At the conclusion of the fall 2018 academic semester, Professors Eileen Shields and Donna Widener will retire from the College of Charleston’s Department of Hispanic Studies after a combined 40 years of teaching on campus. Professor Shields joined the department in 1990, and Professor Widener in 2006. Their dedication, conscientiousness and genuine care for our students will be greatly missed as we wish them the best for the next stages in their lives, and we thank them for all they have done, for so long, for our Department of Hispanic Studies.
Alexandra Mielcarek, a double major in Spanish and Public Health (’20), is a student of the Honors College where she serves as an Honors Engaged Liaison since August 2017. She is currently Vice President of the Public Health Society Executive Board and its past Treasurer and Public Relations Chair, and she is also a member of the National Collegiate Hispanic Honor Society, Photographer and Strategist for The Rival at CofC, and an Intern with the Women’s Health Research Team, among other activities.
In Alex’s own words:
Majoring in Spanish has allowed me to pursue one of my core passions: achieving a more complete understanding of others. CofC’s Spanish courses not only teach you how to communicate effectively with Spanish speakers, but I have also found cultural and historical insights throughout each class (even when learning how to write). The best thing about CofC compared to other universities is that CofC has some of the most dedicated professors, each of whom is so passionate about their subject(s) and students that they make the effort to ensure every student has a complete understanding of the material. After graduating from CofC, I will take this knowledge with me into my Masters of Public Health in Sociomedical Sciences where I will include Spanish-speaking populations in my research and outreach, hopefully impacting the health of communities by increasing understanding.
Professor Stephanie Forgash
Upon completion of her B.A. in Spanish at the University of North Carolina Wilmington, Professor Forgash continued with an M.A. in the same area and at the same institution, and then spent a year teaching Spanish language at Central Piedmont and Rown Cabarrus Community Colleges respectively. She then moved to Viña del Mar, Chile, where she taught English for a year to the Chilean Navy, and then returned to the U.S. in 2017 to begin her current position as an Adjunct Lecturer in the Department of Hispanic Studies. Beyond the classroom, she is also an active member of the department’s Basic Spanish Language Program Steering Committee, and an active collaborator in Hispanic Studies’ distance education curriculum.
In Professor Forgash’s own words:
I feel extremely privileged to work alongside so many talented students and faculty members in the Hispanic Studies Department. For me, reminiscing on my own personal Spanish journey and seeing it transpire through my students’ experiences is the most rewarding thing about being an educator. At the end of the day I am someone who has lived the life, traveled the journeys, and learned the lessons and only aim to serve as a compass and road map for those who will follow. Whether it is through the various levels of Spanish I teach or trying to develop new testing strategies with the BSLP Steering Committee, I am always learning, and that is truly why I love what I do.
The Department of Hispanic Studies congratulates Professor Stephanie Forgash for her various contributions and for being selected for our December “Hispanic Studies Faculty Focus.”
Stay tuned for January 2019’s feature…
Professor Elizabeth Martínez-Gibson’s essay “Por la Calle de Alcalá: The Languages Used in Storefront Signs along Madrid’s Longest Street” has just been published in Volume 18, Fall 2016-17 issue of the MIFLC Review.
Check out some of the exciting things that have been happening in Hispanic Studies!
- Dr. Jorge Rueda, Professor of the Department of Linguistics & Literature, from the University of Santiago, Chile, conducted a live video conference from South America to a public of College of Charleston’s students and faculty titled “Andean Worlds: Inclusive Coexistence as Social Justice” within the Global Connections Series.
- College of Charleston First Year Experience students participated in the Second CofC Spanish Omelet Contest organized by Dr. Antonio Pérez-Núñez and Prof. Devon Hanahan.
- Julie King, a 2013 College of Charleston graduate and Contractor of the Inter-American Drug Abuse Control Commission Organization of American States, presented her lecture “The Only Gringa in the Room: Working Bilingually at the OAS” during the Hispanic Career Series at the College of Charleston.
James Riggs, a Biology major and a Portuguese and Brazilian Studies Minor (’19), is a First Year Experience Peer Facilitator and Team Leader, Treasurer of the Portuguese Club, Board Member for CougarCon, Vice President of the Catholic Student Association, Founding President of the Doctor Who Club, and accordionist for the College of Charleston Pep Band, among other activities. His excellence in leadership earned him the college-wide New Student Leader Award in 2016, and for his exemplary performance in the Hispanic Studies’ Portuguese Program, he was awarded the Outstanding Student of Portuguese in 2017.
