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World Languages & Cultures | Spanish Awardees
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Spanish Awardees

Each year the Department of World Languages and Cultures recognizes students for their excellence.  The students who received awards in Spanish were each nominated by faculty members independently, and then selected from a very competitive pool of superlative students by the entire Spanish faculty.  Spanish awardees are listed below by award year.

2016 World Languages and Cultures Awards Ceremony
Spanish Awardees

This year we give the award of Outstanding Graduating Senior in Spanish to three students who demonstrated the highest level of performance in the major. This year’s recipients are Shannon Goes, Carly Johansen, and Matthew Bryce Roberts.  The program also gave out the award of Distinguished Achievement in Spanish to two students.  This year’s recipients were Nick Doss and Kathleen Roberts.


Shannon Goes
Spanish and Chemistry

Shannon Goes is a double major in Spanish and Chemistry. She studied abroad in Cáceres, Spain and she says that it was absolutely the best thing she has ever done. She traveled all over Europe and fell in love with Spanish culture. After graduation she will be attending the University of Wisconsin, Madison to earn a PhD. in organic chemistry. She has a very high GPA and Prof. Dominguez said that she “was very impressed with her dedication and performance in her Don Quixote class. It is not an easy task for a student to read and talk about Don Quijote but Shannon did an incredible job!” Prof. Matibag said that “she wrote an outstanding essay on the Afrocuban poetry of Nicolás Guillén, reading extensively on the subject and working on a number of drafts before finishing the assignment.” Our faculty members describe Shannon as an excellent student who is always an active and thoughtful participant in class.

Carly Johansen
Spanish, Linguistics, and International Studies

Carly Johansen is graduating with a triple major in Spanish, Linguistics and International Studies, and with a minor in TESL. She studied in Cáceres and was the TA for the Valencia Program. She has also worked for the past year for the department as a Global Student Ambassador. After graduation she plans on going into interpretation, translation or TESL. The Spanish faculty would like to thank Carly for her exceptional service to the Spanish Club, a student organization in which she served as President for the last two years.  Carly brought the Spanish Club back to life as an officer and one of its most active members.  She also joined the National Hispanic Honorary Society Sigma Delta Pi in 2015. Our faculty members describe her as a dynamic person who brings up the level of any class she is in/ with her own enthusiasm for the subject – whatever it may be! Her enthusiasm is infectious, whether in the classroom, in Spanish Club, or talking to other students one-on-one as a Student Ambassador or classmate. Carly was described as a super woman because of her motivation, discipline, maturity and energy. All her Spanish professors agree that her participation in class is excellent, challenging herself, and expressing her opinion without having to call her name, always with a positive attitude. She will be missed a lot!!!

Matthew Bryce Roberts

Matthew Bryce Roberts is a Spanish major with a GPA of 4.0 he will also get a minor in Chemistry. After graduation he plans to attend medical school and become a doctor. Bryce speaks Spanish fluently and he practiced intensively while living in Los Angeles.  He is a very responsible, strong student with excellent grammar skills. Always goes above and beyond the basic requirements. He comes very well prepared to class, and contributes with a very positive attitude. His thoughtful and interesting questions show his maturity, discipline and his academic excellence. His class work is always very well prepared and conceived. He is determined, hardworking and always with a pleasant demeanor. His Spanish is excellent, solid and his preparation for all classes has been thorough.


Nick Doss
Civil Engineering and Spanish

Nick Doss is a double major in civil engineering, and Spanish. Nick studied abroad in Valencia in the summer of 2014 through the ISU on the Mediterranean program, which is what inspired him to add a major in Spanish. Nick has a very high GPA and Prof. Haywood Ferreira says that “he should win a second award for most creative PowerPoint animation to explain a work of literature”. I have to agree with her because although I did not see that Power Point presentation, Nick, in my translation class, did an excellent job not only with the content of the text he needed to translate, but with the formatting, rendering a translation as if it was the original. As an Engineer he knows how to solve problems and make things work. He will go far in his career as an engineer who knows how to read and write in Spanish very well. Upon graduation next month, he will be working for Muller Engineering Company located in Lakewood, Colorado. He will be doing traffic engineering work for them.

