Department of Spanish and Portuguese Graduate Students

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Sebastián Bartis
Sebastián Bartís is a Ph.D. candidate in Latin American Literature. His areas of interest are 20th century Latin American Literature, Literary Theory, Film, and Music and TV Studies. He is also actively involved in the design of blended courses and the uses of technology in language and culture classes. Under the direction of Dr. Juan Carlos Quintero Herencia, he is working on his dissertation entitled The readers place in Osvaldo Lamborghini, Manuel Puig and Washington Cucurto. Sebastián is a 2014-2015 Teaching and Learning Transformation Center (TLTC) Graduate Teaching Fellow and is part of an interdisciplinary graduate student group pursuing a one-year research project focused on historically marginalized students and their experiences with and perceptions of technology in the classroom. He was a 2013-2014 fellow for the Center for Teaching Excellence’s “Summer Institutes on Teaching and Learning with New(er) Technologies.” As a teaching assistant for Dr. Roberta Lavine, he is currently part of the TLTC’s fellowship program, “Elevate Fellows: Elevating Teaching and Learning through Course Transformation.” He is a mentor for the 2015-2016 TLTC-Graduate School International Teaching Fellow program.  

In 2015 Sebastián was recognized by the UMD Graduate School as Outstanding Teaching Assistant and Outstanding Administrative Assistant.


Cecilia Battauz

Hailing from Entre Ríos, Argentina, Cecilia holds an MA in Spanish and TESOL from West Virginia University. Before studying at WVU, she worked as a Spanish instructor at Macalester College in St. Paul, MN. She is interested in 19th and 20th century literature from the Southern Cone. She loves animals, short stories, and dulce de leche.



Maria de la Luz Bort Caballero

Mariluz’s field of study is 20th century Spanish literature, specifically travel and exile writing, poetry, and women’s studies. Originally from Huelva (Andalusia), Spain, she holds a BA in English Studies and an MA in European Literatures and Teaching Languages from the University of Huelva. She taught for two years in the Department of Romance Languages and Literatures at Harvard University before coming to UMD. She loves looking at the stars, traveling, going to the beach, and “tapear” (eating tapas!).




Daniela Bulansky
Daniela is a PhD student from Argentina. She studied political science at the University of Buenos Aires, and her academic field of interest is Latin American literature. During her free time, she likes to dance the tango.







Lisa Carney
Lisa is a PhD candidate from Torrington, Wyoming. Her research focuses on Indigenous Studies and Andean Literature, and her dissertation is about Quichua-language dream narratives from the tropical forest of Ecuador. In her free time, Lisa enjoys yoga, baking, and trekking around the Amazon.







José Alfredo Contreras
José Alfredo grew up in Guanajuato, México. He is a PhD student whose main academic interest is contemporary Latin American literature. José Alfredo obtained his BA and MA degrees from California State University, Fullerton.







Nélida Devesa Gómez

Nélida is a PhD student from Cádiz, Spain. Her academic interests include 19th and 20th century peninsular and Latin American literature, specifically the representation of female characters in fiction. She studied Journalism and Comparative Literature at Universidad Complutense de Madrid and holds an M.A. in Hispanic Literature from the Catholic University of America. She enjoys traveling and riding her bike in her hometown.




Sarah Dowman
A native of Asbury Park, New Jersey, Sarah is PhD student whose academic interests include Latin American and U.S. Latinx cultural studies, gender and sexuality studies, transnationalism, and punk rock. She also enjoys going to shows, traveling, painting, and spending time with her cat.








Anne Giller-Wilde

Susan Hills

Steven Jennings

A native of Beltsville, MD, Steven is a Masters student in Hispanic Applied Linguistics and a teacher at Tuscarora High School in Frederick, MD. His academic interests include bilingual education and heritage language learners. He enjoys reading, riding his bike, traveling and spending time with his family.




(Matthew) Chris Lewis
Chris is a doctoral candidate from Salt Lake City, Utah. His research revolves around the way we tell stories with our bodies, and the way official stories become embodied. He is interested in the Pan-Caribbean and its diasporas and contemporary Mexican cultural production.







Sofía Maurette
Born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Sofia is a PhD student. She has a BA in Literature from the Universidad Católica Argentina (UCA) and an MA in Religion and Literature from the University of Chicago. Her areas of interest are politics, religion and literature from the twentieth century in Argentina and the southern cone. She is specially interested in the discourses they produce and how they interact with each other. When she is not reading or studying, Sofia enjoys playing with her two beautiful daughters and being outdoors.




Nidia Reyes

Born in Chihuahua, México, Nidia is interested in contemporary Mexican literature and gender studies. During her spare time she enjoys going to the movies, taking long walks, and drinking coffee.





Vivianne Salgado

María de Jesús Serna

Jesu Serna Dennis is from Acapulco, Mexico, and is currently pursuing a Master's degree in Hispanic Applied Linguistics. Her interests comprise learning sciences, language teaching and learning, development of didactic material for foreign language teaching, language assessment, and technical translation. She is a part-time student, and enjoys cooking, gardening and visiting new places in her spare time.






Catalina Shorkey









Kayla J. Watson
Kayla is a doctoral student originally from Abingdon, VA. Her academic research centers around contemporary Latin American literature and film, with an emphasis on post-armed conflict and neoliberal reform in the Andean region and Central America. Her other interests include hiking, camping, water sports, drinking coffee, and playing with her animals.