Students Receive 2014 Indiana Outstanding College Student of Spanish Award

Author: Notre Dame News

Press Release


John M. Guimond, Director, Communications

Center for Social Concerns

Tel  (574) 631-3209 


Spanish Community-Based Learning Program Continues to Gain Recognition

Students Receive 2014 Indiana Outstanding College Student of Spanish Award

In 2011, Marisel Moreno, associate professor of US Latino/a Literature, in the department of Romance Languages and Literatures was recognized by Indiana Campus Compact with the Governor's Award for Service Learning for her pioneering work creating the first senior-level Spanish literature course in the College of Arts and Letters that features a required community-service component. Every semester since 2010 each student from Moreno’s community-based learning (CBL) classes has worked at least two hours a week at La Casa de Amistad, a local outreach center for young Latinos in South Bend. Collectively they have contributed over 3,500 hours since they started working with La Casa— contributing significantly to La Casa’s service capacity and their ability to do outreach. 

Two years later, La Casa de Amistad was recognized by Indiana Campus Compact with the 2013 Outstanding Community Partner Award for embracing the idea of community as classroom and creating a partnership that benefits the students of La Casa as well as the Notre Dame students.

Now, Jason C. Hoard ’15, a Spanish and science pre-professional double major and Adam Z. Stepanovic ’15, also majoring in Spanish and science pre-professional and minoring in Science, Technology, and Values have received the 2014 Indiana Outstanding College Student of Spanish Award from the American Association of Teachers of Spanish and Portuguese (AATSP). Both students have participated in community-based learning courses through the Center for Social Concerns and the Department of Romance Languages and Literatures community-based learning program.

The award recognizes the top seven undergraduate students majoring or minoring in Spanish in a public or private university in the state of Indiana. The award is given to a non-native student of Spanish who has excelled in college with an outstanding GPA of 3.7 or above and has received outstanding grades (A’s) in Spanish courses (language, literature, cinema, linguistics, culture, conversation etc.) during his/her first 3 years in the institution. Students must also volunteer in events outside class where Spanish is spoken, engage in Spanish service-learning projects, tutor Spanish, participate in a cultural group where Spanish is required, or present in an undergraduate conference related with the Spanish language.


Thomas F. Anderson, Dr. William M. Scholl Professor of Spanish and Chair, Department of Romance Languages and Literatures, said, “I am very pleased with the success of the CBL classes that we have offered in Romance Languages, and it is extremely gratifying to see how this particular pedagogical model is mutually beneficial to the South Bend Community members and the students.  

As chair of Romance Languages and Literatures I have encouraged our department faculty to develop new CBL courses, as I think that they are becoming increasingly important in the modern academy.  Indeed, I would love to see CBL classes become part of Notre Dame's core curriculum.  These types of classes contribute significantly to the University's mission and its goal to develop students who understand and appreciate their social and moral responsibilities.”

Reverend Paul V. Kollman, C.S.C., the Leo and Arlene Hawk Director of the Center for Social Concerns, said, “This recognition of our students’ accomplishments gratifies me, since it recognizes the generous and creative efforts of my colleagues in the Center for Social Concerns and the Department of Romance Languages and Literatures, who have worked hard to advance Spanish instruction by engaging our students in the local community. This kind of engaged pedagogy not only helps students internalize the language; it also connects them with our neighbors in ways that advance Notre Dame’s mission of educating mind and heart together. It also promises to advance research on student learning.” 

In nominating Jason, Marisel Moreno, associate professor of US Latino/a Literature, in the department of Romance Languages and Literatures wrote, “Jason is an outstanding student who has not only excelled academically in his Spanish studies, but who has also demonstrated a profound commitment to service at home and beyond. He spent eight weeks in the summer of 2013 working as a volunteer (as part of an International Summer Service Learning Program) at a medical clinic in Antigua, Guatemala and last winter with the Global Medical Brigades in Nicaragua. He has worked in a local hospital’s emergency room, at a local rehabilitation hospital, at a homeless center, tutored at La Casa de Amistad, and participated in domestic service trips” (through the Center for Social Concerns). Jason will be attending medical school upon graduation.

Rachel Parroquin, director of Spanish community-based learning with a joint appointment in the Center for Social Concerns and Romance Languages and Literatures, who nominated Adam, wrote, “Since his first year, Adam has committed to improving his language and intercultural skills through all his classroom, community-based learning and service experiences. He has volunteered locally at the Sr. Maura Brannick Health Clinic in South Bend and participated in a medical mission to Haiti. On campus he is a member of ND fighting Neglected Tropical Diseases, raising money and awareness of neglected tropical diseases. Adam studied abroad in Puebla, Mexico at the Universidad Popular Autónoma del Estado de Puebla, where he received the La Cruz Fojada Award for his high academic achievement. There he also interned at both the Hospital General in Cholula and the Instituto de Seguridad y Servicios Sociales de los Trabajadores del Estado, combining his strong interest in medicine while enhancing his Spanish language skills and cultural awareness.” Adam also plans to attend medical school upon graduation.