Alumni Spotlight

February 5, 2021

JoaquinTo start of our Alumni Spotlight for the semester, SPANPORT would like to recognize Joaquín Benjamín ChaparOrtízJoaquín graduated in the Spring of 2011, with a MA in Hispanic Literature. Currently, he is working with the University of Washington as lead Assistant Director for Constituent Relations with our Office of Minority Affairs & Diversity (OMA&D) 


*What are you doing now/where are you?  

I work with the University of Washington (UW) as lead Assistant Director for Constituent Relations with our Office of Minority Affairs & Diversity (OMA&D) in partnership with Academic & Student Affairs (ASA) alliance. In the community we seek support and partnership to fund student programs, scholarships and higher education initiatives.UW is located in the Pacific Northwest, in Seattle. If you are interested in learning more about the initiatives I work with,please visit the following link: 

As a people connector, I value earning and keeping people’s trust; by working together, creating results, and adding meaningful value and solutions to their needs. You can connect with me on linkedin   

*Professional highlights post-gradation 

After graduation,I have received the following selected, leadership, service and honors 

  • Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL)Certification in February 2016 
  • EDUCAUSE Annual Conference virtual attendee: BRM process and Google analytics in November 2015  
  • State of Washington Procurement and Vendor EthicsCertification in September 2015  
  • HACU Annual National Conference Participant -Denver, CO in February 2014  
  • The 13th Annual Illuminate Award by Gamma Alpha Omega, Delta Chapter in April 2013 
  • WSU Phil and Norma Duran Honorary Service La Alianza Award              

I have also works in the following positions after graduation:  

  • Assistant Director/Constituent Relations Officer (AD/CRO), Office of Minority Affairs & Diversity (OMA&D), University of Washington, Seattle, WA. I started there in June 2017, and work there to this day. 
  • IT Lead/Computer Support Technician III(ITL/CST3)Information Technologies (IT), University of Washington, Bothell, WA from May 2015-June 2017  
  • Retention Counselor/Student Services Specialist(RC/SSP) at Multicultural Student Services, Washington State University, Pullman, WA fromJuly 2011-May 2015 

*Research Interests/are you using your Spanish/Port degree  

This is a great question.I use my degree for the following communities: Latinx in higher education, supporting first generation, low income, and underrepresented English Language Learners (ELL) towards success in higher education and beyond, current events in Latin American and Iberia in Spanish language and beyond, using two languages, Spanish and English to be an entrepreneur and launch own business, mentor others, teaching and research in the classroom as it relates to home language such as how I learned in the Sabine Ulibarri Spanish as a Heritage Language Program (SUSHL) teaching and researching too across informaleconomies, entrepreneurship and the connection between developing nations, language, leadership and technology.  

*Memories with the Spanish & Portuguese Department 

For me, memories of Spanish and Portuguese Department are teaching and learning in the Sabine Ulibarri Spanish as a Heritage Language Program (SUSHL). I was selected and appointed to teach two courses, across two years, at the 111 and 112 undergraduate level as a graduate student. In the summer I would work for the UNM Information Technology Department and I also worked forThe Spanish Colonial Research Center (SCRC) as a graduate student transcribing legacy Spanish colonial documents and papers to modern Spanish and English language too. Of course the best memories are the people, students, administrators, faculty, fellow graduate students, and LatinAmericanSpanish literature classes dialogue and conversations. Albuquerque "land of enchantment", the southwest its food and history are also a great place and all connects across the Department and UNM campus.   

*How has getting a Spanish degree enhanced your life and/or career?  

For me getting a Master of Arts degree in Spanish enhanced my life and career in many ways. First, as an immigrant to the United States who is first generation, low income, underrepresented minority latinx it opened many doors. I had come from Washington State University as a Ronald E. McNair Postbaccalaureate Scholar and this prepared me to excel at graduate school. I not only achieved my Master of Arts degree at UNM but I was also accepted to the UNM Doctoral (Ph.D.) Program at the Spanish and Portuguese Department. I already had a job lined up back at WSU, but it was empowering to know that I was accepted into the doctoral program. For me UNM and my degree there was a fantastic opportunity!  

Best wishes on your future accomplishments!