Department of Modern Languages and Cultures

Alumni

With all that you have done at Hanover, you will be at the head of the pack when you apply for jobs and/or graduate school. Most of our students put what they have learned to use and gain practical experience before they graduate with internships in the U.S and abroad.

Students who have majored in Spanish have gone into professions in the arts, business, healthcare, social services, teaching, travel and tourism. They have found work in Indiana, all over the U.S. and all over the world.

The Spanish Department is proud of our alumni. They have gone many different directions since graduation, but all have enriched their lives as a result of majoring in Spanish. Some of their stories are below and you will find that several are using their Spanish knowledge to enrich the lives of others.

Rachel Sieg Ph.D. Candidate in Biochemistry

My name is Rachel Sieg, and I graduated from Hanover College in May 2015 with a degree in Spanish and minor in biology. I am now a biochemist working towards a PhD at the University of Kentucky, where I am a graduate student in Dr. Jessica Blackburn's lab. We study molecular mechanisms of pediatric leukemias in zebrafish models. If you are interested in learning about the lab or my science exploits, you are welcome to visit our official lab website http://blackburnlab-uky.com/

I am so thankful that I got a degree in Spanish, as it has profoundly impacted my life both professionally and personally. Professionally, having a degree in Spanish helps me to stand out from the crowd in the sea of eager young scientists. All of my colleagues have degrees in some biology or chemistry related field and all their experiences look relatively similar- but not mine. Inevitably, my Spanish major becomes a talking point during interviews and research talks and it allows me to connect on a deeper level with my audience.

Additionally, the variety of experiences I have had through the Spanish department, such as: traveling abroad to Ecuador and Peru, leading the Spanish club as secretary, vice-president, and president, volunteering with Casa Amiga, and completing an internship with Family Health Services also helps me to stand out from the crowd and has given me invaluable skills that I use every day. These skills include, but are not limited to: communication, interpersonal interactions, organization, leadership, writing and speaking, presentations, critical reading, motivation, and project independence. In many of these areas, I entered graduate school well ahead of my peers.

And not only has my Spanish degree been advantageous professionally, but personally I have been able to travel and explore new cultures encounter different ideas of ways of living. The summer after I graduated college I was privileged to travel to Europe and backpack across Spain, Morocco, Italy, France, Czech Republic, and Germany, where being able to speak another language was invaluable (side note: contrary to popular travel advice, not everybody speaks English in the world). Even in countries like Italy and France where neither of us spoke each other's language, we were able to find common ground in Spanish.

I again traveled back to Spain this past year to meet my current boyfriend's family for the first time, as they are all from Madrid. Being able to speak to my future mother-in-law in her native language cemented me as the "favorite," and really, that is probably the most unexpected and important benefit to learning Spanish. As they say, "it is a small world, and you never know who you are going to meet," and learning Spanish has made my world that much smaller and my social network that much wider.

Spanish major and Ph.D. candidate in biochemistru Rachel Sieg

Jennie Dumaine, Ph.D. Candidate in Biology

Upon entering Hanover, I knew I wanted to pursue a career in the Medical Field, so I was taking Biology and the other pre-med courses. I continued with my Spanish classes because of the Modern Language requirement for graduation, but after taking my first Spanish class at Hanover, I knew I wanted to continue my studies with the language. Not only would I be able to communicate with my future patients if needed to, but also the professors were so passionate about the material they presented that the classes became my favorite, so I was delighted with my choice to become a Spanish Major.

Initially my primary motivation to study Spanish was because I believed I would be more marketable in the career field if I did not require an interpreter to work with me, but now three years into my studies, this has definitely changed a bit. I would no longer say that I study Spanish to prepare myself for a career, rather, I study Spanish because I love learning about a culture that is for the most part, close in location to the United States, yet is so different in tradition and society. I thoroughly enjoy learning about the colonization of the New World from another perspective, and find it interesting to read about historical events taught from a viewpoint differed from that taught in United States History Classes. I enjoy reading Spanish literature because it allows me to think creatively, which is a nice break from my other science classes.

Alumna Jenni Dumaine in Machu Pichu, PeruPaige Spalding, a classmate, and I at Machu Picchu, the Inca archeological site in Cusco, Perú.

Sofia Secord, High School Teacher

Majoring in Spanish has been a great decision for me. I have been very fortunate to have professors who are so passionate about what they do. I have learned a lot from Spanish classes at Hanover because the professors are from many different Spanish-speaking countries, and they have traveled to many different places; this means that their students can learn about the culture that the professors have experienced first-hand. Being a Spanish major does not mean that I only learn how to speak the language; it means that I learn about literature, history, music, food and so much more.

During the winter semester of 2012 I was able to study abroad in Spain. I wasn't originally planning on going for the entire semester, but after speaking with a professor about it I realized that I could not pass up such an opportunity. Instead of being just another tourist in Spain, I was a student. I lived in a dorm with all Spaniards; I attended classes with Spanish students at the University of Castilla-La Mancha and lived in Ciudad Real. Whether it was learning how to travel around another country on my own, making friends in another language or trying food that I never thought I would try, like octopus or cuttlefish, I gained so much from the experience. Not only did I learn about Spain, but I also learned a lot about myself. I became more open-minded and interested in other cultures, and I was able to understand more of the complexities of learning another language; not everything can be translated. After studying abroad I can honestly say that the only true way to understand another culture is to be immersed in it.

