Currently, I serve as the Coordinator for Community-Based Learning (CBL) and Community Outreach at Franklin and Marshall College in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. My pedagogical interests focus on High-Impact Practices, particularly CBL, study abroad, and residential learning communities. F&M and the greater Lancaster community make an excellent setting for developing relationships with organizations focused on Hispanic and Latinx culture.
I hold a Ph.D. in Spanish from the University of Virginia, with a specialization in 21st-Century Latin American Novel and Film. Currently,my research focuses on representations of caregiving in contemporary Spanish and Latin American literatures.
Prior to my current position, I was an Assistant Professor of Spanish at the University of Texas-Pan American and served as the director of the Medical Spanish for Heritage Learners minor program. In addition to teaching undergraduate and graduate courses in the Department of Modern Languages and Literature, I also collaborated with an interdisciplinary research team in a Health Care Humanities Collaboration. As part of this group, I participate in research projects related to health disparities in the border region of the lower Rio Grande Valley of Texas. This research has also been the impetus for the creation of a Medical Humanities minor in the College of Arts and Humanities at UTPA, which I have designed with my interdisciplinary research team.
Both in Virginia and Texas, I sought opportunities for community engagement and learning. As the In-Residence Director of UVA’s Casa Bolívar, I organized events on campus featuring local performers that showcased traditional dances and music from Latin American and Spain. As an affiliated faculty member with the Pan American Center for Ethics in the Professions (PACE), as well as the university’s Coalition Against Violence and Exploitation (CAVE), I have participated in various community activities with community partners, such as the annual “Walk A Mile In Her Shoes” 5K running event in conjunction with Mujeres Unidas. I have also been responsible for including Spanish-language events for the university’s annual PACE Bioethics Conference (including the inclusion of a keynote speaker in Spanish), a yearly event that engages local health care professionals, UTPA students, and the greater community of the lower Rio Grande Valley in discussions of the moral dimensions of subjects such as health literacy, mental health, and international medical brigade trips. Also, I am part of a local theatre group, Frontera líquida, whose mission is to bring opportunities for the Spanish-speaking community of the Rio Grande Valley to experience live theatre in Spanish at no cost. We have used the opportunities to engage with the community through theatre as sites of discussion about issues pertinent to the Hispanic population of the region. Since March of 2013, we have presented “Los monólogos de la vagina” multiple times in venues all across the Rio Grande Valley and engaged audiences of over 100 participants in discussions of women’s health and wellness. Other activities I have co-organized are a Medical Spanish Film Series, a Creative Writing and Photography Contest with the theme of health, and a Laughter Therapy (Risoterapia) Workshop.