Kyle D. Highful's Retrospection on the Advantages of Language Learning
After studying Classics at Texas Tech, I earned a Master of Theological Studies from Harvard Divinity School in 2008. My Greek training at Tech allowed me to test out of the divinity school's language requirement, and my Latin experience was excellent preparation for my course on medieval Christian mysticism. Following divinity school, I returned to Texas and taught a Latin class at Austin Community College while conducting research for a professor I met at Harvard.
I then headed north again, this time to study at Harvard Law School where I earned a J.D., May 2012. The academic skills I developed at Texas Tech continued to serve me well in my legal studies, which required logical reasoning, close textual analysis, and clear written and oral communication. Indeed, I was pleased to find surprising common ground between Classics, Theology, and Law.
I served as a law clerk with the Supreme Court of Texas after law school, and I now work in the Office of the Attorney General of Texas, Office of Solicitor General. I am fortunate to serve the people of Texas by defending state statutes, officers, and employees, in both trial and appellate litigation.
My time at Texas Tech provided a firm intellectual foundation for all of my future endeavors. I especially appreciate the encouragement of Dr. David Larmour, who supervised my M.A. thesis, "St. Basil's Address to Young Men: Metaphors to Live By." Dr. Larmour has offered generous support throughout my education and beyond as a teacher, mentor, and friend. In part because of my time at Tech, I am blessed with the prospect of a productive and fulfilling career. – Kyle Highful, Classics MA, 2006
Mary Williams-Smith Sheds Light on the Importance of Study Abroad
I began my language studies in French but eventually made the move to Spanish. I went on the San Luis Potosí trip with Dr. Stratton and Br. Bravo in 1995 and fell in love with the Mexican culture, the food, the language, the history, the whole idea. That was truly one of the best experiences of my life. I returned to Mexico with another study group, and again it was amazing, but the first trip there with Dr. Stratton and Dr. Bravo that truly changed my life and introduced me to the person that I would eventually become.
Dr. Stratton stated that studying abroad is addictive. And I agree 100%! But for me what is even more addictive is the ability to share the love I have with Spanish and the Spanish culture with others. I have been teaching Spanish in local area high schools now for almost 20 years. I have taught in the Plainview and Lubbock schools, but am now about to end my 15th year at Idalou Independent School District. I love the having the opportunity to open this door to the young people I teach.
I want my students to see the beauty of the literature, the power of the music, the richness of the food, the passion of the people, and the depth of the history that I have come to incorporate as my own. These same doors were opened for me by Drs. Stratton and Bravo when I was too young to really appreciate the gift that they were giving to me. I owe both of them a great debt of gratitude. Their teachings, their patience, their kindness and humor are still carried with me today.
I could never thank them enough for sharing their time, knowledge, and their passion with me. My hope is that I can instill within my students the kind of addiction to the Spanish language, literature, culture that was instilled in me by Drs. Stratton and Bravo. – Mary Williams-Smith, 1996