Spanish Alumni
Opportunities after graduation

Natalie Roling ('10)
After graduation, I was only sure about two things: I wanted to travel and continue in community-based work. Classes throughout the Spanish major at Loras allowed me to combine these two passions and discover that my ability to speak Spanish increased my opportunities to connect with those in the community who are often neglected or under-served because of the language barrier. Spanish was fundamental in securing my first two AmeriCorps positions in Miami, FL and Denver, CO after graduation. Currently, as the Health Specialist for the Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Denver, I see the impact of my Spanish every day. From translating forms and information sent home, to explaining homework to youth who speak Spanish fluently but can’t read or write the language, to making parents and youth who don’t speak English feel welcome and involved in all of the activities we offer; Spanish has allowed me to interact with and gain the trust of several youth and families at the Boys & Girls Club.

Katie Pedriana ('98)
I double majored in Spanish and Biology at Loras College. I was encouraged to study abroad in Costa Rica and that has changed my life.  My knowledge of Spanish has taken me to many places and enabled me to meet and help people in a greater way.  Upon graduation I was accepted into Cabrini Mission Corps where I worked in an impoverished shantytown in Argentina at a health clinic and an orphanage for disabled children in Cordoba.  I was also able to travel to Pablo Neruda's home in Chile (My thesis was on Pablo Neruda).  I also lived and worked in Little Village in Chicago and was immersed in the Mexican community.  I subsequently became a Physician Assistant and had a scholarship with the National Health Service Corps where I worked in rural Washington for over 3 years serving migrant farm workers from Mexico.  Currently I work as a PA in Milwaukee and serve a large Spanish-speaking population.  I am happy that I do not need an interpreter and am able to communicate with ease with my patients.  Learning another language has welcomed me to countries and homes of many people.  As a PA, I pride myself in my ability to care for Spanish speaking patients who are relieved to know I speak their language.  I am forever indebted to the Spanish program for encouraging me to spread my wings for they truly have enabled me to fly.

Jesse Ernst ('10)
I always enjoyed my high school Spanish classes, but when I enrolled at Loras College, I didn’t realize the enjoyment of learning a second-language in high school would turn into a college major, a semester abroad in Spain, and the preparation toward a career as a Spanish educator. Loras College and the Division of Modern Languages, during my days as a student, provided to me the skills, knowledge, and abilities, I currently utilize as an educator.

While at Loras, I was able to study abroad in Spain, serve as a tutor to non-English speakers, and work as a summer high school educator on campuses such as Stanford University, Arizona State University, and Colombia University. With all of these opportunities, I was still able to graduate in four years. If it were not for the Spanish and Education faculty at Loras College, I don’t know if I would have been able to walk into Loras’ graduation ceremony with a secured, full-time Spanish teaching position, the ability to now serve as my school’s department chair, or to be able to work toward a Master’s degree in Educational Administration. You may be able to leave Loras College with a respected degree and the skills for a career in four years, but Loras College will always be a part of you…Go Duhawks!

Liz Kruse (Elsbernd) ('08)
Learning Spanish at Loras is about much more than learning a language. As a Spanish major, I not only became interested in learning more about the various cultures of Spanish speakers in Spain and Latin America, but I came out of the Spanish program at Loras wanting to know more about cultures from all over the world. My experiences during college volunteering to tutor immigrants in English at Dubuque’s Presentation Lantern Center and my semester-long study abroad experience in Santiago de Compostela, Spain, fueled a desire in me to live abroad after graduation, and so I applied for and received a Fulbright grant to teach English in a secondary school in Madrid, Spain.

During my post-graduation year in Madrid, I realized that I wanted to pursue a career in International Education so that I could work in a college or university with international students and/or study abroad students. Upon returning from Madrid, I applied for a Master’s program in Comparative and International Development Education at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities, and I now work in the International Programs Office at the University of Wisconsin-Platteville. While I need to use my Spanish language skills only occasionally in my job, the love of learning about new languages and cultures that the Loras Spanish department encouraged is an integral component of my work.

The Spanish major is a great compliment to any other field in which you wish to major; it is even possible to be a triple major while studying Spanish at Loras! In addition to Spanish, I also majored in English Literature and International Studies, and I use the skills and knowledge I gained while studying these three fields every day. Without a doubt, the Spanish major at Loras taught me to utilize my language and critical thinking skills to make a positive difference in my community.

I would not be where I am today – or who I am today – without the encouragement and guidance I received from the Loras College Spanish department.

Olivia Young ('12)
I'm a graduate from the class of 2012 with a double major in International Studies and Spanish with a minor in Economics.  While at Loras, I had opportunities to study abroad for 3 weeks in Cuernavaca, Mexico as well as a semester long stay in Santiago de Compostela, Spain. In addition to all the interesting and intense Spanish literature, Spanish and Mexican culture and Spanish grammar classes that I took while at Loras, I felt confident enough with the language to look for jobs that involved my competencies in understanding and speaking the language. I am currently a year-long volunteer at the Working Boys' Center (El Centro del Muchacho Trabajador) in Quito, Ecuador.

Not only am I an English teacher (which means I speak 5% English and 95% Spanish), but I am also teaching one-on-one with a student in Special Education, three art classes as well as 3 computer classes, and adult education - all in Spanish! I would not be able to serve my students, both children and adults, in the same capacity if it were not for my education in the Spanish language and cultures from the Spanish program at Loras College. I am eternally grateful for all of their assistance and I know I would not be living in Quito, Ecuador as a volunteer if it weren't for their encouragement and true love for the language and all that the language encompasses.
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