The Modern Linguist
Faculty Spotlight

Eye on Alumni
A View from Abroad
Scripture of the Month

Faculty Spotlight

Paul Ojennus, Adjunct of Latin
Salue Quisque!

I’ve been teaching the first year Latin sequence at Whitworth for the last six years, though I don’t get the chance to see most of you very often since I’ve taught either first thing in the morning or at night, enabling me to be home with my boys (now 5 and 10) during the day. Now that my youngest is in school, you should see me around the department a bit more!

Teaching Latin at Whitworth is a great experience. This course has always attracted the best (in my opinion) students for a number of reasons: wanting a deeper background in English or the romance languages; connecting with their Catholic heritage; or having a personal or professional interest in Latin as the language of theology, literature or history. No matter their reasons for taking the course, the students come together with a common love of language and a willingness to explore the unique perspective that studying an ancient language provides. I love the fact that Whitworth’s commitment to the Christian and Western traditions means that, even though we only have the 101-102 sequence, students come to class able and eager to explore the pivotal role of Latin writers like Cicero and Augustine.

I was attracted to Latin and the classics for a lot of the same reasons my students are: I was an English literature major, and my advisor suggested that Latin would provide a “really great background,” which was enough to convince me to invest in a year or so of it. I also had a general sense that Latin was important as a language of culture, and I had a more specific interest in Augustine as an important influence on Luther. Once I started, though, it was impossible to stop: the approach classical philology takes to understanding language on its own terms – not only as a handmaiden to theology or history, but as a discipline in its own right by which we can accept language and culture as they are – and how that allows us to fly across time and space, spoke to something in my character. The next year I started classical Greek, and the rest…well, you know.

So, teaching at Whitworth lets me share my excitement about the Latin language and the Roman world and their continuing role in the Christian and Western traditions. That is, if “excitement” is the right word for a “virtually compulsive attention to detail,” often one word at a time, in the quest to get ever closer to “what they really meant” a millennia and half-a-world away.

Si tu uales, bene est, ego ualeo!

Paul Ojennus

Eye on Alumni

Lauren Denslow, '12

Hola, everyone! Whoa, I live in Spain! I’m probably going to sound like a Disney princess gone rogue, but check this out: dreams really do come true. For example, I spent half of last summer thinking that I couldn’t go back to my favorite country, that my application had been denied, and that all hope was lost. Then, on a Tuesday morning in July, I checked e-mail and there it was: my placement in Galicia, Spain. A new wave of terror hit: the next year of my life would involve moving to another country to work, to be responsible.It was terrifying! Will I make friends? Will I be able to communicate in Spanish? Flash-forward eight months and now I’m here, and I couldn’t have perceived a more perfect environment for me.

The current phase of my mission, “Live in Spain Forever,” is the program Auxiliares de Conversación, or English Ambassadors in Spain. My job consists of co-teaching bilingual classes in a middle school located in La Coruña, in the province of Galicia. I’ve been very fortunate to work alongside exceptional teachers, who have taught me a ton about patience and also how to effectively quiet a room full of adolescents. Teaching has definitely been a challenge, but after some time I realized that when I was 13 years old, all I wanted was positive reinforcement. That’s been my teaching philosophy ever since! Where I live is something I am thankful for, since Galicia is so different than anywhere else I’ve been in Spain. The Galician people live in a way that is very inspiring to me: they are steeped in their tradition and in maintaining their dialect, while simultaneously taking innovative steps to modernize and better their cities.  

As for speaking Spanish, I think by now you could consider me a pro. Once I conquered the subjunctive, like 100%, I decided my skills were legitimate (and not a figment of my imagination). My big goal is to become mind-blowingly good at Spanish and become a translator, here or in America. I’m also waiting to hear if I get to stay in Coruña doing the same job next year. Until then I’ll be here, eating octopus Gallego-style, shaking my fist at the daily rainstorms, and dreaming of what the future could hold for me.

A View from Abroad

Reflections from Sarah Gambell, '14, currently on the France Study Program

Mon hiver en France. (My winter in France.)

When I started taking French courses in high school, simply because I had an extra class period, I never expected that one day it would lead to a semester-long voyage in France.

The best piece of advice I can give is to throw all assumptions and French stereotypes out the window. The French do not eat daintily; they eat faster than any other people I’ve seen. Nor do they eat healthfully; they eat enough bread and butter to make any American run for a cholesterol check. The French do not dislike every other culture; other countries should try to see the reason in what the French have to say. Though I make light of the cultural differences, my time in France so far has been eye opening in a way that I never imagined. This level of cultural awareness and a profound desire to live and act as the French do are overwhelming. My growth in proficiency in the French language is markedly improved; it’s surprising how quickly these changes occurred.

Though the French may be brash and express their opinions very openly regarding politics, President Obama, gun control, religion in the public place, etc., they are some of the nicest people I have ever met. I have found the French to be quite…normal. Before I travelled here I knew only what I had learned in my high-school French classes, which, frankly, wasn’t much, so I held an elevated and unrealistic image of what France and the French would be like. To my pleasant surprise, they are regular people like you and I. And they are very proud of their country – their culture, their regions, their food. It is refreshing to see such pride and love of one’s origins.

The French are active and walk everywhere they go. This gave me a lot of time to look around the different cities we stayed in. When venturing to describe the architecture that permeates every façade, I lack an adequate way to describe it. Everything is so grandiose and ornate, and there is very little modern design or construction. As a result, it’s easy to see the influence of other cultures, such as the Germanic influence in the northeast corner of the country, which shares a long and complicated history with its German neighbors.

