I graduated from Seattle U with majors in Spanish and Sociology in 2003 and am filled with deep gratitude for the experiences and opportunities afforded to me during my undergraduate years. I entered college as a first generation student with limited financial resources and a small worldview. My passion for learning Spanish began in middle school and grew exponentially during my time in college. I can honestly say that studying abroad with the Latin American Studies Program (LASP) in Puebla Mexico changed me for the better forever. And I’m so grateful for how easy it was to double major and make study abroad a reality! The LASP program ignited a spark and curiosity to explore the world and learn from different perspectives.
During those transformative six months, my Spanish improved drastically due to being fully immersed in a host family setting and navigating a new country and language. Important skills from this experience that I have carried forward with me (without realizing it in the moment) are: research skills, adaptability to new settings, cultural humility, and pursuit of passion. Another unexpected benefit of studying abroad was the lifelong friends that I met and continue to be close with. In fact, just before COVID-19 changed our reality in 2020, I had the great opportunity to travel to Peru with a few of these friends. This photo was taken at magical Machu Picchu.
My professors challenged my classmates and I and impressed us with their passion for their profession which ultimately led me to realize that my love of the college experience could be my calling. And here I am, almost 20 years later, Master of Education degree in Student Development Administration in hand, working at Seattle University as a Lead Academic Advisor. In this role, I support students through their journey and hopefully inspire them to follow their passions just as my mentors modeled for me.
Congratulations to the winner of the 2022 Spanish Michels Family Award, Hallie Evans. Hallie graduated Summa Cum Laude with a degree in Spanish and with Departmental Honors in International Studies. Hallie is also the recipient of the Noel J. Brown Award, which is presented to the graduating student with the highest GPA in the International Studies Department.
Congratulations to the winner of the 2022 Spanish Michels Family Award, Danielle Miller. Danielle graduated Summa Cum Laude with majors in both Spanish and Criminal Justice. Danielle is also the recipient of the Eugene Corr Ethics and Service in Criminal Justice Award, which recognizes a graduating Criminal Justice major who has engaged in extraordinary service activities to improve the criminal justice system and to promote ethical conduct in criminal justice professions.
I graduated from SU with a BA in Spanish and French in 2011. As an undergraduate, I studied abroad in Granada, Spain and became curious about the history of the city. My senior year at SU, I took two courses with Dr. Earenfight on medieval Spain. The opportunity to combine my language studies with the history of a place that I had grown to love sparked interests that I’ve been chasing ever since.
Spanish and Social Work student Cullin Egge is the recipient of the Naef Scholarship for 2022-2023. Naef Scholars are recognized for their academic achievement and commitment to social justice leadership in their community. Cullin was selected as Naef Scholar through an extensive application and interview process.
When I first began my time at Seattle University, I knew that I would study Spanish. Prior to my time in the University I had studied Spanish for a cumulative 7 years, but I had not yet achieved anything close to fluency. The Spanish major at Seattle U really changed that for me. I spent four years doing my best to grasp at something that would be close to fluency. The caring and familial nature of the Spanish department allowed me to grow. Of course, this started with basic Spanish courses that covered simple grammar, but eventually I found myself going abroad to expand my skills. I spent six months abroad in Puebla, Mexico. After going abroad I was communicating on a level that I had never dreamed of before. This skill stayed with me through my professional career as well.
Learning Chinese has led to deep personal reflection of how my words, down to word ordering and tenses, impacts what I am saying, verbally and internally. When I studied linguistics in my history capstone, being able to relate our studies to Chinese made me ponder how accurate (or not) those theories were. When I write poetry, my inquiries about the possibilities and limitations for making meaning in English are informed by Chinese sentence structures. While working in the field of AI equity and technology policy, Chinese challenges me to think about how the dominance of English language is impacting technologies that are supposed to be meant for everyone. I’m thankful to Feng Laoshi for being a great professor throughout my time learning Chinese at SU!
Learning the basic skill to converse in our daily life was fun, but memorizing characters in Mandarin when it comes to reading and writing was a burden for me at first. However, the more I learn and immerse myself in the world of Mandarin, the more I found those characters are fascinating in their own way. Each character/radical has its own story and distinct association with the Chinese’s life. As I want to learn more about the Chinese culture, reading and writing was no longer a burden for me, especially when I can learn such beautiful and appealing behind-the-scene story of the characters and how it directly reflects the people’s life. This experience of taking Mandarin classes at SU has fully aided my personal development as I learn and understand more about Chinese culture.
