Graduate Student Bios 2012-2013
Sergio Adrada graduated from the University of Zaragoza in 2003 with a degree in Filología Inglesa, and from the University of Valladolid in 2005 with a degree in Translation and Interpreting. He then pursued a Master´s Program in Spanish Applied Linguistics at San Diego State University and graduated in 2007. His main area of interest is the analysis of implicit and explicit factors involved in the acquisition of Spanish by heritage speakers in the US. In his free time, he enjoys reading, watching movies, cooking, swimming, playing/watching soccer and going out with friends.
Yoel Castillo Botello received a B.A. in Spanish with minors in French and Latin American Studies from the University of Louisville, Kentucky, in 2010. His interests primarily deal with gender relations and cultural anxiety in Peninsular literary and artistic phenomena. During his undergraduate studies, Yoel conducted research on various subjects, such as bilingualism and gender performance in the muwashshah poetic tradition of al-Andalus, ekphrasis aesthetics and feminism in the Spanish avant-garde, and the sexual politics of flamenco arts. At Georgetown, Yoel is a doctoral student in Spanish Literature and Cultural Studies and his avenues of interest continue to expand through more in-depth exposure to performance studies, bilingual and transatlantic narratives, comparative literature, critical theory, and ethnography. He is a native of Manzanillo, Cuba; and has also lived in Spain, where he studied translation, literature, and music at the Universidad de Granada (2009). Yoel enjoys dancing, independent cinema, and good coffee. His newest passion is the Portuguese language.
Ashley Caja is a third year Ph.D. candidate in Spanish Literature and Cultural Studies. She has an M.S. in Spanish Literature (Georgetown University), and B.A. in Latin American Studies (George Washington University). Some of her varied research interests include Caribbean literature, transatlantic studies, translation/adaptation and literary representations of politics and history.
Anne Calderón, originally from Chicago, completed her B.A. and M.A. degrees in Education and Spanish Linguistics at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. After working with Latino immigrants in the non-profit sector for two years, she returned to school and is currently working toward her Ph.D. in Spanish linguistics. Anne is especially interested in levels of awareness and attention to form and meaning. Her hobbies include spending time with family, cooking and shopping.
Pablo Camus-Oyarzun graduated from the University of the Balearic Islands with a degree in English and Spanish Philology. Originally from Chile, he has studied abroad in Spain, the United Kingdom and France. He is a Linguistics student in the Department of Spanish & Portuguese and is interested in phonetics and phonology, L2 acquisition of phonetics, and language variation and change. In his free time, he enjoys reading fiction, traveling, cooking and learning new languages.
Daniel Alejandro Castelblanco holds a B.A in Literary Studies from the Pontificia Universidad Javeriana in Bogotá. He has carried out research on the presence of sacred plants in contemporary indigenous poetry for the Instituto Pensar, where he also worked as a tutor for the Women and Gender Virtual Diplomate. Daniel is a member of a manuscript selection committee for the Santillana Publishing House. He is also an official judge for two national literary contests. Several of his journalistic articles have been published in national journals like El Tiempo and UN Periódico, and some of his literary texts have been awarded and published by Colombian and international literary contests and magazines such as Terminemos el cuento III (Santillana, 2001), Poesía Capital (Casa de poesía Silva, 2005), Hesperya (Universidad de Oviedo, 2007) and Garzón Céspedes (2008). His other research interests include traditional music and instruments, sacred theatre and the shape of the apostate in the indigenous americas. He is currently a student of the Spanish Literature and Cultural Studies program at Georgetown.
Yovanna Cifuentes Yovanna Cifuentes holds a Licenciatura in English and Spanish from Universidad Pedgagógica Nacional in Colombia, and a Masters in Education from Carthage College in the United States. She worked for five years at Yale University as a Spanish Lector before joining the Ph.D. program at Georgetown. Her interests are neurolinguistics and second language acquisition. She loves ice cream and enjoys watching movies, salsa dancing and swimming.
Jessie Cox holds a B.A. in World Languages with a Concentration in Spanish from Gettysburg College. She has studied abroad in Cuernavaca, Mexico; San Jose, Costa Rica and Suzhou, China. She is a linguistics student in the department and is interested in second language acquisition and bilingual education.
