The Modern Linguist

World Languages & Cultures Highlights: 2014-15

Ángeles Aller

Ángeles Aller, Spanish
This has been a busy year, and I am grateful for the time I have spent with students and the experiences I have had. There are many highlights, one of which was presenting a paper at an international conference in Córdoba, Argentina, where I met and spent time with international colleagues. During my time in Argentina, I visited three of our study-abroad sites. This was a great experience for me, since I advise students on their study-abroad options. This year I also enjoyed working with Katie Tassan, '15, through the Weyerhaeuser Younger Scholars program. Through this program, we co-authored a paper that we then presented last fall at the Rocky Mountain Modern Language Association Convention in Boise, Idaho. Overall, the highlight of the year was spending Jan Term in Spain with 16 awesome students (you know who you are!). It was a great experience for all of us. Have a great summer, everyone!

Gregg Brekke

Gregg Brekke, English for International Students
It was a joy to teach Second Language Acquisition (EDU 361/561) for the first time this spring. Training teachers creates new energy and perspective for improving my own classes with best theories and practices.

Jennifer Brown

Jennifer Brown, French
This year's highlights included teaching two new courses (French Literature of the New World and French Crime Fiction) to very thoughtful students. I also helped conduct a successful search for our new Spanish hire, Jake Rapp, who will join us in the fall. We had some wonderful Whitworth Women's & Gender Studies Program events, bringing great speakers to campus, and we had a panel of emerita faculty tell us about their experiences affecting Whitworth women's lives. It has been a rich year working with my colleagues and friends!

Frédéric Dugenet

Pirates of the Presbyterian

Frédéric Dugenet, French
At the Spokane International Film Festival, I hosted a French documentary about Alzheimer's disease, which received very positive critical reviews. This year I will also represent Whitworth by being part of a Corporate Cup group that runs in Bloomsday.

Kim Hernández

Kim Hernández, Spanish
As much as I love wading through complex grammar or analyzing a great short story, it is the personal interaction with students that makes this the best job in the world! This year has been filled with memorable moments with students both past and present: community engagement with my Jan Term class, visits from special former students, and lots of quality time spent with the players on the Whitworth men's basketball team in my role as their faculty advisor. Thank you to all my students for enriching my life so much!

Katherine Karr-Cornejo

Katherine Karr-Cornejo, Spanish
My highlights for this year include the publication of a journal article in the Revista de literatura mexicana contemporánea, as well as two conference presentations: one on women's memoirs of the Chilean dictatorship, in Boise, Idaho, and a second on historical fiction and indigenous rebellions in 19th-century Chile, in San Juan, Puerto Rico. There are too many teaching highlights to name, but I have especially enjoyed working with a student on her own independent research this year. I'm also very excited to be going to Salt Lake City this June as a diocesan deputy to the 2015 General Convention of the Episcopal Church!

Ingrid Lavoie Ingrid Lavoie, German
My highlight this year (and really every year I have been teaching at Whitworth University) was the realization that learning is a wonderful tool to relate to others and share in community. I enjoyed several meaningful encounters with students, both in the classroom and outside of it, that went beyond the academic realm of teaching a foreign language and delved deeper into discussions of thought and personal experience. The rapport I enjoy with my students beyond the classroom is probably my favorite aspect of getting to teach here. Whether it's meeting over a cup of coffee, being invited to "Dine with a Mind," or simply a walk among the pines to our next class, I am enriched by my students. When we go beyond our text books and discuss ideas that encompass faith and learning, and when I see my students grow and stretch themselves in the expression of their own faith and learning (and in another language, too) I feel truly privileged and grateful to say, "It's been a great year!"

Lily Liu

Lily Liu, Chinese
As the school year is going to finish soon, I looked back to the past year. I have to admit that it has been an interesting one. In the fall semester, when most of my previous year's students were studying in China on the Whitworth in China program, I received periodic emails and texts from them. The feeling of a teacher watching her students grow and progress is very rewarding. I am impressed by my students' eagerness, dedication and determination to pursue learning the Chinese language, which is very challenging for most people. It is gratifying when I see the students challenge themselves in learning the language at a higher level. I have great joy in watching them studying hard and preparing themselves for the world.

