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FLL Alumni News

I–L

Kim (Lizza) Jimenez '05, Spanish
I am currently working as a Spanish translator and office secretary in a retina specialist´s office in Yonkers, N.Y. I do simultaneous verbal translations as well as written ones, as a good portion of the patients are Hispanic and many are first-generation. They are almost if not entirely dependent on the translations. I have been learning a lot of new vocabulary and find the job very interesting.

I did study abroad in Madrid my junior year at Skidmore, and then returned as an English language assistant upon graduating. I was paired with a very nice girl from London, and we worked well together as a team to teach the classes. At our particular primary school, we were more the instructors than the assistants, and we enjoyed the freedom to be creative with the classes and activities.

My Spanish classes at Skidmore were the highlight of my experience there; I chose Skidmore primarily because of the Foreign Language Department, and I feel I grew and changed tremendously both personally and academically. As previously mentioned, I am using the language on a daily basis, both at work and at home, as I married a Spaniard this summer.


Ingrid Jordan '98, Spanish
Since graduating, I received my master's degree in higher education administration from New York University. My area of concentration was international programs/international student services. After completing the degree in 2001, I spent part of that summer working as the administrative coordinator for a high school exchange program based outside Havana, Cuba. I never would have had that opportunity without the language skills. Currently, I work as a foreign student advisor at Columbia University. There are occasional opportunities where I interact with Spanish-speaking students or scholars, particularly newly arrived exchange visitors. I feel that my Spanish language skills are one of the best things I've taken with me from college, and it keeps open many possibilities for my career track.


Gina Kapustin '97, Spanish
"gina kapustin" <ginakapustin@hotmail.com>
Directly out of school I received my MSW from New York University. I worked in the field for a couple of years working predominately with Spanish-speaking clients. At the time I worked as a therapist for sexually and physically abused children and child witnesses of domestic violence. I also had a lot of contact, and did a great deal of work, with their parents (and typically their mothers). 

Although I enjoyed my work and found it gratifying, I was not totally satisfied with the field. About a year and a half ago I began law school at Cardozo School of Law (part of Yeshiva University). I enrolled in their accelerated program, which began in January 2002, and I am scheduled to graduate in June 2004. I am currently wrapping up my second year of law school. This summer I'll be interning at an organization called inMotion. I'll be using my Spanish very regularly, working with women who cannot afford legal services in the area of divorce, family law and immigration. It seems as if my role will have several components: I'll be assisting women obtain divorces on their own and also I'll be doing a heavy amount of outreach—going into communities, speaking to women, letting them know what resources are available to them and hooking them up with different agencies which could provide them legal services. I'll be located in the Bronx; the specific program I'll be involved in is called "Poder Latina." I begin the internship on June 2. My guess is that if you're interested, I'll be able to provide more detailed information about it later in the summer. 

So in a nutshell that is where I am and what I'm doing. Specifically, what area of the law interests me ... I'm not totally sure. Perhaps matrimonial law or maybe something entirely different. Either way, I would like to incorporate my social work degree and my Spanish.  


Carey Kasten '97, Spanish
Carey Kasten is now assistant professor of Spanish at Fordham University.


Hilary Knecht '13, Italian

After graduating from Skidmore College in 2013 with a B.A. in Art History and minors in Arts Administration and Italian, I have worked in the Education Department at Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art (MASS MoCA) for over three years. I manage public programs and work with the Education Team to develop innovative and model pedagogies for education in museums. I started work in museum education as an Education Assistant at the Tang Teaching Museum while at Skidmore. Through an intensive Italian language program and a homestay with a non-English speaking Italian family, I immersed myself in Italian while studying abroad in Florence, Italy. While leading tours at the Museo dell'Opera del Duomo in the heart of Florence, I began building the foundations for a career in museum education. I aspire to substantiate my museum education work with a theoretical grounding through graduate school in fall 2017, ultimately to launch my own museum education initiatives to have a transformative effect on individuals and communities.


Mamie Krupczak '90, French
I graduated from Skidmore in 1990 with a B.A. in French. I currently teach French at Broadalbin-Perth High School in Broadalbin, N.Y. 


Tracy Meltzer Kyle '91, Spanish
Fairfax, Va.
Occupation: high school Spanish/French teacher (Most years, I teach Spanish; I do French 1 when they are in need of teacher for a section or there's an overload of kids in another class). I also write teaching materials for Teacher's Discovery Inc. 