Ana Maria Ferreira studied Literature at the Pontificia Universidad Javeriana in Bogota, Colombia and just finished a MA in Latin American Literature at the same university. She also was a professor there and taught the subject Latin American Indigenous Literature. She recently published a book, which featured young indigenous writers, who share with the readers their own experiences about leaving their communities in the Guajira desert and moving to Bogota, capital of her country. She researched Jose María Arguedas's literary work; her research to obtain her MA was about the Popol Vuh. At the present time, her primary research interest is the on literary work of Quintin Lame.
Marisa Filgueras holds a B.A. in Hispanic Philology from the University of Seville and a Masters in Teaching Spanish as a Second Language from Antonio de Nebrija University in Madrid. She has taught Spanish as a Lecturer at Universiy of Michigan and served as the Resident Director of Kalamazoo College’s Madrid Program through Antonio de Nebrija University. She is a second year linguistics student in the Department of Spanish & Portuguese and is interested in second language acquisition, study abroad and immersion programs.
Sarah Grey graduated from The Florida State University with a B.A. in Spanish and International Affairs in 2005 and received her M.A. in Spanish from there in 2007. She is a doctoral candidate in Applied Spanish Linguistics and her research explores second language acquisition from neurocognitive (ERP) and psycholinguistic perspectives. Sarah's research interests include exploring L1/L2 transfer and individual difference variables involved in second language acquisition. She is also interested in examining how IDs related to L2 acquisition carry over to L3 acquisition. Apart from her graduate work, Sarah enjoys a good novel, a good coffee and a long walk.
Dziyana “Diana” Gumbar Dziyana "Diana" Gumbar is a Ph.D. student in Literature and Cultural Studies in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese. She is originally from Belarus where she studied English and Belarusian Philology at Belarusian State University. In 2007 she graduated summa cum laude from George Mason University, receiving a B.A. in English, with a focus on Comparative Literature. She holds an M.A. degree in Interdisciplinary Studies with a specialization in Spanish Literature from the same university (2009). Her areas of interests are Contemporary Latin American and U.S. Latina Literature, female autobiographical writing and Border Studies. She looks at the intersection of female subjectivities and representations in literary and visual artistic production. In her free time, she enjoys ballet, theater, cooking and talking about books.
Ellen Johnson Serafini - Ellen Johnson Serafini is a Ph.D. student in the Spanish Applied Linguistics program with an M.S. degree in Spanish Applied Linguistics from Georgetown University as well as an M.A. degree in Hispanic Linguistics from the University of Arizona. Her primary research interests center on the role of individual differences in foreign language learning and bilingualism and the relative effectiveness of feedback from a psycholinguistic perspective. Initially studying in Spain, she has also been funded to travel to Mexico, Argentina , and Brazil. Outside of school, she enjoys spending time with family and friends, cooking new recipes, dancing, and doing anything outside on sunny days.
Celina de las Mercedes López Rodríguez is a doctoral candidate in Literature and Cultural Studies in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese at Georgetown University. Her research focus is history, anthropology and race in Latin America. She is currently examining racial representations of Andean peasants in visual arts in 19th century Colombia and the emergence of scientific discourses about race in Colombia and its relationship with the nation-building process. Her dissertation topic is "Imagining the Region to Build the Nation: Racial Representations of Andean Peasants in Colombia 1850-1950." She has long had an interest in the Andean region of Colombia and has already published a book on Indigenous Christianity during Early Colonial Latin America (Tiempos para rezar y tiempos para trabajar, Bogota: ICANH, 2001) and several articles on Visual Arts and Christianity during the 17th century. Celina de las Mercedes is a native of Bogotá, Colombia. She holds a B.A. in Anthropology from Universidad Nacional de Colombia, where she also completed M.A. coursework prior to joining Georgetown University. In her free time, she enjoys practicing yoga, biking, cooking, watching foreign films and attending theater and opera.
Maisha Mitchell earned a B.A. from Cornell University and an M.A. from Rutgers University in Spanish Literature. A proud native of New Jersey, she is a Latin dance aficionado currenly pursuing her Ph.D. Her areas of interest include Caribbean and Afro-Brazilian literatures as well as those produced by Latinos in the United States.
Colleen Moorman graduated from Georgetown University in 2007 with a degree in Spanish and a minor in Biology. She then taught Spanish to middle school students in Rockville, MD for three years before returning to Georgetown to pursue her Ph.D. in Spanish Linguistics. Her interests are in second language acquisition, bilingualism, and neurolinguistics. In her free time, Colleen enjoys running half-marathons, dancing, reading, cooking, and spending time with friends.
