Indiana University Bloomington
La Gaceta Internacional
Department of Spanish and Portuguese Alumni Newsletter
College of Arts and Sciences
Department Website | Newsletter Archive Volume 17 | Winter 2012


Department of Spanish & Portuguese

Catherine Larson

Alejandro Mejías-López

Managing Editor
Jane Drake

Editorial Assistants
Tanya Flores, Anna Lynch, Alina Sokol

College of Arts & Sciences

Larry Singell, Jr.

Assistant Dean for Advancement
Thomas Recker

Director of Alumni Relations
Vanessa Cloe

Web Developer
Patrick John Eddy

Alumni News

Alumni Profiles

Abigail Landsman Gray, BA'97, Masters Language Education 2004

Abigail Gray and family

Abigail Gray and family

After I graduated from IU in 1997, I began teaching Spanish in the Monroe County Community School Corporation, here in Bloomington. I am currently teaching 3rd- and 4th-year Spanish at Bloomington High School South, and am serving as World Languages Department Chairperson. In my junior year as an undergraduate I participated in the WIP Program, living in Madrid, Spain, for the 1994-95 academic year. I lived with a family in the Moncloa neighborhood and did the work study program with Mamen in the WIP office.  I am still in regular contact with my Spain family, lucky enough to have opportunities to visit every few years.  Most recently, in July of this year, my family from Spain traveled to Bloomington.  In 2004, I received my Masters in Language Education, with a focus on Second Language Acquisition, and I married Jeremy Gray. We have two incredible children, Zoe (4 ½) and Jonah (7 months).

Michael K. Schuessler, Cert/BA '89

Michael K. Schuessler

Michael K. Schuessler

Michael K. Schuessler is Professor of Humanities at the Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana in Mexico City, where he teaches courses dedicated to Latin American art and literature, pre-Columbian Mexico, colonial Mexico, etc. He received his MA and PhD in Hispanic Languages and Literatures from the University of California, Los Angeles, where he specialized in the literature and arts of colonial Latin America, particularly New Spain. He is the author of various articles devoted to the interpretation of Latin American literature and culture as well as several books: La undécima musa: Guadalupe Amor (Ed. Diana 1995), Elena Poniatowska: An Intimate Portrait (University of Arizona Press, 2007). In 2006, University of Texas Press published his edition of Alma Reed's autobiography, entitled Peregrina: Love and Death in Mexico. His most recent book, Artes de fundación: teatro evangelizador y pintura mural en la Nueva España, was published by the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México in 2009. In late 2010 he co-edited with Miguel Capistrán a collaborative volume devoted to gay culture in Mexico—the first of its kind—entitled México se escribe con jota: historia de la cultura gay en Mexico, published by Editorial Planeta. Currently he is working on a book dedicated to the activities of four US women in post-revolutionary Mexico.


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Looking Back

Sharing Madrid Memories, Mementos and Moments

Test Faculty

WIP Madrid group, spring 1981

In the fall of 1980, a group of students from IU, Wisconsin and Purdue began their study abroad year at the University of Madrid without knowing that just a few months later the supreme test of the post-Franco democratic regime would capture the world’s attention.   On August 6, 2011, a number of them reminisced about that famous day—the attempted coup of February 23, 1981, more commonly known as 23F—as they convened together in Bloomington for the 30th anniversary of their program.    They recalled the tense hours when the Spanish parliament was kept hostage by armed military police nostalgic for the Franco era and impatient with the freedoms and violence that accompanied the democratic process.   The democracy held firm when King Juan Carlos and the country refused to condone the audacity of the renegades.  The Spanish transition from dictatorship to democracy continues to be a model for other countries.

As Spain has been transformed, so have the US students who studied there that year.  Many of the program alums had journeyed to Bloomington previously to commemorate other program anniversaries in 1991 and 2001.  This time, the 30-year time span was more patently visible—from their more mature faces to the wisdom the intervening years brought into their lives and careers.  At one point, Mitchell Chabraja, a lawyer and a teacher, realized with fascination that their program director that year, the late Professor Daniel E. Quilter, had actually been younger then than they were now!  The group made a toast to him, their study abroad experience, and their enduring friendships with Spanish wine while savoring classic tapas. During a moment of reflection, Eric Smenner, a lawyer from Texas, noted that his work with the oppressed in the criminal justice system has been greatly impacted by his appreciation of what it felt like to be an outsider in another country.  And his Spanish language skills have helped him communicate with clients who appreciate his efforts at understanding their culture as well as their challenges.  Gordon Ingle, a lawyer in Indiana, said that his time in Spain made him finally understand that the US was not the center of the universe, but that there were universal qualities that all humans shared worldwide. 

