Zoe Barton '15 (Spanish and Studio Art)
When I started at Hendrix in the Fall of 2011, I had every intention of majoring in biology, and planned to pursue a PhD in field research herpetology once I graduated. Like so many other college students who start out freshman year thinking they know exactly what they want to study, I had what I like to call a “mid freshman year crisis”. I had begun Zoology my second semester and was loving every minute of it. However, after our first exam, I received the unfortunate news that I had failed. This course was essential if I wanted to keep following the path towards a career in herpetology, but I ultimately decided to drop the class and reconsider my major. Instead, I filled my schedule with Spanish and art classes, and next thing I knew, I was declaring a double major in Spanish and art, taking courses I excelled in and enjoyed, even though they were the complete opposite of what I began studying at Hendrix.
Throughout the next few years, I considered myself to be a collector of skills. I ended up having three internships, all in very different fields, served on student senate, worked on the yearbook, managed the print shop, and even studied abroad through the Hendrix in Madrid program. Since I still had no idea the career I was aiming for, I made it my mission to learn as many valuable skills as possible.
About one week before graduation, still without any idea what I would do after college, my phone rang. It was an unknown number, and I answered it with a tone that said “I’m a college senior with no idea what I’m going to do with my life once I graduate in one week”. The person on the other end of the phone explained that they were a recruiter with the Walmart headquarters, and that I had applied to one of their jobs a few months back and had been declined. She continued to tell me that she had saved my resume, and had a new job posting that she thought I’d enjoy and was qualified for and wanted me to interview for it. As she told me about the role, I couldn’t help but think that this random job in the field of recruiting kind of sounded exactly like what I had been searching for for the last few years.
I ended up getting the job and starting with Walmart at the corporate headquarters two days after I graduated from Hendrix. I’ve been with Walmart what will be five years this May, and feel like the luckiest person in the world to have stumbled upon a career that is the perfect combination of everything I was searching for in a job, but didn’t know existed. In my current role in recruiting, I’m a communicator, a writer, an investigator, a small business owner, a relationship builder, an event planner, and a leader all at once. I’ve held four different roles in five years, the majority of which on the campus recruiting team, where we hire hundreds of college students into summer internships and full-time roles every year. In my current role, I manage the relationship between Walmart and 30+ colleges and universities, planning engagements on each campus that lead to the hiring of hundreds of recent grads every single year.
So, if you’re reading this, chances are you’re majoring in Spanish and curious what you might be able to do with that degree. What I want to leave you with is this: your major doesn’t need to define you. Hendrix really helps you become a “whole” person, or as I like to think of our motto, a well-rounded individual capable of succeeding wherever you place your focus. While your Spanish major (or whatever major you choose) can tie directly to your future career, it doesn’t have to if you don’t want it to. The reason I am in the career I’m in today and am as happy in my life as I am today, is because of Hendrix. Through my majors, my experiences with internships, and with studying abroad, I was able to learn, grow, and prepare for the mystery career I so fortunately found. Don’t limit yourself to the career you think you want or to one single goal after college. Keep your ears and eyes open, because you might find yourself in a situation just like mine: incredibly happy and fulfilled doing something you didn’t even know was an option.
Blake Cooper '16 (BCMB & Spanish minor)
Throughout my years at Hendrix, I got the opportunity to conduct fieldwork and analyze the genetics of the Ponderosa Pine with Dr. Willyard, to plan a new version of the Cell Biology course with Dr. Sutherland and Dr. Murray, and to travel to Cusco, Peru for a homestay and volunteer project with a local clinic. After I graduated with a degree in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology in 2016, I moved back home to Austin, TX, and worked in a medical device testing lab. I learned a lot about microbiology, reusable medical devices, and working with the FDA.
After almost two years, I decided to pursue clinical research, and started working for a startup as a research scientist. We were developing the software for a wearable hydration monitor, so I worked with athletes and other participants to gather sweat rate, heart rate, and body temperature data for the algorithm. During this time, I learned about many biomedical science PhD programs that incorporated my broad interests, and began the application process.
