Texas Tech University

Spanish Heritage Instructors Bios & Perspectives

For testimonials from our current and past instructors, please click here.


Sylvia Flores - Coordinator

Sylvia is an experienced language instructor currently teaching in the Classical and Modern Languages and Literatures department at Texas Tech University. In addition to being part of the coordination team, she also teaches for the heritage program. With her current position, she has taught various lower-level courses and helps with service-learning opportunities for the program. Previously she worked as a Spanish teacher at Frenship Middle School and Floydada Middle School and High School. She obtained a bachelor's in Spanish from Wayland Baptist University in 2008, and a master's degree in literature from Wichita State University in 2015.


Mónica Fernández Martins

Given that I grew up in a bicultural and bilingual family (Spanish and Portuguese), I have always been fascinated by language learning in bilingual and intercultural settings. This interest, together with my qualifications, allowed me to instruct in the Spanish Heritage Language Program (2015-2016) at Texas Tech. I completed my Ph.D. in Spanish and Portuguese Literatures at Texas Tech University in 2019. My areas of specialization are Iberian Studies; in particular, my research interests are the study of conflicts and intersections of gender, class, nation, and identity in nineteenth century Spain and Portugal. I have a diverse experience teaching lower- and upper-level Spanish classes, and aimed to different types of students (L2 students and heritage learners) in different contexts on-campus and abroad.


Gilberto García

Gilberto Garcia is a mexican-american scholar & professor. He was born in El Paso, TX and raised in Juarez, México. He holds three BAs in Linguistics, Spanish & Border Studies and Education from the University of Texas at El Paso and Universidad Pedagógica Nacional (México) respectively. Also, one MA degree in Spanish from University of Texas at El Paso and, one MEd degree in Teaching and Learning processes from Instituto Tecnológico de Monterrey (México). Currently, Gilberto Garcia is a PhD Candidate in Hispanic Linguistics with a minor in Educational Psychology, and part-time instructor at Classical and Modern Languages & LIteratures department in Texas Tech University at Lubbock, TX. His research and teaching interests are: heritage language education, heritage speaker identity, heritage speakers in monolingual settings, border studies & transculturation, second language instruction, and general linguistics.


Omar González

Education: B.A. Spanish, and B.A. Latin American studies from CSU-Chico. M.A. in Spanish from Wichita State. Current PhD student in Hispanic literature at Texas Tech University. He has taught Spanish as L2 for the last three years and Spanish Heritage is currently teaching Spanish as a Heritage courses.

City and country of origin: Manteca, California

Research interest: Chicano and US-Mexico Border Literature, US Spanish Language and Culture. His interest naturally stems from his upbringing as a heritage speaker of Spanish.


Gema López-Hevia

Gema is originally from León, Spain holds a master's degree from Antonio de Nebrija University (Madrid, Spain) and is currently seeking a doctoral degree in Spanish Linguistics. Gema has over three years of experience teaching Spanish in Spain, Ireland, and the United States. Having worked at Furman University (South Carolina) and Texas Tech University Gema has experience teaching Spanish as a Second Language and Spanish as a Heritage language, as well as mixed classrooms. Her research interests include second language acquisition, bilingualism, and Spanish as a heritage language.


Verónica Morales

Verónica has 3 years of experience teaching Spanish as a second language and Heritage language. Currently she is a Graduate Part-Time Instructor and a PhD candidate of Spanish Literature in the Department of Classical & Modern Languages and Literatures at Texas Tech University. She holds a M.A in Spanish from the University of Texas at EL Paso and complete her bachelor's degree in Multidisciplinary Studies with a concentration in Spanish. Her research interests include Pre-Hispanic and Afrocuban mythology, fantastic, detective and supernatural literature.

inst7  Cecilia Palacio-Ribón

Cecilia Palacio-Ribón, better known as Maestra Cecilia among her students, is a PhD Candidate in Spanish and Portuguese at Texas Tech University. She earned an MA in C&I with concentration in Bilingual Ed. and an MA in Spanish Linguistics with a minor in English Linguistics at New Mexico State University. She has been teaching Spanish for Heritage Learners since 2013. Although her specialization and dissertation work focus on Latin American Literature, she has been trying to be active within research and pedagogical implications for bilingual education and Spanish as a heritage language in the US Southwest. She visualized herself as a language and culture ambassador both in and outside the classroom. In the classroom, she encourages her students to compare what is in the books and what is in the real world to grasp, from a critical perspective, who they are and what is expected from them in their community, in the nation, and in the world. Outside the classroom, she collaborates in some cultural and artistic events to promote the Hispanic language and culture in her community.


Daniel Román

I am a Ph.D. student of Hispanic Linguistics and Graduate part-time Instructor. I received my B.A. in English language teaching at UNACH in Mexico. I completed my M.A. in second language acquisition at Kansas State University in December 2019. My research interests include Spanish writing as a second and heritage language. I am also interested in medical translation and interpretation. In Mexico, I taught Spanish and English as a foreign and second language at university and middle school level. Currently, I teach Spanish at University level.


Yerko Sepulveda

Mr. Sepulveda is an experienced teacher-trainer, educational consultant and administrator. He is the former advisor of Teaching & Learning at the Technological University of Chile, La Serena. Mr. Sepulveda holds an M.A. in Applied Linguistics and an M.Ed. in Bilingual Education. Currently, he is a Ph.D. student and undergraduate instructor in Spanish at Texas Tech University. Also, he is a coach for the professional development online course Teaching and Learning in the Maker-Centered Classroom from Harvard Graduate School of Education and a Spanish teacher at Hawken School. His research interests include 21st-century teaching frameworks, participatory creativity, Maker-Centered learning, and critical pedagogy.