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Spanish Major Manendra Sharma recipient of Summer Undergraduate Fellowship

Manendra Sharma

Manendra Sharma is a Spanish major and one of the 63 participants this year selected for the Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF) program which was open to UH undergraduates from all colleges and disciplines. SURF provides students with a concentrated, full-time research experience under the mentorship of faculty members. Sharma received a $3500 stipend to conduct a cross-cultural and comparative research on the intricate meanings and interpretations of idioms and proverbs in Houston and Cádiz, Spain. Sharma will be working under the mentorship of Dr. Guillermo de los Reyes. At the end of the program, the SURF recipients presented research posters on their projects at UH’s annual Undergraduate Research Day on October 10th, 2013 which was open to all interested visitors.

Students from Spanish for the Health Professions participated as volunteer translators and health facilitators at the American Diabetes Association Health Fair

Beyond Quick! Easy! Spanish to Intercultural Communicative Competence

Professor, María Pérez with students, Anma, Johny, Eric and Safa, at the end of a gratifying working day
Professor, María Pérez with students, Anma, Johny, Eric and Safa,
at the end of a gratifying working day

The students from Spanish 3343 -Spanish for the Health Professions- participated as volunteer translators and health facilitators at the American Diabetes Association Health Fair on October 12 at Mason Park, in the Magnolia/East end area near UH. They collaborated with other UH students from the Colleges of Optometry and Pharmacy by providing crucial health information to the mostly Spanish speaking fair attendees. Spanish for the Health Professions is new course for our department, focusing not only in the acquisition of medical terminology and correct grammar in Spanish, but also in developing the cultural understanding to effectively communicate with the Hispanic community. This course is part of a new track of Spanish courses for the professions, which aim to offer linguistic and cross-cultural support to the professional development of students of other disciplines such as business, health and translation services. These courses are based on experiential learning, and students interact with working professionals throughout the semester. By offering these courses our department responds to the increasing demand for Spanish in these fields, matching the demographic growth of this segment of the population in the United States. Effective communication in Spanish can be a useful tool to close the gap in health disparities, and the UH students participation in this fair certainly proved this point.

Sarahí helps a patient completing a cholesterol exam form
Sarahí helps a patient completing a cholesterol
exam form

Here is the testimony of Pascal Vo, one of the students who had the opportunity to share this experience.

Health Fair

By Pascal Vo, SPAN 3343

Growing up in a country where distinct differences between social groups are apparent at the level of economy and healthcare, I later came to the United States with a heavy burden from what I had experienced for years living in Vietnam, and a hope to change the healthcare system in my home country as well as everywhere I go. Drawing on those personal experiences, I am a believer of helping those that do not have access to health care or cannot afford it. By participating in the Feria de Salud organized by the American Diabetes Association on October the 12th, 2013, I was able to witness the effects of Hispanic population that has not been receiving adequate healthcare and necessary information about their health conditions. The majority of patients that attended the fair were unable to pay for health insurance, and as a result, they have not been able to find a doctor to receive regular medical checks. Many of the patients suffered from high cholesterol, hypertension, and diabetes, and some people have not even received routine blood tests in years. Nevertheless, what was more surprising was that they were unaware of their immediate circumstances, and the majority did not have an appropriate knowledge about the dangers of having these types of diseases. Being a part of the Feria de Salud opened my eyes to the grave risks involved to the lives of those who are not provided with sufficient and reasonably priced health care. This valuable experience has led me to deem that it is a responsibility for everyone associated with the health care field to extend quality health care to those who need it, regardless of background, financial status, and so on. Healthcare, after all, is an essential human right. As aspiring medical professionals, my classmates and I strongly aim to provide satisfactory health care to people and groups that suffer from the inability to access quality medical care, whether in their home countries or as minority populations living abroad. We also wish to establish facilities for these types of communities in the future so that every population in the United States is able to live a healthful and quality life. Read more

On a personal note, I would like to dedicate a sincere thank you to my professor, Dra. Maria Perez, for giving my classmates and me a unique and wonderful opportunity to work with the Hispanic population in an environment related to our professional interest. All of the lectures that we have studied contained many useful vocabulary lists and ideal samples of conversation that reflected in many situations that I encountered while volunteering at the health fair. The studies of the “hoja clínica” and of different ways to express advice and recommendations are extremely significant in term of practical use and communication with patients in the real world. In addition, I would like to point out that the method of Kleinman takes a very important part in my understanding of Hispanic culture as well as interactions between diverse social groups. Every individual and every community have their own perspectives and receptive abilities about healthcare, and this could be justifiable and became clearer at this Feria de Salud. Therefore, it is necessary for all medical professionals to study this type of ideology and conformity in order to gain further trust and to develop a more intimate relationship with their patients.

Hispanic Studies in the news

English-to-Spanish Translation Professional Certificate


On April 12 the English-to-Spanish Translation Professional Certificate was launched with a talk by Dr. Manuel Ramiro-Valderrama (University of Soria, Spain). Dr. Ramiro-Valderrama talked about the current challenges faced by translators, and also about translation theory. The attendees asked for his power point presentation, and he was kind enough to leave us a copy for everyone interested in Translation Studies. ( Click here to view .pdf version)

The certificate will open on September 28, and the registration process has already begun. For more information about this program, visit:

New Faculty - 2009

Carrie Elizabeth Goodin-Mayeda


Assistant Professor, teaching and research interest include phonetics and phonology and speech perception. She also has strong interest in language acquistion and bilingualism research from a generative perspective. 

Alejandra Gonzalez-Perez


Assistant Professor, specializes in Semantics-Syntax interface (both applied to Spanish and at the theoretical level), Historical Romance Linguistics, and Pragmatics. She also has strong interest in the areas of Applied Linguistics and Second/Foreign Language Learning and Acquisition.

Spring 09 - Hybrid classes on Saturdays

Starting in Spring 09, the Department of Hispanic Studies is offering Major requirement courses in hybrid format: this format combines traditional class instruction on Saturdays with a significant amount of instruction delivered through educational technology. The new courses offer many benefits to students who want more scheduling options, reduction of their commuting time, small classes, and interaction with others through electronic communications. To learn more about benefits for weekend students, please visit

Course Description Meetings Requirements
SPAN 3302
Intensive practice in the writing of Spanish in varying formal and informal styles from reports to letters. Saturdays,
9:00 -10:30
SPAN 2302 or equivalent
SPAN 3308
Designed for students from a Spanish-speaking background. Intensive practice in the writing of Spanish in formal and informal styles. Saturdays,
9:00 - 10:30
SPAN 2308 or Placement test
SPAN 3305
Review of the fundamental Spanish grammatical structures with an emphasis on those aspects of the language which are more difficult for students. Saturdays,
10:30 -12:00
SPAN 2302 or SPAN 2308