Alumni Updates: Hispanic Studies

  • Abbott, Charles (Class of 2007)(BA Hispanic Studies): Work post-WM: 2006-07: Bilingual paralegal at Brown Goldstein Levy, LLP 2007: Interim Project Director with Students Helping Honduras, 501(c)3 2008: Fulbright ETA Grantee, Universidad Nacional de La Plata, Argentina 2009: Campaign Assistant, National Immigration Forum. Current status:
In my first year of law school at American University.  Dean's Fellow at the Academy on Human Rights and Humanitarian Law. (Updated 2009)
  • Allison Corbett (HISP ’09) on Multimedia Oral History Project
    Kyle McQuillan ('17), Morgan Sehdev ('17), Allison Corbett ('09)

    Kyle McQuillan ('17), Morgan Sehdev ('17), Allison Corbett ('09)

    Allison Corbett ('09) is a Spanish interpreter and oral historian based in New York City. She has worked in Mount Sinai St. Luke's and Mount Sinai West as a staff interpreter, and is currently working on The Language of Justice/El lenguaje de la justicia, a multimedia oral history project documenting the stories of language workers and organizers around the US who facilitate multilingual movement-building for social change. You can read more about the project here. During her time at W&M, Allison wrote an honors thesis under Prof. Arries on "Un modelo de resistencia, un estado neoliberal: Teacher and Student Responses to the Death of Carlos Fuentealba."  She also received the Howard M. Fraser Award in 2009 for the graduating HISP major who has made significant achievements in the area of research and service related to the field of Hispanic Studies.
  • Bintrim, Rebecca (Class of 2008)(BS Biology and Hispanic Studies): I'm in the process of applying to graduate school for Latin American Studies and planning on going to Brazil in January for six months. (Updated 2010)
  • Boone, Ben (Class of 2007)Ben Boone graduated from the Hispanic Studies program in 2007, taking mostly courses in Latin American culture.  He went directly into the Master's program in Higher Education Administration at the School of Education.  Concurrent to enrolling in the Higher Education program, Ben helped develop a non-profit that works with children in Managua, Nicaragua to provide educational opportunities and employment training with the goal of breaking the cycle of poverty for the families. The program started in 2008 with 10 children, and in 2014 VISEDAL has 31 students enrolled, including two who are in college.  Currently Ben works in the Dean of Students Office coordinating Transfer Student and Enrollment Support Services.  He is pursuing his Ph.D. in Higher Education, with a focus on the impact of the internationalization of higher education on faculty careers.  (Updated 04/2014)
  • Boone, Walter (Sam) (Class of 2015)(BA Hispanic Studies & International Relations) In many ways I have had an interesting career trajectory. At William & Mary, I double majored in Hispanic Relations and International Relations with the idea that I could get involved with policy decisions in Latin America. My experience with the La Plata program in Argentina had a profound impact of my worldview, as I found that living in a foreign country and stepping outside my comfort zone enabled me to grow personally and academically. My time in Argentina made realize that I wanted to step even further and learn a new language. After my graduation I moved the China, and quickly started studying Chinese and fanatically researching the history and culture of my new home. I am surprised and happy to say I will continue my education next year at Johns Hopkins SAIS program with a fellowship for Chinese studies. It almost seems unbelievable since two years ago I didn’t even know how to say 你好 (hello) in Chinese and now I will be doing graduate level courses. It truly demonstrates the unpredictability in life, and how passions can evolve and transform. This opportunity would have been impossible without the skills and knowledge I gained from Hispanic Studies at William & Mary. My classes in the Hispanic Studies department gave me the tools I needed to adapt and analyze Chinese culture. I hope that I can combine my two foreign language studies in graduate school and further investigate China’s growing role in Latin America.
  • Brain, Jennifer (Class of 2005)(BA Hispanic Studies): Graduated in May 2009 from Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health with a Master of Public Health in Sexuality and Health.  Currently working at International Planned Parenthood Federation/Western Hemisphere Region in New York City as an Evaluation Coordinator.  (Updated: 2009).
  • Davis, Martha (Class of 1996)(BA Spanish) I received my Ph.D. in Spanish literature from Catholic University this May. I am working as an assistant professor of Spanish at Northern Virginia Community College in Alexandria. I hope to join you at Homecoming another year. (Updated 2010)
  • Disseminating Research: Sarah Smith-Brady (’05) and the Field of Scholarly Publishing
    Sarah Brady ('05)

