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Alumni Spotlight

April 5, 2019

Our inspiring Alumni this week is Sara Vicuña Guengerich! In addition to completing her PhD in Hispanic Literature, she also completed her BA and MA at UNM.  Currently she is an Associate Professor of Spanish at Texas Tech University and leads a semester long study abroad in Seville, Spain.

“I am currently Associate Professor of Spanish at Texas Tech University. I am a scholar of the Spanish American colonial period, with an area of expertise in the Andean region. Upon graduating from UNM in 2009, I started a tenure-track position at TTU, and I have been working at this institution for ten years now. My work has been published in numerous peer-reviewed journals, and I have written several book chapters centered on the analysis of the often-ignored discursive production of colonial women as well as indigenous and black people in colonial manuscripts in the context of the Spanish conquest and colonization of Peru and its connections to the Early Modern Atlantic World. My current projects are a volume on female indigenous leaders in colonial Latin America, from 1492 to 1825 (co-edited with another UNM History Ph.D., Margarita Ochoa) and a solo book-length manuscript on Inca women under Spanish rule.  

I consider myself a product of the University of New Mexico. Having completed my B.A. (2002), M.A. (2004) and Ph.D. (2009) there was the best decision I’ve ever made. Not only did I receive quality education at the undergraduate level, but also superb academic and research training from excellent professors such as Kathryn McKnight (Spanish) and Kimberly Gauderman (History), my dissertation co-directors. I have fond memories of the wonderful and supportive faculty at the Spanish and Portuguese Program with whom I studied (a special mention to Susana Rivera and Anthony Cardenas), and I am grateful to the financial and academic assistance of the Latin American and Iberian Institute that facilitated my initial archival research trips to Spain and Peru as well as my dissertation writing. I believe all my experiences at UNM thoroughly prepared me to fully embark on the academic world. I incorporate a lot of those experiences in what I do at TTU from directing Ph.D. dissertations, producing and publishing original research, and teaching graduate and undergraduate courses.

A special highlight of my UNM training in Spanish and History is the versatility this Ph.D. degree has given me. I often teach graduate cross-listed courses with the History department and the Women’s Studies Program at TTU. In addition, I lead a semester-long study abroad Spanish program along with my husband (another UNM graduate!) to Seville, Spain where I also conduct research at the General Archive of the Indies, a gem for colonial scholars. Truly, I could not ask for more! I will always be grateful to the faculty, staff and the long-lasting friendships I developed at UNM with my then peers, now colleagues elsewhere. ¡Qué vivan los lobos!”

Thank you for sharing!