The Department of Hispanic Studies is pleased to launch “HispaCasts” with its inaugural podcast episode featuring Madi Crow (’20), a double major in Spanish and International Studies with a Latin American & Caribbean Studies Concentration, and a minor in Linguistics:
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!
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
Jessica Latham, Spanish ’12, has been awarded the 2018 Teacher of the Year Award by the South Carolina Foreign Language Teachers’ Association. Jessica graduated magna cum laude from the College of Charleston with a major in Spanish and minors in both Secondary Education and Russian Studies. She was also a Fulbright Scholar at Moscow State University in the summer of 2014, and she earned her M.A. in Applied Linguistics from the University of Massachusetts Boston in 2016. Currently, she is a faculty member of both Spanish and Russian languages at Lexington High School (Lexington, SC / Lexington School District One) where she teaches Spanish 1, 2, 3 and 3 honors, and Russian 1 honors, 2 honors, and 3 honors. Beyond the classroom, she is Lexington High School’s Sponsor of the Russian Club and the SLAVA International Honors Society, among other distinguished professional activities.
The Nu Zeta Chapter of Sigma Delta Pi, the National Collegiate Hispanic Honor Society, was among 12 of the 613 chapters of Sigma Delta Pi nationwide to receive the Honor Chapter award for outstanding activities executed during the 2016-17 academic year. This was the 7th consecutive year that the College of Charleston received this prestigious recognition, to coincide with the chapter’s 40th anniversary (1977-2017). Drs. Susan Divine and Carmen Grace of Hispanic Studies are Nu Zeta’s chapter advisers, and along with past student chapter president Maya Novák-Cogdell, they were instrumental for this national recognition.