Listee Features — Language


When Louise Fay Despres was young, her mother began giving her French lessons and opened the door to a world of possibilities. Ms. Despres fell in love with the language almost instantaneously; she found it beautiful and compelling. She pursued the subject all through her childhood, from home to the classroom, and even then she wanted to know more. She proceeded to complete coursework at the American School of Music in Fontainebleau, France, and to earn a Bachelor of Arts in French from Connecticut College for Women (now Connecticut College), and a Master of Arts in French from Middlebury College in Paris, France. Another one of Ms. Despres’ passions was academia. Both her father and her aunt were teachers, and

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Ever since she was young, Dr. Zema L. Jordan has loved English, writing, and language. She was driven to help others find that same passion, and found education to be the perfect way to do so. Her first position in the field was instructor of English at Liberty High School, followed by instructor of English and part-time guidance counselor at Wilson Junior High School and instructor of English at Southwestern High School. She then advanced to become the head of the English Department at Farwell Junior High School and the administrative unit head at Richard Middle School. Today, Dr. Jordan holds the positions of part-time English instructor at Wayne County Community College, administrative unit head at Von Steuben Middle School,

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Outraged by the lack of empathy and care in the education of bilingual children, Linda B. Lewis White decided to take matters into her own hands. She became a certified bilingual and elementary teacher in the state of Texas with a Bachelor of Arts in home economics and a Master of Arts in social sciences from California State University, and jumped right into the field. Dr. Lewis White proceeded to serve as a bilingual teacher in the Arlington School District from 1977 to 1996 and then as a professor of reading at Eastern Michigan University. She continues to work in the latter to this day. Her responsibilities include teaching undergraduate students to become educators and teaching graduate students seeking a

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Roslyn Blyn-LaDrew strongly believes that the more languages a person knows, the better they understand other people and cultures. She experienced this first hand as a child, when she lived in India for a year and was first introduced to Hindi. Knowing the language really helped her feel connected; she knew she had to pursue it further. Then, when Dr. Blyn-LaDrew was a bit older, Irish folktales and Irish music caught her eye. She was intrigued by the sense of magic and supernatural in the stories. Dr. Blyn-LaDrew came to realize that not everyone in Ireland speaks Irish, however, and that an understanding of the original language was necessary to really get the material. She began studying Celtic languages at

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The oldest of four children, Kathleen Kish loved learning and sharing knowledge with her sisters. She was particularly interested in both science and language, and ultimately decided to pursue the latter. Dr. Kish proceeded earn a Bachelor of Arts from the University of California, Berkeley, in 1964, and both a Master of Arts and a PhD from the University of Wisconsin—Madison in 1965 and 1971, respectively. Her first position in the field was lecturer in the Department of Romance Languages at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, followed by professor and chair. She moved to San Diego University as the professor and chair of the Department of Spanish and Portuguese in 1999, and remained there until she accepted the

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Between the classroom and the courtroom, Bethany K. Dumas is proud to have made a positive difference in the lives of so many others over the past five decades. She initially started her professional journey in English literature, one of her main passions, but decided to switch to linguistics during graduate school. A few years later, Dr. Dumas became interested in jury selection, so she pursued a law degree to understand it better. She currently holds a Bachelor of Arts from Lamar University, a Master of Arts and a PhD from the University of Arkansas, and a JD from the University of Tennessee College of Law. ​ Dr. Dumas has served her alma mater, the University of Tennessee, since 1974. She started

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Fascinated by foreign languages and passionate about literature, Dr. Hildegard Rissel set out to find a career that would incorporate all of her interests. Her first stop was Georgetown University, where she earned both a Bachelor of Science and a Master of Science in French with a minor in Spanish in 1981 and 1983, respectively. She returned to her alma mater in 1990 to obtain a PhD in Spanish literature. ​ Currently living her dream as an associate professor of Spanish at Virginia State University in the Department of Language and Literature, where she’s been since 2001, Dr. Rissel is proud of her growth and success over the years. She started out as a lecturer in Spanish and French at

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