Texas Tech University

Spanish Graduate Students



Kevin Andia-Hernández

Year of MA/PhD: 1st year of MA in Applied Linguistics Minor in Spanish

Kevin was born and raised in Chile, South America. He is a first-born generation to pursue university education in his family.

In 2021 he received a Bachelor of Education from Universidad Católica de Temuco, Chile.

During his undergraduate program, he got involved in Spanish teaching social campaigns with Haitian immigrants communities in Chile. Moreover, he was given the opportunity to have international teaching experience at a public school in Saint Paul, MN. In 2020, his alma mater recognized him as an outstanding student from the Faculty of Education.

Currently, he works as a Graduate Part-Time Instructor at Texas Tech University while pursuing his MA in Applied Linguistics.

Research interests; thesis topic/title:

Sociolinguistics; Inclusive Language; SLA; Teaching Beliefs

Academic Background (previous studies):

B.A in Education, Universidad Católica de Temuco, Chile 2021




Diego Castillo

Year of MA/PhD: 2nd Year Student MA in Hispanic Linguistics

Diego was born in La Serena, Chile. He received his B.A in Translation Studies with a minor in international business from the Universidad Tecnológica de Chile, Inacap. While doing his internship, he had the chance to act as an English tutor for the students at the university. This experience led Diego to pursue higher education in an international context to stay in academia.

In 2018, he moved to the US to get his first master's degree in TESL (Teaching English as Second Language) at the University of Texas at San Antonio. After graduation, he decided to pursue his second master's degree in Hispanic Linguistics at Texas Tech University, where he is acting as a Graduate-Part Time Instructor.

Research interests; thesis topic/title:

Translation, Second Language Acquisition, Eye-Tracking, Psycholinguistics, Chilean Spanish

Academic Background (previous studies):

B.A in Translation Studies with a minor in International Business, Universidad Tecnológica de Chile

M.A in Teaching English as a Second Language, The University of Texas at San Antonio

Graduate Certificate in Linguistics, The University of Texas at San Antonio




Mia Clapp

Year of MA/PhD: 1st year of MA in Spanish Literature and Cultures

Mia grew up in Lubbock, Texas. She attended the historic Lubbock High School where she received a globally recognized diploma in an International Baccalaureate Program. She received the Chancellor's Scholarship to the University of Nebraska-Lincoln where she studied biology for a year before returning to the milder climate in Texas. At Texas Tech University, a Special Topics in Latin America class changed her academic journey and led to a B.A. in Anthropology with a minor in Spanish. With help from important people in the CMLL department, Mia received the opportunity to study Spanish Literature and Culture. Her dream is to teach the political history of Latin America.

Research interests; thesis topic/title:

Latin America; Post-Marxism; Latin American Communist History; Politics of Truth; Politics of the Communist World; Ethnology; Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis; Rethinking objectivity

Academic Background (previous studies):

B.A. in Anthropology with a Spanish minor, Texas Tech University, 2020

International Baccalaureate Diploma from Lubbock High School, 2016




Veronica Cora-Castillo

Year of MA/PhD: 2nd year of MA in Spanish Literature and Cultures

Veronica was born and raised in the small southeastern town of Arroyo, Puerto Rico. She moved to Texas after surviving hurricanes Irma and Maria in 2017. She transferred from Universidad del Sagrado Corazón in Santurce, PR to Texas Tech University, where she completed her undergraduate studies. She is currently a Master's of Romance Languages student, concentrating on Spanish Literature and Cultures.

Research interests; thesis topic/title:

Puerto Rican national identity; Racial studies; Critical Race theory, Julia de Burgos poetry, Abelardo Diaz Alfaro short stories, blackness in Puerto Rico and the Caribbean, etc.

Academic Background (previous studies):

Bachelor's degree in Global Studies and Spanish, Cum Laude (Texas tech University)




Maya Edwards

Year of MA/PhD: ABD, Ph.D. Student in Spanish Literature and Cultural Studies. Minor in Hispanic Linguistics

Maya was born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio. Following multiple study abroad opportunities, she moved to Seville, Spain where she lived for several years. Spanish is the common thread linking Maya's educational and work experiences. She has worked in international education, hospital translation and interpretation, and as a Spanish language educator. Maya is currently a Ph.D. candidate in Spanish Literature and Cultural Studies. Her dissertation, titled “Feeling Moved” explores intersections of gender, affect, and mobility in a selection of nineteenth-century Spanish Peninsular novels and short stories.