    Sarah Smith-Brady ('05)

    "After leaving W&M in 2005 with a concentration in Hispanic Studies and certification in secondary education, I moved to Philadelphia to start a PhD program at the University of Pennsylvania. While at Penn, I met some amazing people and found the environment wonderfully challenging and intellectually stimulating. However, I was no longer certain I wanted to pursue a career in academia, so after earning an MA, I took a leave of absence to explore other options. I decided to stay at Penn, teaching courses as a lecturer, but also dabbled in the nonprofit realm, volunteering at the local arts league. At the close of that academic year, I moved to the Seattle area and began working at a regional office of a medical nonprofit organization, where I coordinated patient and professional education and support programs. I learned a great deal about fundraising, event planning and implementation, and volunteer management, and the job also provided a very helpful introduction to the business world.

    "Although that experience was very rewarding, it was difficult living far from my family, so after a few years, I relocated to North Carolina. Soon after that, I started working as a contract editor for American Journal Experts, which is part of a company called Research Square that helps researchers succeed by developing software and services for the global research community. A couple months later, I moved into a managing editor position at the company, and after a couple years in that role, I began managing the newly created Customer Partnership team. I’ve been in that role for almost two years now, and I love everything about it! The members of my team are very smart and empathetic individuals with terminal degrees in their fields who answer customer questions about many different topics, ranging from the author services we provide to how to navigate the complex and rapidly evolving field of scholarly publishing. The majority of our customers are nonnative English speakers aiming to publish their research in English-language journals, and we are able to help them deal with the additional challenges faced by researchers trying to publish outside of their native language. It is a pleasure and an honor to serve our customers and help them succeed as researchers.
    Sarah in a recent trip to Peru with her family

    Sarah in a recent trip to Peru with her family

    "Although I rarely have the opportunity to use Spanish in my daily tasks, I am often able to contribute cultural insights to discussions and projects at work, and I’ve been able to fit in fun trips to Mexico and, most recently, Peru during breaks from work. I feel fortunate to be where I am now and attribute much of my success to the education, training, and support I received in the Hispanic Studies program at W&M.

