2 graduate doctoral students proposed as assistant professors

Two doctoral students who graduated from Arizona State University’s School of Letters and International Cultures (SILC) who began their studies together four years ago have both accepted job offers to begin their careers as assistant professors at American universities this fall.

Their success in the academic job market is a testament to the hard work that the school’s faculty and staff have put in to prepare the school’s students for their future careers, whether in academia or other fields. related, such as International Relations, Public Policy, Sustainability, Education and Translation.

The job market is an arduous process that can take a lot of time and energy,” said Del Carpio. “Once I learned that I had been offered the job in Indiana, I felt like all my hard work had been validated and I was excited about the next step in my career.”

She will begin by teaching Spanish Writing for Heritage Speakers and Introductory Hispanic Linguistics at Indiana University. It will build out of his work with Spanish heritage speakers – those who grew up with spoken Spanish at home or in their community – at ASU, as well as its roles as a graduate teaching associate and mentor for incoming graduate students.

Del Carpio learned from his own experiences overcoming adversity how to support students during times of success and struggle. She moved to the United States from Lima, Peru when she was 11 years old, without knowing English. A first-generation student, she earned a bachelor’s and master’s degree from the University University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign before coming to ASU for his doctoral studies.

“I decided to continue my studies at SILC because of the incredible quality of the professors in the program. I liked that the professors in the Spanish linguistics department had interests that similar to mine,” Del Carpio said.

Once at ASU, she faced the challenge of completing her degree program while in the midst of a pandemic. Meanwhile, her father passed away, adding to the weight on her shoulders and leaving her without part of her support system.

“Sometimes I think I downplay the journey that got me to where I am now,” Del Carpio said. “As life has become more difficult, it is important to find reasons to carry on. I understand that it is not always easy to navigate the academic world. It can sometimes difficult to ask for help or know what questions to ask. There are also pressures that we face because we know they or they to have to to succeed.

For her, two of those reasons to keep working towards her goals are her students, whom she says she is still learning from, and her own mentors.

I was lucky to always meet at least one good mentor that I saw as an example and that I saw myself in, which emphasizes the importance of representation. They believed in me and pushed me to do my better, who has always encouraged me to go towards my goals. I hope that as a mentor I was able to do the same,” she said.

One of these mentors is Sara Beaudrieassociate professor of Spanish linguisticswho oversees both the Spanish language program and the original Spanish language program.

Leslie has made remarkable progress in his four years at ASU,” said Beaudrie. “Leslie had the opportunity to gain research publishing experience from faculty and other students, which helped her be prepared for the challenges of being an assistant professor at a leading research university. . This thesis also prepared her to conduct research with LatinxLatinx is a gender-neutral term that some prefer to use to refer to someone from a Spanish-speaking or Latin American land or culture. populations in the United States. »

Beaudrie was co-chair of Del Carpio’s thesis, which “analyzes the use of the Spanish past tense among Spanish-English bilinguals of three generations,” Del Carpio said.

Her goals for her research include empowering American Spanish speakers to use their voice and raising awareness of this specific minority language variety to Spanish speakers inside and outside the Spanish language classroom.

Del Carpio’s thesis “presents groundbreaking research that seeks to contribute to the burgeoning field of Spanish in the United States and to heritage language education. His research makes an innovative contribution by analyzing corpus data with real speech samples of these speakers,” Beaudrie said.

She explained that the PhD program in Spanish linguistics that Del Carpio and Ochoa are part of is designed to train future leaders in the field of heritage language pedagogy and research. The two students were even able publish an article they co-wrote together with assistant Spanish teacher Martha roofer in the Journal of Pragmatics, and they also have another article coming out.

There are currently only a few jobs available in this competitive area of ​​expertise, Beaudrie said, so the accomplishments of both students are “truly outstanding.”

Portrait of a master student

Valeria Ochoa

Ochoa said the school’s unique approach to the subject of Spanish as a heritage language is what led her to attend ASU after earning a bachelor’s degree at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. and a master’s degree from the University of Oregon. During his master’s studies and during an internship at the University Center for Applied Studies in Second LanguagesOchoa found that she wanted to delve into these topics.

I realized during my masters that I wanted to continue doing a doctorate so that I could be one of the few researchers in the field of Spanish as a heritage language who also identifies as a heritage speaker of Spanish. ‘Spanish herself,’ Ochoa said. , who describes herself as a first-generation Mexican American and the daughter of two Mexican immigrants from Guadalajara and Tepic.

I have chosen (the School of Letters and International Cultures) given that it is home to one of the only programs in the world with a track specifically designed to research Spanish as a heritage language and teach in a Spanish heritage language program.

Ochoa served as a graduate associate teacher at ASU and will cover similar ground in her work at the University of Puget Sound, where she plans to teach classes in Spanish linguistics, American Spanish, and Latin/a studies.

She was with Beaudrie, her advisor, when she received the email from the university that wanted to hire her.

“I was completely shocked when I found out I was offered the job,” Ochoa said. “AAnyone who has spent time looking for a job in academia knows how grueling and often discouraging the process is given that sometimes it is just a matter of luck. I spent many hours writing papers, doing mock interviews, and browsing online resources that provided advice from many professors and professionals.

Her years of hard work — dating back to her undergraduate days — paid off. Now, Ochoa will be able to pursue the research, teaching and mentoring that she is passionate about and continue to learn on the job from other researchers in her field. This hopefully includes building on her dissertation research, which examined the perspectives of Indigenous instructors and students in the context of Spanish heritage language education.

I want nothing more than to support other Latinx students, especially considering how few Latinas in the United States have PhDs,” Ochoa said. “My goal is not to focus solely on their academic or linguistic development, but also on their development as a fully confident and critical Latinx person in the United States”

Assistant Spanish teacher Michel Gradovillewho was a member of Ochoa’s thesis committee, said this dedication to his peers and community is what sets his research apart..

“While the field of heritage language itself exists as an instrument of inclusion for speakers of home languages, Valeria’s research helps advance this inclusive mission of language studies in heritage by expanding perspectives on what it means to be a native Spanish speaker in the United States,” Gradoville said.

He explained that native Spanish-speaking immigrants are often marginalized in their countries of origin, a process that continues in the United States when they are lumped together with people of other Hispanic identities to the detriment of their native heritage and cultures. .

Ochoa’s research centers these individuals and ultimately reveals that this category of Spanish speakers is far more diverse than many have portrayed. This diversity should be celebrated, she said, and Spanish speakers of all backgrounds deserve support in the areas of language learning and higher education.

Everything I’ve done is for my community, my people, my family. Nothing makes me happier than having the opportunity to make a difference for someone who in their wildest dreams never thought they would be able to achieve their goals,” Ochoa said. .

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