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Nicoletta Ventresca and Jason Laine win National University Technology Network Distance Education Innovation Award

Nicoletta Ventresca and Jason Laine whose innovation and vision in creating the World Campus Basic Italian sequence has been recognized with the National University Technology Network Distance Education Innovation Award. 

Congratulations to Nicoletta and Jason!

NSF PIRE grant to translate science of language learning to education

University Park, Pa. -- Speaking two or more languages makes minds more open to learning and more flexible, and a $5 million dollar grant over five years from the National Science Foundation's Partnerships in International Research and Education aims to translate the science of language learning for education and the classroom.

Read More Here!

¡THEMES! The convenient new way to pick your Spanish classes for next semester

Now you can choose your courses based on your interests! The Spanish faculty are now designating the courses they offer within these four themes so that you can zoom in on the topics that interest you the most. Click on the picture of your choice below to see the courses that cover topics related to each theme.*
Borders ThemeIdentities ThemeHistory ThemeWork Theme

*Note: The course requirements for majors and minors have not changed. This new organization is simply meant to help you find the courses that interest you most! 

Where in the world is John Lipski? On the CLA homepage!

SIP's own Prof. John Lipski is currently featured on the College of the Liberal Arts homepage highlighting the international research he and other members of the department conduct.

Ana Cortejoso de Andres wins 2nd place at Graduate Exhibition

Congratulations to Ana Cortejoso de Andres for being awarded 2nd place in the Arts & Humanities division at the Graduate Exhibition yesterday for her poster entitled "Born to be a Star: Representing the Writer as a Global Celebrity in Contemporary Hispanic Narrative"!!

SIP is on social media! Follow us!

Did you know that the programs offered by the Department of Spanish, Italian and Portuguese are on Facebook and Twitter? Follow us for information about events, courses and programs offered by the department and for fun cultural updates about the countries where these languages are spoken!

Spanish & Portuguese: Facebook Twitter

Italian: Facebook Twitter

Congratulations to Josh Deckman and Fernando Fonseca!

Congratulations to Josh Deckman and Fernando Fonseca for having each received a 'Latin American Studies Research and Travel Award' for their upcoming travel to Cuba! For more information on the Latin American Studies Program.

SIP announces new Study Abroad program in Ronda, Spain

The Department of Spanish, Italian, and Portuguese announces a new education abroad opportunity starting this summer in Ronda, Spain. For more information, visit the program website:

Prof. John Lipski named to the Order of Don Quijote

Congratulations to Prof. John Lipski,  who was inducted into Sigma Delta Pi's Order of Don Quijote. 

The Order of Don Quijote is the highest honor conferred by Sigma Delta Pi (the National Collegiate Hispanic Honor Society) to two scholars worldwide for exceptional and meritorious service in the fields of Hispanic scholarship, the teaching of Spanish, and the promotion of good relations between English- and Spanish- speaking countries. For more information about Sigma Delta Pi and the honors it confers, visit their website.

Call for Submissions to PSUxLING2 - undergraduate linguistics conference

The Department of Spanish, Italian, and Portuguese at Penn State University invites submissions for the 

2nd Annual Penn State Undergraduate Exhibition in Hispanic and General Linguistics (PSUxLING2

to be held on October 16, 2015.

Call Deadline: May 15, 2015

Invited Speakers

Anna María Escobar (University of Illinois-Urbana Champaign)

Jorge Valdés Kroff (University of Florida)

The exhibition format is poster presentation and students may submit up to two abstracts for consideration. 

Abstracts should not exceed 350 words, not including references, and should be submitted through the conference website:

The deadline for submission is May 15, 2015.

Notification of accepted posters will be sent out in early July. 

Travel awards up to $500 to cover hotel costs and travel will be awarded

to the best abstracts in the call. 

Please visit the conference website for more information.

New PSU Maymester course in Cuba!

PSU in Cuba

Spanish 497: José Martí and Cuba

May 11-21, 2015

The Department of Spanish, Italian, and Porguese is offering a 3-credit, 3-week Maymester course in Cuba.  The first two weeks of the course will be taught in Cuba, and the third week online. 

