The Modern Linguist
Faculty Spotlight

Eye on Alumni
A View from Abroad
Scripture of the Month

Faculty Spotlight

Donna Sampson, Senior Lecturer of Spanish

Donna SampsonWelcome back to spring semester, everyone. I hope you all enjoyed a great holiday and Jan Term!

When I was asked to write about myself for the Modern Linguist Faculty Spotlight, my first reaction was "Yikes! Are you kidding?", but I agreed to share a little about who I am.

I am very proud to be a lecturer of Spanish here at Whitworth. This is my fifth year in the World Languages & Cultures Department, and I am honored to have been appointed a senior lecturer last spring.

I have always felt that the Lord has guided me to where I am supposed to be at given times in my life's journey. My coming to Whitworth is one stop on that journey. It has been circuitous, but I have always been involved in education. I have wanted to be a teacher since elementary school, and I fell in love with Spanish during high school. I have taught Spanish at almost every level to all ages of learners, including elementary, secondary, community college and university students. I have enjoyed every aspect of teaching and am very happy to be here.

In addition to teaching Spanish, another passion I have is traveling and experiencing the different cultures of our ever-shrinking world community. I had the good fortune to live in Italy for a year and a half, to spend time studying and traveling in Spain, to be one of 13 Spokane educator Fulbright Scholarship recipients to study the educational system of China, and to travel throughout Europe, Costa Rica and Peru. There is always so much to learn from these travel experiences. Each has added to who I am. During Jan Term 2014, my husband and I had the opportunity to cruise around South America with ports of call in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Buenos Aires, Argentina; Montevideo, Uruguay; the Falkland Islands, around Cape Horn and Santiago, Chile—another interesting adventure seeing new places and experiencing diverse cultures.

My other passions include reading fiction and nonfiction, and gardening in the summer. Above everything else, however, I cherish spending time, whenever possible, with our two sons and their families.

I hope you enjoy your years here at Whitworth, always learning from every experience and adventure, following your heart and passions, and having wonderful experiences in this world in which we live.

Eye on Alumni

Heather (Stout) Svanidze, '05, French and International Studies Double Major

Heather SvanidzeWhen I graduated from Whitworth, almost nine years ago, I imagined combining my love of languages and international studies into a career that also promoted my deeply held ideals of compassion, equality and justice. After doing some social- services work, I earned a master's degree in international affairs and worked in international development organizations for a few years. As I worked with Francophone African countries, I was pleased to be able to use my French every day, and I believed strongly in the work being accomplished. But I learned the very important lesson that the work we believe in may not always be the work that we actually enjoy doing on a day-to-day basis. In other words, just because there is important work to be done, that does not necessarily mean that it should be done by me.

As I sought to find work that fit me better, I realized that of all the types of work I had done, translation was the task in which I felt most intellectually engaged. I remembered enjoying my French translation class at Whitworth, and I began trying to do as much translation as I could at my day job, while pursuing translation as my full-time career. I researched translation opportunities, read books about freelance translation, joined a local translators' association, did volunteer translation work, and gradually built up a business. As a freelancer, I can (theoretically) choose my clients and hence the type of work I do, so I choose to focus primarily on international development. Because I have a number of different clients, I can also work in a variety of fields within international development, such as democracy and governance, public health, and women's empowerment. While I have most often translated financial, project and business documents, I recently had the opportunity to translate academic journal articles in the social sciences. Any subject becomes interesting to me when I am translating. I am constantly learning new words and concepts, and this research transcends simple vocabulary to encompass entire new subjects. While I am no longer engaged directly in international development work, I remain involved in the field, ultimately contributing to the same goals.

Translation has also proven to be a good fit for me as my life has changed significantly over the past few years. I now have two young children, ages 3 and 1, and I've been able to work part time from home to be with them. And because my work is done remotely, I was able to bring all of my translation clients with me when we moved across the country last year. Working from home often means working evenings and weekends, and expanding my business requires a lot of time marketing myself, without any guarantee of results. But the hard work and uncertainty of freelancing are a small price to pay for being able to do engaging work and use my language skills, right where I am.

A View from Abroad

Reflections on Cuba, by Elisha Deitz, '15, Spanish and Biology Double Major

Elisha DeitzAt the end of November 2013 I spent a week in La Habana, Cuba. My trip was an essential part of my participation in the Latin American Studies Program at the Costa Rica Center during the fall semester. Considering the political relationship between our two nations, a visit to Cuba is a great privilege for any U.S. citizen. For me, it was a very stimulating and transforming week.

Some of my travel-journal entries that follow show the process of experiential learning that I underwent while in Cuba. I hope that the reader can, in some respect, experience not only the beauty of Cuba that I experienced, but also the intellectual stimulation that an observation of such a unique society inevitably engenders.

