Hispanic Studies’ Student Focus: February 2019

Alexandra Helfgott, a double major in Spanish and Political  Science (’19), is a Swanson Scholar and a William Aiken Fellow in the Honors College where she has served as an Honors Engaged Liaison for Trident Literacy Association and St. Matthew’s English as a Second Language. On campus she is a Spanish conversation peer teacher; a voting member of the College of Charleston’s Honor Board (2016-present); and past President (2017-18), Chief of Staff (2016-17) and Freshman Senator  (2015-16) of the Student Government Association. In 2018 she was named Outstanding Student of the Year for the School of Humanities and Social Sciences, and she was also inducted into the College of Charleston’s Hall of Leaders. Beyond campus, she spent the fall 2018 semester studying abroad in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and she serves as a medical interpreter with the Asociación Latina de Servicos and the Costa Layman Farms Health Fair in Augusta, Georgia, both of which enable the provision of healthcare services for undocumented, uninsured, and low-income Latinx patients.

In Alexandra’s own words:

My time in Hispanic Studies has been so impactful and the meaningful relationships I’ve developed with professors have proven to be invaluable. I will forever be grateful for their support and encouragement throughout the last four years. Upon graduating, I plan to pursue a joint JD/MPP to work in migrant labor policy where I can employ the skills and knowledge I’ve gained from both my Political Science and Spanish coursework. With the support of my Hispanic Studies faculty and positive experiences within the major, I feel confident in my Spanish skills and look forward to continuing the next chapter my professional life while also pursuing the goal of increased proficiency in Spanish. 

 

Hispanic Studies’ Student Focus, January 2019

Madi Crow, a double major in Spanish and International Studies with a Latin American & Caribbean Studies Concentration and a minor in Linguistics (’20), is a William Aiken Fellow and International Scholar of the Honors College where she also served as a peer facilitator in 2017.  Among her various international academic trips, she studied abroad in Latin America for two semesters: in Buenos Aires, Argentina in spring 2018, and in the College of Charleston’s program in Santiago, Chile in fall 2018.  She is also a past volunteer for Charleston Hope (2016-17), a former mentor of Loving America Street (2016-17), a past delegate for the Model Organization of the American States (2017), and a former Cougar Ambassador (2017), among other activities.

In Madi’s own words:

Over the past three and a half months, I had the incredible opportunity to live in Santiago, Chile, a city unlike any other I had ever experienced! Chilean Spanish, as I quickly learned, is a completely different language, and I loved the challenge of getting a handle on the thousands of “chilenismos.” My family was absolutely my favorite part of my experience. I lived with my host mom, host dad, and two host brothers; I spent just about every day with them whether that be at the dinner table or on the patio playing soccer. I got to know incredible Chilean friends who greatly improved my Spanish. Not to mention, I grew close with the spectacular group of brilliant girls in Santiago with me, and we were lucky enough to travel all over the wondrous country of Chile, seeing everything from Patagonia to the Atacama Desert (the driest in the world!). We even took a trip with the marvelous Dr. Sobiesuo to Peru. I took courses through a local university, and I was able to complete an Independent Study with Dr. Del Mastro on Contemporary Feminism in Chile through which I actually met and interviewed a Chilean feminist novelist. Throughout my time in Santiago, I not only broadened my understanding of the language but also of the country, the region and the world. I am so thankful for the many challenges and exciting opportunities I faced over the past semester, and I cannot wait to see where I will go next! 

As a freshman coming into the College of Charleston, I knew I wanted to develop my Spanish skills and learn more about the Latin American world. Three years later, I have completed two semesters abroad in the distinctive and beautiful cities of Buenos Aires and Santiago, taking fascinating courses and working directly with the Hispanic Studies’ faculty. Not only was I able to use my Spanish major to develop my skills abroad but also at home. I have had the incredible support of the outstanding Hispanic Studies Department who have made this dream a reality and will continue to help me develop my skills as a scholar and global citizen. I look forward to getting back on campus and getting involved in the Hispanic community in the Charleston area as well. As far as my future is concerned, I am looking into many options including graduate school and research, and I know my time at the College through my unique opportunities will most certainly open many doors. I am not sure exactly where the next couple years will take me, but I am so thankful I have the support of the Hispanic Studies’ faculty!

Hispanic Studies’ Student Focus, December 2018

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.

Hispanic Studies’ Student Focus, October 2018

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!

Hispanic Studies’ Student Focus, September 2018

Danya Firestone, a double major in Spanish and Foreign Language Education with minors in Linguistics and Anthropology ’19, is also the Linguistics Club President, Honors College Sustainability and Social Justice Cohort Senior Mentor, and an Honors College Student Ambassador.  In addition, Danya is an active member of the Chucktown Trippintones A Cappella group, Otro Sur (the Latin American Music Ensemble), the Jewish Student Union, and the Honors College Scholar-Citizen Initiative.  Despite these numerous activities, she also finds time to collaborate with the Make-A-Wish Foundation of South Carolina as a bilingual translator and wish granting volunteer.