Charlie Nagle holds a B.A. in Spanish from Furman University (2009) in Greenville, SC. He has studied abroad in Madrid, Spain and Santiago, Chile. He is currently a second year Ph.D. student at Georgetown University. His interests include study abroad and language immersion programs, phonetics & phonology – specifically the acquisition of prosodic features – and teaching methodology. In his free time, he enjoys digital photography and searching for the best baked goods in the city.
María José Navia holds a B.A in Hispanic Literature and Linguistics from the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile and a Masters in Humanities and Social Thought from NYU. She has taught Literature and Trauma Studies at the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile. She published her
first novel SANT (Incubarte Editores) in 2010 and has collaborated in different collections of short stories: Lenguas: 18 jóvenes cuentistas chilenos (JC Sáez Editor, 2005); Basta! 100 mujeres contra la violencia de género (Editorial Asterión, 2011) and Junta de Vecinas: Antología de Narradoras Chilenas Contemporáneas (Algaida, 2011). She also participated in a book on literary criticism Hablan los Hijos: Discursos de la Perspectiva Infantil Literaria (Cuarto Propio, 2011) with a chapter entitled “Mientras el Lobo Sí Está: la infancia como simulacro en La Casa de los Conejos de Laura Alcoba”. Her research interests include: trauma and the politics of witnessing; pop culture as a challenge/interference to literature (pop-modernism), the concept of monstrosity in literature and
critical theory, film studies, urban studies and critical theory. She is currently in the process of writing her second novel Lost and Found/ Objetos Perdidos to be
published in 2012.
Miguel Ángel Novella holds a Licenciatura in Lengua y Literaturas Hispánicas and a Maestría en Lingüística Aplicada from the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM) in Mexico City. He has taught all levels Spanish as a second language for more than 12 years in Mexico and the United States in addition to teacher training courses. He is currently a fifth-year Ph.D. student whose interests are attention, awareness and acquisition of syntactic features under the minimalist approach. His other interests include applied linguistics, teacher education and listening comprehension. Before pursuing a career in Second Language Acqusition and teaching Spanish as a second language, he studied literature. He enjoys reading for pleasure.
Anthony Perry holds a B.A. in History and Hispanic Studies from the College of William & Mary ('05). While at W&M, he studied at the University of Granada in Granada, Spain (Spring '04) and University of Belgrano in Buenos Aires, Argentina (Spring '05). After graduating, he spent a semester as an intern for the Inter-American Dialogue in Washington, DC, working specifically on issues relating to the Andean region. After his internship, for three years, he served as a faculty member at St. George's School, a private co-educational boarding school in Newport, RI. There he taught Spanish, served as dorm parent and faculty advisor and additionally coached soccer and basketball. At Georgetown, he is a second year M.S./Ph. D. student in Spanish Literature and Cultural Studies.
Cecily Raynor Ph.D candidate Cecily Raynor (MA Middlebury College, Spanish School, MSc, London School of Economics, Comparative Latin American Politics) is currently writing her dissertation on transnational writing via an examination of time-space representations in contemporary narratives. Her research interests include immigration narratives, dislocation, deterritorialization and the changing relationship between literature and nation. In order to conduct thesis research, Ms. Raynor was awarded a Fulbright Student Research Grant to Brazil (Universidade de Brasiília) for the calendar year of 2013. An avid travel and language learner, Cecily has resided in Chile, Germany, England, Sweden, Mexico and Brazil and speaks fluent Swedish and German, in addition to Spanish and Portuguese.
William Robinson graduated from Dickinson College in 2009 where he received a B.A. in Spanish with a minor in History. During his undergraduate studies, Will spent an academic year in Málaga, Spain attending courses, teaching English language at a private high school, and developing his passion for Iberian culture and history. He is a Masters candidate in the Literature and Cultural studies program. Will maintains an interest in 20th century Spanish literature and history, particularly regarding the Spanish Civil War and the era of Franco in Spain. During his free time, Will enjoys spending time with his family in Santa Barbara, California, and exploring the outdoors.