Nov. 20: We arrived in La Habana, Cuba yesterday at two in the afternoon. The sweet odors of the famous Cuban tobacco and the sea have filled me with a sense of Cuban tranquility. The verses of the Cuban poet Nancy Morejón have shared with me much of what it is to experience La Habana. Her images of the sea I only understood fully after passing a few hours at "El Morro," the fortress from which the Spanish defended the city, and after enjoying the beauty of a sunset over La Habana and the Caribbean.

This is the country where all the Methodist priests earn the same wage of $25 a month. The country that, according to our government, is on the "terrorism list." The country where an official from the embassy – which is called an "interest section" – describes the relationship between our two countries as "a bad divorce, full of emotion." The country where there exists an embargo in which Cuban tobacco in my backpack is considered contraband, but 15,000 pounds of chicken from the U.S.A. are sold to Cuba legally every day. The country where a Catholic priest describes to American students the syncretism between Catholicism and Santería – an Afro-Caribbean religion – in Cuba. The country where Lienko, a high-school English teacher, memorizes Tupac Shakur lyrics and invites young people into his small apartment to listen to his underground rap music, with which he protests the Castro regime. The country where Gustavo, a 79-year-old carpenter, recounts joining the Cuban revolution at 16 years old and fighting in the Cuban jungle and at the Bay of Pigs invasion with "the bearded ones," and maintains that of course the revolution was worth it. The country where coffee is always served in a tiny mug and is always very strong and even sweeter than it is strong. The country of museums and music and art and dance and poetry and all that is beautiful. The prohibited country. The rejected country. The outlawed country.

Nov. 23: I now have been in the beautiful land of Cuba for five days. I have been thinking and reflecting much about politics, democracy, education, art, conscious-building and culture. What has impacted me most has been the high level of education of Cubans. It's not just that people here are very educated, but in conversations I've had with Cubans, it seems that theirs is a unique education, that it has not only taught the people, but that it has also built a conscious in them.

Nov. 26: Well, we're leaving Cuba now and I'm already missing my days of too much tobacco and siestas after lunch and too sugary and too strong coffee…Cuba was a time full of reflection and I learned so much and met so many wonderful people. I have never been in a society so very different from my own as Cuba. This trip was incredibly intriguing, enjoyable and interesting in a variety of ways.

Announcements and Upcoming Events

Class of 2014
Mark your calendars for the annual World Languages & Cultures Senior Breakfast on Saturday, May 17, from 9:30-11 a.m. This event is for you and your family to enjoy on graduation weekend. More information will be forthcoming, along with invitations to send to your family members.

DELE Exam: Spring 2014
Mark your calendars for the DELE (Diploma in Spanish as a Foreign Language) examination, to be held at Whitworth on Friday, April 11. We are offering the exam at the B1, B2 and C1 levels. Registration materials and fees are due to Ángeles Aller by Tuesday, March 4. See Stacey Moo or Ángeles Aller if you have questions or would like information about future test dates.

NOTE: Both French and Spanish majors who entered the program with the 2013 catalog are required to take either the DELE or the ACTFL OPI before they graduate. Please see the Whitworth Catalog or talk to your advisor.

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See yourself in print!
The Travel Section of the UC Berkeley Comparative Literature Undergraduate Journal is currently looking for submissions! If you've traveled the world and have seen amazing sights, or even if you've traveled outside of your hometown, write about it, and get your writing published in our journal! We want to hear about your adventures, your discoveries, the people you've met, anything and everything you may have experienced while traveling. The deadline for submissions is April 2, 2014. Please go here for more information on how to submit your writing, and here to see travel writing we have already published. We look forward to reading your submissions.

Scholarships and Fellowships:
Ameson Year in China
The AYC Program provides a chance to immerse yourself in Chinese culture for a year while teaching. Selected applicants are paid, in addition to receiving free housing, airfare and Chinese language lessons. Check the AYC website for more information and how to apply: Applications are due by March 31!

Benjamin Franklin Travel Grant
Benjamin Franklin, a man of the Enlightenment, a philosopher and scientist, was also a great diplomat and a friend of France. This travel grant for up to $1,500 gives students enrolled in an American university an opportunity to discover France. It is open to sophomore, junior and senior students who are enrolled in a double major, including one major in French and one major in another discipline. Consideration will also be given to students enrolled in a minor/certificate in French and majoring in another subject. Deadline: mid-March 2014. For more information, please e-mail

STA Travel Scholarship Drawing
Two drawings for $500 scholarships from STA Travel will be held each academic year. Deadline is Aug. 1. In order to qualify for the scholarship drawing, students must use the phone number or e-mail address listed below to purchase their airline ticket. Once travel is booked, confirmed and paid in full, the participant's name will be entered in a drawing. Phone: 1.866.557.8529; e-mail: For more information, contact Karlene Masters at

African Languages Initiative for French and Swahili
For applicants who are at an intermediate-high or above proficiency. For a full explanation of the African Languages Initiative, visit and look under "Announcements" on the left side of the page. Deadline is March 15, 2014.