Now, I am in my first semester as a graduate student at George Washington University in DC, studying pharmacology and physiology. As part of the program I have the opportunity to rotate through 3 different labs before deciding where to complete my thesis research. I plan to work with mentors who are studying hypertension and obesity from various angles in order to identify potential targets for clinical application.
I am so glad I chose to take some time after Hendrix to explore my interests, save money, and learn how to live even more independently before going back to school. I owe Hendrix for so much- technical knowledge, community awareness, and especially for emphasizing the importance of a good mentor. I certainly miss pecan shells, caf cakes, and shirttails, but I am most grateful for the people I met and relationships I formed by joining the Warrior family.
Zoë Corwyn '18 (Business Economics & Spanish)
I graduated Hendrix in 2018 with a double major in Business Economics and Spanish. I moved to North Carolina and received my Masters in Accounting in June of 2019 from the University of NC at Wilmington. Now, I am an accountant at a local firm called Thompson, Price, Scott, Adams & Co. in Wilmington. I have passed two parts of the CPA exam and plan on finishing the last two parts by the end of this year.
Hendrix not only gave me all of the basic skills necessary to get into the masters program at UNCW, but also provided me with the environment to become confident in the path that I’d chosen for myself. I was able to explore multiple possibilities and find the one that fit me best. I believe that this set me up for the great experience that I had during my masters program and what ultimately helped me find my way to where I am now. I am very grateful to all of the professors that I met throughout my time at Hendrix for truly caring about me as an individual and helping me set the foundation for my future.
Brett Daiger '19 BCMB & Spanish
I’m excited to say I graduated from Hendrix in the fall of 2019 with a degree in biochemistry and molecular biology (BCMB) and Spanish. Arriving four years prior, I had no clue what I wanted to major in (like more people than let on). All I knew was I liked science and Spanish, so I started with that. One of the biggest catalysts for my development in undergrad was involvement in on-campus clubs. It cannot be stressed enough the help they provide in exploring interests, careers, and other cultures – especially in a place one may have the pleasure of interacting with a considerably more diverse social environment than at home.
Organization for Latino Expression, Friends of India, International Club, and Asian Cultures Club were some multicultural clubs I joined which gave me opportunities to deeply connect with and learn about people from backgrounds and customs different than my own. I could practice speaking Spanish with native speakers (and laugh with them when I butchered words or phrases), spend nights trying traditional dances and outfits from India in preparation for a multicultural dance showcase (listening to native songs, asking the meaning of religious ceremonies, marveling at how desperately my ears wanted to understand languages and dialects from the region), venture out to corn mazes with international students to get to know them, help cook foods from afar (so, so amazing), and participate in impactful holidays and celebrations from quite literally around the world. The exposure and involvement opened me up to communicating with others more easily, effectively, and mindfully; being around people with different skills, interests, and tastes than my own helps improve an openness and ability to meaningfully connect with people wherever you might find yourself.
The summer after my junior year I was fortunate enough to travel to Madrid, Spain as part of the Modern Languages Study Abroad program (made possible by the Hendrix Odyssey Program and Murphy Foundation), learning more about the Spanish language and its history through total immersion. Frankly, I’m dying to go back. Spending time across the pond taking classes in a non-native language seemed intimidating at first, but that couldn't have been farther from the truth. The improvements I saw in my comprehension and usage of the language coupled with the extreme sense of exploration brought me to better understand myself, how I enjoy the freedom of wandering through a new culture (and an entirely new-to-me country), and learning more at every turn, appreciating the kindness shown to me as an interested foreigner. There are so many little things that can be gleaned from such experiences, too, like the ins and outs of being reliant on public transit, monetary exchange, or how variable a school environment can be (down to the very size of the paper). Even back on Hendrix campus itself, I was fortunate enough to work with one of the Spanish department’s professors in an independent study to accommodate scheduling and course content. The flexibility and willingness to help shown by the professors is an integral part of promoting students’ success and developing communicative skills in a professional environment.