Research interests; thesis topic/title:

19th and 20th century Spanish literature; Cultural Studies; Gender studies; Affect theory; Cultural geography and spatial theory; Social justice; Digital literacies; Study abroad

Academic Background (previous studies):

B.A. Double major in Spanish and Communication Studies, John Carroll University

M.A. Spanish, Cleveland State University




Lydia Ferris

Year of MA/PhD: 2nd Year of M.A. in Hispanic Linguistics

Lydia was born and raised in Lubbock, TX. She was introduced to linguistics by a visiting professor during her undergraduate and was able to then study both literature and linguistics in the Spanish department as well as in the English department. Her passion for language inspired her to pursue a master's degree in Hispanic Linguistics with a minor in English.

Research interests; thesis topic/title:

Second Language Acquisition, Language Dominance and Bilingualism, Applied Linguistics, Pedagogical Methods, Translation

Academic Background (previous studies):

B.A. in English and Spanish, Summa Cum Laude with Honors from the Honors College, Texas Tech University, 2020




Gilberto Garcia

Year of MA/PhD: Ph.D. Candidate in Hispanic Linguistics

Gilberto Garcia was born in El Paso, TX and raised in Juarez, Chih. México. After he completed all his education, he pursued a doctoral program in Linguistics. Now, he is finishing writing his dissertation entitled: “Returnees in Mexico: The insertion of heritage speakers in monolingual contexts”.

Research interests; thesis topic/title:

Heritage language education; Heritage speaker identity; Heritage speakers in monolingual settings; Border studies ; Transculturation, Second Language Instruction; Dialectology and variation

Academic Background (previous studies):

B.A. Doble major in Latin American/Border Studies and Spanish, University of Texas at El Paso

B. Ed. Education, Universidad Pedagógica Nacional México

B.A. Linguistics, University of Texas at El Paso

M.A. Spanish, University of Texas at El Paso

M.Ed. Teaching and learning processes. ITESM México



Cristina Hernández Oliver

Year of MA/PhD: 2nd year Ph.D. student in Spanish Literature and Cultural Studies with a minor in English Literature

Cristina was born and raised in Sevilla, Spain. During a study abroad opportunity in Leicester, England, she took a class in Ethnicity and Diversity in English Literature where she discovered Chicanx poetry. Following her own experience learning English as a second language learner, she saw some of her own struggles reflected in the Chicanx experience. This time abroad, not only made her more curious about the migratory experience per se (given her own life experiences) but also, very deeply aware of the Chicanx struggle to define their own identity, which is what Cristina focuses on in her own research.

Research interests; thesis topic/title:

Contemporary Chicanx Literature (sp. Chicana Poetry); Identity; Memory; Hybridity; Language and power; Migration; Border Studies; Gender Studies; Ecocriticism

Academic Background (previous studies):

B. A. in English Studies: English Literature, Language and Culture (focus on poetry), Universidad de Sevilla, Spain

M. A. Double master in English Literature and Culture, and Teaching English to Foreigners in Compulsory Secondary Education, Baccalaureate, Vocational Training and Language Teaching, Universidad de Sevilla, Spain




Angela Jirik

Year of MA/PhD: 1st year of MA in Hispanic linguistics

Angela grew up in Keller, TX. She completed her B.A. in Spanish education at ACU in three years and then went on to receive two Fulbright grant awards in Colombia for English teaching, one of which she carried out from 2019-2020. After spending two years abroad, she returned to Texas to pursue a master's in Hispanic linguistics with a focus on SLA, applied linguistics, and eye-tracking. Her desire is to help bridge the gap between research in cognitive psychology, SLA, and foreign language education and to bring the latest interdisciplinary research in second language teaching to practice in K-12 public school Spanish programs across the U.S.

Research interests; thesis topic/title:

Brain-based teaching practices, memory, cognitive processes in second language learning; communicative approach; task-based teaching; vocabulary acquisition

Academic Background (previous studies):

B.A. in Spanish Teacher Certification (K-12), Summa Cum Laude, Abilene Christian University, 2019

TESOL Certificate (Abilene Christian University), 2018




Gema Lopez-Hevia

Year of MA/PhD: 4th Year PhD. Candidate in Hispanic Linguistics

Gema was born and raised in a small town in León (Spain). She got her first master's in applied linguistics in Madrid, Spain. Then she moved to Ireland to improve her English, and then moved to South Carolina to work at Furman University. Afterwards she decided to pursue her dream and get a PhD in Hispanic Linguistics at Texas Tech. At Texas Tech University Gema is Dr. James F. Lee's research assistant and helps running the eye-tracking laboratory.