Test Faculty

80-81 Madrid Reunion group

Todd Wilson, who has had public relations positions at different universities, said that since that year he has embraced other cultures with gusto and has made sure his family traveled far and wide.  “I think I've shared the sense of appreciating other cultures, learning while enjoying international travel, and mastering another language well enough to get along,” Wilson said. “The experience has also stayed with me as I worked with college students in my professional life, urging them to consider a study-abroad experience.” Dolores Bonilla Kobayashi, who was not able to travel from Japan for the reunion, had family follow in her study-abroad footsteps.  “Four nieces went to Madrid for a semester and my daughter to Salamanca for a year,” she said. “I think my trip influenced them to want to see where their ancestors are originally from, and to gain a better understanding of themselves as a result.” Karen Woodruff McGauley, a former high school Spanish teacher and guidance counselor, underscored that all three of her children had study abroad experiences that she thought were essential to their upbringing.  Jill Weaver, a former coach and teacher, fondly recalled being tempted to leave Madrid after one semester, but was grateful that she remained for what turned out to be the best part of the experience.  Gina Villa, a UW graduate who works in social services, had been out of touch with the group for the past 30 years; she had remained in Spain, having her children there, but was delighted to have been reunited with everyone.  Chris Walker, another Wisconsin grad and now a financial analyst, underscored how energizing it was to get together with everyone every 10 years and insisted that the next reunion should be sooner and in Madrid! 

The group enjoyed looking at old photos, many of which had been recently uploaded onto Facebook for communal sharing.  The program portrait from 1981 that brought smiles to everyone’s faces was that of their group of 34 up against the outside wall of the University of Madrid with a graffiti message—¡Yanquis Fuera! (Yankees Go Home!).   Smenner recalled that he was stunned that Spaniards judged him based on US politics rather than on his own personal values and beliefs.  He sees today that same problem happening in the US when Americans distrust someone from another culture without taking the time to learn about the individual.

Jane Broden, who works in the hotel industry and occasionally teaches Spanish for use in her field, said that what made the IU-Purdue-Wisconsin program successful was that the staff on site — Professor Quilter, Professor Pepe Escarpanter (who died just a few weeks prior to the reunion) and Kathleen Sideli, the program assistant and now IU’s Associate Vice President for Overseas Study — helped them adjust to the cultural differences by discussing their experiences with them on a regular basis.  Dr. Quilter had also taught many of them an in-depth course on Spanish culture—politics, society, literature, art, etc. — prior to their arrival, which gave them a context for what they would be experiencing.  Everyone agreed that being able to reflect on the experience, while they were grappling with the culture, made the learning deeper.  Their comments were meaningful to the IU faculty also present at the reunion who had served as resident directors of the Madrid program over the years: Reyes Vila-Belda, who just returned from directing the largest group of WIP students in 45 years, Consuelo López-Morillas and her husband, Enrique Merino (2007-08), Cathy Larson (1991-92), and Bob Arnove and his wife, Toby Strout (1989-90).

The most surprising comment of the evening was that the group found it unfathomable that students today resist participating in academic year programs in favor of shorter time periods.   "I learned much, much more of the Spanish language in the second semester than I ever thought was possible," McGauley said. "I remember being amazed in November at how much I'd learned and then again in March that I couldn't possibly learn more and then was amazed again when I thought about it in May.  If one wishes to learn the language, a year is much better than one semester." For the group at the reunion it was clear that an academic year had not seemed long enough!   When they parted, they decided the next reunion should, indeed, be in Spain.


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Alumni Notes


Before 1960

William (Bill) Wayne, AB '43, PhD '52 Geology, sent a note,
" 15 de diciembre de 2011
Quisiera expresarles a Uds. mi agradecimiento por el conocimiento de la lengua española que recibí de los profesores Rey, Harlan, y Willbern durante los años que estaba alumno en el departamento, 1940-42. Aunque cambié mi carrera a la geología después de la Segunda Guerra Mundial, he podido continuar mi uso de español. Más reciente, publiqué artículos con colegas en Salta, Argentina, donde tenía proyectos geológicos en las provincias andinas."

