¡Felicidades a Jarely Aragón Ramírez de Washington State University, nuestro Heritage Student Spotlight para le mes de septiembre 2023! Jarely fue nominada por la Dr. Teresa Satterfield quien fue la mentora de Jarely durante su participación en un programa de investigación de verano en the University of Michigan.
En sus propias palabras:
“I am a first-generation college student at Washington State University (WSU) majoring in Spanish and pursuing two minors in Linguistics and Japanese, and a certificate in Teaching English as a Foreign Language. The motivation propelling me to formally learn the Spanish language in school came from my identity as a Mexican American.
I grew up in a predominantly Latino neighborhood in Los Angeles, California. Logic would say that because I was surrounded by peers who shared the same identity and language, I would grow up to be confident in who I was. Unfortunately, I felt like I had two different lives that did not match up. At home I spoke Spanish, watched telenovelas, helped my parents translate, and celebrated Mexican holidays. At school, most of my teachers were white, I spoke English, learned about white English authors, and was taught history of Europe and North America. The few times I heard mention of Mexico or other Latin American countries was during the colonial era and how Europeans thought we were “savages.” In addition, the media helped fuel negative stereotypes of Latinos. School and society at large, were saying that my identity as Mexican American and Spanish-speaker was not valued and should be kept to the limits of my home. Therefore, I grew up to be ashamed of my heritage.
In my “Latinos in Contemporary Society” course at Yakima Valley College, I realized that I was not the only one who felt like this. Moreover, this racism and linguistic discrimination is systematic and intentional. I am incredibly grateful I decided to take college courses during my senior year of high school. This course cemented my resolve to major in Spanish so that I could continue learning and speaking it beyond my home. One advice I would give to other Spanish heritage students is: take a course in Spanish and/or Latino culture. It is fun learning about oneself, seeing one’s identity reflected in history, and feeling united in shared experiences. I wish that courses such as these would be accessible nationwide so that young children do. not struggle with feelings of belonging or their identity and can benefit from knowing the roots of their history.
Studying Spanish has instilled pride and confidence in my identity as a Mexican American. It has expanded my network and career options. I did not know I could do research in Spanish until I joined the McNair Scholars Program at WSU. I have travelled fully funded to Mexico through the Programa de Innmersión Cultural y Voluntaridado in 2021 to explore Mexico, learning its history, and volunteer with other Mexican Americans. I have travelled and conducted Spanish-language research at the University of Michigan (UM) through Rackham’s Summer Research Opportunity Program under the guidance of Dr. Teresa Satterfield Linares and Valeria Ortiz Villalobos, a graduate student in the Combined Program in Education and Psychology (CPEP). Dr. Satterfield is a professor of Spanish and founder of En Nuestra Lengua, a Spanish immersion program that teaches academic Spanish and cultures to young Spanish-speaking children. It was an honor and amazing learning experience to have worked with both for two summers in a row in 2022 and 2023.
This fall I will be studying abroad in Japan to complete my Japanese minor as well as applying to graduate school to pursue a doctoral degree in applied linguistics or a related field. The University of Michigan’s CPEP doctoral program is one of my top programs to apply to, where I hope to continue working with Dr. Satterfield. Regardless of where I end up, I intend to be a Spanish and Linguistics professor, researcher, and mentor whose work not only serves the Spanish-speaking community, but also improves and supports linguistic educational policies that create a multicultural and linguistically inclusive environment for our diverse population.”
Gracias, Jarely—¡Muchas felicidades!
Si usted es instructor/a de español como lengua de herencia, y quiere nominar a un estudiante, favor de entregar una solicitud aquí.