The Modern Linguist
Faculty Spotlight

Eye on Alumni
A View from Abroad

Faculty Spotlight

José Rojas

José Rojas
Greetings to you, my students, former students, future students and colleagues! My wife of 11 years, Kemper, and I have been in the Spokane area for nine years. This has been a great place for us and our kids, Bowe and Giovanni, to serve Christ together. I also feel privileged to be able to work in a Christian institute where I can freely spread the Word of God.

This is my fifth year at Whitworth and I enjoy each year more and more. I have been teaching Spanish from 100 levels up to 300. In addition to my regular teaching, I am also the first-year-level Spanish coordinator. It is a pleasure to work with my colleagues and share different ideas to improve our classes as well our department. 

Being from a different country (Venezuela) and having had the privilege to live around the world has enriched me as a person in so many different ways. One of them is to inculcate my students with the importance of knowing other cultures as well their languages. It has also shaped me in the spiritual world, in other words, it has made me appreciate the way I live and where I live. 

Prior to being a Spanish professor, I began my teaching career as a professor of hotel management at the Hotel School of Venezuela, located in Merida, Venezuela. Afterwards I was fortunate enough to work in the hospitality industry in various countries around the world including Mexico, Jamaica, Turks & Caicos, Aruba, and the U.S.  I actually met my wife at one of these locations and God changed my plans and brought us back here to Spokane. It was at this point that I decided to go back to teaching and chose Spanish as my subject. I received my bachelor’s degree from Eastern Washington University and my master’s degree in Spanish language and culture from the University of Salamanca, Spain.

In addition to being a husband, father and professor, I enjoy coaching soccer, traveling in the U.S. and abroad, and spending time with my family. Recently, I’ve found a new joy in our vegetable garden.  Actually, I enjoy my wife doing the work and me picking the vegetables. We’ve been able to come up with some pretty good salsa recipes.  Some extra activities that I enjoy when I’m able to find spare time are playing volleyball, reading about history, and scuba diving. My hope is to continue my career at Whitworth and serve our Lord Jesus Christ.

Eye on Alumni

Angie Hartley, a May 2011 alumna and 2012 Fulbright Award recipient

Angie Hartley

ML: What have you been up to?
AH: This semester (spring 2011) I am finishing my degrees in Spanish and international studies, as well as interning at World Relief. My internship is designed to help implement an anti-human trafficking program in Spokane. 

ML:  What did you apply for a Fulbright Award?
AH: I decided to apply after my experience studying abroad in Spain. I loved being in a Spanish-speaking country, and wanted an opportunity to go again! Having never been to South America, I decided to look at my options there. I eventually decided on applying to Argentina because I am interested in their unique quota laws for women in government, and how law and society are working together to increase gender empowerment within society.

ML: What are your short- and long-term plans?
AH: For now, I am planning on staying in Spokane until I leave for Argentina. I will continue to volunteer with World Relief and their anti-human trafficking program, as well as work before leaving. The Fulbright program doesn’t start until early 2012, so I have some time to relax for a little bit. After my Fulbright experience, I plan to apply to graduate school in international development or a related field.

ML: Have you been using your language skills?
AH: This semester I am not taking a Spanish class, but I am trying to continue practicing by reading Spanish newspapers, listening to Spanish, etc. I definitely plan on continuing practicing now that I know I am going to Argentina.

A View from Abroad

Nanda Navis

Our students at Whitworth’s Costa Rica Center this fall 2011 semester offer valuable observations on the Spanish language acquisition process in the settings of academics, with host families, and out and about in the community. Following is an excerpt from senior Nanda Navis’ blog, in which she shares reflections after her first week in Costa Rica

“Speaking Spanish 70-80 percent of the time gets difficult. Yesterday an electrician and his friend came over to look at some stuff for my host mom and I ended up talking to his friend Santiago about things like 9/11, the economy and (I’m having trouble coming up with a word in either language right now) the polarization of social classes (rich and poor). I have a really limited vocabulary. It is frustrating. Also, the electrician was like ‘you’re not from North America.’ So apparently I look European (thank you, padre, for the Dutch heritage? Or perhaps living in Peru and thus having an accent).