Alumna Sofia Secord in Toledo, Spain

Visiting the city of Toledo (Spain) during my semester abroad program at the University of Castilla-La Mancha (UCLM)

Nicole Nathan, Ph.D. Candidate in Cultural Anthropology

It is because of the helpfulness and dedication of Hanover's superb Spanish faculty that I was not only able to gain competency in the Spanish language but also have the opportunity to learn about Spanish and Latin American culture, history, literature, art, and politics. In particular, through Hanover's distinct spring term program, my experiences abroad in Spain were extremely valuable-- from seeing the wonders of La Alhambra to flamenco dancing and eating tapas with new friends. I am now an anthropology PhD student, and the Spanish and knowledge I learned at Hanover have been essential for my future fieldwork in Latin America and in my current research on the language socialization of Hispanic children in the US, inspired by my experiences as a teacher at a bilingual school for my Spanish internship.

Alumna Nicole Nathan with Spanish Professors in Granada, SpainWith  my Spanish Professors, Celia Dollmeyer and José Manuel Reyes, in Granada, Spain

Rachel Sharp, Lawyer

I obtained an invaluable liberal arts education through the Spanish Department of Hanover College. The faculty taught me important information, helped me to develop various skills, and broadened my cultural perspective, all of which have helped me in my pursuits since graduation. During my tenure at Hanover, I was able to take a course within the Spanish Department every semester. My professors taught me about great Spanish and Latin American artists, writers, and political figures. They exposed me to and helped me understand important historical movements, as well as current events. The Spanish department faculty possesses a variety of specialties and offers a diverse wealth of information that helped me find and pursue my area of interest.

The professors of the Hanover Spanish Department did not merely force me to memorize all this information, but rather they encouraged me to develop valuable communication and analytical skills. Whether it was in the context of a class on Don Quixote, Spanish festivals, or Women's Literature, the Spanish professors consistently fostered inquisitiveness and ingenuity. They taught me to analyze the world around me by searching for themes within it and by looking beyond the surface of everything. I learned to see the minutia while not losing focus of the big picture. Moreover, they emphasized the importance of being able to communicate these ideas through curricula that included written and oral expositions as part of every class.

Alumna Rachel Sharp with friendsMy Spanish major also broadened my cultural perspective by providing me with opportunities to travel abroad (I'm the one at the left in the picture above, on a Latin American trip with the College). In the spring of 2003, I studied in Mérida, México. During this trip, I lived with a Mexican family, visited Mayan ruins, and read Mexican literature. In the winter of 2003, I received help from the Spanish Department faculty to prepare a grant proposal to study in Quito, Ecuador. With their never-hesitant support, I received the grant and studied in Quito during the summer of 2003. While in Quito, I studied the women's healthcare system and the cultural causes and effects of the situation. In the spring of 2004, I studied in a town outside of Madrid, Spain. Through various excursions, classes with a Hanover professor, and classes with a professor from a Spanish university I learned about the blend of cultures that form the perception of what is "Spanish" and I experienced the modern cultural trends I had learned about in class. Each of my experiences traveling abroad acted as a cumulative reinforcement of the information and skills I learned in the Hanover classrooms.

The information, skills, and broadened perspective that I acquired through the Hanover College Spanish Department have continued to benefit me since graduation. First, the information has allowed me to communicate knowledgeably about various areas of art, history, literature, and politics. Second, the skills I learned have helped my written and oral analytical skills, which are necessary in my legal career. Finally, my broadened perspective has helped me to see various sides of an argument and to maintain balance among the various aspects of my life. Overall, my education as a Spanish major at Hanover College has advantaged me in virtually every aspect.

Emily Keene, Institute for Study Abroad

I graduated from Hanover in 2004 with a major in Spanish and a minor in Political Science. After working for nearly a year as a bilingual customer service agent, I found the job of my dreams with the Institute for Study Abroad, Butler University (IFSA-Butler). Thanks to the amazing faculty who taught me so much about the language, culture, politics, and history of Latin America and Spain, as well as the opportunity to study abroad in Guadalajara, México, I was able to combine my three favorite aspects of life at Hanover (studying Spanish, studying abroad, and being a peer advisor) into a once in a lifetime career opportunity.

I am now the Senior Program Coordinator for Programs in Latin America and Spain. I work with study abroad programs in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Mérida, México, and Lima, Perú. We send undergraduate students from all over the U.S. and Canada on these programs each semester. I use my Spanish daily when communicating with our onsite staff and helping to review program applications. I've learned so much from my colleagues in different parts of the world. I've been to Argentina twice, Chile, Uruguay, and Peru (even to Machu Picchu!), all as part of my job. Up next will be a trip to Mexico.

Each time I travel abroad, I realize how grateful I am for the education I received at Hanover. The Spanish department is so strong and I learned so much that I can confidently maneuver my way through any Spanish-speaking country with ease. I can also appreciate the cultures I encounter in a way that I might not have been able to had I not majored in Spanish and studied abroad.

Alumna Emily Keen