  • Figliuoli, Eleonora (Class of 2012)(BA History & Hispanic Studies): Eleonora recently started graduate studies at the University of Virginia.  You can read more about her experience here.  (Updated 2012)
  • Fillo, Maisoon (Class of 2015)(BA Hispanic Studies & Psychology) Soon after graduating from William and Mary, I spent the summer in Vermont studying Spanish at Middlebury Language Schools. This program not only provided an environment of total language immersion, but exposed the linguistic depth of the Spanish language. Shortly following Middlebury, I spent a semester abroad teaching English in Lima, Peru. This position gave me first-hand insight into educational issues in Latin America, from resource and quality shortcomings, to school systems’ relationships with students and the significance of student’s social background. I was able to work through some of these critical issues following my time abroad as an intern in the Inter-American Dialogue’s Education Program. This branch of IAD aims to improve skill development by forging educational change across Latin America. Starting this fall I will begin my MA program in Latin American Studies at Tulane University. I expect to further develop skills that I can use in work that contributes to reforms that acknowledge past injustices and promote governments’ sincere regard for human rights. I believe that Tulane’s program will position me to not only advance skillfully as a student, researcher, and activist, but will guide me as a professional in contributing to social transformation projects in pursuit of human dignity and social justice. (Updated 04/2016)
  • Foster, Anne (Class of 2011)(BA Hispanic Studies & History) recently spent a year in Spain teaching English at a High School in Madrid with the Cultural Ambassadors Program.  You can read more about her experience here.  (Updated 2012)
  • Giordano, Kristin (Class of 2014)(BA Hispanic Studies & Linguistics) Before I graduated in May 2014, I had vague thoughts of traveling the world, or at least having some (any) plans to explain when people inevitably asked what was next for me. When Prof. Terukina mentioned the English Opens Doors Program in Chile to me, I jumped on the opportunity. I loved the six months teaching English in Chile and the family I lived with, yet, when the semester ended, I knew that I wasn’t ready for a full-time job in education. Again directionless (and with loans to start paying off), I moved home. "I found a job in respite care and then a seasonal job at a summer camp (that I loved). Through a friend, I started volunteering with the Fire Department's emerging Community & Public Health Division in Colorado Springs, which became a full-time job. Now, I've spent two years there, working in a program that connects people who frequently call 9-1-1 with medical, social, and mental health services. Though my volunteer position started as data entry, I ended up writing and winning grants, analyzing program data and designing reports, and even helping to implement a new software program. "My job’s flexibility meant that I got to do a little bit of a lot of things, but the organization’s focus on partnerships with other agencies meant that I met people across the health sector. Through conversations, conferences and my daily job responsibilities, I learned that I really enjoyed work with upstream health interventions and research-based interventions.  I wanted to develop the evaluation skills and knowledge base necessary to help similar programs. After two and a half years of discovering the joys and the frustrations of the working world, I wanted to go back to school. "My friends, classmates and professors from William & Mary were fundamental parts of my frantic attempts to figure out where I was headed. Between Skype calls with classmates who were in programs I was interested in, and advice and recommendation letters from professors, I crammed my GRE, school research and application submission in to a two month period. "In September, I’m off to Drexel University in Philadelphia to get my Masters of Public Health, with a concentration in Community Health and Prevention. I was offered a fellowship with their Urban Health Collaborative, which works to synthesize community data and make it available to organizations and individuals who live there, so that they can improve their health and well-being. Where I go from there, I have no idea - so don't ask - but I'm excited! (Updated 04/2016)
  • Henriquez, Rafael (Class of 2008)(BA Hispanic Studies): Before graduation I joined a pharmaceutical consulting company in Williamsburg serving as a translator as part of my practicum. After graduation I was offered a salary and have continued to work as a translator and now an ambassador manager in the global department working with European patients with chronic diseases, as well as a creative writer. I've been sent to Brussels, Madrid, San Juan, and other Spanish communities throughout the US. I will be applying for my MFA in Creative Writing in the Spring to the University of Texas-El Paso. (Updated 2009)
  • Howard, Martha (Class of 1996)(BA Spanish): I'm currently getting my Spanish licenciatura here at the University of Valencia. I've lived in Valencia for 12 years and would love to help any W&M students who are here and need an American contact. (Updated 2010)
  • Jones, Lauren Ila (Class of 2004)(BA Hispanic Studies & Sociology, 2004): Lauren was recently awarded a Fulbright Scholar Award for the United Kingdom during 2012-2013.  You can read more about her experience here.  (Updated 2012)
  • Korp-Edward, Bethany (Class of 2000)(BA Hispanic Studies) I went on to do an MA in Spanish Translation at Rutgers and became a court interpreter.  After working for several years in state court in New Jersey, I have been working for four years as a staff court interpreter at the Federal District Court in Albuquerque, New Mexico.  (Updated 2009)
  • Martin, Mary Catherine (Class of 2004)(BA Hispanic Studies & English): After college, I spent two years working as an English teacher in Kyoto, Japan.  After that, I traveled around quite a bit - around Japan, then spending time in San Francisco, Australia and D.C..  I then got into journalism, working first as a reporter for The Daily Iberian, a newspaper in New Iberia, Louisiana, and now for the Juneau Empire in Juneau, Alaska.  (Updated 2009)
  • Mendoza, Maybelline (Class of 2007)Maybelline Mendoza is a 2007 undergraduate alum that double-majored in Hispanic Studies and Business Marketing.  Maybelline has worked for a higher education magazine, but has spent the majority of her career in the beauty industry, as a part of the MaybellineNY*Garnier products' division team, where she held increasing responsibilities in Sales and Marketing.  One of her major projects while a part of L'Oreal, was to launch a marketing initiative, targeting the US Hispanic consumer! After 5 years of professional work experience, Maybelline decided to join us again in Williamsburg to pursue her MBA, and is excited to soon be a double WM graduate, this May.  Beginning in July, she'll be joining Coca-Cola, as 1 of 5 MBA students selected for a rotational Business Leadership Program, based in Atlanta, GA.  (Updated 04/2014)
  • Mercado, Doug (Class of 1985)(BA Latin American Studies & History): On Friday, May 14, 2010 Wm & Mary alumnus Doug Mercado was inducted into the Alpha Chapter of Phi Beta Kappa.  Mercado graduated in the class of 1985 with a double major in Latin American Studies and History and extensive work in Spanish; he was also a resident in the Spanish House [now the Hispanic House]. Doug Mercado is employed by the United States Agency for International Development's Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance and currently serves as the Humanitarian Affairs Adviser at the United States Mission to the United Nations in New York.  He has worked in the field of international disaster assistance and post-conflict recovery for most of the past 19 years on assignments with the United Nations, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and various non-governmental organizations (NGOs).  He has managed humanitarian relief interventions in over a dozen countries including Bosnia-Herzegovina, Kosovo, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Iraq, Nicaragua, Angola and Eritrea. Doug photographed the conflict in Darfur, Sudan and its impact on civilians and exhibited his work at the ARC Gallery in Chicago in 2006.  Aside from his career in international affairs, he served as an officer in the United States Navy and as an editorial assistant at Américas magazine.   Doug holds a Master in Public Policy from Princeton University's Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, and a Master of Arts in Latin American Studies from the University of Texas at Austin. (Updated 2010)
  • Murray Hutchcroft, Laura (Class of 1991)(BA Spanish/Government): My family was recently profiled here: http://www.holycrosshealth.org/newsletters_story_pregnancy.htm (Updated 2010)
  • Nathan Hoback (’10) shines as a teacher
    Nathan Hoback, a HISP alum ('10) who went on to pursue an M.A. with the School of Education at W&M, has recently been distinguished as Matoaca High School Teacher of the Year 2016.
    A native of Roanoke, Nathan has been a member of the Matoaca High School faculty for five years, where he currently teaches Spanish 1 and Algebra II.  Susan Hester, Chair of the World Languages Department, says, "He is a fantastic teacher! He engages the whole student beyond just the academics; supporting them outside the classroom in the extracurricular activities and cultural events.  He is truly a model example of an enthusiastic instructor.  It is awesome to have him at Matoaca High School."
    Nathan Hoback (HISP '10)

