Department welcomes new faculty for the 2014-2015 school year

The Department of Languages and Literatures congratulates the following faculty members on their new positions beginning the 2014-2015 school year:

Full-Time Faculty

  • Dr. Kyle James Matthews, Assistant Professor of Spanish
  • Dr. Cristina Agostinelli, Visiting Assistant Professor of Spanish Linguistics
  • Ms. Beth Adams, Lecturer of Spanish
  • Ms. Nadjet Sarrab, Lecturer of French

And welcomes the following new faculty member for the 2014-2015 school year:

Part-Time Faculty

  • Ms. Shannon Circe, Adjunct Lecturer of Spanish

Diasporas of Color Undergraduate Conference

Diasporas of Color Undergraduate Conference

SUNY Geneseo’s Departments of English, History, and Languages and Literatures
and Africana Studies, Americana Studies, Asian Studies and Latin American Studies,
with the collaboration of SUNY New Paltz’s Department of Black Studies and the Latin American and Caribbean Studies Program

invite you to participate in the


Friday, April 25th, and Saturday, April 26th, 2014 State University of New York at Geneseo Students are invited to present papers and posters that are concerned with all issues pertaining to diasporas of color relevant to Africa, Asia, Latin America, the Caribbean, and the United States. Presenters may offer scholarly research or participate in panel discussions from all academic disciplines and social sectors. This Conference is funded in part by a 2013-2014 EXPLORATIONS IN DIVERSITY AND ACADEMIC EXCELLENCE SUPPORT grant from SUNY’s Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion and by SUNY Geneseo’s Office of the Provost.

The “II First World Diaspora Undergraduate Conference,” a collaborative project of SUNY Geneseo and SUNY New Paltz, invites undergraduate students to SUNY Geneseo to present papers or posters concerning all issues relevant to diasporas of color of Africa, Asia, Latin America, the Caribbean, and the United States, especially those related to the conference theme: “Global(izing) Identities and Migration across Diasporas of Color”.

The Conference has been organized to bring together students, recent graduates, academics and professionals to accomplish many desired goals, particularly,

  • to provide undergraduates the experience of showcasing, in a professional setting, the best of their scholarship in their area of specialization;
  • to expose undergraduates to enriching and meaningful, current diaspora scholarship as a means of motivating and stimulating their pursuit of a graduate education;
  • to create a venue where undergraduates will learn from the graduate experiences of, and challenges faced by, professionals who have specialized in similar fields of study;
  • to offer a space where current undergraduates can interact and network with alumni, recent graduates and new professionals as well as with renowned experts.

The objective is to help prepare undergraduates to enter and successfully adapt to the professional world upon graduation.

View the conference program.

Dr. Kathryn Fredericks honored on Faculty Recognition Day by class of 2013

Dr. Kathryn Fredericks

Dr. Kathryn Fredericks

Name of student: Ryan Bulach

Hometown: Kelowna, BC

High school: Rutland Senior Secondary

Major: Biology

Most influential Professor: Dr Kate Fredericks

Student words: Dr Fredericks has been my most influential professor because she created a fun learning environment. She was able to effectively teach her subject (French), while maintaining a positive learning atmosphere. Dr Fredericks has opened my mind to new areas of study that I may not have been aware of before being a student in her class. I have the utmost respect for her as a professor at Geneseo.


Dr Lori Bernard, new Chair of the Department of Languages and Literatures

Dr Lori Bernard

Dr Lori Bernard

Following Dr. Rose McEwen’s decision to step down as Department Chair in Fall 2012, Dr. Lori Bernard, who had efficiently served as interim chair in Fall 2010, with the recommendation of Dr. McEwen and the endorsement of our department’s Personnel Committee as well as that of Provost Carol Long, has officially been appointed by President Dahl to the position of Chair of the Department of Languages and Literatures.
This appointment recognizes Dr. Bernard’s numerous accomplishments in our profession, both administratively and scholarly. Congratulations to the new Chair and many thanks to Dr. McEwen for her many contributions and dedicated service to our Department.

Dr Cyndy Klima and Professor Rocio Vallejo honored on Faculty Recognition Day by class of 2013

Dr Cyndy Klima

Honoring Student-Athlete: Nick Voggel

Hometown: Tully, NY

High School: Tully Jr/Sr. High School

Major: History

Most Influential Professor: Dr. Cynthia Klima

Professor Klima is a lively and fun professor who has constantly challenged me over the years. I have truly enjoyed having her as my teacher. She has taught me to never give up and keep on trying no matter what. Her lessons will never be forgotten, especially when I visit Germany.

Professor Rocio Vallejo

Honoring Student-Athlete: Cailin Kowalewski

Hometown: Fredonia, NY

High School: Fredonia High School

Major: English

Most Influential Professor: Rocio Vallejo

I have twice been a student in Professor Vallejo’s classes. In both cases, she expected a level of excellence from myself and my classmates that at times seemed unattainable in a second language, but that ultimate-ly helped me develop into a much stronger student and person than I expected. Professor Vallejo is posi-tive, encouraging, and expects nothing less than one hundred percent effort from her students in every-thing that they do. She easily embraces mistakes as opportunities for growth, and offers enthusiasm and support to her students as readily as she challenges them. Her confidence has been invaluable to me as a student, athlete, and individual.