Speaking as a student of history, the amount of hands-on history in this country is staggering. In Toulouse we visited l’Eglise Saint-Sernin, which is the oldest cathedral in Europe, having been established by the Roman Empire. During our time in Strasbourg, every day we would walk by the Notre-Dame-de-Strasbourg, a 12th century cathedral that was the tallest building in Europe until 1874 (though the Strasbourgeois will boast that it is older than any taller cathedral). On a daytrip to Colmar, in the Alsace-Lorraine region, we had the opportunity to see the Issenheim Altarpiece, painted by Grünewald in 1512. And last, but not least, I can say I have stood in two 12th-century castles: Carcassonne in the south of France and Haut-Koenigsbourrg in the north. I could reach out and touch something that another person had touched more than 800 years before. And this is only after four weeks in France. Imagine what I will see in the next eight weeks!

Announcements and Upcoming Events

DELE EXAM – now also offering DELE B1-B2
The spring DELE exam dates have been announced! Whitworth will once again be a test site for the DELE C1. In addition, this May we will also offer the DELE B1-B2.  Exams will be on Saturday, May 25, 2013. You can sign up through April 17 for the May 25 exam. Information about the exam can be found at If you have any questions, please e-mail Stacey Moo at More information will be forthcoming.

Class of 2013: Mark your calendars for the annual Modern Languages Senior Breakfast on Saturday, May 18, from 9:30-11 a.m. This event is for you and your family to enjoy on graduation weekend. More information will be forthcoming, along with invitations to send to your family members.

Keep an Eye on Glyph, a Local Global Translation Services Company
Glyph ( is a global translation services company with an office in Spokane. Glyph provides international language/meaning translations/localization services for the government, companies like Nike, Coke, Amazon, Williams Sonoma, Microsoft and Starbucks, and over 1,000 free agents worldwide. Alumna Viktoyria Reed, ’06, recently joined the Glyph team as global project manager. Looking for an internship or job? Apply from their website!

French Tutoring
All levels – FREE
Every Sunday and Thursday, from 8-9 p.m., in Westminster 113. Review grammar, check homework, review for tests, get help with proofreading and editing papers, and practice your conversational skills.

Spanish Tutoring
All levels – FREE
Five nights a week: Sun./Tues./Thurs., from 7-9 p.m.; Mon./Wed., from 7-8 p.m., in the library, second floor, Room 208 (across from the Whitworth Writing Center). Review grammar, check homework, review for tests, get help with proofreading and editing papers, and practice your conversational skills.

Advance sign-up (available on the door) is recommended. Walk-ins are always welcome!

Join the Costa Rica Center Family This Summer!
We at the Costa Rica Center are excited about our summer program. Students sometimes think they cannot take a typical semester abroad, due to their participation in sports or theatre, or the heavy and sequential course load of the natural sciences, education, etc. Our summer program is designed especially for these students. In addition to classes, at least two exciting field trips (ex. fishing village, zip-lining, whitewater rafting, mountain hiking) are included in each session at no extra charge. Internships in one’s major field (education, business, Spanish, etc.) are also available. During the break week, participants can travel throughout Costa Rica or neighboring countries, or spend more intensive time in their internships.

Click here to view the summer session informational poster with classes.
Click here to view examples of field trips taken during the CRC Summer Program.

Whitworth students can apply for summer sessions online at:

Fall 2013 and Spring 2014 CRC Applications Are Open As Well!
Join us in the fall and take part in our Latin American Music course and our History of Latin America course (emphasis on the history and culture of the Atlantic region), taught by Rafaela Acevedo-Field, a professor from the history department, and Ken Field, a professor from the music department. 

In spring 2014 we will offer business classes for students interested in international business, as well as a class on women and gender in Latin America, taught by Beth Birky, director of gender studies at Goshen College. 
Whitworth Professor Emeritus of History Jim Hunt will also join us during spring 2014 to teach a course on the history of Latin America. 

We aim to integrate experiential learning with each session of classes offered at Whitworth’s Costa Rica Center. Through trips to nearby regions and neighboring countries, students are able to connect with the people and culture of Costa Rica, Nicaragua and Cuba in a way that classroom experience alone cannot express. We include trips as an integral part of the academic and cultural experience of being at the CRC. (Pictured above: A Whitworth student takes in the Havana waterfront during a fall 2012 trip to Cuba.)

Whitworth students can apply for fall 13 and spring 14 online at:
For more information on classes or costs, please e-mail Kim Hernandez, professor of Spanish and faculty liaison for the CRC, at, or Kristina Kielbon, Spokane campus recruiter for the CRC, at

Scripture of the Month

Philippians 4:11b
For I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. 

Chinese: 腓立比书 4:11b

French: Philippiens 4 :11b
J’ai appris à être content de l'état où je me trouve.

German: Philipper 4.11b
Denn ich habe gelernt, mir genügen zu lassen, wie’s mir auch geht.

Japanese: フィリピの信徒への手紙   4章 11節 b

Latin: Philippenses iv.xi
ego enim didici in quibus sum sufficiens esse. epistula ad.

Spanish: Filipenses 4:11
He aprendido a estar satisfecho en cualquier situación en que me encuentre.

Swahili: Wafilipi 4:11b
Maana nimejifunza kuwa radhi na hali yo yote niliyo nayo.

Vol. 18 Issue 1 Mar. 2013

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

World Languages & Cultures Department
Westminster Hall
Whitworth University
Phone: 509.777.4765
Department Chair and Editor-in-Chief: Bendi Benson Schrambach
Editor: Stacey Moo
For student employment information, please contact Stacey Moo, program assistant, at 509.777.4765