I choose to give to the Hispanic Studies program at William and Mary because it was there that my love of other cultures and the Spanish language was cultivated. Beyond the value I’ve gotten from learning an important language, I was exposed to powerful literature from writers like Jorge Luis Borges, Isabel Allende, and Federico Garcia Lorca. Of particular impact was my senior seminar with Professor Cate-Arries on exiled Spaniards during the Franco dictatorship. I became ‘pen pals’ with an elderly lady, Isabel, in Spain who opened up to me about what life was like for her and her family under a totalitarian state. It was incredibly eye opening for me as a young kid living in the college bubble.
After graduation I took the opportunity to live and teach English in Spain for two years, where I was able to further my language skills and love of the culture. I also got to actually meet Isabel in person in Madrid which is an experience I’ll always cherish. The skills gained through my time in the Hispanic Studies department have served me well in my two jobs after returning from Spain. I worked in sales and marketing with several resort chains in Latin America and the Caribbean and now am the Associate Director of Business Development at The Latinum Network in Bethesda, MD where I work directly with the Hispanic and Multicultural marketing strategies of Fortune 500 companies.