In Danya’s own words:

My experience as a student in the Hispanic Studies department has served an integral role in giving me an amazing experience at CofC. This department is a tight-knit community bonded by a love for the Spanish language, Latinx culture, and Latinx people. Hispanic studies professors really care about their students’ individual success and interests, and the department offers tons of opportunities to get involved with the Spanish-speaking population of Charleston. Because of the department’s connections, I have become involved with the Make-A-Wish Foundation as a bilingual translator and wish granter for the South Carolina chapter of the organization, and a summer intern for the Mid-Atlantic chapter in Washington, D.C.  Because of the Hispanic Studies department’s curriculum and faculty, which emphasize culture and linguistics in addition to literature, I was able to find my passion for Spanish and English linguistics, and I plan to apply to graduate school for that next year, in pursuit of graduate studies that will lead me to one day become a professor. In my final year, I am serving as the Linguistics club president, active in the Spanish club, teaching undergraduate Spanish conversation classes, and bringing a renowned linguist that researches Latinx communities, Dr. Ana Celia Zentella, to campus in October to talk about language discrimination practices. I look forward to what comes after graduation, and know that I have the community of the Hispanic Studies faculty and students supporting me! 

6th Annual Honor Cords Ceremony of CofC’s Chapter of Nat’l Collegiate Hispanic Honor Society

Sigma Delta Pi Honor Cords Ceremony

On Thursday, May 10, 2018 at 4:00pm, The College of Charleston’s Nu Zeta Chapter of Sigma Delta Pi, the National Collegiate Hispanic Honor Society, held its 6th annual Honor Cords Ceremony for graduating members.  Congratulations to the following students for receiving their honor cords:

Marissa Bamonte
Maitland Barton
Olivia Drabiak
William Foody
Bradley C. Harrison
Jolie Hiers
Edwin Hille
Hannah Huizenga
Erin Hynd
Katelynn Joiner
Erin McBrady
Jessica McGorty
Katherine Murchison
Audrey Owensby
McCathern Painter
Sommer Peterman
Julie Robinson
Madison Sherwood
Margaret Queen
Fred West
Haley Womack

 

Hispanic Studies’ Student Focus, May 2018

Ana Camila Bailey, a double major in Spanish and Communication ’18, is a member of Global Scholars, Delta Gamma Sorority, and she is an Operations Assistant for the tech startup Casa.  She has also served the Department of Hispanic Studies as a Spanish conversation peer instructor, and she studied abroad twice: in Lisbon, Portugal in fall 2016, and in Córdoba, Argentina during the summer of 2017.  She also worked as a Marketing Intern for Bedkin and Sycer in 2017.

In Camila’s own words:

I attribute so much of my growth as a student to the Hispanic studies department at CofC. The Spanish major is made up of rigorous courses that focus on literature, language, and culture and has shaped my knowledge of the Hispanic world while improving my language and writing skills both in Spanish as well as English. The professors in the department push their students to go beyond merely learning the material, to instead develop a genuine understanding that can be applied to both past and present real world situations. My experience in the Hispanic studies department has re-inspired my love of the language and has given me the drive and confidence to continue this practice in future endeavors. 

Hispanic Studies’ Student Focus, April 2018

Le’ah Griggs, a double major in Music Theory/Composition and Spanish ’18, is a member of the College of Charleston’s Concert Choir, the Latin American Ensemble Otro Sur, the Spanish Club, and she serves as Librarian-Student Team Leader for Addlestone Library.  She has also served as the Assistant Director of the Children’s Choir at St. Michael’s Episcopal Church, and she is a private piano instructor.  Le’ah spent her spring 2017 semester studying abroad in the College of Charleston’s program in Trujillo, Spain, with support from the Jean and Tap Johnson Study Abroad Award courtesy of the School of the Arts.

In Le’ah’s own words:

The Spanish language and Hispanic studies department at the College of Charleston is a close-knit, engaging, and welcoming community that I am proud to be a part of. Thanks to the dedicated professors and rigorous course work offered by this department, I have drastically improved my Spanish language skills, broadened my knowledge of Hispanic culture on a global scale, and have grown immensely as a person. The most rewarding experience I have gained as a student of Hispanic studies comes from my time abroad in Trujillo, Spain. So much so in fact, that after graduation this Spring, I will be returning to Spain to pursue a Masters in Teaching Spanish as a Foreign Language at the University of Alcalá where I have received a full scholarship. I plan to be a music teacher in a Spanish language immersion school in the future.  

Hispanic Studies’ Student Focus, March 2018

Katherine Murchison, double-major in Spanish and International Studies and a minor in Business Administration ’18, is a student of the Honors College, a Harry and Reba Huge Scholar, a William Aiken Fellow, and a CofC International Scholar.  She is currently a member of the S.C. Student Legislature, and she has also served as Student Ambassador for the Alumni Association and as an Ambassador of the Center for International Education, among other activities. She has also studied abroad in Argentina and India.  Currently she works as a Securities Fraud Assistant with Motley Rice LLC in Mt. Pleasant.

In Katherine’s own words:

I am incredibly grateful for the opportunity to engage with the Spanish language and Hispanic culture so deeply as a student in the Hispanic Studies Department here at the College. One of my most enlightening experiences was a result of my SPAN 400 Service Learning course where I served as an administrative assistant at the Catholic Charities Office of Immigration Services for an entire semester. I loved my work so much that I continued volunteering throughout the summer. This past November, I was offered a fully-funded scholarship to Washington University School of Law where I hope to matriculate and serve as an immigration attorney committed to serving my Hispanic community.