NEH Scholars

Sarah Older Aguilar

Sarah Older Aguilar earned a BA from UCSB and both a Masters and PhD in comparative literature from UCLA. Her research on the post-dictatorship cultural production of Chile and Argentina grew out of her fascination with history and storytelling. In addition to studying and teaching literature, Sarah loves to travel. While pursuing her degrees, she spent a year in Spain and summers in France and Brazil. Currently, Sarah teaches courses in Spanish language, world literature and a creative non-fiction workshop at Vistamar School in El Segundo, California.

Katie Bordner

I'm currently in my 5th year of teaching in Chicago. I teach mostly Spanish 1 to sophomores in high school who have never taken a language before, and I really enjoy opening their eyes to different perspectives of culture and communication. I am also lucky enough to teach an elective Golden Era of Spain class where we focus on literature written about lower class youth, and how the idea of a "picaro" has continued to evolve in a variety of societies. I hope to do something similar with what we learn about in DF. In my free time I enjoy photography and videography, biking and running, and jigsaw puzzles.

Graciela Bueno

Un gran saludo para todos. I was born in Colombia, South America where I completed my undergraduate college work in Philosophy and Letters. I went to graduate school at the University of Florida in Gainesville, majoring in Linguistics (M.A.). I have taught Spanish and EFL at different levels in Colombia, Florida and Arizona. Presently, I have just finished an exhausting school year teaching Spanish to middle and high school students in the public school system of Scottsdale, Arizona. I love to travel and study during summer time. Recently I attended summer school in Cadiz (Spain), and Cartagena (Colombia ). I am especially happy about this new opportunity due to the fact that I have never been to Mexico City. Not to mention that this is a unique experience due to the nature of the seminar and the group. Carmen Boullosa, Carlos Fuentes and Silvia Molina are my potential targets for the final project but I may change my mind!

Pascual Campos

Hola camaradas, my name is Pascual Campos. I have been teaching for 22 years at the same high school, Adolfo Camarillo. I teach Spanish as a second language, Spanish for native speakers, and ESL. I was born in Mexico City, in the same neighborhood where the institute will be taking place. I would like to do my project around Sor Juana's work (The Reply to Sor Filotea) because I admire the fact that she fought extremely hard so that women could have access to education, and nowadays some of the students are apathetic with respect to education (que lástima). I have three beautiful, loving and responsible daughters. I enjoy traveling and good food. I used to play soccer, but gave it up because of my knees. I truly have one of the best jobs in the whole wide world: I teach (and learn from my students).

Alex Cardiasmenos


My name is Alex Cardiasmenos, and I am thrilled to be participating in the Dialogues in Americas program this summer.  Although I do not have a concrete idea for what I want to focus my energies on yet, I am excited to learn about and experience Mexican culture through literature and living in Mexico, DF.  I hope to use this summer’s experience to enrich my classroom by creating an engaging curriculum for my students and also to help further the appreciation of Latin American culture at my school.  My passions include traveling the world, adventure, running and meeting new people.  I look forward to meeting everyone and the good times that lie ahead. 

Patricia Carpenter

I am a Spanish teacher in 7th and 8th grade classrooms in Northern California. I am passionate about learning about and experiencing the Spanish language and the cultures associated with it. I am excited to be a part of this program as it will allow me to continue to follow my passion for language and literature. I have studied in Chile, Spain and Mexico. My experiences in all of these countries influence my teaching practice and I am anxiously awaiting the opportunity to research and create new lessons to incorporate in my own classroom and share with my colleagues.

Pamela Centeno

Born and raised in Colorado Springs, Pamela's grandfather arrived there from San Juan de los Lagos, Jalisco to work in the coalmines. Pamela is the first person in her family to attend high school and then college. She has a hunger for knowledge and tremendous love for her family's original culture and language, Spanish. After college she went to Spain to complete her Master's degree; but that is not all, she has traveled extensively through Central and South America, taught English in Mexico, as well as in Chile. She eagerly anticipates the opportunity to surround herself with other participants to share ideas, experiences, and to become inspired yet again by this fabulous emersion opportunity in the heart of Mexico.