Stacey Moo

Stacey Moo, WLC Program Assistant
One of my highlights was getting the chance to participate in a search committee. I was encouraged by the process and I enjoyed getting to know my fellow committee members. A second highlight is that I am graduating from Whitworth's evening program with a BLS in humanities. Finally, I want to take the chance to thank all of my colleagues and students in World Languages & Cultures for another great year!

Harumi Norasakkunkit

Harumi Norasakkunkit, Japanese
It was so much fun teaching Japanese this semester. I am looking forward to having one of my Japanese 102 students visit me in Japan this summer. It will be interesting to have a conversation in Japanese with this student in Japan! My husband, my son and I will stay in Kyoto, Japan, for the summer.

Ryan Peterson

Ryan Peterson, Spanish
I just wanted to share how warm and friendly my students were when my wife, Heidi, brought our two-year old, Liliana, to visit earlier this month. Some of the students played peekaboo with Liliana and talked to her in Spanish. It was a very special time.

Jose Rojas

Jose Rojas, Spanish
This semester I was able to work at Whitworth and at Eastern Washington University, where I am currently teaching a 312 Spanish class for heritage speakers. This class gave me the opportunity to interact with Hispanic students, and to see this community's growth at the college level. To listen to their personal stories and how they have been able to pursue a college degree has been heartwarming. At the same time, this class gave me the opportunity to improve and to obtain more experience in the teaching environment. I hope that one day Whitworth will host a class like this and attract more students from Hispanic communities; in my opinion, this will help improve our diversity in the world languages & cultures department.

Donna Sampson

Donna Sampson, Spanish
I really enjoyed getting to know the students in my SN101 and SN102 classes this year. It has been a privilege to work with them during their Spanish experience. The Spanish instructors selected a new textbook for this school year, and I have been exploring it with my students throughout the year. I was encouraged and thankful for my students' patience as we worked through this new curriculum. Another highlight was the opportunity to work with, and be encouraged by, my colleagues.

Bendi Benson Schrambach

Bendi Benson Schrambach, French
I was thrilled this year to be chosen as the assistant director of the George F. Whitworth Honors Program. In this role, I have enjoyed learning more about the great work undertaken by our students in honors (class projects, Smithsonian internships, international exchanges to Oxford, etc.).

Lindy Scott

Lindy Scott, Spanish
Part of my identity is that of being a bridge between the English-speaking and Spanish-speaking worlds. It gives me great joy when I see my students becoming bridges themselves. For example, we have accepted 35 students for the Central America Study & Service and Guatemala programs in early 2016. Also, one of our students just finished a translation of materials into Spanish for a good ministry to children.

Eye on Alumni

Gillian (Goodrich) Cleary, '10, Spanish and International Studies Double Major, Fulbright English Teaching Assistant to Argentina, 2011

Gillian (Goodrich) ClearyEvery year since graduating, I have become increasingly grateful for the ways in which Whitworth equipped me to engage and process the world around me with both my mind and heart. After graduating, I was blessed with the opportunity to teach English in San Martín, Mendoza, Argentina, as a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant. In addition to partnering with English teachers at all levels of the English Teacher Training Program at the Instituto de Educación Superior Docente y Técnica 9-001, I was able to take the best of breaks during the school year and travel to Peru, Chile, Uruguay, and all four corners of Argentina, including Patagonia. One of the highlights of my Argentine year was the 10-week Spanish-English Oral Interpretation Workshop I designed and taught for my advanced students. Learning truly flowed in both directions, and I think I learned more from my students than they did from me. I hope to return to Argentina someday, and I continue to feel grateful for the many lessons I learned during my year in the Southern Cone.

