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Alumni Spotlight

February 23, 2017

Erin Weddington illuminates our Alumni newsfeed this week with her dedication to her community and students. Read about this S&P Alumni’s journey to elevating first generation high school students and propelling them towards post-secondary learning.  

What are you doing now/where are you

"I graduated from the Department of Spanish and Portuguese in May 2010 with a double major in Spanish and Political Science. The following year I entered into the UNM College of Education Masters in Secondary Education program to earn my teaching license with endorsements in Modern and Classical Languages, TESOL, and Social Studies. I then accepted a full-time position at the UNM TRIO Upward Bound Program where I work as an instructor teaching Spanish I/II, social studies, and dual credit. Our program works with first-generation high school students in preparing them for entrance into institutions of post-secondary learning.  I completed my Master of Arts in Secondary Education in the spring of 2014."

Professional highlights post-graduation

"I have had the honor to work at UNM for the past five years during which time I have received incredible professional and academic support. Perhaps my greatest accomplishment during the last five years has been watching the successes of the students I mentor. In addition to the many students who are now attending UNM and CNM, two of my students are current Gates Millennium Scholars at Brown University and the University of Texas at Austin. I also have two QuestBridge Scholars at the University of Pennsylvania and Tufts University. Their success is my success and I am proud to have worked with them throughout their high school years."

Research Interests

"My master’s thesis titled “College Success Factors for First-Generation Hispanic Students” studied three key dimensions of Knowledge, Identification, and Navigation in order to understand higher education through the lens of a first-generation student. My current interests are in bilingual education, first and second language development, and policy issues in education. I hope to continue to work to provide the necessary resources to those students in our community who wish to attend college."

Are you using your Spanish/Port degree

"In every job I have had, being bilingual in Spanish and English has proven useful. From teaching Spanish as a second language to communicating with my students’ parents, I use my knowledge of the language on a daily basis. Moreover, the critical thinking skills I obtained in the numerous literature courses I took has helped me in all aspects of my professional career."

Pros of knowing more than one language

"Like many families in New Mexico, my family experienced language loss from my grandparent’s generation to my mother’s generation. Studying Spanish at UNM helped me to recover that language in our family and connect with our heritage and community. I am grateful to be bilingual and to continue the lifelong journey of learning two languages."

Memories you would like to share about dept. or UNM.

"During my undergraduate studies, I took several courses from Professor Mary Quinn who encouraged us to think critically about the text we were reading in regards to social and historical context. Her classes were both challenging and fascinating and she inspired me to become the educator I am today. I also genuinely enjoyed taking Don Quijote de la Mancha with Professor Anthony Cárdenas who brought the text to life during our classes."  

Erin, the S&P Department would like to wish you many more accomplishments in your future! Go Lobos!