The Modern Linguist
Eye on Alumni

Faculty Spotlight

Student Reflections

Costa Rica Center

Eye on Alumni

Corey Newman, '10
I graduated from Whitworth in May 2010 with a double major in Spanish and political science. Like many of my fellow graduates, I began searching for a career in my desired field. For the past two years I have been working with Spokane County Fire District 9 in a position that allowed me to live in a fire station while I finished my degree at Whitworth.

Corey Newman Corey Newman

My hope was to find a full-time job as a firefighter in an area with a large Spanish-speaking population. However, like many of my fellow graduates, the economy has made it difficult to find that dream job right out of college. I spent the summer working for Fire District 9 and responding on major wildfires for the State of Washington. I had the opportunity to go to Quincy, Walla Walla County, and the southern part of Douglas County to battle major blazes throughout the summer. This year I am attending paramedic school and continuing to apply to fire departments along the West Coast.

I keep up my Spanish skills by listening to the BBC's Spanish newscast and by playing a Spanish version of Scrabble that my brother gave me for Christmas. My girlfriend teaches English as a Second Language to elementary students in a nearby town, and I have the opportunity to help translate notes for parents and help at student and parent reading nights.

Although my life is not settled at this point, I am thankful for my Whitworth education and the direction it has given my life. I know that when I do find that "dream job," I will take great pride and satisfaction in serving the neighborhoods I am assigned to and it will be Whitworth that helped affirm this calling. Until then I will be happy honing my Spanish skills and making the best of the opportunities afforded to me.

Faculty Spotlight

Jennifer Brown, Ph.D., associate professor of French

Jennifer BrownML: What is your background in French and linguistics?

JB: I started to learn French quite early. I spent my first year of life in France with my parents, and the friends I made there (and later) have lasted a lifetime. I think that's what sparked my interest in studying French. I did my undergraduate work at the College of William and Mary, and then went to the University of Virginia for my doctoral studies, all in French language and literature.

ML: How did you come to be a professor at Whitworth? What attracted and appealed to you here?

JB: I had been happily teaching in the Midwest and I wasn't actively looking for a new position. But the job at Whitworth caught my eye and seemed like the most wonderful opportunity to expand my horizons. Teaching in a place where I can be authentically myself – where I can be in a community of Christian scholars, where all of my interests are welcome, whether scholarly, pedagogic, or faith-related, where I can introduce faith perspectives in class – was tremendously appealing. And the quality of Whitworth students is well known!

ML: Many modern language students at Whitworth are interested in studying abroad. Do you have any experience living and studying in a foreign country? What advice would you have for a student who is thinking about studying abroad but who may be on the fence?

JB: Oh, my advice for students who are on the fence is usually to push them off. My time studying abroad (in Strasbourg, France) was some of the most enlightening, exciting, expansive time I've ever spent. I created my own program and lived with a couple who spoke no English – that's one way to hit the ground running! I have since sent many, many students to France who thought they were too timid to go. They always come back wishing they could have spent more time, and knowing far more about themselves and their capacities than before.

ML: Please tell us a little about you, perhaps about your family or hobbies and interests.

JB: Outside of the time I spend with my family (my husband, Dave, and my two kids, Miranda and Matthew), my main passion is reading. I read all kinds of things from all different genres and am always accepting recommendations from my students! I am also a (very, very slow) knitter.

ML: Is there anything else you would like to tell our readers?

JB: William Morris said, "The true secret of happiness lies in taking a genuine interest in all the details of daily life." Everything is interesting and valuable to someone who has his or her eyes open to see it. Every person you meet is precious to God. Nothing – no Gen Ed requirement, no homework assignment, no task – needs to be "gotten out of the way." It's all worthwhile.

Student Reflections

Patrick Yoho on the challenges of transitioning back into American life Patrick Yoho

Spending a year away from America and the Whitworth community was an awesome and amazing experience, and a capstone to my education as a Christian and as a human being. I lived among the great historical beauty of Western Europe. I was able to travel to exotic places like Iceland and Morocco. And I was certainly proud to be an American and proud of the creativity of my native English language.