As of tomorrow I will hopefully have my master's degree in foreign languages (concentration in Spanish) from George Mason University (Fairfax, Va). Without a doubt, my foreign language studies at Skidmore have helped me in my career. I would not be able to teach the upper-level grammar and literature classes without the coursework we were required to have. I also think that having small classes and being asked to make a lot of class presentations helped when I began teaching. Also, I'm living in an area and teaching in a school with a high Hispanic population, so being bilingual is a plus.


Juleyka Lantigua '96, Spanish
Spanish/Government double major
Post-Skidmore:
Fulbright Scholarship, Spain 1996–97
M.S. in Journalism from Boston University, May 2000
Present occupation:
Book editor, Crown Publishers, Random House, NYC
Syndicated columnist, Progressive Media Project

As the only Spanish-proficient editor in my division, I have a distinct advantage because I am able to consider projects and authors who publish in Spanish in Latin America and Spain. As a syndicated columnist covering current and international affairs, I utilize my Spanish skills to research, interview, and often write about topics that the English-dominant media ignores or does not cover properly.


Jill Schwartz Lehv '71, French
I graduated from Skidmore in 1971 as a French major. My original intention had been to minor in Spanish but after freshman year, I decided against it. Big mistake. I left Saratoga Springs for Medford, Mass. and spent a year Tufts University, where I earned an M.A. in French. The hunt for a teaching job began in the spring of 1972, and the market was tight. I ended up teaching French and Spanish (I agreed to take additional courses towards certification) at McCall Junior High in Winchester, Mass. I stayed there for one year and then moved back to the New York area, where my family is. Since 1973 I have been teaching French and Spanish in the Edgemont Public Schools in Scarsdale, N.Y. For the last four years I have been chair of foreign languages in the district. Edgemont Junior/Senior High School is in a small, affluent suburb about 20 miles north of New York City. About 98% of the students go on to four-year colleges; the other 2% generally go to community colleges, and many later transfer to four-year institutions. As a lifelong learner, I still take courses, seminars, and workshops. Through the AATF I have participated in summer study in Avignon. French is, and always has been, my passion. Our enrollments in French have dropped as those in Spanish have risen, following a national trend. Finding qualified French teachers on the junior and senior high school levels is a daunting task. Maybe you know of some former graduates who are looking for jobs; feel free to direct them my way.  


Camila Lertora '04, Spanish
Along with being a second-year master's student in Syracuse University's Higher Education Administration program, I also work full-time in the university's Office of Judicial Affairs as a judicial counselor. As the judicial counselor, my responsibilities include, but are not limited to: (1) Handling a caseload of serious to intermediate-level incidents where the Code of Student Conduct has been violated; (2) liasion to the Office of Information and Technology Services, handling all cases involving copyright distribution violations and any other violations dealing with technology services; (3) provide problem-solving assistance to students and staff regarding student rights and responsibilities; (4) provide ongoing mentoring and support to students who engage in negative behaviors; (5) develop and offer training on the University Judicial System to campus constituencies; (6) advise the University Judicial Board; (7) coordinate and maintain the formal hearing process for students who have formal Judicial Hearings; and (8) develop and offer programming to students regarding the institution's behavioral expectations.

crlertor@syr.edu


Michelle Levin '93, Spanish
I am actually putting my Spanish degree to excellent use. After graduating from Skidmore in 1993, I moved to Guayaquil, Ecuador, to teach at the American School. I then moved to Tucson, Ariz., where I was teacher coordinator of a bilingual Head Start center. During that time I got a teaching certificate from the University of Phoenix. Four years ago I moved back to my home state of Maryland to create and implement a Spanish program for children in grades K–5 at a private school. I love teaching and working with young students.
I haven't given up traveling yet. This summer the Park School (the progressive school where I work) is sending me to Guatemala for a month to live with a host family and continue my Spanish studies! I am a proud single mother of a 7 year old boy, Kyle, and he is learning Spanish too.


Gretchen Alicia Lindquist '00, Spanish
About eight months ago I returned from Barcelona, where I had been living for 15 months teaching English in an academy just outside the city. Unlike most ex-pats living abroad teaching English, I had my own classroom, and taught fairly large classes four days a week as well as private classes. While living in Barcelona I met my boyfriend, a native Californian, also teaching English. After spending the best summer of my life with him in the Balearic Islands, we both decided it was time to move back to New York.

I am currently working for a British jewelry company, Links of London, on Madison Avenue, doing corporate sales. At the moment I am also busy making my own jewelry in my spare time, and hope to one day start my own company. My plan is to have my jewelry manufactured in Mexico, where I would once again be able to speak my other favorite language, and, of course, travel.