On the science side, I spent a lot of extracurricular time with the school’s BCMB club, engaging with peers and professionals in the field. This spilled over into community involvements, like participating in outreach at Conway’s Ecofest and helping run science experiments at the Oklahoma Firefighters Burn Camp. I was able to engage with kids at the Conway Boys and Girls club, Ida Burns Elementary, and Bigelow School, helping with science projects and classroom learning. Planning the classroom content, transport of materials, dates for meetings, and coordination of volunteers alongside professors really helped me develop organizational skills (not to mention tech skills). Plus, it’s a blast to work with the kids and see their inquisitive nature. Success is so dependent on one’s curiosity and desire to learn more, and it feels great to be a part of fostering the bottomless well of questions from which those kids pull.
On the flip side, I was the one asking questions (usually quite a few) as I worked in a behavioral neuroscience research lab under a professor in the biology department. Communication skills are key for any kind of team and working in a lab group spread across rooms on three floors of DW Reynolds definitely kept us on our toes. Unquestionably the biggest lesson I learned from a job in science is that it’s perfectly fine to make mistakes; it’s expected, really, because no one’s perfect and you learn through growth. Knowing no one (including you) has everything together, no matter how flawless or collected they seem, is a very liberating hurdle to overcome.
With that in mind, I found myself gathering enough confidence to assume executive roles in campus clubs. I joined the orientation leader team for incoming students, became publicist for Friends of India, secretary for BCMB club, and eventually president of BCMB club. I learned a significant amount about professional management and working as a team, delegating and relying on each other to keep the boat afloat. I feel that these positions made me much more comfortable reaching out to others – be they fellow students, professors, community members, etc. – and helped me really feel like a part of something. The feeling of belonging I gained at Hendrix was invaluable.
The foundation for this sense of belonging, Hendrix excelled in integrating different walks of life, be they academic or non-academic. Taking part in a liberal arts education meant experiencing a wider scope of topics in my undergraduate studies. Thinking back, I can’t imagine having a non-liberal arts education, because anything less seems like it would be at the expense of a student’s well-roundedness. Even as I continue to narrow my academic pursuits to the medical field, I still find myself reliant on that breadth. The summer after graduating from Hendrix I spent a few months studying for the MCAT. Even a singular test for admission to medical school encompassed my entire Hendrix education. The test emphasizes skills from the humanities like grammar, comprehension, persuasive/effective writing, reading beyond the text, and weeding through huge quantities of text for the important parts. My classes in both English and Spanish were nothing short of necessary, especially with the Spanish language’s ties to Latin which are so prevalent in the medical field. Even scientific fields besides my own (like physics, sociology and ethics, psychology, and math) are tested, further emphasizing the importance of an encompassing education like that at Hendrix.
My education at Hendrix sent me off cum laude with distinction in both my majors and in the Odyssey department in addition to earning me a spot in the Mu Chapter of the βββ Biological Honor Society and ΧΩΛ ASBMB Honor Society. I’m currently waiting to receive my MCAT scores back, after which I will begin applying to medical programs. I’m looking to work or volunteer at a local hospital in the time between now and starting school back up. All in all, Hendrix was a very challenging ride for me and constantly kept me on my toes, but I can say without a doubt that it well prepared me for what is yet to come.
Leah Groat '11 (Kinesiology & Spanish)
I was inspired to pursue a career in education and Spanish because of the professors and courses I took during my time at Hendrix. The time they took to get to know me as a person, a student, and an athlete went far beyond what I expected from college professors. They inspired to change Spanish from a minor to a double major sometime during my sophomore year. I knew I was on the right path while participating in the Hendrix in Madrid study abroad program in the summer of 2010. I learned a lot about myself as a student, a young adult, and a language learner through that program and couldn't be happier it was part of my Hendrix experience. Now being able to share those adventures with my students as we travel abroad is one of the most rewarding things about being a teacher.
