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Posts under tag: SHL

June 6, 2016

SHL Grads Nava Costales, García Bautista, and Santillán Nieto win awards

shl awardsThree students who participated in the Department of Romance Languages’ Spanish Heritage Language program were recognized at the University Awards Celebration this spring.

Kelsey Nava Costales received the Nontraditional Student Award, which recognizes the breadth and depth of experience and contributions made by nontraditional students as they balance academics and other work and family responsibilities.  Kelsey is majoring in Ethnic Studies with a minor in Planning, Public Policy and Management and works at the UO Center for Multicultural and Academic Excellence. She also works with Latino youth in foster care through Oregon Community Programs. She took three SHL classes this year and was nominated by her SHL instructor, Heather Quarles.

Romario García Bautista and Vanessa Santillán Nieto were recipients of the Centurion Award, given to 100 students from all classes for dedication and outstanding service as student leaders in the last year. Romario is a double major in Journalism and Anthropology and he works at the UO Center for Multicultural and Academic Excellence. In addition to English and Spanish, he speaks Zapotec, which he integrated into his creative writing in his Comunidades Bilingües class. This year he is Programs Coordinator for MEChA. He is currently organizing an end-of-the-year event to allow the Latino community at the University of Oregon and Lane county to come together and interact with one another.. Vanessa is double majoring in Spanish and Journalism with a minor in Media Studies. This year Vanessa is the MEChA historian, and she is currently planning and facilitating the MECHA and Mujeres graduation and awards ceremony.

In regards to the Spanish Heritage Language program, Vanessa said, “Coming into college I wasn’t aware of the term heritage language and I had never taken a Spanish class before coming to the UO because I was already fluent and had grown up with it, but when I found out about the SHL program I was immediately interested. SHL changed my complete prospective of the study of Spanish. It not only helped me determine my second major, which is Spanish, but it gave me the confidence and support I needed on this campus.”

Felicidades, Vanessa, Romario and Kelsey

June 4, 2016

RL Spanish Heritage student Gildardo Corona’s journey from fields to graduation

Corona 1“The SHL Program helped me start my career at UO because it gave me a platform to not only learn more about my Mexican heritage and history that I hadn’t learned before, but also helped me discover who I was as a person.”


We in RL are proud of Gildardo Corona who received the Spanish Heritage Language Outstanding Achievement Award. We recognized Gildardo for his dedication to his education and his leadership, particularly in SHL and MEChA. Gildardo is graduating this fall with a major in Spanish and a minor in Music. He sent us the graduation photos that he took in the fields he worked in as a child and the story behind them. Here is his story:

I grew up in Ontario, Oregon, where I was born to recent immigrants from Michoacán, México. My journey to the University of Oregon was not easy. At the age of eleven I started to work in the fields with my dad during the summers after school was out. Working in the fields, I experienced how tough it was waking up early to go to work, working long hours under the sun, and having to endure back breaking jobs that no one should have to go through at minimum wage.

Thankfully, at the age of 15, I discovered my true talent of being a musician when I started to learn how to play the piano. I bought myself a small Yamaha keyboard and wasted no time in learning how to play Mexican music. But I went through some problems in my high school such as gangs and little support for Latino students; I was placed in ESL courses too long, which didn’t allow me to take college prep English. Nobody told us about scholarships or how to prepare for college. College was not expected of us.

Either way, I still graduated with my class in 2008, I did not pursue college right away. Instead I opted to work full time in the fields. I never thought about attending college because I believed that I was not smart enough and that I did not belong in that environment. Working full time in the fields was really brutal for me. I had attained sunburns working under the hot sun, frostbite on my face during harvest season, and I also got chemical spills on my back while doing pesticide jobs. It was also during this time that I started playing keyboard with a local Mexican band called Corazones Salvajes during the weekends for weddings, quinceañeras, and other events [click here to see Corazones Salvajes performing at a wedding in 2012]. I grew as a musician, getting better at playing the keyboard and learning the accordion. I would save up money that I made in the fields to buy my professional Korg keyboards and other music equipment that I still own.

