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We recently asked our former graduate assistants how they're using their SIU masters degrees and what plans they have for the future. Scroll down to read what they shared:


David Balmaceda

MA, Spanish '17

David Balmaceda

I am currently a doctoral student in Applied Linguistics at Washington University in St. Louis. Some of my research interests include language teaching and learning, language teaching material development, and Computer-Assisted Language Learning. In the future, I plan to work as a professor, and I also hope to start my own language school in Nicaragua.


Paula de Salazar León

MA, Spanish '16

Paula de Salazar León

Currently, I live in Spain and I run my own academy, Centro de Estudios Poliedro, where a group of teachers help teenagers with their studies. Also I am learning French and planning to study a PhD next year in Instructional Technology.


Diego Diaz

MA, Spanish '16

Diego Diaz

Currently, I work as a Spanish and English teacher at Francisco Morazan National Pedagogic Univeristy (UPNFM), the only teacher training school in my home country, Honduras. In the future I plan to pursue a doctorate degree in education.


Sara Rico Godoy

MA, Spanish '16

Sara Rico Godoy

I´m currently working as an English and Spanish Professor at my Alma Mater UPNFM in Tegucigalpa, Honduras. I´m planning on continue with my studies in Hispanic Literatures, pursuing a Doctoral Degree in the US. I would also like to continue my career in Education, teaching and doing research in the field.


Manuel Alejandro Sánchez Cabrera

MA, Spanish '16

Manuel Alejandro Sánchez Cabrera

Right now, I am a PhD student at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.  I am interested in decolonial thinking, critical theory, performance, and film in/from Latin America. I hope to teach and do research in a top research University. I am also hoping to travel and learn from different communities and scholars around the world.


Josh Troester

MA, Spanish '16

Josh Troester

Currently, my wife and I are living and working in the Dominican Republic for a year. I am working as a missionary with the Dominican Baptist Convention. My works deals with developing partnerships and connections between Dominican and US churches. I have been doing a lot of translation and interpretation work for the Convention and for my missions sending organization. I have also been teaching an English conversation class to Pastors and leaders from churches here in Santo Domingo. I am very thankful for my years at SIU. I learned vital skills for teaching, translation, and interpretation that will help me in my professional and personal life. After this year in the Dominican Republic, my wife and I will return to the US for a year as we begin the turn-around process to return to the mission field with our sending organization.


Jessica Joy Stowe

MA, Spanish '15

Jessica Joy Stowe

I am currently teaching Spanish at Graves County High School in Mayfield, Kentucky. I hope to continue to learn from my students on how to become a more effective teacher. My overall goal is to instill a love for language and culture into future generations.


Holly Villines

MA, Spanish '15

Holly Villines

I am currently a PhD student in Spanish at the University of Tennessee-Knoxville. I am specializing in Modern and Contemporary Iberian studies, with a special focus on literature related to the Spanish Civil War and Spanish feminism.


Richard William Cisneros

MA, Spanish '14

Richard William Cisneros

Once a Saluki, always a Saluki. Once I finished my studies in Spanish, I returned to my home country of Panamá and began working as a professor of literature and linguistics. I plan to carry out research about the culture and literature of Panamá. I highly recommend studying something you really enjoy and if your passion is Spanish and Hispanic literatures and linguistics, SIUC has a great program for you. I am so happy to have studied at SIUC.


Grace Darmour-Paul

MA, Spanish '14

Grace Darmour-Paul

I completed a second Masters, a Masters of Arts in Teaching, from SIU. (I also got married and had a child)! I currently teach high school Spanish at Anna Jonesboro High.


Diana Pacheco

MA, Spanish '14

Diana Pacheco

I am currently a PhD student at the University of California, Berkeley in the Graduate School of Education with a specialization in Language Literacy and Culture. Additionally, I work as a graduate student instructor in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese.


Maiella Hernández

MA, Spanish '12

Maiella Hernández

In May 2013, my daughter was born and I worked at home just few hours a week as a Spanish teacher and
translator for a Canadian company in Querétero, Mexico. In 2015 my husband, daughter, and I moved to
Sherbrooke (Canada) where I work as Early Childhood Educator and I teach Spanish at “École
Montessori Magog”. Next year, I am planning to get my Montessori Certification at Canadian Montessori
Teacher Education Institute.


Catalina Rojas Blanco

MA, Spanish '12

Catalina Rojas Blanco

I have been working independently, doing literary workshops, tutoring in Spanish and Literature, translating, and writing poetry, stories, and books for children.  This spring (2017) I am starting my PhD in Modern Foreign Languages and Literatures at University of Tennessee, Knoxville. Upon completing my PhD I plan to teach Spanish and Hispanic literature at the university level.


Ashley Cline

MA, Spanish '11

Ashley Cline

I'm a National Sales Manager at Samasource and I do Consulting for a company in the Dominican Republic (Voice Team). I plan to continue in the BPO (outsourcing) space and establish myself as an expert in the field.


Nicole (Goestenkors) Gomez

MA, Spanish '11

Nicole (Goestenkors) Gomez

I finished my Ph.D in Spanish at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville with a dissertation entitled “Nepantla as her Place in the Middle: Multilingualism and Multiculturalism in the Writings of Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz.” I currently work as an Assistant Professor of Spanish at University of Virginia’s College at Wise.


Jason M. Stinnett

MA, Spanish '10

Jason M. Stinnett

I completed my PhD at University of Tennessee, and am currently working as a Visiting Assistant Professor at St. Edwards University in Austin, Texas. My research focuses on the relationship between gender and power dynamics in Hispanic convent writing from the late Medieval through the Early Modern period.


Brianna Janssen Sánchez

MA, Spanish '09

Brianna Janssen Sánchez

I completed a PhD in Second Language Acquisition with the FLARE program at the University of Iowa and now work as the director of the university’s media center. On a personal note, since graduating SIUC I married my college sweetheart and had two little girls.


Marcela Angel

MA, Spanish '07

Marcela Angel

Right now, I’m an English Language Fellow (program sponsored by the US department of State) teaching at Mataram University in Indonesia. The program lasts 10 months and I will have the option to renew. If I don’t renew my fellowship, I will probably go back to teaching English at the Center for English as a Second Language at SIU.