After graduating from Hendrix in 2011 as a Kinesiology and Spanish double major, I taught Spanish 1 & 2 at Darlington School in Rome, Georgia for two years. Since then, I’ve been at Prairie Ridge High School in Crystal Lake, Illinois teaching Spanish 1, 2, and AP Spanish Language & Culture. I coach track, sponsor Scholastic Bowl, and La Sociedad Honoraria Hispánica, too. In addition, I’m the Junior Varsity volleyball coach at Crystal Lake South High School. I have also taken students to Costa Rica and we are traveling to Spain in 2020. I’ve had the honor of presenting about technology use in the world language classroom at the American Council for the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL) Conference in 2018 and was awarded the James Douglas Brown Jr. Award for Excellence in Education while at Darlington School.
Max Hancock '19 (International Relations)
Last month, I began work at the Florence Immigrant and Refugee Rights Project in Tucson, AZ. I'm currently a legal aid worker. My responsibilities include preparing and delivering Know Your Rights Presentations to children held in ORR detention centers under threat of deportation. I also speak confidentially, one-on-one with detained children and gather information about their background and their journey to the US so that I can put them in touch with pro bono immigration defenders and help FIRRP's staff attorneys to build strong legal relief cases. It's a privilege to work for this organization and I couldn't have done it without my Hendrix education!
While at Hendrix, with the support of ISEP, I spent a semester enrolled at a public university in Guanajuato, Mexico. There, I studied Mexican history and improved my Spanish fluency. I also interned with the Colibri Center for Human Rights while I was a student at Hendrix, a different Tucson-based organization that works to identify and repatriate the remains of deceased border crossers. Not long after, I was fortunate enough to work with No More Deaths as well, a group active in Southern Arizona that delivers humanitarian aid to border-crossers in the Sonoran Desert. I became immersed in border justice work and learned how to operate in high-intensity, high-stakes work environments. Finally, it was at Hendrix that I discovered a passion for history and theory that lies behind the work I do today.
Will Matheson '14 (Spanish)
I graduated Hendrix in 2014 with B.A. in Spanish. In addition to my major, I spent a considerable amount of time experiencing the possibilities Hendrix had to offer, and took excellent and memorable classes in the Classics, Religious Studies, English, Creative Writing, Biology, Art, and Economics departments. Despite all of these phenomenal classes, what influenced me most of all was the time I spent outside of them, undertaking personal projects with Dr. Vilahomat, Dr. Resinski, and the Murphy Scholars.
My time after Hendrix, much like the education I received there, has been both personal and eclectic. I have prioritized my work and personal passions equally, with my work including an apprenticeship underneath an experienced chef, teaching physical education to young children in a Hispanic community, running an afterschool program for poor and underserved youth, and coaching a youth swim team to second place in the Colorado State Championships. As for my personal time, I am busy composing a musical album, writing short stories, and enjoying a long-term partnership with a fellow Hendrix graduate.
My studies at Hendrix have prepared me for the world in a remarkable way. Rather than simply filling my head with facts and data, Hendrix has sharpened the tools and gifts that I already possessed, allowing me to succeed in a variety of endeavors. My close relationships with my professors have enabled me to instinctively connect with my supervisors, providing me with opportunities for mentorship and promotion I would not otherwise have. Hendrix has prepared me for our rapidly evolving world by giving the skillset to evolve with it.
Anna McConaghie '16 (Anthropology & Spanish)
During my time at Hendrix, I participated in amazing opportunities like Hendrix-in-Madrid, studying abroad for a semester in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and taking an Odyssey trip to the US-Mexico border with Dr. Goldberg. My Spanish and Anthropology professors instilled in me a love of language, culture, and also learning about and attempting to fix the oppressive systems that make up our society. After graduating with a double major in Spanish and Anthropology in May 2016, I headed to Madrid, Spain to work as an English Teaching assistant though the Auxiliares de Conversación program.