Elisa Ciaglia

I am very excited to be accepted into this program, especially since this will be my first ever trip to the capital of the country, Mexico City. I'm currently working on a research paper for my Master's in Spanish Literature with an emphasis on the social and political context of Mexico City in the 1920s, the heart of the progressive Obregón government. I am passionate about art, and am a political art aficionado, especially the Mexican muralist tradition of Orozco, Rivera, Tamayo, and Siqueiros. Hopefully, I will be able to integrate these interests into my NEH project. My other hobbies are running, reading, traveling, cooking, and spending time with family and friends. I am looking forward to an amazing and unique experience this summer!

Kate Cook

Kate Cook teaches high school Spanish in Brooklyn, NY. In addition to her teaching duties, she is the school's Outdoor Club advisor/founder, and takes groups of students hiking and camping once a month. She primarily uses TPRS and service-learning teaching methods in her classroom, but continues to incorporate new ideas every year. Outside of school, Kate loves to travel, dance, sing, and is learning to play the guitar. While she loves living in New York City, she and her brother own a house in Colorado to quench her thirst for the outdoors.

Joy Elizondo

A Southern California native, I have roamed far and wide, and tried my hand at different careers, including educational publishing and curatorial work. I happily landed at Crane Country Day School in Santa Barbara, where I have been teaching Spanish in grades six and eight for the past nine years. I graduated from U.C. Berkeley with degrees in Spanish and Comparative Literature, and earned an M.A. in Romance Languages at Harvard. I spent an academic year in Annecy, France living with a host family, and later studied in Alcalá de Henares, Spain (near Madrid) in college. I also lived in Puebla, Mexico for five months, and have traveled in Central America and Argentina. In terms of projects, I'm very interested in Modern and Contemporary Latin American art and film, issues of identity and migration, and ways to optimize new media integration in the classroom. I can't wait to get back to el D.F., meet all of you, read and explore!

Luis Gallegos

Luis A. Gallegos joined the faculty of The Hockaday School in Dallas, TX, in 2010, after teaching for eleven years at Albuquerque Academy in Albuquerque, NM. He currently teaches Spanish IV and Advanced Placement Spanish Language and is the faculty sponsor of Mosaico, an annual student magazine of creative writing in Spanish. Luis has also taught at The University of Texas at Austin and the Hawaii Preparatory Academy. He was a University Fellow at The University of Texas at Austin, where he earned an M.A. in Spanish and Latin American Literature, and an Andrew W. Mellon Undergraduate Minority Fellow at Princeton University, where he earned a B.A. in Romance Languages and Literatures. Luis enjoys traveling in Spain, Italy and Peru, drawing and painting, singing along with music from all around the Spanish-speaking world, and listening to traditional Hawaiian music.

Evan Glasier

My name is Evan Glasier and I am a Spanish teacher at Yorktown High School in Arlington, VA. I am originally from Little Rock, AR but have lived near Washington D.C. for many years now. Apart from interests in Hispanic studies I enjoy playing and watching sports, reading, and going to cultural events. I hope to learn a great deal more about indigenous Mexican cultures as well as more about topics such as the Mexican Revolution. I have plans for my project to relate to some revolutionary topic. I'm excited for the experience this summer!

Alison Gould

I teach Spanish to 7th and 8th graders at the Weston Middle School, a public district in the western suburbs of Boston. Prior to teaching I had worked in the field of architectural preservation, so I am always looking for ways to fuse passions together with language, and searching for creative paths that my students can follow. Over the past two summers I tried to foster my own creativity outside of the classroom by focusing on photography. I have had the great fortune to join two volunteer programs that enabled me to learn about and photograph small towns in Serbia and Iceland. During the year I try to photograph as much of the Boston area as I can, and always look forward to capturing views in the long list of new places to which I'd like to travel.