I appreciate the patience with which people interact with me. I know I’ll pick up the Spanish quickly, but I admit, when I am tired and trying to make sense when conversing, it really doesn’t work well. Grace abounds. I am also trying to learn to be less of a planner, to take life more as it comes. Learning to speak a language is really hard. I’ve already had moments of ‘Seriously? Why am I doing this to myself?’”

If you would like to read more about Nanda’s personal journey and experiences while studying abroad in Costa Rica, please visit her blog at

Announcements and Upcoming Events

Witness for Peace Northwest Tour: Food Sovereignty and the Roots of Migration – Defending Corn and Culture in Oaxaca (in Spanish with English translation)

Thursday, Nov. 10, at 7 p.m., in Robinson Teaching Theatre, Weyerhaeuser Hall, at Whitworth University

Come hear Eleazar Garcia address the devastating impact the North American Free Trade Agreement has had on the Mexican countryside, including the abandonment of traditional sustainable ways of life as small farmers and a boom in rural Mexican migration to the United States. Speaking from his experience of seeing this devastation firsthand, Eleazar will share the negative effects of this free trade model and will present a hopeful alternative that is being carried out to preserve the land and to stem the tide of migrants leaving rural Mexico for the U.S. To read more about the work of the Center for Integral Small Farmer Development in the Mixteca (CEDICAM), please visit

The Whitworth Costa Rica Center: “Have your own adventure”

The Costa Rica Center campus offers classes and internships for ALL students and ALL majors!

  • Classes are taught in English and Spanish – take gen. ed. classes in an international locale
  • Get to know the people and culture by staying in a local home
  • Explore the Caribbean, Pacific Coast and Nicaragua
  • Your cost? The same as tuition, room and board at Whitworth + use your scholarships & financial aid

|It’s not too late to go in spring 2012! Applications for any semester are available online now at

Questions? Contact Kim Hernández, faculty liaison, at, or Olivia Godt, program TA, at

French Tutoring: All levels – FREE

In the library every Tuesday and Thursday from 8-9 p.m. 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 abilities.

Spanish Tutoring: All levels – FREE

Five nights a week! Sunday-Thursday evenings, 7-9 p.m., 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 abilities.

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

Mark your calendars for the DELE (Diploma in Spanish as a Foreign Language) examination, to be held at Whitworth on Saturday, Nov. 19.  REGISTRATION IS NOW CLOSED.  See Stacey Moo or Ángeles Aller if you have any questions or for information about future test dates.

International Education Week, Nov. 14-18
This year, the Whitworth School of Education, in conjunction with Mukogawa Fort Wright Institute, is celebrating International Education Week by sponsoring an interactive student forum with speakers and a poster session. The forum will take place on Thursday, Nov. 17, from 6-8:30 p.m., in Weyerhaeuser Hall at Whitworth. With an event theme entitled, “Courage Beyond the Borders,”the forum is designed to promote a greater understanding of international issues related to teacher education and the appreciation of other cultures. You won’t want to miss it!


Vol. 9 Issue 1 Nov. 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: Stacey Moo
For student employment information, please contact Stacey Moo, program assistant, at 509.777.4765

Scripture of the Month

English: Matthew 22:37-40
"Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind." 38This is the first and greatest commandment. 39And the second is like it: "Love your neighbor as yourself." 40All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.

Spanish: Mateo 22:37-40
"Ama al Señor tu Dios con todo tu corazón, con todo tu ser y con toda tu mente." Éste es el primero y el más importante de los mandamientos. El segundo se parece a éste: "Ama a tu prójimo como a ti mismo." De estos dos mandamientos dependen toda la ley y los profetas."

German: Matthaeus 22:37-40
Jesus aber sprach zu ihm: "Du sollst lieben Gott, deinen Herrn, von ganzem Herzen, von ganzer Seele und von ganzem Gemüte;" dies ist das vornehmste und grösste Gebot. Das andre aber ist dem gleich: "Du sollst deinen Nächsten lieben wie dich selbst." In diesen zwei Geboten hängt das ganze Gesetz und die Propheten. 

French: Matthieu 22:37-40
Jésus lui répondit: Tu aimeras le Seigneur, ton Dieu, de tout ton coeur, de toute ton âme et de toute ta pensée. C'est là le commandement le plus grand et le plus important. Et il y en a un second qui lui est semblable: Tu aimeras ton prochain comme toi-même. Tout ce qu'enseignent la Loi et les *prophètes est contenu dans ces deux commandements.