Earning a Chinese minor at SU not only taught me a second language, it expanded my perspective on our global world. From music to menus, the ability to understand and speak Chinese has helped build my knowledge of cultures different from my own. Attaining this minor is only one stop on the road to true fluency, and I have been inspired by my studies to one day live in China to further learn and explore this beautiful language.
Studying Mandarin Chinese at Seattle University taught me valuable life skills, and I am so happy I chose to minor in it! My name is Elena Chen Pendleton and I am currently a middle school teacher in Hawai’i. I originally took Mandarin because it is my mother’s first language, and I wanted to learn more so that I could speak it with her and my relatives in Taiwan. The professors were very encouraging and my classmates were friendly and helpful. The courses taught me important skills in Mandarin such as listening, speaking, reading and writing and I learned useful vocabulary I can use in the real world. You do not need to have any background in the language at all in order to minor in it! Studying a language taught me better study skills, organization tactics and time management.
Growing up I had many ambitions, but for someone who had no previous knowledge of the Chinese culture or language it seemed unthinkable for me to move abroad. That’s exactly what I did, following my graduation in 2007 I packed up and moved to pursue my graduate studies in Beijing, China. I was able to build a solid foundation with the support from my professors as well as the tools and resources that the SU Modern Languages Department provided me. I went on to pursue an International MBA from Tsinghua University in Beijing. From there, I went on to build a career in Sports Marketing which I still do to this day. I credit all of my experiences at Seattle University and throughout China for directly affecting the opportunities and life experiences that have blessed me since graduation.
Prior to coming to SU, I had taken German and Spanish language classes, however I have always wanted to learn an Asian language. I hope to have a future career in the FBI and being able to speak a foreign language will help me in that application process. I specifically picked Chinese because I thought it would be very interesting and completely different from what I have been exposed to in the past. Naturally, I was very nervous about learning Chinese given that I have never studied a character or a tonal based language, but after the first week of class, all of that stress melted away. The two Chinese professors I have taken classes from, Professor Feng and Professor Qian, teach the language so well and made sure that the class understood each concept, while making the environment fun.
Studying Japanese has changed my life, leading to experiences and adventures I had never dreamed of before. What started out as more of a hobby than anything turned into a growing interest and passion for Japanese language and culture.
My experience with the Arabic program transcends that of just learning a language. I have learned to not only appreciate diversity, but to embrace it. And I have learned that even though people look different and cultural practices may vary, kindness can be found in every corner of the world.
Going into the Arabic language from a blank slate may seem like a daunting task, but it truly is no more difficult than studying any other foreign language, do not let your preconceptions be a barrier. It is my firm belief that a university that hopes to train global scholars such as Seattle University must have a strong and diverse set of language programs, centered around critical languages like Arabic.
I initially signed up for the class out of curiosity, yet two years later I would be finishing up my minor in Arabic and would eventually get the opportunity to travel to Oman to attend an Arabic language institute. Overall, I can say that I came out of the experience a more creative and resilient student.
Because of Arabic, I have had the chance to meet some incredible people. Not only have I made some of my best friends from our Arabic cohort, but also, I have connected with total strangers through this language.Learning Arabic changed the course of my life, and it has unlocked so many opportunities for me.
Through the classes, I have not only learned about the vocabulary, structures, and syntax of the language, but also, I gained a greater understanding of history, philosophy, poetry, and geography, among many other disciplines.
Studying the rich and enlightening language of Arabic at Seattle University has opened my mind and heart in more ways than I can. Each letter in the Arabic alphabet has a significant meaning behind it so when put together to create a word, the message is all that more profound.
McCalee Cain graduated Summa Cum Laude with degrees in French and English. While at SU, she worked as a Teaching Assistant in French I courses and as a French tutor and conversation group facilitator for Learning Assistance Programs. Over the summer, she worked at the French American School of Puget Sound and provided private English tutoring to French children. For her English Departmental Honors thesis, she researched postcolonial translation theory and translated short stories from French into English. Next year, she will move to Senegal to complete a Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship. McCalee remarks, "In both my English and French degrees, I learned how to think critically and globally, to engage with my learning and with the world around me, and to express my unique voice.”
Congrats to the 2019 Michels Award winner in French. Austin presented her International Studies honors capstone project to a FREN 4630 class. Next year, Austin will be living in France, working as an English teaching assistant at a middle school in Toulouse, through the TAPIF program.
Congrats to the 2019 Michels Award winner in French. Next year Alexis will be working in Seattle at a crisis hotline in order to gain some clinical experience for psychology before pursuing a graduate degree in psychology in Los Angeles the following year.