Spanish major Natalia Redondo Prieto hails from Spain. After becoming involved in athletics and switching majors, Redondo Prieto was surprised to learn that she would have to scramble to fulfill a graduation requirement.
After joining the university as a business major, she decided to study Spanish to work towards a career as a translator. Because of binding rules with The National Collegiate Athletic Association, Redondo Prieto was unable to immediately change her major. When her major was changed, the curriculum was altered and she was required to take Spanish 498.
Department Head of Languages and Communications Dr. Lucia Harrison admits that Spanish 498 has become the capstone course for Spanish majors. According to Harrison, the goal is for Spanish majors to present a final project to culminate their studies and have incentive for further research in their areas of interest.
“We expect that more students will continue language study if courses incorporate cultural inquiry at all levels and if advanced courses address more subject areas,” said Harrison. “This means that faculty members will have the opportunity to bring into the classroom the full breadth of their knowledge of the society about which they teach, including that society’s languages and language variants, literature and cultures.”
This would not be the last surprise that Redondo Prieto would experience. A week before the “Senior Colloquium” on Monday, April 30, she learned that she would have to speak alongside communication majors who were presenting evidence for research they have conducted during the course Communication 498. Redondo Prieto originally expected to present a portfolio of work to about three Spanish teachers on the same night.
“I was so surprised,” said Redondo Prieto. “I feel like why do I have to be the first one? I’m like the experiment. I had no other students to ask for help. I felt more calm over time.”
Associate Professor of Spanish Cheryll Javaherian explains that Dr. Harrison and Department of Languages and Communication’s Undergraduate Coordinator Dr. Joseph Mirando were the first to propose the design of the course.
The course is worth 1-hour of credit, will be graded in pass or fail and is intended for Spanish majors who will be graduating immediately after the conclusion of the course.
“Students registered for the course are required to create a professional portfolio that
details their most significant class work and their progress toward linguistic, literary and
cultural competency,” said Javaherian.
In the future, Javaharian plans to help modify the course’s name to include other foreign languages and modify assessment rubrics to increase conciseness.
Redondo Prieto presented a PowerPoint that showed samples of her work that she completed as a Spanish major. Javaharian said that she graded her on the quality of work that she produced in the following areas: presentational mode, content, organization and delivery. She was impressed with Redondo Prieto’s work ethic and positive attitude throughout the process.
“She is a trooper,” said Javaharian. “She is the first one to do this and willingly serve as our guinea pig. She has a stellar ability to grasp ideas, process them and give you her “take” on them.”
The 22-year-old competes in hammer throw on the track and field team. She originally came to the states in 2015 to attend Cowley University in Kansas after being recruited by their athletics team. In 2016, she became a member of the Lion nation.
After attending the colloquium, Redondo Prieto is excited to return to Spain to pursue a new passion.
“I found that I like making films,” said Redondo Prieto. “If that doesn’t work, I’ll go back to translating.”