I earned a Bachelor of Science in dietetics and nutrition from The Ohio State University, and then switched gears from health sciences to the humanities for my Master’s degree, which also came from OSU, but now in Latin American literatures and cultures and Hispanic linguistics. I completed my doctoral work at the University of Pennsylvania, with a dissertation that focused on the late-20th-century representation of Peruvian national identity as examined through the lens of gender and ethnicity. This has led me to explore how both individual and group identities are socially constructed in Latin America, which in turn has opened up other areas of interest, such as sociolinguistics and the sociology of language, indigenous studies (in particular Andean), the implications of gender and ethnicity in citizenship, and nationalist and postnationalist ideologies. It also led to the creation of a course for Spanish majors exploring the many layers of identity construction, particularly in the Latin American context, and to my two publications, “Localización del poder en el Perú: reflexiones en torno a la representación de la indigenidad y femineidad en tres novelas peruanas” (Revista Iberoamericana, vol. 73, Jul-Sept 2007), and “Voces de la nación: exploraciones de lo indígena andino en la imagen nacional peruana” (in Lenguas e identidades en los Andes: perspectivas ideológicas y culturales, a collection of essays of which I am also co-editor, Abya-Yala, 2005).
My interest in linguistics and my penchant for wordplay eventually led me to get involved in translation, and from there to developing an introductory course in translation for undergraduate Spanish majors. I have also drawn upon my past in the health sciences to teach Spanish for medical professionals, and recently developed another course for Spanish majors that explores the many perspectives on health and wellness vs. illness, and healthcare-related issues in Latin America. This interest, in turn, is leading me to explore further in the direction of representations of health and illness, and by extension into science fiction, in Hispanic literature.
Besides these content courses, I have, of course, also taught language courses at all levels from introductory to advanced here and at Drexel University, as well as at the University of Michigan and Canisius College in Buffalo, NY.
In addition to my teaching duties, I can often be found in the Hispanic Review office in 511 Williams Hall, where I serve as the Managing Editor for the journal.