Ohio State’s Department of Spanish and Portuguese has been awarded a $600,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Education’s Graduate Assistant in Areas of National Need program.
The grant will be dispersed among five fellows, individuals seeking a doctorate’s degree in Spanish or Portuguese, and will take the form of a yearly stipend that ranges from $20,000 to $34,000 per year for up to three years, and each fellow’s tuition will be fully covered by the federal government. The recipients will be named in December.
“What we wanted to do with this grant is make Ph.D studies available for those who can’t afford it,” said Glenn Martinez, a professor of Hispanic linguistics and department chair.
This is not the department’s first grant. Last year, the Department of Spanish and Portuguese and the College of Nursing teamed up and won a $2.6 million grant from the National Institutes of Health to develop Spanish language skills in nurses who counsel patients with diabetes.
Martinez said this is a good example of teaching Spanish as a profession.
“There’s a national need to teach future Spanish teachers in a way they can effectively deal with obstacles in today’s world,” Martinez said. “I think that physicians and public health workers are really coming into contact with Spanish-speaking populations in ways they’ve never done before.”
Martinez’s colleague, Lisa Voigt, is an associate professor of Spanish and Portuguese and took part in applying for the GAANN program grant.
“Portuguese is a global language — spoken in eight countries on four continents — and it is also on the rise in the U.S. as a result of Brazilian immigration,” Voigt said. “We continue to see growth in the study of both Spanish and Portuguese, reflecting their importance in the U.S. as well as on the global stage.”
Voigt said she believes that the additional five fellows made possible by the grant will be fully equipped to teach America’s future Spanish speakers.
“As a result of their training in our comprehensive, highly rated graduate programs, the fellows will contribute positively and meaningfully to the study and teaching of Spanish and Portuguese in the U.S.,” she said.
Martinez said he believes that being fluent in Spanish is a gateway for more professional and social opportunities.
“I think that in the environment we’re living in, with the growing Spanish-speaking population and the convergence of markets all across the hemisphere, there is nothing you can imagine yourself doing that you couldn’t be better at without Spanish or Portuguese,” Martinez said.