Author Archives: Mark Del Mastro

HISP Faculty Focus, May 2019: Professor Mary Ann Blitt

Upon completing her M.A. in Spanish language and literatures with interdisciplinary studies in French language and literatures at Colorado State University, Professor Blitt continued teaching for one year at the same institution as a Spanish Lecturer until she joined the Spanish faculty at Metropolitan Community College-Maple Woods in Kansas City, Missouri, to serve as Foreign Language Program Coordinator for 16 years.  Concluding a distinguished career in Kansas City, she moved to South Carolina in 2014 to take a new professional avenue as Instructor in the Department of Hispanic Studies at the College of Charleston.

Professor Blitt’s expertise in foreign language pedagogy has not only afforded her great success in the classroom at the College of Charleston , but it has also enabled her to serve as an invaluable resource for her departmental colleagues, the broader campus community, and the profession.  With Dr. Silvia Rodríguez Sabater, she co-founded both the Hispanic Studies Teaching Discussion Series “Innovations and Challenges in Second Language Teaching Series” and a Professional Learning Club workshop entitled “Developing Integrated Performance Assessments (IPAs) in the Second Language Classroom,” she developed a First Year Experience course  “Global Perspectives: Cuba!,” she directed the School of Languages, Cultures and World Affairs’ World Cultures Fair, she currently serves on the Basic Spanish Language Program Steering Committee, and she is the Spanish Club Co-Adviser, among other activities.  In addition, starting summer 2019, she begins a new position in her department as Spanish Conversation Coordinator.

Beyond the campus  community, Professor Blitt’s role as a renowned text-book author has shaped the Spanish language programs of high schools and colleges and universities across the country.  Through Cengage Learning, she has co-authored three editions of Exploraciones, an introductory Spanish text; one edition of Exploraciones, a high school Spanish text; and with Heinle, she has co-authored two editions of Exploraciones: Curso Intermedio, an intermediate Spanish text.

In Professor Blitt’s own words:

I am the daughter of an Air Force officer, and when I was 13, my father was stationed in Madrid, Spain where I began to learn Spanish and had the good fortune of being able to explore the country and its culture. Thus began my passion for the language and cultures of the Spanish-speaking world! I now have the opportunity to pass on this same enthusiasm to my students and find it so rewarding to be able to open their minds to different cultural perspectives and to watch them grow in their ability to use the language.

I love that I can interact with the students at the College in so many different ways, such as through the Spanish Club and the Casa Hispana. In the fall, I will be taking on the responsibilities of the Spanish Conversation Class Coordinator and am very excited to be able to work with some of our exceptional majors and minors that have taken on the important role of peer teachers within our Basic Spanish Language Program. I look forward to mentoring them as they help our students to improve their speaking abilities and to increase their confidence while sharing their own passion for the language and cultures.

“Faculty Focus” will resume when the summer furlough concludes in August 2019. Stay tuned …


Hispanic Studies Student Focus: May 2019

A Foreign Language Education major in Spanish (’20), Jessica Lassiter also earned a BS in Exercise Science with a Spanish minor at the College of Charleston in 2017.  Currently she is Assistant Director, Media Manager and Senior Spanish Instructor at WL4K World Languages for Kids; has served as a medical interpreter for three different mission trips to South America; and she is a private Spanish tutor for students at Wando and Philip Simmons High Schools, among other activities.

Jessica believes that a love for languages and culture is vital in education because it provides a lens to see how people besides ourselves live. To be bilingual and multicultural is to have another set of skills in communication with others, and to Jessica that is a beautiful thing.  She is excited to employ the skills and insight that she has gained from her experiences at CofC with her future high school students.

In her own words:

My time in Hispanic Studies has been so empowering and the relationships that I have formed with the faculty in this department have been truly impactful.  After finishing my degree in Exercise Science and Spanish minor in 2017, and then taking a gap year to teach preschool Spanish classes, my professors from this department invested in me and supported my decision to return and finish my Spanish degree after a two-year hiatus while adding on the Foreign Language Education component in 2018.

The professors from this department in my experience are the most willing to help, support, and provide advice to their students out of all of the 3 departments I will be graduating with a degree from. I am proud to call the Hispanic Studies Department my “home” here at The College and am so thankful for the opportunities that I have been provided during my 6 years with them. I couldn’t have made it this far without their guidance, support, and love! Upon graduating, I plan to teach high school Spanish, where I hope to impart the same love and knowledge that my professors have afforded me during my time as a Hispanic Studies student at CofC.

Professors Hanahan and Hetrovicz Earn Campus-Wide Awards

Professor Devon Hanahan, Senior Instructor of Hispanic Studies, and Professor Lauren Hetrovicz, Adjunct Lecturer of Hispanic Studies, were recipients of the campus-wide Distinguished Service Award and Distinguished Adjunct Faculty Award respectively at the College of Charleston’s “Celebration of Faculty” ceremony on Wednesday, April 24.

College of Charleston Celebrates Faculty

For additional pictures and the related details, click here for The College Today article.

Dr. Christina García’s Essay Published in _Cuban Studies_

Professor Christina García’s article “Baroque Revolutionaries, Communist Fags, and Risky Friendships: Reading the Politics of Friendship in Fresa y chocolate” has been published in Volume 47, 2019 issue of Cuban Studies.

Hispanic Studies Professors Collaborate in the 72nd Annual Kentucky Foreign Language Conference

Several faculty members of the Department of Hispanic Studies participated in the 72nd Annual Kentucky Foreign Language Conference on April 11-13, 2019 in Lexington, Kentucky:

Professors Raúl Carrillo Arciniega, Mark P. Del Mastro, Susan Divine and Daniel Delgado were panelists in the 3rd annual “Strategies for Academic Journal Publishing” session hosted by Hispanic Studies Review

Dr. Antonio Pérez-Núñez presented his study “Developing Intercultural Competence through Online Face-to-Face Interaction with Native Speakers.”

Dr. Mark P. Del Mastro organized, chaired and presented in the 17th annual General Informative Session of the National Collegiate Hispanic Honor Society and the 2nd annual Sigma Delta Pi Graduate Research Symposium.

Dr. Raúl Carrillo Arciniega Inducted into Sigma Delta Pi’s Order of José Martí

On April 12, 2019 during the National Collegiate Hispanic Honor Society’s reception at the 72nd Annual Kentucky Foreign Language Conference in Lexington, Kentucky, Professor Raúl Carrillo Arciniega was inducted in the Order of José Martí, one of the Society’s highest honors. Dr. Carrillo Arciniega’s exceptional contributions to Hispanism earned him this international distinction.

HispaCasts: Episode 5, Melanie Keller (CofC 2010)

Click the link below to hear the 5th episode of HispaCasts created in collaboration with Dr. Mike Overholt from the Teaching and Learning Team.

Episode 5 – Melanie Keller – March 2019

Dr. Mark P. Del Mastro, Chair of Hispanic Studies, interviews CofC alumna (2010) Melanie Keller to discuss her undergraduate experience at the College of Charleston as a major in Spanish and double minor in Linguistics and Women’s and Gender Studies, her time studying abroad, and the various professional opportunities she has enjoyed over the past 9 years.