What is your current job title and responsibilities?
I am Associate Professor in the Department of Modern Languages & Literatures in the College of Arts & Humanities. I am currently the Coordinator of the Honors in the Major for the College of Arts & Humanities. My main service responsibilities are teaching and researching in my areas of concentration which ponders the Spanish Medieval, Golden Age, and the Age of Enlightenment. I teach courses in Spanish language and culture as well. I work with undergraduate and graduate students through advising, mentoring, and fomenting leadership which makes my service at UCF more enjoyable and significant.
What is your history at UCF and before UCF?
My history at UCF began in 1996 as a junior undergraduate student. I was fortunate to continue my history at this same institution as a Spanish MA graduate student and teaching assistant from 1998 to 2000. In 2005 I joined the Department of Modern Languages & Literatures as a faculty member which granted me the opportunity to give back and be part of the community where my academic journey began almost two decades ago.
What is your academic background?
After completing my bachelor and master’s degree at UCF with the publication of my thesis El núcleo familiar cidiano (The nuclear family of the Cid), I was awarded a full scholarship and teaching assistantship based on academic merits at Vanderbilt University. I completed my doctorate degree in 2005 with the publication of my dissertation Las mujeres en el Quijote: Voces, imágenes & influencia en la narrativa (Women in Quixote: Voices, images & influence in the narrative).
What is your favorite UCF memory?
Well, I have several. They are my time researching at the UCF Libraries, vitalizing dialogues with my students, and kind conversations with leaders, colleagues and staff members. I could not choose because all of them are very well-articulated in one favorite memory.
If you could change one thing at UCF, what would it be? ($ and time no object)
In my ideal world, I would like to have an All Faith Chapel on campus where leaders, faculty, staff teams, students and visitors may be reunited for special events or just to stop by to meditate first thing in the morning or after an active day.
What is one piece of advice you would like to share with your colleagues?
Let’s keep doing good.
If UCF was going to name something in your honor, what would you like it to be and why?
The UCF Heritage Library for Children and Young Adults
[A physical place to house books, maps, art, music, and online materials produced by UCF undergraduate and graduate students in collaboration with faculty, librarians and staff. I would design a section specifically for girls and young adult women.] What an unending bequest!
If you could have lunch with anyone at UCF (who you do not normally eat lunch with), who would you choose and why?
With a gathering of interdisciplinary UCF faculty. We would find many subjects to converse and attuned groups to work on new initiatives.
Who at UCF would you like to thank for your success?
Each member at UCF is an intricate part of my success. Starting with the cosmopolitan and pioneer vision of President Hitt and the First Lady Martha Hitt, the leadership and administrative personnel, faculty in all disciplines, and each staff member that helps me with daily tasks deserve my sincere gratitude. I am grateful to the entire Modern Languages & Literatures faculty and staff and the College of Arts & Humanities fellows, together we literally make wonders. Dean José Fernández has been a constant pillar in my professional development and my husband José Antonio García Jr. is my treasured Golden Knight. My two guiding lighting wings are the Faculty Center for Teaching & Learning and the Center for Success of Women Faculty. I would like to thank whole heartily each of my students for listening and for teaching me every day something new.
Name and describe a teacher or researcher from your past who truly inspired you and why.
Professor Edward H. Friedman who taught me to teach, research and service to honor others, and Professor Cathy L. Jrade who has demonstrated that women can also excel in academia and leadership. Both made an everlasting impression in my education during my years of studies at Vanderbilt University.
What undergraduate or graduate class/program/experience inspired you the most and why?
I will never forget my first undergraduate course in Spanish Peninsular at UCF with Dr. Delmarie Martínez-Díaz. After I had the privilege to take her class and being her mentee during my master graduate program, my destiny changed for good.
What is your favorite restaurant or food?
Coming from a Spaniard and Cuban family, I enjoy cuisine from both constituencies. The Spanish culinary art of my grandmother that she learned from her Asturian mother and from my Galician grandfather was incomparable and my mother’s Cuban desserts are undefeated. I enjoy finding similarities between both sides and embrace their unique distinctions.
What is your favorite movie, book or music?
This is not a secret, my favorite book after the Bible is Don Quixote (1605 – 1615). In both of these books we can find the simplicity and the complexities of the real world and the virtuousness and uprightness of pursuing our ideals. My favorite movie repertoire is the comprehensive Audrey Hepburn filmography. My favorite music is the collection of the bells’ concerts of the Bok Signing Tower carillon.
What is your favorite vacation destination?
A log cabin in the mountains.