As part of this course, PSU Students and professor, Julia Cuervo Hewitt, will participate in the 125thcommemoration of the death of José Martí.  For this event we will travel to the historic city of Bayamo, in the Eastern part of the island, during the weekend of May 16-18.  Classes will take place Monday-Friday at the Centro de Estudios Martianos, in Havana, during the mornings, and during the afternoon the Centro will provide city tours to important historical and cultural sites.  The last day of the two week-stay will be at the famous beach of Varadero.

There will be a meeting for students interested in registering for this course: 

February 18, at 5:30 p.m.

Thomas Building 222

At this meeting we will be talking about the process of registration, the cost of the course, flight, and room and board in Cuba, as well as the process of obtaining the visa, which must be done at least 6-7 weeks in advance, as a group.  Students interested must have a passport by the first week of March since we must send the names and passport numbers to Cuba that week so that the Centro de Estudios Martinos can apply for visas for the entire group. 

For any further inquiries contact:  

Apply for a FLAS fellowship to study Portuguese in Brazil - review of apps starts February 15!

Interested in studying Portuguese? Apply for a Foreign Language & Area Studies fellowship to study in Brazil on a summer or year-long program. Both undergraduates and graduate students are eligible. Review of applications will start February 15 but will continue until all funds are allocated.

Summer Research Opportunity for undergraduates -- act fast! Deadline Feb. 10

The Summer Research Opportunities Program, a Committee on Institutional Cooperation Opportunity

The Summer Research Opportunities Program (SROP) is a gateway to graduate education at CIC universities. The goal of the program is to increase the number of underrepresented students who pursue graduate study and research careers. SROP helps prepare undergraduates for graduate study through intensive research experiences with faculty mentors and enrichment activities. By participating in SROP, you will gain valuable research experience on a CIC campus and enhance your qualifications for admission to graduate school:

  • Study in your field of choice
  • All-expenses paid plus stipend
  • Housing and transportation included
  • Top faculty-mentored research experience
  • Enrichment workshops and opportunities
  • Participation in academic research conference

Get more information and complete program details on our website:

Summer 2015 deadline: February 10!

Congratulations to Grant Berry on his forthcoming paper in 'Probus'

It is with great pleasure that we announce Grant Berry's forthcoming article in Probus titled "Structural autonomy and aspectual import: A new(er) Spanish Progressive". Congratulations, Grant!


The current study analyzes distributional frequencies of the Spanish Progressive construction (ESTAR+Gerund) in a corpus of late twentieth century conversational speech in order to assess changes in structure and meaning. The analysis incorporates structural priming as a measure of analyzability and autonomy, and utilizes both lexical and contextual measures of aspect to assess the construction's preferred environment relative to its competing gram: the simple Present. Results of a multivariate analysis (N=1017) indicate that over the last one hundred years, the construction has lost analyzability, further coalescing into a single grammatical unit. This new unit has also acquired the ability to express limited duration (progressive, continuous) aspect with stative as well as dynamic verbs, indicating the consolidation of the construction's aspectual import. At the same time, its presence in extended duration contexts is attributed to strong effects of Progressive-Progressive priming and, to a lesser extent, licensing by a co-occurring temporal adverbial. By situating these results within the construction's diachrony, it is concluded that the increased grammaticalization of the Spanish Progressive in the twentieth century, as assessed quantitatively, is markedly distinct from previous centuries.

"Language Variation: Confronting Fact and Theory", co-edited by Prof. Rena Torres Cacoullos, now in press

Prof. Rena Torres Cacoullos has co-edited the volume Language Variation: Confronting Fact and Theory (Routledge), which is now in press. 

From the publisher:

Edited by Rena Torres Cacoullos, Nathalie Dion, André Lapierre, Linguistic Variation: Confronting Fact and Theory honors Shana Poplack in bringing together contributions from leading scholars in language variation and change. The book demonstrates how variationist methodology can be applied to the study of linguistic structures and processes. It introduces readers to variation theory, while also providing an overview of current debates on the linguistic, cognitive and sociocultural factors involved in linguistic patterning. With its coverage of a diverse range of language varieties and linguistic problems, this book offers new quantitative analyses of actual language production and processing from both top experts and emerging scholars, and presents students and practitioners with theoretical frameworks to meaningfully engage in accountable research practice.