Kathleen Roberts
Math and Spanish

She is a double major in Math and Spanish. She has a GPA of 4.0 in Spanish. Prof. Matibag describes her as an excellent scholar of Spanish and a brilliant mathematician.  So she thinks in both words and numbers.  She’s as smart as two people! Prof. Dominguez said that Kathleen is honest and outgoing. She is sincere about her studies, and has shown constant improvement. She is benefiting greatly from her study abroad experience in Cáceres, not only because of her comprehension of others, but also due to the enthusiasm and excitement she has shown toward this trip since I have known her. She is determined and hardworking yet maintains a pleasant character and is therefore very likeable. Her hard work is perhaps best seen in her overall grade point average (4.0).

2015 World Languages and Cultures Awards Ceremony
Spanish Awardees

The Spanish section is proud to highlight two outstanding seniors this year: Nikki Eggert and Jennifer Musgrove. Both students were entered into a pool of candidates for the Spanish outstanding senior awards. It was a competitive process and it was hard for the Spanish section to choose.  These students have gone above and beyond academic excellence in their classes; they have also shown character and leadership.  The Spanish faculty at ISU commends them for their achievements and foresees much success for them in the future.


Nikki Eggert

Nikki Eggert is a spring 2015 graduate majoring in Spanish. She considers herself a “language geek”. She took Latin and German in high school and a year of German when she was at ISU in the early 1990s to earn her engineering degree. After she graduated and started to work for an automotive parts supplier, the company began to transition some of its factory work down to Mexico. In her assignment she worked with Mexican colleagues every day. Most of them spoke English very well, but in order to build a better working relationship with them, she decided to learn Spanish. They really appreciated her efforts to communicate in their language. Nikki successfully completed a distance learning course, but then she left her job to stay home and raise a family, and eventually she moved back to central Iowa. When she considered what she wanted to do next, she knew that she wanted to include Spanish in her plans. She has always loved teaching and tutoring so she decided to return to ISU to become a Spanish teacher.

Jennifer Musgrove

Jennifer Musgrove is a spring 2015 graduating senior majoring in Spanish with a minor in criminal justice. During her undergraduate career at Iowa State, Jennifer enjoyed working with students as Spanish Club President last semester and currently as one of the Spring 2015 WLC Global Student Ambassadors. While an undergraduate Jennifer studied abroad twice, in 2011 and then again in 2014, through the ISU on the Mediterranean-Summer in Valencia, Spain Program. The second trip abroad she was thrilled to return as a teaching assistant through a special student scholarship provided each year by the program which included an internship in an English language academy where she loved working with Spanish students of all ages. After graduation, Jennifer plans to continue her education through Iowa State University’s TESL/Applied Linguistics M.A. Program and is eagerly anticipating a teaching assistantship through the Department of World Languages and Cultures teaching Spanish 101 this fall.

2014 World Languages and Cultures Awards Ceremony
Spanish Awardees

During the WLC Awards Ceremony held on April 13th, 2014 in the Campanile Room of the Memorial Union, the students who received awards in Spanish were each nominated by faculty members independently, and then selected from a very competitive pool of superlative students by the entire Spanish faculty. The brief remarks were contributed by multiple faculty members and by the students.


Taylor Barriuso

Hi! My name is Taylor Anne Barriuso and I graduated from Iowa State in spring 2014. Some of my greatest joys in college were the due to the  study of Spanish, the adventures it took me on, the people I met, and of course everything that I learned. Now in 2015, I’m in my second year of grad school at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City, working on a PhD in linguistics with a focus on Second Language Acquisition (how people learn an additional language after their native one). Although I technically am no longer studying Spanish, it continues to be important in my life. For example, I’m currently teaching a class for teachers about how to incorporate strategies for second language learners (often, Spanish speakers) into the mainstream classroom. All those hours learning a second language, and specifically learning about bilingualism in my higher level Spanish seminars, has served me well and I have a unique perspective to share with my students. Also, since Spanish is my “primary second language,” lots of the research I do is with Spanish speakers learning English and English speakers learning Spanish. Finally, this past summer I had the opportunity to visit Guatemala. It was my first trip to Latin America! I went with a group from my church and an organization that partners with a poor community in Guatemala to help them build stoves, houses, schools, and churches. I was one of only two people in my group who spoke Spanish, so I was able to act as an interpreter when we visited people’s homes and while we played with kids in the streets. It was the best use of my Spanish in a long time! Although I don’t get to speak Spanish as much these days, I know it will always continue to be valuable to me!