    Nathan Hoback (HISP '10)

    While at the College, Nathan was part of a group of students who, with the mentorship of Prof. Francie Cate-Arries and with the auspices of a Mellon grant, spent spring break of 2009 visiting sites of memory in Spain and meeting with survivors of the Spanish Civil War.  The research team produced a website, Mapping Memory in Madrid, which includes a map and a description of Madrid's sites of memory, documents from the era, and profiles and testimonies from survivors of the dictatorship.  Nathan also wrote an honors thesis, "Hooray for Hollywood": Postwar Cinema and Trauma in Franco's Dictatorship in Spain, on the use of Spanish films to spread a Francoist version of the civil war, glorifying the Nationalists and demonizing the Republicans, and US films that, while censored, provided audiences with opportunities to resist the repressive Franco regime.  Some of his findings were published in The Monitor as "A Hollywood Haunting of Spain: Raza (1942), Rebecca (1940), and Commemoration of the Spanish Civil War" (Winter 2010 [6.1]).
  • Ovando, Julia (Class of 2002)(BA Spanish):  I've opened my own solo legal practice in Arlington Virginia, focused on guardian ad litem work for children and criminal defense work (mostly court appointed) for Spanish speaking immigrants. (Updated 2010)
  • Panagopoulos Basham, Nicole (Class of 1998)(BA Spanish & Government): Enjoying living in Austin, Texas with my husband Eric, my 4 year old son, Will and our black lab Jake. I'm afraid my Spanish has been limited to foreign films as of late, but we did have our son in a bilingual co-operative preschool for some time, so I had some chance to learn "kid" vocabulary I hadn't at W&M (slide, swings, etc). (Updated 2010)
  • Parks, Sarah (Class of 2003)Sarah Parks received a Bachelor of Arts in Hispanic Studies in 2003, and went on to earn a Master of Social Work degree from Virginia Commonwealth University in 2006.  She has worked in clinical settings including a community health clinic, a low-income housing community center, private adoption agencies, and the Family Reunification program at the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB).  Since moving to Williamsburg in 2010, she has been working with USCCB in a consultant capacity to assist with special projects.  Sarah has provided direct services to immigrant children in Virginia and has conducted trainings for social service providers around the country on addressing the needs of immigrant children from a child welfare perspective.  Sarah became fluent in Spanish while living in Paraguay as a child and enjoys using her language skills to bridge service gaps for the Latino community in the US.  (Updated 04/2014)
  • Pravdic, Leksa (Class of 2012) receives Fulbright Scholarship

