Although our graduate program is only in its tenth year, we have a strong track record of graduation and placement. Our graduates hold tenure-track positions in a variety of universities in the United States, including Sam Houston, Texas A&M International University (Laredo), Ouachita Baptist, and Central Arkansas. Others have post-doctoral positions or work as lecturers at the University of Oklahoma, Virginia Commonwealth, and the Instituto Cervantes in Egypt. Several of our ABDs are already working both in the United States and abroad (Monterrey Tech, University of North Texas, Baylor). Here are some of the profiles of these promising young scholars.
The first Hispanic Studies PhD graduate of Texas A&M University, Juan Carlos Ureña is an Associate Professor of Spanish in the Department of Languages, Cultures and Communication at Stephen F. Austin University in Nacogdoches, TX. Dr. Ureña received a B. A. in Music Education at the Universidad de Costa Rica and an M.A. in Music Composition from Stephen F. Austin State University. His dissertation, History and Poetic Structure of Hispanic Popular Song (The case for Central America), was eventually revised and published as Trovar. Memoria poética de la canción hispanoamericana (Universidad de Costa Rica, 2013).
Dr. Ureña’s academic interest in music is related to his other career as an accomplished singer and songwriter. He has recorded over 10 albums of original music, has contributed songs to numerous music collections in the United States, Latin America and Europe, and has performed in many venues throughout the Americas and Europe. For a sample of his research and his music, please see this TEDx recording where he discusses the relationship between migration and music: http://tedxtalks.ted.com/video/Traveling-songs-Juan-Carlos-Ure.
Dr. Conchita C. Hickey is the Dean of University College at Texas A&M International University in Laredo, Texas. She earned her B. A. in Spanish and French from Our Lady of the Lake University and both her M. A. in Modern Languages and Ph. D. in Hispanic Studies from Texas A&M University at College Station. Her dissertation researched Spanish language use and attitudes in Laredo, Texas, her hometown, from 1860 to 1930.
While her academic interest has always been the study of language, most of Dr. Hickey’s professional experience has been administrative. As Dean, she supervises multiple departments and programs focusing on providing academic support and successful transition for first and second year students, including learning communities, freshmen seminars, common reading program, developmental studies, Advising and Mentoring Center, Writing Center, University Learning Center, Testing Center, and some federal grants.
He was a graduate assistant teacher and research assistant in the Department of Hispanic Studies at Texas A&M from 2009 to 2013. His doctoral dissertation was entitled “The Universal Quixote: Appropriations of a Literary Icon.”
Travis received his PhD in 2010, with a focus on linguistics and pedagogy. While working to complete his dissertation on Salvadoran voseo, he accepted a lectureship at the University of Central Arkansas in 2009. When a tenure-track position at the same university opened in 2010, he successfully competed for it, and since then has been an assistant professor. Travis has continued his research and publications on forms of address, as well as other areas of Spanish sociolinguistics and dialectology. In addition to the many grammar and linguistics classes he teaches, at the undergraduate and graduate level, he has had the opportunity to create new courses, including Spanish Phonetics and Spanish Translation, the latter reflecting his MA in Spanish-English Translation from the Monterey Institute of International Studies.
Dr. Lola Orellano Norris
Dr. Lola Orellano Norris is an Associate Professor of Spanish and Translation at Texas A&M International University in Laredo, where she teaches language, linguistics, literature and translation courses. She holds a degree in German, Spanish, and English Translation from the former Dolmetscherschule Zürich in Switzerland, an M.A. in Spanish Literature from Texas A&M International University, an M.A. in Spanish Translation and Interpreting from The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, and a Ph.D. in Hispanic Studies with an emphasis in Linguistics from Texas A&M University.
Her 2010 dissertation, a linguistic analysis, Spanish transcription and English translation of Alonso de León expedition diaries, was revised and published in 2017 as General Alonso de León’s Expeditions into Texas (1686-1690) by Texas A&M University Press. Dr. Norris’ research interests span the fields of Historical Linguistics, Spanish Golden Age Literature, Translation Studies, and Chicano Literature. She is also a long-time practicing translator with work experience in Europe and the United States.