Randy Grillo

Life keeps pulling me back to Mexico. As a senior in college, majoring in Spanish at the University of Washington, I did a semester exchange to the UNAM (Universidad Autónoma de México) in Mexico City. After my fifth year of teaching High School Spanish, I won a Fulbright Exchange in 2003 to work in a public secondary school in Mérida, Yucatán. I met my wife in the Plaza of Oaxaca City and shortly thereafter, I left Washington State to teach for three years at the American School Foundation in Mexico City. Currently, I teach Spanish and Spanish for Native Speakers at Santa Fe High School in Santa Fe, NM. Taking Octavio Paz and the immigrant students that I instruct as a leaping off point, I hope to focus my research project on how we change as our surroundings change. Do we evolve into a richer reinvention of ourselves or do we lose ourselves, negating who we really are? It's going to be a great summer!

Suzanne Hogarty

I'm Suzanne Hogarty, a high school Spanish teacher at Acton Boxborough Regional High School in MA. I am so excited to be participating in this project! I find it hard to believe - but I have never been to Mexico despite the fact I have been teaching Spanish for 13 years. I have studied in Spain though - so I do have the "ceceo." This is my 2nd NEH project that I will be attending. I previously went to Spain to learn about the art in the Prado and the literature it inspired, I thoroughly enjoyed the seminar and learned so much! I am looking forward to meeting the amazing teachers with whom I will collaborate, befriend, and embark on this adventure!

Rebeca Illescas

Hola! My name is Rebeca Illescas and I live in Dallas, Texas. I am originally from Guatemala and have lived in the US for the last 30 years. I have a wonderful and caring daughter and am the proud and happy Nana of a six year old, Maya. I teach Spanish at DeWitt Perry M.S. and I love my job. I value education, friendship, and honesty. I consider myself a caring and hardworking individual, and often funny. In my spare time I enjoy reading, doing yoga, riding my bike, and walking. I have no idea what my project will be about, but I am enjoying the readings.

Rachel McCormick

Rachel McCormick teaches Spanish at Bronx Leadership Academy High School. Her love for Spanish comes from her love of Mexico and her passion for immigration reform. While a student at Vassar College, she studied abroad in Oaxaca to understand the sources of migration to Poughkeepsie. In her last year as an undergraduate, Rachel organized a march for immigrants' rights where she met her future husband, a member of New York's indigenous Mexican community. After several jobs, including working for buildOn in Philadelphia and Nicaragua, Rachel and her husband moved to his native Oaxaca, where she learned to catch chapulines and make tortillas. Since moving back to New York, Rachel has traveled to the U.S.-Mexico border every summer to provide assistance to people crossing the border in the Sonoran desert. She also visits immigrants weekly at a New Jersey detention center. After receiving a Masters degree in Spanish from the City University of New York, Rachel is now pursuing an MA in Media Studies at the New School. She hopes to create documentaries and teach her students how to use media in the digital age. Studying this summer in Mexico City will be another step in her journey as a citizen and an educator.

Daniella Quiñones

Daniella Quiñones is a Spanish teacher at Medfield Public Schools in Medfield, Massachusetts. Daniella's passion for languages and cultures was sparked at a young age by her bilingual upbringing in the border cities of San Diego, CA and Tijuana, Mexico. Prior to becoming an educator, Daniella worked in media production for NBC Television, and most recently for Boston public television station WGBH. At WGBH, Daniella worked with local PBS stations and educators across the U.S. to promote Teachers' Domain, a digital library of media resources and professional development for K-12 educators. Currently, Daniella works to combine her passion for language and culture with media and technology in her classroom. Her research interests lie in how media and technology can be used to engage youth and augment foreign language acquisition. She holds a B.A. from Loyola Marymount University, an M.A. from Emerson College, and a Certificate in Education from the University of Massachusetts, Boston.

