Melody Sánchez

Melody Sánchez, Spanish, 2009.

During the summer after graduation, Melody took a month-long TEFL course in Guadalajara Mexico. She is currently living in Mexico D.F. working as a 5th grade English teacher in an all-girls Catholic school in Santa Fe. She feels very fortunate to have found this position in such a prestigious school, which is located in what is considered to be the Manhattan of Mexico.  “I have an amazing group of girls. I never thought I would end up as a teacher but here I am and I can't tell you how much I truly love it”, she says.  Her plan is to stay in Mexico for at least 2 years so she can help establish a stronger English program. “I love it here! The city has so much to offer as does the rest of Mexico. I visited Guanajuato and fell in love.”  Melody intends to pursue a Master’s Degree in the coming years, and she is considering a program that offers a Master’s in Translation, Interpretation, and Diplomacy. In the meantime, she still enjoys reading Pedro Páramo, as she did in her Literature of Mexico class.

Deborah Takahashi

Deborah Takahashi, English, 2006.

Deborah is pursuing her M.A. in Library and Information Science at San Jose State University and expects to graduate in the fall of 2011. She currently works at the Alhambra Civic Center Library as the Teen Library Assistant and absolutely, positively loves what she does: "I never would have thought in a million years that I would be a librarian! I have been working in libraries for four years now and, now I cannot imagine doing anything else." During her graduate school adventures, Deborah earned several awards: the American Library Association (ALA) Spectrum Scholarship (2008), the California Library Association Edna Yelland Scholarship (2010), and is 2010 grant recipient of the California State Library Public Library Staff Education Program (PLSEP). When Deborah completes her postgraduate work, she wants to work as a Youth Services Librarian in a public library. According to Deborah, working with young people is her passion in life. Not only do they bring joy, and a few headaches, they challenge her on a daily basis to provide new and unexpected kinds services. Being the exceedingly goofy person that she is, Deborah has changed programming, the collection development, and reference interviews at the library forever!

Ivette Gómez

Ivette Gómez, Spanish, 2002.

Upon graduating, Ivette enrolled in a Graduate Program in Spanish at UC Irvine, receiving her doctorate in 2009 with a specialty in 20th & 21st century Latin American Literature. While working on her dissertation, she received two awards that allowed her to travel to Cuba to conduct research.  Since she received her PhD, she has worked as a lecturer at Pomona College, Cal State Long Beach and at the University of Southern California. She teaches literature courses such as Spanish America Literary Masterpieces, Survey of Fiction, and Iberian & Latin American Cultures. She has published scholarly articles on the Cuban writer Abilio Estévez, and has presented her research at numerous conferences.

Bryan Nakawaki

Bryan Nakawaki, English, 2008.

Upon graduating, Bryan dedicated a year to giving back to the city of Pomona, working with the non-profit organization AmeriCorps and Cal Poly Pomona’s Center for Community Service-Learning to develop and run a language arts program at the local Boys and Girls Club (see article). “After Pomona—both the university and the city itself—treated me so amazingly for four years, I relished the opportunity to do something to show my appreciation,” he says. “I’d do it again in a heartbeat!” Bryan currently resides in Charlotte, North Carolina, where he is pursuing his M.A. in Literature and teaching freshman comp at UNC Charlotte. Named the prestigious Russell M. Robinson II Scholar in 2009, Bryan is set to graduate in May 2011. Post-graduation, he plans on attending a Ph.D. program that will allow him to study Shakespearean performance and its potential applications within English classrooms. In his free time, Bryan, who specializes in the literature of Early Modern England, is dedicated to keeping popular interest in the works of William Shakespeare and his contemporaries alive. Having co-authored a theatrical review for the Shakespeare Bulletin and worked as a research assistant for a book on Robert Greene, Bryan most recently signed on as a co-dramaturge for UNC Charlotte’s Spring 2011 production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream.  

Rafael Durán

Rafael Durán, Spanish, 2001.

After graduating from Cal Poly Pomona, Rafael earned a Bilingual Education Credential and a Master’s in Bilingual Education.  He is currently a Spanish teacher at Ganesha High School in Pomona and is studying for his M.A. in Spanish Literature at CSU Fullerton. An accomplished vocalist, Rafael sings in the LA Opera Chorus Company, of which he has been a member since 1999. Rafael was part of the "La Boheme" cast, directed by Baz Luhrmann, which won a Tony award on Broadway. In 2004, he was the soloist in "The Candelight Procession" at Disneyland, where he sang in Spanish and English.  He performed alongside Plácido Domingo in the opera "Il Postino," which premiered in LA in 2010. He has performed with the famous tenor on other occasions as well, notably in the Zarzuela "Luisa Fernanda", which he considers his favorite production.

María Azpeitia

María Azpeitia, Spanish, 2007.

After earning her B.A. in Spanish, María decided to continue her education at Cal Poly Pomona in the English Graduate program.  In 2008, she was selected to be a Teaching Associate for the English department (English Composition) and she also served as a Spanish Teaching Associate for one quarter.  She graduated in the spring of 2009 with a Master’s Degree in English (emphasis in TESL and Rhetoric/Composition).  She now teaches at the University of La Verne and at Fort Hays State University's extended campus, Maxwell College. 

Dalia Gómez

Dalia Gómez, Spanish, 2009.

Dalia is currently enrolled in the M.A. program in Spanish at CSU Long Beach, where she has also been given the opportunity to teach as a Spanish T.A. in the department of RGRLL Romance, German, Russian Languages and Literatures. “I have a passion for teaching Spanish, and it comes from my experience as an undergrad and the example of my former professors”, she says. “In the Spanish Program, I learned not only the beauty of the Spanish language and culture but I also gained, in my literature studies, an understanding of the forces that drive our society, including its cultural diversity.

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