WAFLT Student Scholarships
Six, $500 scholarships each year to Washington residents enrolled in any world language at the 300-level or higher. Merit-based award. Application deadline is April 15, 2014. For more information, contact Bridget Yaden at

Seattle-Nantes Dollars for Scholars Scholarship
Students must be from Western Washington and a member of the Seattle-Nantes Sister City Association. This scholarship awards up to $1,000 to students enrolled in French classes who intend to intensively study, minor or major in French/Francophone studies. More information is available from their website. The application deadline is April 15, 2014.

DADD Alumni Association of the U.S., University Summer Course Grants
Applicants must have completed a minimum four semesters of college German (or equivalent language proficiency) before applying, but can be of any major. Scholarships can be applied at a number of German universities. Check the DAAD Summer Course Search Engine and look for the circle icon Circle Icon for courses that are eligible for funding. Course must last a minimum of three weeks. Scholarship is approximately €850, and will cover tuition, room and board in whole or in part. The association also provides an international travel subsidy of €300-450. Applications due May 1, 2014. E-mail for complete details. Application is available online.

Tutoring: All levels – FREE. Walk-ins are always welcome!
Review grammar, check homework, review for tests, get help with proofreading and editing papers, and practice your conversational abilities. Open Finals Week, too!

  • French: Every Sunday and Thursday, 8-9 p.m., in Westminster 113
  • German: Every Monday, 4:30-5:30 p.m., in Library 208 (across from Composition Commons)
  • Spanish: Sun/Tues/Thurs from 7-9 p.m.; Mon/Wed from 7-8 p.m., in Library 208 (across from Composition Commons)

Scripture of the Month

English: Isaiah 40:31
but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.

Arabic: 40:31 ﺃﺷﻌﻴﺎء
أَمَّا الرَّاجُونَ الرَّبَّ فَإِنَّهُمْ يُجَدِّدُونَ قُوَّتَهُمْ، وَيُحَلِّقُونَ بِأَجْنِحَةِ النُّسُورِ. يَرْكُضُونَ وَلاَ يُعْيُونَ. يَمْشُونَ وَلاَ يَتْعَبُونَ.

Chinese: 以赛亚书 40:31

French: Esaie 40:31
mais ceux qui comptent sur l'Eternel renouvellent leur force: ils prennent leur envol comme de jeunes aigles; sans se lasser, ils courent, ils marchent en avant, et ne s'épuisent pas.

German: Jesaja 40.31
aber die auf den Herrn harren, kriegen neue Kraft, dass sie auffahren mit Flügeln wie Adler, dass sie laufen und nicht matt werden, dass sie wandeln und nicht müde werden.

Greek: Ἠσαΐας 40:31
οἱ δὲ ὑπομένοντες τὸν θεὸν ἀλλάξουσιν ἰσχύν πτεροφυήσουσιν ὡς ἀετοί δραμοῦνται καὶ οὐ κοπιάσουσιν βαδιοῦνται καὶ οὐ πεινάσουσιν

Hebrew: 40:31 ישעה
וְקֹויֵ֤ יְהוָה֙ יַחֲלִ֣יפוּ כֹ֔חַ יַעֲל֥וּ אֵ֖בֶר כַּנְּשָׁרִ֑ים יָר֙וּצוּ֙ וְלֹ֣א יִיגָ֔עוּ יֵלְכ֖וּ וְלֹ֥א יִיעָֽפוּ׃

Japanese: イザヤ書 40:31

Spanish: Isaías 40:31
Pero los que confían en el Señor renovarán sus fuerzas; volarán como las águilas; correrán y no se fatigarán, caminarán y no se cansarán.

Swahili: Isaya 40:31
Bali wao wamngojeao Bwana watapata nguvu mpya; watapanda juu kwa mbawa kama tai; watapiga mbio, wala hawatachoka; watakwenda kwa miguu, wala hawatazimia.

Vol. 20 Issue 4 Mar. 2014

The Modern Linguist was birthed from the desire to unite those who study in the world languages discipline at Whitworth University. The newsletter features information, news and stories applicable to those involved in the program. Let it serve you well.

World Languages & Cultures Department
Westminster Hall
Whitworth University
Phone: 509.777.4765
Department Chair and Editor-in-Chief: Jennifer Brown
Editor: Stacey Moo
For student employment information, please contact Stacey Moo, program assistant, at 509.777.4765

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