Sarah Rosenbaum

I am currently in my 5th year of teaching. I teach at a pubic charter school in Austin, TX called KIPP Austin Collegiate. The majority of my students are 9th graders, which is a wonderful age to see students grow. I teach PreAP Spanish to native Spanish-speakers with the goal of student earning 2 AP Spanish credits and Spanish I. I am also the 9th grade academic chair and department chair. I have traveled in Europe and lived in Spain and Argentina. I enjoy cooking, rock climbing, soccer, and traveling. I am looking forward to my first trip to Mexico.

Gail Schwartzberg

I am in my 5th year of teaching 6th, 7th and 8th grade Spanish in the Philadelphia public school system. The majority of my students don't have much exposure in their daily lives to Spanish language or culture. It makes me proud when I see students start to actually use Spanish and get into the music and culture. I am very excited to participate in the summer institute and meet other Spanish teachers from all over the U.S. I also can't wait to get back to Mexico City. I was awarded a grant during my M.A. studies to research in Mexico City and absolutely loved it. I'm thinking about focusing my institute research project on Mexican murals and connecting them with Philadelphia murals or doing a curricular unit on the different voices that shaped Mexico. I look forward to meeting everyone and enjoying a fantastic summer together.

Rosa Vazquez

Rosa Vazquez is currently working on her M.A. in Bilingual Multicultural Education from CSU, Sacramento (2011). Her research interests include second language acquisition with an emphasis on how language development affects the academic lives of low income, culturally and linguistically diverse students. Ms. Vazquez majored in Italian Studies & Photography, with a minor in Art History from CSU, Sacramento. Her future plans are to develop and implement relevant curriculum affecting the academic lives of California's diverse student population. She wants to work with students to promote appreciation of other cultures and languages and to assist underrepresented groups with their academic endeavors

Danivel Vélez

My name is Daniel Vélez and after living 17 years in the US I am very excited to finally be able to visit Mexico for the first time. The majority of my students in the ELD department at Mountain View High School are from Mexico and they love to tell me stories about their hometown. I am happy to finally see where they are from and share my knowledge and experiences in Mexico with all my students. Before a career in teaching, I studied art with a focus in photography. I loved to see the world through my lens and now I love to learn about the world and life through my students. I traveled around the world in search of life experiences tasting different cultures. I enjoy very much cooking, playing and watching soccer, and training to run marathons. I was born in Lima, Perú and I am the proud father of a 12-year-old boy who lives with me in California.

Elizabeth Villanueva

I am Elizabeth Villanueva, a high school and community college Spanish teacher in Sacramento, CA. I have been teaching different Spanish levels, from Spanish 1 for beginners to native speakers Spanish AP Literature, for seven years. At the age of 17 while I was living in a small town in Michoacan, Mexico, I realized how important it was to have an education, and since my father wasn't able to provide that, I decided to move to the U.S with my mother, who had migrated there illegally five years before. Fortunately, by then my mother had established her legal residency as well as for her four children. Thus, for me it was easier to decide to leave my country and family and go to study in CA. My plan was just to be there for a short period of time to learn English and then go back to my town with my family; however, 16 years have passed and I still live in CA, working with a variety of students from different ethnic backgrounds and a lot of them share a similar background with me.

Molly von Appen

Molly von Appen teaches Theory of Knowledge and higher level Spanish in the International Baccalaureate (IB) Program at Cocoa Beach Junior/Senior High School in Florida.  She is involved in many aspects of the school beyond the classes she teaches.  She is the Coordinator of the IB Creativity, Action, and Service Program, the IB Extend Essay Coordinator, and the advisor for the National Honor Society.  Molly has had the opportunity to explore many countries in the Americas, Europe and Asia.  She is looking forward to this summer institute and the opportunity it will afford her to examine the rich culture and history of Mexico through literature.  She values studying in a collegial atmosphere and is excited about participating in the development of materials to share with teachers in her home school and beyond. 

**Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this program do not necessarily reflect those of the National Endowment for the Humanities**