By Katherine Conroy
Did you grow up in a Spanish speaking home? Can you speak Spanish well, but have some difficulty writing it properly? Do you have the desire to further your knowledge base of the Spanish language? If you answered yes to the preceding questions, consider registering for Fitchburg State University’s newest Spanish course, Spanish for Heritage Students. This new Spanish course will be taught by award-winning professor, Dr. Maria Mercedes Jaramillo.
“I have a connection with the Hispanic students,” said Dr. Jaramillo with a smile. Born in Colombia, Dr. Jaramillo received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Spanish and Latin American Literature from Universidad del Valle, located in her home country of Colombia. She was driven to further her education beyond a Bachelor’s degree, but in order to do so, she travelled from Colombia to the United States, with New York as her final education destination. Dr. Jaramillo earned her Master’s of Arts degree and her Ph.D. in Spanish and Latin American Literature at Syracuse University in New York.
Dr. Jaramillo is dedicated to both the Spanish language and her students here at Fitchburg State University. Because of the connection she has with the Hispanic students, she is a mentor to these students and helps guide them in the right direction. Her desire to help Hispanic students is the driving force behind the creation of the Spanish for Heritage Students course. “I really, really enjoy teaching and I enjoy the students,” Dr. Jaramillo said.
In her course, Dr. Jaramillo plans on teaching interested students the nuts and bolts of the Spanish language and beyond. Students will expand their vocabulary, explore and develop strong grammar, and further their writing skills. In order to achieve this higher level of literacy in the Spanish language, students will analyze texts, write poetry, and learn vocabulary in a similar fashion to the study of English language arts. In addition, students will participate in activities in order to promote and foster their cultural identity.
Students who plan to enroll in Spanish for Heritage Students will be in excellent hands with Dr. Jaramillo. In 2001, Dr. Jaramillo received the Vincent Mara Award for excellence in college teaching and received the Fitchburg State College Research and Scholarship Award in 2008. In addition, she is also the President of the Association of Colombianist’s. “I really hope this class takes off,” says Dr. Jaramillo.
Spanish for Heritage students is proposed to be held once a year and the class is limited to 25 students. This course is available to Spanish minors so in order to register for this class, a student must have some oral proficiency in Spanish or obtain permission from the instructor, Dr. Jaramillo.