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Alumni Profile: Mariela López Velarde

Mariela López Velarde graduated from the SLU M.A. program in 2013. Today, she is an assistant professor at Seattle University whose research interests include second language acquisition, bilingualism, experimental phonology, second language (L2) speech perception and production, and L2 processing. 

  Mariela López Velarde
 

Q&A

How long were you in the program?
I graduated in May 2013. I completed the program in two years (four semesters, including one summer).
What have you been doing since receiving your M.A. from SLU?

In August 2014, I started a Ph.D. program in Second Language Acquisition and Teaching at the University of Arizona, where I was a graduate teaching assistant and graduate research assistant for the Department of Spanish and Portuguese. I graduated in May 2020 with a project entitled “Effects of Native Phonology on Spoken Word Recognition and Second Language Phonological Processing.” In the fall of 2020, I joined the Department of Modern Languages & Cultures at Seattle University as an assistant professor. 

What is the title and description of your current position?

As an assistant professor of Spanish at Seattle University, I am committed to teaching excellence at all levels of the Spanish language. In addition, I contribute to program-building with the design and teaching of courses with a variety of topics such as translation and interpretation and language pedagogy. In my new position as an assistant professor, I continue to explore my main research interests, which include second language acquisition, bilingualism, experimental phonology, second language (L2) speech perception and production, and L2 processing. 

In what ways did the SLU M.A. program prepare you for what you do today?

The SLU M.A. program prepared me for what I do today in many ways:

Being an international student, when I first arrived to the United States, I was not aware of the academic standards for graduate programs in the country. The M.A. program at SLU trained me to be a disciplined and consistent graduate student—I became aware of the strength of my training when I started my Ph.D. program in a different institution.

Pursuing a Ph.D. in Second Language Acquisition with an emphasis in Hispanic Linguistics, I was able to transfer many of my writing and reading skills I developed in the M.A. in Spanish program at SLU.

Being a student in the SLU M.A. program also helped develop a sense of community with my former classmates—my experience in my subsequent program did not resemble what I experienced in SLU.