While I had no problem transitioning to life in France, I was definitely shaken on my first day back in the States. The heat and pollution of summertime in New York City hit me like a train after the crispness of Iceland, and the degenerated English I heard on a bus in the Bronx made me want to vomit. I got past this feeling quickly, but in its place was a newfound understanding of the country in which we live.

Europe is just more beautiful than America, travel seems much easier, and Europeans are so much more sincere and less flaky than Americans. This last point is perhaps the most poignant for me. It was so refreshing to be in Europe and have people mean it when they said "let's hang out this week," and always followed through with plans instead of flaking out at the last minute. These things being said, though, I am not struggling to be back in America.

While I certainly have felt out of the loop with my friends and have a much broader perspective on life that makes Whitworth seem a bit trivial at times, I am not dying to go back to Europe. Why? I think it is because I fulfilled the expectations I had for studying abroad and living in France, because I live with solid people here at Whitworth, and because I am extremely interested in what I am studying. I spent enough time in France to master the French language and see nearly all of the places I wanted to see in Europe. I met people from all over the world. I had adventures, I was challenged physically and morally, and I feel like I am a better person for it. Studying abroad was one of the most defining experiences of my life and I am happy to apply what I learned to where my life is now and where it is going.

Costa Rica Center
Striving for Sustainability: An update on Whitworth in Costa Rica
by Kristina Kielbon, ’11

Few people ever have the opportunity to be a part of something that is entirely new – to be a part of a community that has started a project from its very beginning, looking at all available possibilities and making decisions that will affect others. 

Here at the Whitworth Costa Rica Center, we have been presented with the unique opportunity to start with a new campus at the very beginning. So how do we become a community with its own norms and structures, in a way that does not harm the people living here or the precious natural resources we have been called to be stewards of? 

At the beginning of this semester we were privileged to have Michael Le Roy, ’89, Whitworth’s vice president for academic affairs and dean of the faculty, visit the Costa Rica campus. He gave a talk on creation care and creation stewardship, setting the tone for the rest of our semester.  In his talk, Dr. Le Roy contrasted understanding Earth as just nature versus looking at Earth as a creation. A view of Earth as creation (and therefore something cared-for by its creator) signifies it is not primarily a resource to be exploited. Stewardship of the Earth calls us to cultivate (assist in the growing process), keep (preserve), and name (know well) the creation. The Earth is not primarily a possession for humans to take advantage of; rather, it is a gift from the creator that we have been given responsibility to care for.

With this as the basis for our ecological concerns at the Costa Rica Center, we have tried to be intentional about the interactions we have with the environment around us as well as with the communities we live near. For example, the Costa Rica campus invested in a Bionest Wastewater Treatment System (, which processes our black-water waste, or sewage, to a point that it is clean enough water to put back into the river. The use of this system cuts down on the amount of water we use as a campus; it is not contaminating rivers or streams, and we are recycling the water through instead of simply making it dirty, then throwing it away.

Another effort we are making is researching the ways in which we can move toward a more self-sustaining lifestyle on campus. Part of this includes growing food on a portion of the land the campus occupies. We have already planted about 50 fruit trees, including several types of citrus fruits (oranges, lemons, cas), and mango, apple, peach, and water apples (different from our Washington apples).

We have also begun composting our food scraps from the cafeteria and our personal kitchens on campus in an effort to have a supply of organic compost for a vegetable garden. We have worked with Juan, the man who cooks for us, and he sets aside food scraps and any leftovers from lunch in a bucket, which we carry out to the compost pile every few days. Up to this point, the compost has been an internship project for one of our students, Lars Nelson, but it will become a general part of student life on campus as we have new groups coming through. Another way we are hoping to cut down on our consumption is reducing the amount of food waste at mealtimes, and considering having one completely vegetarian meal a week. By cutting out meat from a meal once a week we can cut down on the environmental impact we have as a campus community.

There are many ideas we’re circulating about additional ways we can get involved with sustainability efforts in Costa Rica and on our campus, as well as ideas for being a community that cares about stewardship of the creation. However, the above examples are the more concrete ways in which we have been able to do so thus far. We are looking at the long-term impact we have, and as this campus continues to grow and become a part of the broader community here, as well as the Whitworth community as a whole, we hope we can be an active example of the ways in which we can realistically have a positive impact on creation.