Since my return to the states at the end of last summer, I have been back to Barcelona once for a short visit and plan to go back again for a short trip this summer. My year in Spain was by far the best year of my life and I would advise anyone, Spanish major or not, to go abroad for a year, get TEFL certification, and teach English. I learned more about life and culture, had more unforgettable experiences and interesting stories than I would have living in any U.S. city, without a doubt. Not only that, but I fell in love with someone with whom I will always be able to share this incredible experience.


Katy Wolitzky Lobell '91, Spanish
I graduated with a government-Spanish major in 1991. After Skidmore, I received a M.A. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in Latin American and iberian studies in December 1992. I currently use Spanish every day in my job. I am a bilingual claims representative for the Social Security Administration. I specialize in Supplemental Security Income (SSI), a federal program for disabled individuals with limited income and resources. I help the Spanish-speaking population of Rochester, N.Y., file SSI claims and update their cases once they are receiving SSI. My Spanish and government studies at Skidmore not only allowed me to learn how to communicate with the Hispanic population, it also made me aware of the cultural and historical aspects of their lives. The people I work with are so grateful for this knowledge and often thank me after I help them.


Anne-Marie Long '90, Spanish
I often look back and am thankful that I majored in a foreign language. At the time I was going through college many people would ask, "What on earth are you going to do with a Spanish major?" I was not quite sure at the time but I knew that I loved speaking, listening, and reading another language. I would encourage all students to "stick to what you love" and not worry about what everyone else is saying. It seems as the American culture becomes more developed there is a reluctance to learn different languages. I tend to get very frustrated when I am in different countries and Americans do not at least attempt to speak the native language. Here are some stories about how my Spanish major has helped me in life. I hope that publishing these stories on your website will encourage other students to major in Spanish or any other foreign language for that matter.

I am presently located in Atlanta, Ga., and have lived here ever since I graduated. I have also worked at Georgia-Pacific Corp. for the last 13 years. I received my MBA in international business from Georgia State University in 1995. When I first started working for Georgia-Pacific I was an account rep dealing with containerboard box plants across the United States. I really did not have very much contact with any international companies when I first started working but very shortly after I started working, people within the company found out I spoke Spanish and I would get phone calls from Spanish customers and documents in Spanish that I was asked to translate. About 1 1/2 years into working, I was asked to move over to the export group and supervise some account reps. Here is where I really began to use my Spanish. Georgia-Pacific sells containerboard into Latin America (Costa Rica, Panama, Guatemala, and Mexico) and South America (Brazil and Argentina). I was able to travel to all of these countries and learned what was involved in importing and exporting goods into/from the United States. As I moved into management the job was more about hiring and coaching others, but I still kept my Latin American contacts. I am now a senior manager in the consumer products division of Georgia-Pacific. We have a tissue manufacturing plant down in Mexico, which I have visited several times, and I continue to use my Spanish.

I have to say that there are so many rewards in knowing how to speak Spanish other than just how it has helped me advance in my career. The most important think I think is that it is a skill not many people have nor know how to develop. Knowing how to speak and read Spanish also makes you a more well rounded, cultural individual. You are able to expand your relationships and communication to more than just the American population. Just recently I went on a trip with my boyfriend to Costa Rica for vacation. My boyfriend's sister has lived down there for almost a year. She opened an office for Maersk Shipping Line. After being down there a year she still has not learned very much Spanish. I was thrilled to go down to Costa Rica and teach my boyfriend and his sister a little more about the Spanish language and culture. Just knowing how to speak the language allows you to learn so much about other people and their culture.

One other thing I would like to share is during the time I have worked for Georgia-Pacific I have done some translating on the side for some other friends who work for different companies. They need people to translate Spanish documents for them (financial statements, legal documents, etc), and they do not want to pay the high prices of a translator. I am able to do a little freelancing on the side, make a little additional money and help out some friends.

In closing, majoring in Spanish has so many rewards, I cannot possible list them all here. It helps advance your career, expands your vacation traveling horizons, and creates so many opportunities that you would not normally have. I encourage all students to major in Spanish so we can "break" the trend that is prevailing in America. This trend is the tendency to speak English and the unwillingness to learn a new language. Good luck to all the students who are majoring in Spanish! I encourage you to continue to share your experiences and teach others the value of another language. I look forward to hearing about some of your experiences as you use your Spanish after college.

 

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