Research interests; thesis topic/title:

Psycholinguistics and bilingualism, Second Language Acquisition and eye-tracking methodology, Second Language Processing, Translation and Interpretation

Academic Background (previous studies):

B.A. Modern Languages. University of Leon (Leon, Spain)

M.A. Applied Linguistics. Antonio de Nebrija (Madrid, Spain)

M.A. Translation Studies and Technologies. Open University of Catalonia (Barcelona, Spain)




Jazmyn Martinez

Year of MA/PhD: 1st year of MA in Hispanic Linguistics

Jazmyn Martinez was born in El Paso, TX and raised across the U.S. and overseas as a military brat. She completed her B.A. in Spanish and Sociology at Texas Tech University in May 2021. She is currently pursuing her MA in Hispanic Linguistics at Texas Tech University.

Research interests; thesis topic/title:

Sociolinguistics, bilingualism, phonetics and phonology

Academic Background (previous studies):

B.A. Spanish and Sociology Magna Cum Laude, Texas Tech University 2021




Veronica Morales

Year of MA/PhD: Ph.D. Candidate in Spanish Literature

Veronica was born in México and raised in El Paso TX. She pursued a doctoral program in Spanish Literature. Her dissertation explores the Cuban transculturation since diaspora.

Research interests; thesis topic/title:

Afro Caribbean Studies, Pre-Hispanic mythology, Cultural Studies, 20th Century Latin American Literature

Academic Background (previous studies):

B.A. in Multidisciplinary Studies (UTEP)

M.A. in Spanish at the University of Texas at El Paso. 

Ph.D. Candidate in Spanish Literature at Texas Tech University




Dakota Tucker

Year of MA/PhD: 2nd year MA Student in Spanish Literature & Culture

Dakota was born and raised in Arlington, TX. He was the first in his family to attend and graduate from a 4-year university when he graduated from Texas Tech in December 2019 with a BA in Political Science. Dakota decided to pursue his MA in Spanish Literature with a focus on Puerto Rican national identity as a way to mesh his fields of Political Science and Spanish Literature.

Research interests; thesis topic/title:

Puerto Rican National Identity; Caribbean Diaspora Studies; Duality/Binary; Latinx Studies; Gender/LGBTQ Studies

Academic Background (previous studies):

B.A. in Political Science, Texas Tech University 2019




Gema Vela

Year of MA/PhD: Ph.D. Candidate in Spanish Literature and Cultural Studies. Minor in Portuguese Language and Literatures.

Gema is from Cádiz, Spain. She first moved to the United States to pursue an MA in Spanish Literature at Texas Tech University. She decided to continue with the Ph.D. in Cultural Studies. She is an editorial assistant at the academic journal Romance Quarterly. Her dissertation explores how the traditional concepts of “home” and “family” are negotiated in recent Spanish streaming series.

Research interests; thesis topic/title:

Media and Cultural Studies; Contemporary Spanish & Luso-Hispanic Literature, Film and Visual Culture; Translation Studies' Language Localization

Academic Background (previous studies):

B.A. in Translation and Interpreting, Universidad Pablo de Olavide, Sevilla.

M.A. in Audiovisual Translation and Localization, Universitat Autónoma de Barcelona.

M.A. in Romance Languages, Texas Tech University (minors in Portuguese and Spanish Linguistics)




Daniel Román Zúñiga

Year of MA/PhD: 2nd year Ph.D. student in Hispanic Linguistics

Daniel comes from Chiapas, Mexico. After completing his B.A., he participated in different educational programs in different universities of the U.S. In such programs, Daniel found the richness of Spanish language education and decided to pursue his M.A. and Ph.D.

Research interests; thesis topic/title:

Digital literacies; Spanish as a heritage language; Second language acquisition; Language in contact; Psycholinguistics; Translation studies

Academic Background (previous studies):

B.A. in English Language Teaching, Universidad Autónoma de Chiapas

M.A. in Second Language Acquisition with Emphasis in Spanish, Kansas State University


CMLL Spanish Program

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    CMLL Building, 2906 18th St, Lubbock, TX 79409
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