    Leksa Pravdic (Class of 2012)

    Hispanic Studies major Leksa Pravdic ('12) is one of only nine W&M 2012 graduates to receive a prestigious Fulbright US Student Grant.  During 2012-2013, Leksa will act as an English Teaching Assistant in Serbia.  You can read the full featured story here. Congratulations, Leksa!
  • Roman-Lagunas, Patricia (Class of 2007)(BA Hispanic Studies & International Relations): I graduated from Indiana University Maurer School of Law in May '10 and was admitted to practice law in Indiana on October 15th. I work at a law firm near my home town and am currently applying to the Illinois bar so that I can be licensed in both states. I worked for a migrant farmworker legal project during law school and have already had several opportunities to use Spanish in my practice. In a few months I'll be Patricia R. Hass! (Updated 2010)
  • Smith-Brady, Sarah (Class of 2005)(BA Hispanic Studies): Hello, dear professors!  I stumbled across this update form a couple weeks ago and wondered if it was too late to share my updates, but decided with Regina's Facebook reminder today that it's not!  Please feel free to share anything you wish... I began the University of Pennsylvania's PhD program in Hispanic Studies in fall 2005 and received a grant to travel to Colombia my first summer, where I spent time exploring the manifestations of violence in the texts of Colombian authors Fernando Vallejo and Jorge Franco.  I received my MA in May 2007 and was awarded the outstanding Spanish TA award.  I took a break from the PhD program, but stayed at Penn for two semesters teaching intro and intermediate language courses as a full-time lecturer, and made the decision not to return for the PhD in large part due to my diagnosis of indeterminate colitis that year. My dog and I moved to Redmond, WA, to join my then-fiancé, and several months later I began employment as the Education & Support Manager for the Northwest Chapter of the Crohn's & Colitis Foundation of America (covers WA, OR, ID, MT & AK).  That position entails many jobs, including coordinating all patient and professional education (patient conferences, medical talks, chapter medical advisory committee meetings & grant-writing to fund them), support programs (support groups, a one-to-one phone support program & youth activities), and perhaps most importantly, NW Camp Oasis, the weeklong summer camp our chapter funds for local kids with Crohn's disease or ulcerative colitis.  I also have the privilege of working with amazing colleagues and dedicated volunteers, on behalf of inspirational folks with whom I share this disease. I'm thrilled to be working in the non-profit field, able to combine my love of education with my passion for supporting patients and finding a cure, and I just celebrated my anniversary with CCFA this month!  (And I got married in Wren Chapel this past May!) (Updated: 2009)
  • Wergin, Kendra (Class of 2007)(BA International Relations & Hispanic Studies): Kendra taught high school Spanish with Teach For America in Washington, D.C. for the last two years and found that her Hispanic Studies training was helpful aside from the language skills! She spent a lot of time in her second year working with Hispanic students and helping to make them more comfortable in school.  She now works in the Office of the Chancellor of D.C. Public Schools and helps to coordinate the system's new teacher evaluation program, including all of the evaluations for foreign language teachers. (Updated 2009)
  • Wichems, Desmond (Class of 1990)Immigrated to Australia in 2004. Currently working as an R & D chemist for a scientific instrumentation company. Missed homecoming this year, but had a great time last year when I attended with my wife ( class of 1989)

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