Doctoral Students

Concepción María (Conchita) Hickey completed her Ph.D. in Hispanic Linguistics in 2012. Her dissertation focuses on the social and cultural life of Spanish in Laredo since the annexation of Texas into the United States. Conchita was one of our first students from the TAMIU campus, and she did her entire studies from Laredo, where she was working as the Director of University College. After her graduation, she was promoted to Dean of her unit, a position she held until her retirement in 2016. She continues to be actively involved in teaching as a Senior Lecturer (Emerita).  

Travis Sorenson competed his Ph.D. in Hispanic Linguistics at Texas A&M in 2010. His dissertation focuses on voseo/tuteo variation among Salvadoran Spanish speakers in the United States, specifically in Houston and Washington D.C. Since 2010, Travis has worked in the Department of Languages, Linguistics, Literatures and Cultures at the University of Central Arkansas, where he is currently Associate Professor. Travis continues to publish on forms of address and other topics in Spanish language variation. 

Patricia Garza de González completed her Ph.D. in Hispanic Linguistics in 2014, as one of our TAMIU consortium campus students. Her dissertation focuses on the interpretation of two types of Spanish compounds by four groups of bilinguals with different levels of exposure to English. After she completed her degree, Patricia held a postdoctoral position in Psycholinguistics with Dr. Roberto Heredia at TAMIU in Laredo, where she still lives. 

Sinia Bolaños Harris completed her Ph.D. in Hispanic Linguistics in 2017. She completed all of her coursework while living in Laredo and working as a instructor at TAMIU. Her dissertation compares the representation of Mexican and Colombian forms of address in the narconovela El Señor de los Cielos against data from authentic usage from the same dialectal areas. Sinia is currently an Assistant Professor at Wiley College, a Historically Black College in Marshall, Texas.

Kelsey Harper completed her Ph.D. in Hispanic Linguistics in 2019. Her study focuses on the language use and identity of the Peruvian diaspora in the United States, which she considered both through social media (the Facebook group #BeingPeruvian), and through participant observation and attitude interviews in Paterson, NJ. Kelsey is currently working at Butler Community College in Wichita, Kansas, where she was recently appointed Chair of Foreign Languages. You can read more about her in her digital portfolio.

Masters Students

Wendy Decker Beckman completed her M.A. in Hispanic Linguistics in 2003 while a student in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese at San Diego State University. Her master's thesis on the history of Spanish in San Diego included data from family correspondence, which she transcribed and analyzed for its linguistic features. These documents, together with others we collected in the San Diego area, were the basis for several collaborative articles. After taking time off to raise her family, Wendy is working as a lecturer at Mesa College in San Diego.

Israel Sanz-Sánchez completed his M.A. in Hispanic Linguistics in 2005 while at the Department of Spanish and Portuguese at San Diego State University. His thesis focused on the gay lexicon of the San Diego/Tijuana border region, and was published in 2009 as an article in Hispania (92.1). Israel later completed a Ph.D. degree in Spanish at University of California, Berkeley. He is currently Associate Professor in the Department of Languages and Cultures at the University of West Chester, Pennsylvania, and we continue to collaborate.

Lorena Yee completed her M.A. in Hispanic Linguistics in 2005, while at the Department of Spanish and Portuguese at San Diego State University. I co-chaired her thesis with my colleague Jessica Barlow, from the Department of Speech Pathology. This work focused on the process of phonetic acquisition in Spanish-speaking children, and had implications for speech and language therapists. The findings were published in 2009 in Clinical Phonetics and Linguistics (23.6). Lorena is a school speech pathologist in San Diego. 

Beatriz Vanni Ceballos completed her M.A. in Hispanic Linguistics in 2006, in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese at San Diego State University. An Italian by birth, her thesis focused on the history, semantic fields, and meaning shifts of Italian loanwords into Río de la Plata Spanish. Beatriz was also a meticulous research assistant, and her help was invaluable to complete a project on the representation of informal address in Río de la Plata plays, which we published in Spanish in Context (5.1) in 2008. Beatriz continues to live in Chula Vista, San Diego, and remains active as a teacher in her church.

Natalie Rangel completed her M.A. in Hispanic Linguistics in the Department of Hispanic Studies at Texas A&M in 2013. For her thesis, she carried out a matched-guise experiment to compare covert attitudes towards Spanish, English, and Spanish-English code-switching in Laredo, Texas. The results of this study are available in  an article in Spanish in Context (12.2) which she co-authored with me and her M.A. co-chair, Verónica Loureiro-Rodríguez. Natalie recently completed her Ph.D. in Spanish Linguistics at the University of  Texas at Austin.

Undergraduate Researchers

María José Rosales was my research assistant in 2013-14, while completing her double degree in Spanish and Biology. As my assistant, she collected and analyzed data for a study on address representation in contemporary Uruguayan children's literature. We presented this work together in Language Matters (the Glasscock Center working group on linguistics), as well as at the annual conference of the Linguistic Association of the Southwest (LASSO) in San Diego, California in 2014. The resulting article appeared in Hispania (99.2) in 2016. María José is currently attending Texas A&M University School of Law in Fort Worth, Texas.

Tess Blumenthal (formerly Butt) was my research assistant in 2015-16, while she was completing her B.A. in Spanish. Right before that, she had travelled to Uruguay to perfect her language skills and collect data for a study on forms of address in early Uruguayan children's literature. We used that data for a collaborative project that has been accepted for publication at the Journal of Historical Pragmatics.  Tess is also an extraordinary event planner: she was in charge of organizing the third meeting of the International Conference on Address Research (INAR 3). She has since completed an M.A. in Spanish at Baylor University and is currently a first-year student in the Ph.D. program at the University of Texas, Austin. In addition, she holds an intern position with the Linguistic Society of America. 

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