Congratulations to Pablo Requena for forthcoming paper in 'Language Acquisition'

It is with great pleasure that we announce Pablo Requena's forthcoming article, in collaboration with Astrid Román-Hernandez and Prof. Karen Miller titled "Children’s knowledge of the Spanish copulas Ser and Estar with novel adjectives." Congratulations, Pablo!

Read the full article here: Requena, P. E., Román-Hernández, A. I., & Miller, K. (in press). Children’s knowledge of the Spanish copulas Ser and Estarwith novel adjectives. Language Acquisition: A Journal of Developmental Linguistics.

Joshua Deckman to present at MACHL

Graduate student Josh Deckman will be presenting at the Mid-America Conference on Hispanic Literature (MACHL) at U Wisconsin this October. His paper is entitled "Hijas de la chingada: Queering Chican@ Identity and Language in Gloria Anzaldua's Borderlands/La frontera"

Penn State among top national public schools in 2015 U.S. News' 'Best Colleges'

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- U.S. News & World Report released its 2015 "Best Colleges" rankings today (Sept. 9), with Penn State ranking No. 14 among national public universities.

In addition, the University ranked No. 2 nationally among "Best Colleges for Veterans," schools that participate in federal initiatives helping veterans and active service members apply, pay for and complete their degrees.

In the "National Universities" category, which includes both public and private institutions, Penn State placed No. 48 overall. According to U.S. News' methodology, schools in this category emphasize faculty research and offer a full range of undergraduate majors, plus master's and doctoral programs.

In the Big Ten, Penn State ranked No. 4 among public nationals, and No. 5 in the overall nationals. Penn State also ranked No. 4 among Pennsylvania universities.

The Smeal College of Business' supply chain management program ranked No. 5 in "Best in the Specialties," with Smeal ranked No. 21 overall in "Best in Undergraduate Business" programs, up one spot from last year. Additional business programs ranked include production/operations management (No. 14), management (No. 14), marketing (No. 14) and accounting (No. 22).

The College of Engineering at University Park ranked No. 18 among the "Best in Undergraduate Engineering" programs for institutions whose highest degree is a doctorate, rising one place from last year. Additional engineering programs ranked include industrial/manufacturing (No. 7), materials (No. 10), aerospace/aeronautical/astronautical (No. 11), biological/agricultural (No. 11), mechanical (No. 13), civil (No. 17) and chemical (No. 18).

At Penn State Erie, The Behrend College, the School of Engineering ranked No. 47 among the best engineering schools whose highest degree is a bachelor's or master's.

Penn State also ranked highest among national universities on the list of "A-Plus Schools for B Students," featuring schools that accept students without straight A’s but rank highly among the 2015 Best Colleges.

In addition, Penn State ranked 45th in a nationwide survey among high school counselors who rated national universities and liberal arts colleges that they felt offered “the best undergraduate education to their students,” receiving a score of 4.1 out of a possible 5.

U.S. News & World Report surveys nearly 1,800 colleges and universities annually and ranks them in different categories by measuring such factors as graduation and retention rates; assessment by peers and counselors; faculty resources; student selectivity; alumni giving rate; and financial resources. Details of the "2015 Best Colleges" methodology and rankings are available at online.

Read the original article here

Congratulations to Ana Cortejoso de Andrés

It is with great pleasure that we announce Ana Cortejoso de Andrés’s forthcoming article “Triunfo y derrota de la cursilería en la sociedad burguesa decimonónica: Insolación y Morriña, de Emilia Pardo Bazán” in the journal Decimonónica. Congratulations, Ana!

