hines

Ricardo Calles

Ricardo Calles Earns Hispanic Scholarship Award

Ricardo Calles, a triple major in Spanish Education, Spanish, and Latin American Studies, was born in El Salvador and came to the United States in 2006 not knowing any English. His ability to attend college has been a result of people who have helped him along the way such as his parents, teachers, professors and people who have believed in him.

He plans to teach at the High school level after graduating in May. Eventually, he would love to continue his education and teach at the college level one day. He is also interested in working with a company name Dr. Luimen Formulas during the summers while he teaches. This company seeks to help out the Latino community who has no access to healthcare. Ricardo would like to thank all of his professors at Miami University who have had such a great impact in his life and have helped him earned this award.

Faculty Awards

Nohelia Riojas Miese

Nohelia Riojas Miese (left) was selected as and ACTFL (American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages) recipient for their Global Engagement Initiative Award and was honored at the last Boston convention. This is in recognition for her medical Spanish program in Nicaragua.
Katherine Fowler-Cordova
Katherine Fowler-Cordova (right), senior lecturer in Spanish and Portuguese, received a Nuestra Familia (Our Family) Award at the 36th annual Governor’s Distinguished Hispanic Ohioans Awards Gala in October. Awardees are non-Hispanic individuals or organizations that encourage the inclusion of Latinos in Ohio and are committed to making Ohio a welcoming place to all people. Her nominator highlighted the programs and courses that Fowler-Cordova has developed and implemented at Miami and at the Su Casa Hispanic Center. One Miami course, Spanish Individualized Instruction, is the first language course at Miami designed for Spanish heritage speakers and also benefits Latino Ohioans by having students provide outreach to the Latino community in Butler County.

Support the Department!

The Department of Spanish and Portuguese is dedicated to helping students form strong oral and written communication skills in both Spanish and Portuguese and to developing students' capacity for critical thinking and cultural literacy.

The department offers a rich undergraduate program that allows for the study of the literature, language, and cultures of the Hispanic and Lusophone worlds from a broad range of perspectives: film studies, gender studies, creative writing, history, and more.
Tell us what you are doing!

Maria-Cristina Humita

Department of Spanish & Portuguese

College of Arts and Science at Miami University
268 Irvin Hall
400 E. Spring St.
Oxford, OH 45056

©2017 Miami University