Robert Hanson
Mechanical Engineering and Spanish

Robert graduated in 2014 with a double major in Mechanical Engineering and Spanish (LCP). Rob has studied abroad on our programs in Valencia and in Cáceres, Spain. In Cáceres he did an engineering internship and some of his responsibilities were translating technical documents from English to Spanish. After that, he took a short course in German and spent the summer of 2013 in Achen, Germany working for an engineering firm.  He has awarded the 2013 LCP Global Professional Award by the World Languages and Cultures department. Robert Hanson is currently a sales engineer for Mechdyne Corporation, an audio visual company based out of Marshalltown, Iowa.  A lot of engineering students at ISU recognize the C6 in Howe Hall.  Mechdyne designed and built the C6.  Though Mechdyne Corporation is based in Marshalltown, they do business worldwide.  For his first 14 months with Mechdyne, Robert Hanson was a mechanical design engineer.  While in this role, he was able to travel all over the world helping to install the systems that Mechdyne Corporation designed.  The places he has been with Mechdyne include all over the States, Saudi Arabia, Mexico, France, the UK, and Australia.  His stays in the country varied from one week at a time to one month.  His Spanish was incredibly useful when he was in Queretaro, Mexico in 2015. He said that it was an incredible experience to be immersed in a Spanish speaking culture.  He had not heavily used his Spanish in a few months when he flew to Mexico, so he talked with his taxi drivers for the whole 30 minutes each way between the hotel and the worksite each day.  This helped him substantially to keep using Spanish.

Christine Kirpes
Aerospace Engineering and Spanish

Christine Kirpes is a double major in Aerospace Engineering and Spanish. Christine has studied abroad in Valencia, Spain. She has a really high GPA and Professor Haywood-Ferreira describes her as
“an exemplary student –not only is she extremely strong academically, but she is one of those people who makes other students around her better through her attitude, her active participation, and her clear interest in learning.” Another faculty member has said that “Christine is, without a doubt, the student with the highest work ethic that I have ever had.” In 2011 she was a Wind Energy Researcher at ISU where she designed and run wind tunnel tests. Professor Matibag describes her as “an outstanding student of Spanish who has worked on projects for developing wind-energy.” After graduation next month, she will be working for Rockwell Collins in Cedar Rapids, IA as a Systems Engineer. The Spanish faculty is very proud of her accomplishments and has given Christine Kirpes the award for Distinguished Achievement in Spanish.

Brittany Peterson
World Languages and Cultures, Spanish

Brittany is majoring in World Languages and Cultures, in Spanish. Christine has studied abroad in Peru. Our faculty members describe her as “a thoughtful and critical thinker.” Professor Lence says that “a particular strength that Brittany has demonstrated throughout her years as a student in the Spanish program at ISU is her dedication and enthusiasm for learning the language as well as understanding the cultural aspects of the Hispanic world. Brittany has always presented insightful reflections on Hispanic culture, which illustrates her maturity of thought and her awareness of cultural differences.” Professor Haywood Ferreira cites “She was particularly notable for her penetrating and thought-provoking questions and comments. Her final project for one of the capstone courses was superlative: in her portfolio project, titled “Precolumbian Cultures: How the Fantastic Breaks through Barriers of Time and Space to Reevaluate the Past,” she performed superlative research and analysis of well-known as well as little-known works by Latin American writers. Stemming from her time spent in Peru, Brittany selected contemporary literary works that integrate Pre-Columbian cultures, and she produced an exemplary portfolio project with a depth of critical thought more on the level of a graduate than an undergraduate student.” She has also being described as “a bright, pleasant and kind young woman who is liked by all her peers and teachers.” The Spanish program at Iowa State University is proud to present an award for Distinguished Achievement in Spanish for 2014 to Brittany Peterson.

2013 World Languages and Cultures Awards Ceremony
Spanish Awardees

During the WLC Awards Ceremony held on April 28th, 2013 in the Campanile Room of the Memorial Union, the students who received awards in Spanish were each nominated by faculty members independently, and then selected from a very competitive pool of superlative students by the entire Spanish faculty. The brief remarks were contributed by multiple faculty members.