Congratulations to Guada Martí-Peña

Congratulations to Guada Martí-Peña for the publication of her book Ilusionismo verbal en Elogio de la madrastra y Los cuadernos de don Rigoberto de Mario Vargas Llosa (Purdue University Press)

Prof. Maria Truglio wins Outstanding Teaching Award

Congratulations to Professor Maria Truglio, who is the recipient of the 2014 Malvin E. and Lea P. Bank Outstanding Teaching Award for the College of Liberal Arts.

Penn State among Top 50 universities in the world

Penn State has moved up four spots among the top 50 of the Center for World Universities Rankings (CWUR) list of global higher education institutions, advancing its placement for the third consecutive year. Penn State, No. 46, is 29th among all U.S. colleges and universities.

CWUR describes itself as “the only global university ranking that measures the quality of education and training of students as well as the prestige of the faculty members and the quality of their research without relying on surveys and university data submissions.” It released its annual list on Tuesday (July 15), including eight U.S. Ivy League and other private schools and two British universities in the top 10.

In the United States, 229 institutions were honored among the world’s top 1,000 universities. Eight Big Ten universities placed in the top 50, along with the University of Pennsylvania, the only other school in the commonwealth to achieve the top 5 percent, at No. 14. The University of Pittsburgh and Carnegie Mellon University are No. 53 and No. 54, respectively.

The Center for World University Rankings’ methodology, as listed on its website, uses seven indicators to produce its rankings: quality of faculty, publications in top journals, highly influential research, citations, patents, academic training of students and professional future of alumni. Its aim is “to measure the quality of education and training of students as well as the prestige of the faculty and the quality of their research.”

The complete list and detailed methodology can be found at

Originally reported by Penn State News on July 26, 2014.

Certificate of Excellence Awards

Congratulation to the following graduating seniors for receiving Certificate of Excellence Awards:

Ho Kwan Cheung 
Isabelle Kayal 
Emily Battaglia 
Rebecca Vickery 
Jay Mathias 
Cortlyn Hagman 
Rachel Wozniak 
Samantha Krone 
Kayleen Notchick 
Emily Sabo

Graduate Placements

Congratulations to Colleen Balukas, Antonia Delgado-Poust, Hiram Smith, Jorge Valdés Kroll, Katie Vater and Alvaro Villegas, who accepted tenure-track offers at the following institutions:

Colleen Balukas (Ph.D., 2014) --Department of Modern Languages and Classics at Ball State University

Antonia Delgado-Poust (Ph.D., 2011) --Department of Modern Languages and Literatures at University of Mary Washington 

Hiram Smith (Ph.D., 2014) --Department of Spanish at Bucknell University

Jorge Valdés Kroff (Ph.D., 2012) --Department of Spanish and Portuguese at the University of Florida 

Katie Vater (Ph.D., 2014) --Department of Spanish and Portuguese at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee

Alvaro Villegas (Ph.D., 2014) --Department of Modern Languages and Literatures at the University of Central Florida

Funding Awards

Congratulations to our undergraduate students Melinda Dennis, Daniel Magerman and Mary Beth Spang, who were the recipients of NSF PIRE grants awarded through the Center of Language Science to travel to San Basilio de Palenque (Colombia) to conduct research on Palenquero.

Teaching Awards

Congratulations to Tomás Hidalgo Nava, Adriana Linnebur, Rosa Osborn, Lauren Perrotti, Romà Rofes Herrera, Borja Gutiérrez and Emily Wiggins, who received certificates of recognition for their outstanding work in the classroom

Funding Awards

Congratulations to John Lipski, who was awarded an NSF Grant for his project “Determining the suppressibility of functional categories in second-language acquisition: from Spanish to Palenque”

New Dual-Title Doctoral Degree in Spanish and Language Science

Graduate students with research and educational interests in Hispanic Linguistics and Language Science may apply to the dual-title doctoral program in Spanish and Language Science. The dual-title program enables graduate students from Spanish to acquire the knowledge and research skills of their major area of specialization in Hispanic Linguistics while at the same time gaining the perspective and methods of the language sciences. For further information click here.