In James’ own words:
With her first language being Português, my mother was the first in her family born in the USA. Unfortunately, by the time of my interest in our culture, my mother and grandparents were no longer effectively using the language. One of the primary reasons that I chose to become a student at the College of Charleston was the offering of the Portuguese language. Despite being able to transfer my Spanish credits from the International Baccalaureate Program, I chose to instead investigate Portuguese. Dr. Luci and Professor José Moreira were most gracious to my desire to learn the variant spoken in Portugal, often pointing out when there were differences between the Brazilian and European dialects. I conducted Duolingo competitions with my colleagues; I have served as Secretary, President, and now Treasurer for the Portuguese Club, and I have worked as a Peer Facilitator for the Portuguese First Year Experience. I am now even able to conduct conversations with my grandparents, and recently my mother, over the telephone! The more I advanced through the courses, the more I wanted students to be able to minor in Portuguese. I started a petition to demonstrate that other students were also interested. After a long process, the Portuguese and Brazilian Studies minor is now available at the College! The Portuguese minor pairs well with my Biology major due to my focus in Entomology. With Portuguese in my arsenal, I will have the opportunity to explore and work with others in the field from around the world, especially in Brazil where the diversity of insects is exceedingly vast. While I have never gotten to partake in a study abroad, by having studied Portuguese at the College of Charleston I finally will have the opportunity, for I will be leaving the country for my first time to visit Portugal with my family in the summer of 2019!
After completing B.A. degrees in both Spanish and Anthropology at Iowa State University, Professor Susan Divine earned her M.A. and Ph.D. in Spanish at the University of Arizona, and then spent four years as a faculty member at Westminster College (Fulton, MO) before joining the College of Charleston’s Department of Hispanic Studies in August 2013. Both her prior teaching expertise and her ongoing research have enabled her pedagogical contributions at various levels at the College to include classes on Spanish language, conversation and composition, undergraduate courses on Hispanic culture and contemporary Spanish literature and film, the First Year Experience, and her collaboration with the M.Ed. in Languages program.
Complementing her teaching is Dr. Divine’s extensive research on 19th and 20th-century Spanish film, literature and cultural studies that has resulted in articles in leading peer-reviewed journals in her discipline, guest lectures, and numerous conference presentations in both regional and international venues. On the editorial side of publishing, Professor Divine has earned her reputation as a seasoned editor and reviewer with current roles as Managing Editor for both Hispanic Studies Review and Arizona Journal of Hispanic Cultural Studies, Invited Editor for Bulletin of Hispanic Studies, a previous appointment as Technical Editor for Letras Hispanas, and peer reviewer for multiple academic journals, among other related activities.
Despite the demands of her teaching and research, Dr. Divine has still managed numerous impactful service contributions campus-wide to include her work on the General Education and By-laws Committees, the Scholarship Selection Committee for Women and Gender Studies, and Student Action with Farmworkers (SAF), among other activities; and her contributions at the departmental level have been equally significant as Co-Adviser of the College’s award-winning chapter of the National Collegiate Hispanic Honor Society, Co-Director of the Maymester Program in Trujillo, Spain and Assessment Reader.
In Professor Divine’s own words:
Everyday I am grateful that I am at CofC and get to teach students who want to grow as Spanish-speakers and world citizens. From my roles on the college-wide General Education committee, to classroom instructor, to serving as co-faculty advisor to our national Hispanic Honor Society, Sigma Delta Pi, I am able to help students explore their passion, reach their potential, and celebrate the highest levels of their success. I love those classroom moments when students finally understand a difficult concept, or when they make valuable connections between ideas and practice. I am most honored to watch them grow from timid novice to confident speakers of Spanish while traveling through Spain on the Trujillo program.
The Department of Hispanic Studies congratulates Dr. Susan Divine for her many impressive contributions to her department, the College, the broader profession, and for being selected for our November 2018 “Hispanic Studies Faculty Focus.”
Stay tuned for December 2018’s feature…
Sarah Dixon, a double major in Spanish and Public Health (’19) in the Honors College, is also an official College of Charleston Spanish tutor, peer facilitator, past Student Body Secretary (2017) and Job Coach (2016). She has also served countless hours as a volunteer in various contexts to include serving the Associate Director of Research and Data Management and the College of Public Health at East Tennessee University (2018), and Angel Oak Family Medicine (2017) in Charleston. In addition, she has studied abroad in Spain twice: in May 2016 with the College of Charleston’s program in Trujillo, and in spring 2018 with the Universidad de Pablo de Olavide in Seville.
In Sarah’s own words:
I am so grateful for the faculty in the Hispanic Studies department. Each professor I have had in this department has gone the extra mile for me and has pushed me to become who I am today. They encouraged me to study abroad, which I ended up doing twice, and they have supported me in the process of applying for a Fulbright Grant to teach English in Mexico, the Peace Corps, and graduate programs, all at the same time. My future is up in the air right now as I await the decisions from these different entities, but I know I have the support of my professors from the Hispanic Studies Department no matter what!
Professor Mark P. Del Mastro had multiple roles at the 2018 Mountain Interstate Foreign Language Conference (MIFLC) held October 4-6 at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville:
- Organized and presented in panel on the National Collegiate Hispanic Honor Society.
- Organized, chaired and presented the second annual session on “Stop the Bleeding: Language Departments and the Dwindling Major”
- Participated in the MIFLC Executive Committee and Business Meetings in his role as Secretary-Treasurer of MIFLC.
Dr. Del Mastro (far right) with panelists of “Stop the Bleeding”