By: Claire Quigle
Guess what day it is…? “Where Do You Work?” Wednesday! This week meet alumna Lucia Osa-Melero (MA ‘01 Foreign Language Teaching, MAT ‘02 Teaching Spanish).
Osa-Melero is from Valencia, Spain, and is currently working as an associate professor of Spanish and Spanish 2nd-year program coordinator at Duquesne University, located in Pittsburgh. Her position is located within their Department of Modern Languages and Literatures at Duquesne. She has been teaching at Duquesne University for 8 years but has taught for 22 years total.
Osa-Melero is grateful for the help she received and the experience she gained while attending the University of Iowa College of Education.
“When I left the University of Iowa to go to the University of Texas at Austin, I felt, and still feel, very confident about language teaching theories and practices,” says Osa-Melero. “The College of Education helped me connect with experts in the field of language teaching and motivated me to be active in the field and always try to be better. My MA and MAT studies, as well as my teaching assistant position in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese at the University of Iowa, gave me a strong and solid foundation in the area of Foreign Language Teaching.”
After getting a master’s in 2001, Osa-Melero moved to Texas where she worked at UT Austin as a full-time lecturer. Here, she would undertake educational projects in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese. These included the coordination of the beginner level of Spanish to the coordination of the community engagement program and the Heritage Speakers track.
In her current position, Osa-Melero focuses on community-engaged language learning and connects her students to the Spanish speaking native communities. She also co-directs one of the community-engaged projects in the department, Reading to Play, Playing to Read. This project aims to connect the language learned in the classroom with native speakers in the community, encourage students of Spanish to be involved within the Latino community, and further the University’s mission of service.
“Students attend the after-school program for Latino children, ages five to eleven, who recently immigrated to the United States,” says Osa-Melero. “They cooperatively develop a four-week project on health, nutrition, and illness prevention. Students and children create scripts, make costumes, work on stage decorations, and diligently memorize the script lines in Spanish. During the last week of the semester, they perform theatrical plays at the university.”
Osa-Melero feels proud that this program was recognized and given the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL) Globally Engaged Program award 2016.
“According to ACTFL, this honor attests to "the breadth and depth, the impact, and the integration into language curriculum of the community-engagement experience, as well as the quality of the community partner relationship,” says Osa-Melero.
As a teacher, Osa-Melero loves getting to create connections with her students.
“The daily interaction with my students, seeing them grow into language learners and culture lovers,” says Osa-Melero. “It fills my heart to witness how some of them open their minds to the world while becoming proficient in a language.”
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