Remembering Erik D. Steindl

A Heart of Gold Lives On

In September, 1997, Erik D. Steindl, certified personal fitness trainer at Restek, a senior at The Pennsylvania State University (PSU), a Staff Sergeant in the Pennsylvania Air National Guard, and son of Eric Steindl (also an employee of Restek), was diagnosed with a germ-cell cancer. The initial prognosis was excellent.

At the time of diagnosis, the softball-sized tumor had already invaded Erik's left bronchial tube, restricting air  and blood flow to his left lung. It also was believed to be dangerously close to his heart. Surgery at this point  was not an option. The doctors moved quickly to begin a very aggressive chemotherapy treatment, which they  hoped would shrink the size of the tumor and restore blood and air flow to Erik's left lung. Then they would  remove the remaining cancerous tissue by surgery. While Erik's family and friends struggled to accept that a  strong, otherwise healthy 24-year-old could have developed such a serious medical condition, Erik continued with  his studies at PSU and planned for his future.

Initial chemotherapy treatments appeared to have a positive effect, and although chemotherapy would exhaust Erik, he never lost sight of his dreams or forgot his family and friends. He continued to write, phone, and visit people whenever possible. Too sick and tired to drive himself, his family would take him to visit his friends. Erik would always say "I need to walk in and show people I'm OK so they don't worry so much." At Restek, Erik would walk throughout the entire facility, talking to people about his hopes and plans for the future. To many, he would say "I'm going to beat this cancer and write a book about it."

In October and November, Erik's condition became more complicated. His heart rate would suddenly and dangerously increase, requiring him to be flown by Life Flight helicopter to Hershey Medical Center, PA. He developed severe headaches, and it was discovered that blood clots had formed in several major veins in his brain. While in the hospital, family and friends from across the country came to visit. Each time a person entered Erik's hospital room, Erik would sit up, try to relieve the visitor's worry, and entertain them as if nothing was wrong. Despite his declining health, Erik maintained contact with friends at Restek and PSU. In December, Erik's younger brother Greg graduated from PSU. Too sick to attend the graduation ceremony, Erik stayed at home with several friends, talking and planning for 1998.

After four chemotherapy treatments and numerous tests, Erik's doctors felt the cancer was finally operable. During surgery, the doctors found the cancer had spread into the heart tissue itself, part of the left lung, and the chest wall. The night after surgery, Erik suffered a stroke from the blood clots in his brain. Gravely ill and unable to speak because of the ventilator, Erik was still fighting and writing notes to ask if his family and friends were alright. On February 14, Valentines Day, this young man who touched so many hearts, lost his fight against cancer.

On June 19, on what would have been Erik's 25 birthday, a memorial ceremony was held at Restek. Over 100 family members and friends attended from across the country. Erik's parents and brother were presented with several awards for Erik. Restek presented its highest honor posthumously, "The President's Award," to Erik for his courage and strength, which was an example to us all. Also, Restek dedicated an outdoor memorial and renamed the fitness center "Corazon de Oro," meaning "Heart of Gold" in Spanish, a language Erik had studied for many years in the Air Force and at PSU.

PSU presented Erik's posthumous diploma, awarded because of Erik's fight to continue with his studies in spite of his illness. The Pennsylvania Air National Guard, 112th Air Control Squadron, by order of the President of the United States, awarded Erik the "Air Force Meritorious Service Award." This is the highest award given by the Air Force to a non-combatant servicemen. The members of the squadron also presented Erik's family with a shadow box containing all the awards, rank insignia, and unit emblems Erik had earned during his military service.

To ensure Erik's dedication and spirit lives on, a memorial scholarship fund has been established at Penn State University. This scholarship, the "Erik D. Steindl Spanish Scholarship Fund" is awarded to a student in the Spanish Department who demonstrates outstanding academic excellence and community spirit. If you would like to make a contribution to this fund, please send your tax-deductible donation to:

Erik D. Steindl Spanish Scholarship Fund,

The Pennsylvania State University,
College of Liberal Arts,
101 Sparks Bldg.,
University Park, PA 16802.

Download the summary of changes to the Spanish Major/Major requirements for 2012-2013.

Download the summary of changes to the Spanish Major/Major requirements for 2012-2013.