Pictures from Costa Rica

Students build the compost bin

Students plant fruit trees Ronald and Donald, two fishermen the students met during a fieldtrip to Tárcoles, a local fishing community

Announcements and Upcoming Events

Mark your calendars for the DELE (Diplomas in Spanish as a Foreign Language) examination to be held at Whitworth on Saturday, May 21. All levels are available, including the new C1. Registration is from Feb. 21-April 15 (inclusive). Information will be distributed in your Spanish classes and is also available in Westminster (see Vicki Daggy.) Online prep courses are available.

What is the DELE?

The Diplomas in Spanish as a Foreign Language (DELE), granted by the Instituto Cervantes on behalf of the Spanish Ministry of Education, are official qualifications certifying levels of competence in the Spanish language.

Types of diplomas granted:

  • Diploma de Español: Level A1. Attests to having the linguistic ability necessary to understand and use everyday life expressions in order to satisfy basic needs.
  • Diploma de Español: Level A2. Attests to having the linguistic ability necessary to understand sentences and frequently used expressions related to areas of most immediate relevance.
  • Diploma de Español: Level B1 & Diploma de Español: Level B1 Escolar. Attests to having the linguistic ability necessary to understand and adequately react in everyday situations, in normal communicative needs and wishes in a basic way.
  • Diploma de Español: Level B2. Attests to having the linguistic ability necessary to handle average day to day situations, in normal communicative circumstances, which do not require specialized use of the language.
  • Diploma de Español: Level C1. Attests to having the linguistic ability necessary to use language flexibly and effectively for social, academic and professional purposes.
  • Diploma de Español: Level C2. Attests having the linguistic ability necessary to handle situations that require an advanced use of the language and knowledge of the cultural customs embedded within it.

Spanish tutoring: Available five nights a week during spring semester, starting Sunday, Feb. 6. Review grammar, check homework, review for tests, get help with proofreading and editing papers, and practice your conversational abilities.

Sunday-Thursday, 7-9 p.m. in the library, second floor, room # 208. Sign-ups are available and encouraged.

French tutoring: Available three nights a week during spring semester, starting Sunday, Feb. 6. Review grammar, check homework, review for tests, get help with proofreading and editing papers, and practice your conversational abilities.

Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday, from 8-9 p.m. in Westminster #142. Sign-ups are available and encouraged.

German, Chinese and Japanese tutoring is available by appointment. For more information, please contact Vicki Daggy at or x4765.

Class of 2011: Mark your calendars for the Modern Languages Senior Breakfast. This annual event will be held this year on Saturday, May 14, from 9:30-11 a.m., and is for you and your family to enjoy on graduation weekend. More information will be forthcoming, along with invitations to send to your families.

Vol. 4 Issue 1 Jan. 2011

The Modern Linguist was birthed from the desire to unite those who study in the modern languages discipline at Whitworth University. The newsletter features information, news and stories applicable to those involved in the program. Let it serve you well.

Modern Languages Department
Westminster Hall
Whitworth University
Phone: 509.777.4765
Department Chair and Editor-in-Chief: Bendi Benson Schrambach
Editor: Aaron Newby, '11
For student employment information, please contact Vicki Daggy, program assistant, at 509.777.4765

Scripture of the Month

(English: Proverbs 3: 5-6)
5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding;
6 in all your ways submit to him,
and he will make your paths straight.

5 Confía en el Señor de todo corazón,
y no en tu propia inteligencia.
6 Reconócelo en todos tus caminos,
y él allanará tus sendas.

5 Confie-toi en l'Éternel de tout ton coeur, Et ne t'appuie pas sur ta sagesse;
6 Reconnais-le dans toutes tes voies, Et il aplanira tes sentiers.

5 Confia no Senhor de todo o teu coração, e não te estribes no teu próprio entendimento.

6 Reconhece-o em todos os teus caminhos, e ele endireitará as tuas veredas.

5 Verlaß dich auf den HERRN von ganzem Herzen und verlaß dich nicht auf deinen Verstand;

6 sondern gedenke an ihn in allen deinen Wegen, so wird er dich recht führen.