After graduating, I was lost and did not know what direction I wanted to turn. The only sure thing was that I wanted to live abroad and improve my Spanish while traveling. I stayed for two years in Madrid and got to speak Spanish every day, bond with other teachers and students, and travel to other European countries on my 3-day weekends. During my time there, I got the clarity that I needed which was that I always wanted to work with people and to address problems like disenfranchisement, racism, and oppression. This led me to Social Work. I applied and was accepted to the University of Georgia’s Master of Social Work program in the spring of 2018, in my home state. I knew I wanted to be close to home after being away for 6 years straight, and UGA has a great program that has both macro systemic focus and micro clinical focused tracks.
I just started my second year in the program and I’ve come full circle: my internship this year is with a free mental health clinic for the Latinx population here in Athens. My time at Hendrix helped me follow my passions, which ended up feeding into opportunities outside of Arkansas that led me to where I am today! My advice to current students is to never overlook what you enjoy and are interested in, and you never know where they might take you!
Daniela Ramierez Aguilar '17 (Spanish speaker. Major Health Science: Public Health)
I am currently a UAMS MPH student concentrating in epidemiology and working under the direction of Dr. Joseph Su. I am in the last semester and I am taking on last required class, as well as my senior project researching obesity-related cancers in the USA and AR, for which I am working under the direction of Abby Holt at the Arkansas Department of Health. Additionally, I am a graduate research assistant working in a laboratory specifically looking at the relationship between genes and cancer susceptibility. I also perform data analysis on the North Carolina-Louisiana Prostate Cancer Project, looking at the racial disparity of prostate cancer tumor aggressiveness between African American and European American males. Aside from these responsibilities, I help our team with other research going on, such as our HPV vaccine study and trucker study.
Often times, when I am out with the team recruiting/following-up with participants, there are individuals who feel more comfortable speaking with me in Spanish to accurately complete a questionnaire. I always get excited when I meet those participants because it's great practice for me and to know that the Spanish-speaking community is willing be involved! After graduating, I hope to continue learning about public health and also work with Spanish-speaking communities.
Tori Walters '17 (Spanish & English - Creative Writing)
I am leaving September 18th to return to Murcia, Spain for my second year as an English Assistant. I never expected to enjoy teaching so much as well as loving my students. My study abroad experience in Murcia during my junior year as well as my Hendrix in Madrid experience definitely solidified my decision to teach English in Spain when I graduated. While teaching, I am always working on my writing and keeping some literature at my side.
After this year in Spain, I will be looking to teach English in Central America. It will be my last year teaching before I finally apply to grad school. I have been looking forward to applying for quite some time, considering I love learning and any opportunity to write. I will be applying for my MFA in Creative Writing at a few schools next winter.
When I am done with my grad school experience, I want to look for a Spanish Immersion school so that I can teach Spanish! I never expected to love the language as much as I do now, and I hope to help kids find a passion for learning this language too.
Edma Delgado, Ph.D.'04 (Spanish & Environmental Studies)
When I am done with my grad school experience, I want to look for a Spanish Immersion school so that I can teach Spanish! I never expected to love the language as much as I do now, and I hope to help kids find a passion for learning this language too.
During my junior year at Hendrix, I studied Latin American Language and Literature at Leiden University (in Holland). Although I did not study in a traditional Spanish-speaking country, my experience broadened my knowledge of Latin American literature, languages, and cultures. This study-abroad experience, along with my classes at Hendrix provided me with a well-rounded education in Latin American literature, history, and cultural studies.
After Hendrix, I pursued work in environmental education, but was drawn to continue my studies in Spanish literature and culture. Dr. Jon Arms (retired), Dr. Lilian Contreras-Silva, and Dr. José Vilahomat helped me to apply to a top graduate school in Spanish. I earned my M.A. and Ph.D. in Spanish literature and cultural studies from The University of Kansas.
I have been a Spanish professor at The University of Arkansas at Little Rock since 2014. Like my mentors at Hendrix, I now teach Spanish language and literature courses as well as Spanish for specific purposes (e.g., medical, legal, business, and translation/interpretation). A degree in Spanish prepares students to interpret cultural artifacts, to examine different perspectives, and to explain their ideas orally and in writing (in two languages!)