Newsletter | Autumn 2012

Irene Hopkins, Editor

From the Chair

Anthony Geist

2012 has been a big year for Spanish and Portuguese Studies, beginning with the official approval of our new PhD program, which responds to the profound changes that the profession and higher education in general have experienced in the last several decades. Our PhD students will receive rigorous training in the traditional disciplines of Spanish and Latin American literary and cultural studies and also will enroll in the Graduate Certificate in Public Scholarship. Read Tony Geist's complete letter

In Memoriam: León Bensadón

Leon Bensadon

Our longtime friend and colleague León Bensadón passed away on November 4, 2012. Several generations of UW students bear witness to his knowledge, dedication and enthusiasm as a lecturer in the department. Donations in León’s memory can be made to the León Bensadón Memorial Scholarship Fund, which will benefit UW students interested in working on Sephardic and Ladino studies.  Read more

Faculty Spotlight: Ana Gómez Bravo

Ana Gomez Bravo

Ana Gómez Bravo, the department's newest faculty member, comes to us from a 19-year tenure at Purdue University in Indiana. A specialist in 15th century poetry, she explains that “understanding the cultural context of the time a poem was written not only enhances the meaning and enjoyment of the poem for the present day reader but also shows how the people of the time functioned." Read more

Student Spotlight: Ashley Davis

Ashley Davis

Ashley Davis (Spanish, International Studies, 2012) is on the move! We caught up with Ashley in India, where she shared thoughts on a Spanish film class that piqued her interest in filmmaking and explained how her junior year study abroad in Argentina inspired her to travel after graduation. Read more

Staff Spotlight: Lani Phillips

Lani Phillips

Lani Phillips may be a soft-spoken woman but don’t let that fool you. She knows what she wants, acts on her beliefs and convictions, and is a driving force behind the UW’s León Center in León, Spain, enticing departments across campus to use the Center for their study abroad programs. Read more

A Quarter in Cusco


 Intensive Spanish, art history, volunteering in local schools, homestays, and field trips to Machu Picchu and other sights have all been part of the learning experience for students in Spanish and Portuguese Studies' new autumn quarter study abroad program in Cusco, Peru. The program replaces the longstanding departmental program in Oaxaca, Mexico. Read more

Department News

León Bensadón Memorial Scholarship Fund

Donations in León’s memory can be made to the “León Bensadón Memorial Scholarship Fund.”  This new fund pays tribute to León’s passion for his Sephardic heritage and the students he loved to teach.  It benefits UW undergraduate or graduate students interested in working on Sephardic and Ladino studies.  Checks can be mailed to:

UW College of Arts & Sciences,
Attn. Jessica Carter
Box 354882
Seattle, WA 98195 

Please make checks payable to the University of Washington and indicate the “León Bensadón Memorial Scholarship Fund” in the reference line.  Alternatively, if you wish to contribute by credit card, you can reach Jessica at 206-685-6829, or by email at

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