After returning to the United States, translation and the bridges formed by language continued to play important roles in my life. In conjunction with other jobs, I promptly applied to translate for Kiva Microfunds, a microfinance organization that provides loans to entrepreneurs worldwide to help them launch or sustain fledgling businesses. While working with the Spanish translation team at Kiva, I translated borrower profiles for entrepreneurs in Latin America and uploaded them to Kiva's website for funding. Translating for Kiva was a grounding, incredible experience, and one that I hope to return to after graduate school.

Since fall 2014, I have attended the University of Colorado Boulder as a graduate student pursuing my M.A. and Ph.D. in Hispanic literature, with concentrations in 20th century Latin American literature, 19th century Latin American literature, and Golden Age Spanish literature. Concurrently, I also serve as a graduate teaching assistant, and I teach beginning Spanish-immersion classes for undergraduate and graduate students.

This first year of graduate school has reinforced in me the belief that languages truly are gifts we give to one another, and I have been reminded that relationships forged across lingual boundaries are remarkable and meaningful. This spring semester, I have been on the receiving end of that gift in my Portuguese for Spanish Speakers course, and I have also been on the giving end while teaching my Beginning Spanish I course. At a sizeable state university like CU Boulder, large, lecture-based courses are the norm. However, the limited size of an immersion language class means that I may be the only teacher with whom my students have a personal relationship. In light of that responsibility and privilege, I have tried to respond with the same kind of care and support for my students that my professors extended so freely to me at Whitworth. Though five years have passed since I graduated, I find myself increasingly grateful for my education at Whitworth, where both my mind and my heart were equipped to love God's world.

A View from Abroad

Rebekah Miller, '15, Spanish and Sociology Double Major

Rebekah Miller I sat on the plane, panicking over what was about to come: five months alone in some country I had barely heard of, living with a family I had never met, and attending upper-division sociology classes in Spanish. I just kept telling myself that Montevideo, Uruguay, would give the adventure of a lifetime and I was going to grow and change so much. That is all true: It was the adventure of a lifetime. From bouldering along the beach near the Brazilian boarder to sailing in Patagonia and dancing until the sun came up, I had an absolute blast. I was forced out of my comfort zone but into a situation where I got the chance to make lifelong friends, get hopelessly lost in new cities, and learn to trust myself and God.

The personal change was a process, which began with a steep language and culture learning curve. I thought I would adjust quickly, from having studied Spanish and traveled; but to immerse yourself completely in a new social context takes a lot of sacrifice and patience. As time went on, I was pleasantly surprised by how good I got at directions when I was alone or how well I could communicate about complex topics. My ability to trust my own instincts increased, as well as my ability to let go of organizing and details and just enjoy every moment.

There were times when I felt a little silly for using the wrong verb conjugation, making faces as I tried cow stomach for the first time, or not knowing how to take the bus, but those were also learning opportunities. Even though I was nervous, people were incredibly gracious and kind. I think that the world is a fantastic classroom to gain knowledge, share experiences, and live outside of your comfortable community. To travel is a huge risk, like getting in a taxicab at night alone, getting on a bus that doesn't look like it will run well, or giving a presentation in front of native speakers. I was never alone though: I found community through my host family, church group, classmates, and fellow international students. I was able to learn from each of them and develop true friendships.

Announcements and Upcoming Events

Congratulations to Sarah Sauter, '15!
Sarah Sauter, a triple major in French, Spanish and philosophy, is one of three students chosen to participate in "LabCitoyen" 2015 in Paris after competing in an online debating competition in French! This program, run by the French Institute (Paris), offers international students the opportunity to engage in questions of citizenship through a stay in France centered on human rights. This year the focus will be on the consequences of climate change for societies around the world and the threats it poses with respects to human rights.