Bianca Contreras
Spanish and Secondary Education

Bianca is currently studying Spanish and Secondary Education and has recently completed her semester long student teaching placement at Ames High where she taught six classes at the Spanish 2 and Spanish 3 levels. During her time at Iowa State, she had the wonderful opportunity to study abroad in Valencia in the Summer of 2011. Several faculty members commented on Bianca’s exceptional intellectual ability and academic motivation. As one of her Professors states: “Bianca is exacting, hard working, very intelligent, and highly motivated.” Many Spanish faculty members that have had Bianca in their classes would agree with this statement and point out that they see these characteristics in everything she does.  In classroom work, she participates earnestly, works well with other students, leads in-group assignments, expects the best from herself, and excels in every project. Another professor states that Bianca “has demonstrated excellent translation skills, has shown a profound understanding of both Spanish and English grammar, and has carried out an exceptional end of the semester honor’s project.” On a personal level, Bianca is quiet and unassuming. She is respectful in class, and a pleasure to be around. Another instructor states: “I sense that other students appreciate having Bianca in class. She does not overwhelm class discussion; indeed, she could easily provide the answer in nearly all instances, but instead waits until others cannot.” Bianca is currently looking for positions to teach Spanish at the middle school or high school levels. The Spanish faculty is very proud of her accomplishments and has given Bianca Contreras the award for Distinguished Achievement in Spanish.

Lizzy Curran
Linguistics and Spanish

Lizzy is currently studying Linguistics and Spanish at ISU with a special focus on Teaching English as a Second Language.  According to Lizzy, her experience in the Spanish program at Iowa State has been incredible!  Her favorite classes and some of the best professors she’s had have been in Spanish. As part of her program of studies, Lizzy spent a semester abroad in Cáceres, Spain, where she had the opportunity to tutor two Spaniards. This is what inspired her love for teaching the English language.  As one of her Professors states, “Lizzy is well-prepared, participates earnestly in all activities, and is a standout.  In small group work, she emerges as a leader; when discussing complex topics aloud, I can always count on her to provide valuable and timely input.  Moreover, other students respect her answers and appreciate her insights, suggesting to me that they see Lizzy as an excellent cohort for classroom activities. She has an alert, probing mind and a sense of curiosity that ultimately will lead her to question and reason; a mind that does not accept everything at face value.” Another professor states: “I’ve had the pleasure of having Lizzy in one of my classes, Spanish 354 (Introduction to Spanish-English Interpretation) and must say I saw outstanding motivation and hard work on her part. Her interpretation skills improved tremendously and while successfully completing my class, Lizzy served as an interpreter during parent-teacher conferences for the Des Moines School District; a job that requires excellent bilingual skills as well as a certain level of maturity, dexterity, organizational skills, confidence, and professionalism.” Recently, Lizzy was awarded the Undergraduate Teaching Assistantship for the ISU on the Mediterranean – Summer in Valencia, Spain program for 2013. As stated by Lizzy herself: “This summer I plan to T.A. for the Summer on the Mediterranean program in Valencia and, if all goes well, I’ll marry a Spaniard and spend the rest of my life on the Valencia beach!” The Spanish faculty is very proud of her accomplishments and has given Mary Elizabeth Curran the award for Distinguished Achievement in Spanish.

Teresa Goeddel
Materials Engineering and Spanish

Teresa is a double major in Materials Engineering and Spanish at Iowa State University. As part of her program of studies, Teresa has had the opportunity to study abroad twice, once with the Valencia program in Spain and again in Cuenca, Ecuador. Teresa’s maternal grandfather was born in Cuenca, and she has many relatives there, therefore studying in Ecuador was truly the experience of a lifetime for her. As stated by Teresa herself, “these experiences studying abroad completely changed my perspective on studying Spanish, and I learned so much about both the language and the culture.” According to one of her Professors, “Teresa is one of the hardest-working, most dedicated and resourceful students I’ve had the pleasure to teach. In Latin American Civilization, she became very familiar with the historical outlines and the country issues we studied.  She worked outstandingly with her team to create a country study website.” Another professor states: “Teresa is a very responsible and dedicated student who communicates with the professor at all times. In my translation class one of Teresa’s best qualities was her genuine interest in the profession. She always asked probing question and was dedicated to improving her understanding of the translation process. Throughout the semester I had the pleasure of witnessing her growth as a translator and her understanding of how culture influences translation.” After graduation, Teresa will be working at 3M as a Process Research Engineer in Woodbury, MN. The Spanish program at Iowa State University is proud of her accomplishments and has given  Teresa Goeddel the award for Distinguished Achievement in Spanish.