Although the Spring 2020 semester didn't end the way that we had anticipated, the Department of Spanish and Portuguese still wanted to honor our 2019-2020 graduates in a special way. Thanks to the tireless efforts of Dr. John Grinstead, the Department of Spanish and Portuguese 2019-2020 Undergraduate Graduation and Awards Ceremony was modified to an online format this year.
The ceremony began with opening remarks from Dr. John Grinstead and Dr. Laura Podalsky, the Chair of the Department of Spanish and Portuguese. Dr. Podalsky noted that despite the sudden transition to online learning this semester, students maintained dedication to their learning and participation in their courses within the department.
Following the opening remarks, this year's Keynote Speaker, Erika Senk, addressed the grads. Erika is a 2013 alumna of OSU who double majored in Spanish and Arabic. After graduating from OSU, she worked on Dr. Glenn Martinez's NIH grant that studied how the use of bilingual nurses improves health outcomes for Spanish speakers diagnosed with diabetes. Subsequently, Erika returned to school and earned her Bachelor of Science in Nursing. She is currently a bilingual ICU nurse in New Britain, Connecticut, working on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic. Erika is truly a hero and the department was honored to have her participate in this year's ceremony.
After Erika's Keynote Speech, Dr. John Grinstead announced the names of this year’s graduates, as well as some of their accomplishments during their time at OSU. Dr. Rebeka Campos-Astorkiza recognized the nine SPPO graduate students receiving their master's degrees this semester. After honoring the undergraduate and graduate students, Dr. Fernando Martinez-Gil and Dr. Scott Schwenter "virtually" hooded SPPO graduate student, William Balla Johnson, who earned his Ph.D. this semester.
Dr. Abril Trigo presented the SPPO award recipients for the 2019-2020 academic year. The Spring 2020 semester was Dr. Trigo's final semester at OSU. He is retiring after an accomplished career in academia. With the help of his wife, Dr. Ana Del Sarto, the department surprised Dr. Trigo with a plaque recognizing his achievements within the department. Friend and colleague, Dr. Fernando Unzueta, took some time to speak about Dr. Trigo's career and his impact as a professor and scholar at OSU.
Dr. Podalsky honored SPPO Lecturer, Dr. Stephanie Aubry, with the SPPO Associate Faculty Award in Second Language Teaching and Learning. Earlier this year, Dr. Aubry was also awarded the 2020 Provost's Award for Distinguished Teaching by a Lecturer. This university-level recognition is awarded to only six people throughout the university each year.
Angela Acosta, president of OSU’s chapter of the National Spanish Honor Society, Sigma Delta Pi, took a moment to recognize all graduating members of the OSU chapter. Although this year's National Spanish Honor Society induction ceremony couldn't take place in-person, there were still a number of new inductees. Angela “virtually” performed the ceremonial cording and graduates will receive their Sigma Delta Pi cords by mail.
The Zoom Department of Spanish and Portuguese 2019-2020 Undergraduate Graduation and Awards Ceremony drew to a close with some final remarks from Spanish and Portuguese Club president, Blake Shiplett. Following Blake's message to the graduates, a slideshow was presented with photos submitted by the graduating students showcasing their time at OSU and their studies abroad.
Many thanks to all of our faculty, lecturers, graduate students, and staff for their efforts to transition the Department of Spanish and Portuguese Undergraduate Graduation and Awards Ceremony online this year. To all SPPO 2019-2020 graduates, we wish you the best of luck in your journey and look forward to all of the wonderful things you will accomplish as you embark on your next adventure!
The Zoom recording of the 2019-2020 Undergraduate Awards Ceremony can be viewed at the following link. The password to access the recording is: 8k@4*#5Z https://osu.zoom.us/rec/share/4sZOcK_0zjxIbZHAxmX_APQfOoXqaaa82yJP8vAFxUsdDlI6oU0YspuFmyAcoPVP?startTime=1589029043000
The YouTube video featured at the end of the ceremony can be viewed here.