Department welcomes eight new faculty for the 2012-2013 school year

The Department of Languages and Literatures welcomes the following eight new faculty for the 2012-2013 school year:

Full-Time Faculty

  • Dr. Kathryn FREDERICKS, Visiting Assistant Professor of French (Generalist)




  • Dr. Delano LAMY, Visiting Assistant Professor of Spanish (Linguistics)




  • Mr. Kyle MATTHEWS, Visiting Lecturer of Spanish (Generalist)




Half-Time Faculty

  • Dr. Amr ELSHERIF, Fulbright Visiting Scholar, Arabic and Culture Studies  (appointment shared with English Dept.)




Part-Time Faculty and Teaching Assistants

  • Ms. Rosa PILLCURIMA, Adjunct Instructor of Spanish




  • Ms. Wenzhuo (“Wendi”) LI, Adjunct Instructor of Chinese




  • Ms. Rocío ROMERO CATALÁ, Spanish Teaching Assistant (exchange program with Universidad de Córdoba, Argentina)



  • Ms. Nadjet SARRAB, French Teaching Assistant (exchange program with Université Montpellier III, France)


Updates from our students alumni: a degree in Spanish or French has helped their professions

Kathleen O’Connell (Spanish)

I am currently working as a Placement Specialist at LASPAU: Academic and Professional Programs for the Americas, which is a non-profit affiliated with Harvard University.  I work with scholarship grantees from Latin America to help them find the best academic and financial fit and place them at U.S. universities, and I use my Spanish in this position on a daily basis.  I also work part-time as a freelance translator and proofreader for a Peruvian translation agency, where I worked on a variety of finance, legal, and government-related documents.  And, when I have free time, I also volunteer as a translator for Kiva.

I think that Geneseo and particularly the Department of Languages and Literatures provided me with the tools needed to succeed in my career.  As a Geneseo student, I pursued a double major in Spanish and International Relations, as well as a minor in Latin American Studies.  I was a member of the Sigma Delta Pi honor society and was president of the Phi Sigma Iota honor society.  I also had the opportunity to participate in a direct immersion study abroad program at Universidad San Francisco de Quito (UFSQ) through SUNY.  Then, as a senior, I spent two months in Nicaragua during the pilot phase of what is now the Service Learning Program in El Sauce.  These experiences, coupled with my job as a student at the International Student Services Office at Geneseo, led me to pursue a career in international higher education, focusing on Latin America.  Since graduating, I have worked with international students, U.S. study abroad students, and have taught English abroad and rated English proficiency exams.

I think that there is a stereotype that a degree in a second language isn’t useful or that it is only relevant if you want to be a language teacher, but this is a large misconception, especially given that we are living in an increasingly interconnected world.  My brother has even told me that the one thing that he wishes he had done was continue with Spanish after high school, presumably because he has come to realize the benefit of knowing a second language since he entered the job market.  In my case, I started at Geneseo with the intention of being a high school Spanish teacher, but found along the way that there are many other ways to incorporate Spanish into your career, and I have found working in international higher education to be the best fit for me.

To contact Kathleen, email her at

Continue reading

Dr Rose McEwen and Dr Lori Bernard received competitive grants from SUNY system

Dr Rose McEwen and Dr Lori Bernard of the Spanish section of the Department of Languages and Literatures are among the four SUNY Geneseo faculty members to receive the SUNY system 2012 Innovative Instruction Technology Grants (IITG). The grants fund campus innovations and initiatives with potential to be replicated throughout the SUNY system and benefit students and faculty worldwide. Of 117 proposals submitted, 48 received awards across three different funding tiers.

Dr Rose McEwen received a Tier One Award for her project focusing on transforming to a hybrid foreign language instructional model. A Tier One Award funds projects up to $10,000.

Dr Lori Bernard received a Tier Three Award from Geneseo for her project focusing on leveraging SUNY system expertise through distance mentoring to enhance the undergraduate research experience. A Tier Three Award funds projects up to $60,000 with a 33% matching funds required.

“This new competitive grants program will enable partnerships across SUNY to leverage technology as a means to educate students,” said SUNY Chancellor Nancy L. Zimpher. “It serves as an excellent example of the power of SUNY to realize efficiencies through the sharing of resources and instructional partnerships within our system.”

All projects included an assessment and communications plan to ensure that the new innovations can be openly shared and replicated across SUNY. Funded projects demonstrating potential for multi-campus use will be eligible to apply for additional funds in 2013.

Chinese Language Lecturer Jasmine Tang Receives National Award of Distinction

GENESEO, N.Y. – Jasmine Tang, a Chinese language lecturer at SUNY Geneseo in the Department of Languages and Literatures, has received an Award of Distinction from the Chinese Language Education and Research Center (CLERC) for outstanding contributions to the promotion of Chinese language education in the United States.

Tang is among nine Chinese language teachers and administrators that CLERC has honored this year. The honorees receive a fully covered, two-week education trip to China and will have opportunities to network with U.S. and Chinese educators, build partnerships, attend classes and learn firsthand about China by visiting cultural and historical sites.

“I am thrilled to receive this honor,” said Tang. “It affirms two decades of teaching the Chinese language and I am very thankful.”

Established in 1993, CLERC is a non-profit institution based in California dedicated to the research and advancement of Chinese language teaching and learning and to the promotion of U.S.-China cultural and educational exchanges.

Three of Tang’s students also will be in China this summer on study abroad programs and another will be there teaching English as a second language.

Tang, who received a psychology degree from Geneseo in 1987, has been on the Geneseo faculty since 1991. She received a master’s degree in Chinese education from SUNY Empire State College and completed master’s degree courses in linguistic and applied linguistics at East China Normal University in China. She is a member of the Chinese Language Teachers Association.

Tang also has published the textbook “Taking Off With Chinese,” designed for students who have had no contact with the Chinese language or culture.


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.