[ Friends,
I would like to express to you my gratitude for the knowledge of the Spanish language that I received from Professors Rey, Harlan, and Willbern during the years that I was a student in the department, 1940-42. Although I changed my career to geology after WWII, I have been able to continue using Spanish. Recently, I published articles with colleagues in Salta, Argentina, where I had geological projects in the Andean provinces.]

Martha Fetterly Chattin, BA’43, writes that her husband, William R. Chattin, BS’44, MD’48, died in December 2009. She lives in Indianapolis.

Norma Snyder Williams, BA’48, is retired and lives in West Covina, CA, with her husband, Emanuel, BS’48, a retired auto dealership president.


In October, Carlos J. Ovando, MAT’69, MA’73, PhD’75, received Indiana University’s 2010 Distinguished Latino Alumni Award. The award is presented by the Latino Alumni Association, an affiliate group of the IU Alumni Association, and recognizes IU Latino alumni for their outstanding professional achievements and community service. Ovando is professor of curriculum and instruction, educational leadership, and policy studies at Arizona State University in Tempe, where he lives.



Todd A. Wilson, BA’82, is assistant vice president for marketing and communications at the University of Southern Indiana in Evansville. He writes, “After working for several national liberal arts colleges, I had the opportunity to come ‘back home again, in Indiana’ to work with the University of Southern Indiana. Hard to believe, but I have an 18-year-old daughter who is doing the college search this year. All the old clichés ring true: where has the time gone?” Wilson lives in Evansville.

Joyce Dustin Demientieff, BA'85, was the first foreign language teacher in the state of Alaska to get National Board Certification, which led to her being selected to teach overseas for the Department of Defense. She is now teaching, quite happily, at an American junior/senior high school in Misawa, Japan.

Nelson Cerqueira, PhD '86,  has published a book, Aesthetics, Reception and the Poetry of Agostinho Neto (Rio de Janeiro: Imago Editora, 2011).


“After practicing law and building several business ventures,” writes Jason M. Swathwood, BA’94, JD’97, “I am now helping others buy and sell businesses. Most importantly I am enjoying spending time with my family.” Swathwood’s wife, Leslie (Puccinelli), BA’94, is a marketing and advertising executive and an event-planning specialist with over ten years of experience in planning weddings, private social, corporate, and public events. The couple lives in Westfield, IN.

Michael L. Bacino, BA’95, works as a sales associate and project manager for Digital Hub, an environmentally friendly printing firm based in Chicago. The company was recently voted the No. 1 green printer by Green America and, in May, received 23 Pinnacle Awards from the Printing Industries of Illinois/Indiana in recognition of outstanding craftsmanship in the creation and production of printed materials. Bacino lives in Chicago.

Chandra E. Garry, BA’98, is an associate in the Seattle office of the law firm Miller Nash. A patent attorney in the firm’s intellectual property practice group, she counsels clients in all aspects of patent law, ranging from patent procurement and strategic business counseling to patent litigation. Garry works across many technological areas, including the medical-device, mechanical, biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries. Additionally, she advises clients regarding intellectual property protection for products regulated by the Food and Drug Administration.

Caroline Parkinson Sanders, Cert/BA’99, is a transportation planner for the City of Rockville, MD. She and her husband, Jesse, Cert/BA’00, welcomed their second daughter, Claire Ruth, in November 2009. Jesse Sanders is an associate at Arborview Capital, a private equity firm that invests in clean energy businesses, in Chevy Chase, MD, where the couple lives.


Elise A. Hasbrook, BAJ’01, is senior communications manager for Academy Sports + Outdoors, a sports, outdoor, and lifestyle retailer providing hunting, fishing, and camping equipment as well as sports and leisure products, footwear, and apparel in Katy, TX. She lives in Houston.

In May, Gavin Mariano, BA’01, celebrated his 10-year anniversary at the Crisis Center in Northwest Indiana. He was hired during his senior year at IU and began his career at the center just one week after his May 2001 Commencement. During his tenure at the center, Mariano has been promoted, traveled to many places in the country for conferences and training, and has helped the agency to improve the lives of the thousands of clients the center serves each year. In August he was honored in the publication 2011 Who’s Who in Indiana, sponsored by Building Indiana magazine. Mariano lives in Merrillville, IN.

Raju R. Raval
, BA/BS’01, is currently completing a residency in radiation oncology at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, MD. His wife, Sheetal, is completing a residency in radiology at Hahnemann/Drexel University Hospital in Philadelphia. Raval was a Rhodes Scholar as a student at IU. The couple lives in Wilmington, DE.