Maureen Russo is a teaching fellow and Ph.D. candidate in Literature and Cultural Studies. Her research focus is Hispanomedieval Studies and she is currently examining the functions of humor in 14th century European frame narratives. A “Hoya” through and through, Maureen holds a B.A. in Spanish and Italian (Georgetown 2006) along with an M.S. in Spanish Literature and Cultural Studies. She has also completed graduate coursework in Latin American Literature and Cultural Studies at the Pontificia Universidad Javeriana (Bogotá, Colombia) and the Laurea specialistica program at L’Università Cattolica (Milan, Italy). Other coursework interests have included Research Methods in Second Language Acquisition, Early Modern Literature and Ethnography. Maureen has enjoyed teaching both language and literature courses in the Department of Spanish & Portuguese, as well as introductory humanities courses in Comparative Literature (Georgetown) and Early Modern English Literature (Universidad Javeriana).
Monica S. Simorangkir is a native of Indonesia but she grew up around the world: England, Germany, Spain, Thailand, and the US. She received her BA degree in Economics with a double major in Spanish and MA degree in Intercultural Communication - Hispanic Studies from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC), where she taught Spanish during her graduate studies. Before joining Georgetown University as a PhD candidate in Spanish Literature and Cultural Studies, she was a lecturer at the University of Maryland, College Park. Her research interests deal with the representation of Latin American history through literature and how authors use their literary works to confirm or challenge their countries’ official history.
Julio Torres holds a B.S. in French and Spanish Education from Kutztown University of PA, an M.A. in Spanish Literature from Saint Louis University in Madrid and an M.S. in Spanish Linguistics from Georgetown University. Currently, he is a fourth year Ph.D. candidate specializing in Spanish Applied Linguistics. His general research interest is examining the interaction between internal and external variables in adult second language acquisition. His dissertation will explore the impact of task complexity on language development of L2 & Heritage Learners of Spanish and how this is moderated by executive function ability. Julio also enjoys practicing yoga, reading, traveling and dancing.
Mónica Vallin graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with a Bachelor of Arts in Latin American Studies and a Master of Arts in Hispanic Literature. She also holds a Master of Philosophy in Spanish Language Literature from Columbia University. Prior to attending Georgetown, Mónica worked as a Spanish and Literature teacher at private schools in New York and Virginia. Her research interests include the Colonial Period in Mexico and the Andes, as well as the discourses of identity and popular culture in Latin America. Mónica's PhD student identity hides an avid cook, dancer and yogini who spends time in faraway lands whenever possible.
Ivan Gabriel Villarroel graduated with a degree in Social Communication from the Pontificia Universidad Javeriana in Colombia, in 2008. He worked as a journalist for a number of magazines and a college radio, writing mainly about music and cinema. He holds an MA degree in Literary Studies from the Universidad Nacional de Colombia. His main field of interest is inter-textuality and 20th century Latin American writers.
Ariel Zach received a BA in Anthropology and Spanish in 2008 and an MA in Hispanic Studies with a concentration in linguistics in 2009, both from the State University of New York at Albany. She studied abroad in Madrid, Spain, participated in an anthropological field school in Guatemala, and spent three months in Maringa, Brazil. After receiving a scholarship to return to Madrid and teach English for a year, she is currently pursuing her PhD in Spanish linguistics. Her interests include syntax, child language acquisition, bilingualism, and heritage language learners. In her free time, she enjoys various outdoor activities, spending time with friends and family, baking, dancing, American Cancer Society's Relay for Life, and most importantly, laughing.
Germán Zárate-Sández graduated from the Universidad Nacional de San Juan, Argentina, with a Licenciatura in English Linguistics and a Teaching Certification in EFL. In 2005 he was awarded a Fulbright scholarship to teach Spanish at the University of Scranton, PA, where he also obtained a Master’s in English as a Second Language. He is currently pursuing a doctorate in Applied Spanish Linguistics. Broadly defined, his main research interest is L2 phonetic and phonological acquisition, within the framework of cognitive approaches to SLA. In his free time, Germán likes to read about biology, watch foreign films, do outdoor activities, and exercise.
Jovana Zujevic holds a B.A. in Spanish and Hispanic Literature from the University of Belgrade, Serbia. During her undergraduate studies, she was awarded a stipend from the Open Society Institute, which enabled her to spend an academic year at the University of Vermont where she studied Latin American literature, art history and film. She is currently a Ph.D. student in the Literature and Cultural Studies Program. Her research interests include 20th century and Contemporary Peninsular literature and film, as well as Contemporary Latin American literature. Jovana is passionate about creative writing. Several of her stories have been published in literary magazines in her native Serbian.
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