Class of 2015
Mark your calendars for the annual World Languages & Cultures Senior Breakfast on Saturday, May 17, from 9:30-11 a.m. Graduating seniors: Mark your calendars for the annual World Languages & Cultures Senior Breakfast on Saturday, May 17, from 9:30-11 a.m. This event is for you and your family to enjoy on graduation weekend. Please stop by the WLC front desk to reserve your place or purchase tickets for your guests. RSVPs are due by Friday, May 8.

Employment Opportunity
Brian Scott (a 1995 Whitworth alumnus) passed along a job opening at Pitney Bowes, which is looking for a French-speaking navigator for its Spokane center. You can contact Brian with questions at Information about the job is available here.

Scholarship, Grant, Fellowship and Volunteer Information for Language Students

  • ISEP/STA travel scholarship drawing for $500. Deadline Aug. 1
  • Volunteer with América Solidaria

Also, be sure to check out information on scholarships, grants and fellowships posted on the WLC bulletin boards.

Tutoring: All Levels – FREE; Walk-Ins Are Always Welcome!
Review grammar, check homework, review for tests, get help with proofreading and editing papers, and practice your conversational abilities.

  • French: Every Sunday and Thursday, 8-9 p.m., in Westminster 113
  • German: Wednesday afternoons, 4:30-5:30 p.m., in Library 208 (across from Composition Commons)
  • Spanish: Five nights a week: Sun./Tues./Thurs. from 7-9 p.m.; Mon./Wed. from 7-8 p.m., in Library 208 (across from Composition Commons)

Scripture of the Month

English: Isaiah 41:10
So do not fear, for I am with you;
do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you;
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.


سفر إشعياء - الأصحاح 41
لا تخف لأني معك. لا تتلفت حولك جزعا، لأني إلهك، أشددك وأعينك وأعضدك بيمين بري.

Chinese: 以赛亚书 41:10
你不要害怕, 因为我与你同在;
不要惊惶, 因为我是你的神。

French: Ésaïe 41:10
 ne sois pas effrayé,
car je suis avec toi;
ne sois pas angoissé,
car moi je suis ton Dieu.
Je t'affermis,
je viens à ton secours,
pour sûr, je te soutiens de mon bras droit qui fait justice.

German: Jesaja 41.10
Fürchte dich nicht, ich bin mit dir;  weiche nicht, denn ich bin dein Gott.  Ich stärke dich, ich helfe dir auch, ich halte dich durch die rechte Hand meiner Gerechtigkeit.

Greek: 'Ησαιας
μὴ φοβοῦ μετὰ σοῦ γάρ εἰμι
μὴ πλανῶ ἐγὼ γάρ εἰμι ὁ θεός σου
ὁ ἐνισχύσας σε καὶ ἐβοήθησά σοι
καὶ ἠσφαλισάμην σε τῇ δεξιᾷ τῇ δικαίᾳ μου

Hebrew : 41:10 יְשַֽׁעְיָ֣הוּ
אַל־תִּירָא֙ כִּ֣י עִמְּךָ־אָנִי אַל־תִּשְׁתָּ֖ע כִּֽי־אֲנִ֣י אֱלֹהֶ֑יךָ
אִמַּצְתִּ֙יךָ֙ אַף־עֲזַרְתִּ֔יךָ אַף־תְּמַכְתִּ֖יךָ בִּימִ֥ין צִדְקִֽי׃

Japanese: アイゼイア 41:10

Spanish: Isaías 41:10
No tengas miedo, que yo estoy contigo;
no te desanimes, que yo soy tu Dios.
Yo soy quien te da fuerzas, y siempre te ayudaré;
siempre te sostendré con mi justiciera mano derecha.

Swahili: Isaya 41:10
usiogope, kwa maana mimi ni pamoja nawe; usifadhaike, kwa maana mimi ni Mungu wako; nitakutia nguvu, naam, nitakusaidia, naam, nitakushika kwa mkono wa kuume wa haki yangu.

Vol. 21 Issue 6 May 2015

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: Jennifer Brown
Editor: Stacey Moo
For student employment information, please contact Stacey Moo, program assistant, at 509.777.4765