Sick of fieldwork, maybe feeling empowered by music, in spring of 2009 I enrolled at Treasure Valley Community College where I started my basic general requirements. But I had no idea at what I wanted to major in or what I wanted to do career wise. In 2011, I dropped out of college and started working at Heinz factory full time. A lot of my former classmates in high school ended up working there. I spent that year turning my life around after having problems with alcohol abuse and other bad aspects of my life. I made a final decision to once again enroll at TVCC in the beginning of 2012. My sister graduated from TVCC around that time, and the next day I decided that I was going to attend the University of Oregon

For the next couple of years, I attended school full time and worked at Heinz full time as a quality assurance grader and got my homework done on breaks or sneaked my schoolwork inside the factory line. In June of 2013, I graduated TVCC and sent my application to the University of Oregon. I got accepted in person when I first visited the UO campus in October of 2013. I finally left Heinz after three years that December and started attending UO during the winter of 2014, I enrolled in the Spanish Heritage Program that first term. The SHL Program helped me start my career at UO because it gave me a platform to not only learn more about my Mexican heritage and history that I hadn’t learned before, but also helped me discover who I was as a person. In my SHL classes I got involved tutoring students through the HEP Program, became involved in MEChA, learned about getting help through CMAE, and got to take classes with the most wonderful instructors.

I also got to experience wonderful moments at UO, such as attending the 2015 USHLI National Conference in Chicago, attend two national MEChA conferences, and other wonderful moments that I never got to growing up as a migrant child. Although I am going to graduate this year and pursue my Masters in education and music, I will never forget the wonderful moments I had at UO and the journey I went through to get to where I am today.

For my senior photos, I went back to Ontario to the very same fields I worked in while I grew up, where my parents still work, and posed there in my graduation gown. It is important to always remember where you come from. And we cannot forget those who helped us along the way. To me, that means especially my parents, who left Mexico to provide a better life for my siblings and me.

I know my journey in life is only beginning, and for my fellow Latino students who are luchando para salir adelante, por la escuela o por la vida les digo esto: sigan luchando por sus sueños, no se rajen para nada. No estamos en esta lucha solos, sino, también con nuestras familias y todos los que nos han apoyado en nuestro movimiento de salir adelante. Que siga la lucha, que viva la raza, y que viva los latinos unidos, y que viva México….Go get em. –Gil

Corona 2


October 18, 2013

Opportunities Fair for Language Students

Thursday, October 24, 1:30-3:30pm, EMU Fir Room

Please join us for refreshments and conversation to help you gather information on all the following opportunities in one place:

* Major/Minor Requirements & Declaration in French, Italian, Spanish, and Romance Languages
* European Studies Progam
* Latin American Studies Program
* Spanish Language Heritage Program
* Second Language Acquisition in Teaching Program (SLAT)
* Study abroad opportunities (Office of International Affairs)
* Internships Abroad & in Lane County (Int’l Affairs, Participatory Learning Experience)
* National Student Exchange (includes options in Canada & Puerto Rico)
* Teach in France (Lycée Program), Italy (Internships in Lombardy or Piemonte), or Spain (Cultural Ambassadors Program)
* Teach for America
* Peace Corps
* Graduate Study (Dept of Romance Languages)
* Teaching Certification Programs (College of Education)
* Careers (Career Center)
* Global Scholars Hall
* Teaching and Learning Center (tutoring & academic support)

Questions?: Please contact

All Language Students Welcome!!!!

December 11, 2012

New Spanish Heritage Language Program

The Department of Romance Languages at the University of Oregon is proud to announce the launch of our new Spanish Heritage Language program (SHL).  This program is designed for students who grew up in a Spanish-speaking household or community in a country where Spanish is not the dominant language, such as the United States. SHL offers a variety of classes to meet students’ needs as heritage learners. Students with Spanish-language heritage will explore topics related to their cultural background, and coursework is designed to help them recover and/or develop their heritage linguistic abilities.  We are thrilled to offer several SHL classes starting in Fall 2012 term.  For more information about the SHL program please email:

SHL Promotional Video.
SHL Website. (

SHL courses at the U of O (2012-2013)- SPAN 218, 228, 308, 428, 438/538.

Claudia Holguín Mendoza
Assistant Professor of Spanish & Coordinator of the Spanish Heritage Language Program