Charlene Hernandez Butcher, BS’02, works for Procter & Gamble as US customer team-marketing manager for the e-commerce channel. She and her husband, Jason, welcomed their first child, Brandon Matthew-Apffel Butcher, in August. They live in Cincinnati.

Clara Parodi Julien, BA’04, is pursuing a master’s degree in nursing at the University of Michigan. She expects to graduate in May 2013. Julien lives in Ann Arbor.

Attorney Eric C. Lewis, BAJ’04, JD’08, recently established the law firm Lewis Legal Services in Indianapolis. The practice focuses on consumer bankruptcy, estate planning, and probate and mediation. Lewis is licensed to practice law in Indiana and Illinois.

Neal P. Solon, BA/BS’04, has taught mathematics with Teach for America and is now a law student in New York City. He lives in Astoria, NY.

Jacqueline D. Gruber, BA’08, is currently a student at Portland State University in Portland, OR, where she lives.

Ricardo D. Hernandez, Cert/BA’08, has been working and pursuing a career in international community development since graduating from IU. He recently spent time in Malawi creating and developing programs that expand resource pools and provide communal services. He served multiple roles during his time in Malawi — community and medical organizer, teacher, athletic developer, laborer, and nurse. Prior to working in Malawi, Hernandez was an English teacher and community development organizer for a coastal community in Ecuador. He currently resides in Chicago and works for Mathematica Policy Research Inc., a policy-research firm. He plans to serve overseas again in the near future.

Haley K. Bakker-Arkema, BAJ’09, has been promoted to account executive at GolinHarris in Chicago. She works on the Splenda, IZOD IndyCar, and Freschetta accounts. She writes, “I really enjoy the work and feel lucky to be part of such a great company.”  Bakker-Arkema lives in Chicago.

Lindsay R. Pollack, BAJ’09, is an immigration paralegal with Maggio & Kattar in Washington, DC. She previously worked as an events coordinator for Ronald McDonald Charities of Eastern Wisconsin. Pollack lives in Washington, DC.


Erica G. DeVasier, BAJ’10, writes that she has accepted an executive team leader management position with Target.

Winston C. Fiore, BA’10, is a sergeant in the US Marines who recently returned home from a deployment in Afghanistan. In late September he embarked on Smile Trek, a 5,000-mile hike through Southeast Asia to raise money for facial-reconstructive surgery on children in the developing world. From July through September, Fiore drove his motorcycle from Los Angeles to Bloomington, IN, speaking to more than 40 Rotary Clubs about his trip and raising funds to help children born with cleft lips and palates. For more information about Smile Trek, visit

Joanna E. Pinker, BA’10, works for a small entertainment public-relations agency called Falco Ink in New York City. She writes, “I'm one of eight employees who work on independent films and documentaries. Our company also attends major film festivals — I was recently at Sundance in Park City, Utah. My title is ‘publicist,’ but I assist the senior account executive. She and I worked on two films while at Sundance. One of them, My Idiot Brother, starring Paul Rudd, Zooey Deschanel, and Elizabeth Banks, just sold to the Weinstein Company for $6.7 million. I also finished working on a four-month long campaign for Barney’s Version, starring Dustin Hoffman, Paul Giamatti, and Minnie Driver. It was challenging, but through it I learned many tricks of the trade and pushed myself to be the best I could be. Through all of my film campaigns, I reflect back on the skills I learned in the classroom while at IU. I especially thank professors Jim Bright, BA’74, and Craig Wood of the School of Journalism, both of whom supported me through my independent major and who have become great mentors in my life.” Pinker lives in New York City.

James H. Schwichtenberg, BA’10, is a commercial surety underwriter for Schaumburg, IL-based Zurich North America, a division of insurance-based financial services provider Zurich Financial Services Group. He lives in Hoffman Estates, IL.

Alexi Turbow, BAJ’10, began work in October as public and customer-relations coordinator for U.S. News and World Report in Washington, DC. She previously worked as a public-relations intern with the US Tennis Association in Philadelphia.

In Memoriam

Marla J. Williams, PhD'01, passed away a year ago. She most recently held a teaching position at Tufts University. While there, she completed the translation of her dissertation into Spanish, which was published by Editorial Pliegos in Madrid in 2006 as La poetica de Juan Marsé. A recurrence of cancer eventually made it impossible for her to continue in the classroom she loved and she succumbed to her illness in Boston in March 2011.

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