News and Accomplishments

2020 World Languages Highlights


On behalf of the Spanish and Portuguese language programs, It is with great pleasure that we announce our “October Student of the Month”, Spanish major Emily Ferrucci.  

Congratulations to Emily for her excellent work in her Spanish courses in her first semester at Framingham State University! We are thrilled to have Emily with us as a major in the department. We asked Emily some questions about her experience as a Spanish major at FSU.  

Why did you decide to study Spanish?  

When I started learning Spanish, I was intrigued by both the challenge of learning a new language and the opportunities it brings. My wonderful Spanish teachers have always motivated me to follow my interest in the language and Hispanic culture. I was also a member of my high school's Spanish Club. Additionally, it is so fulfilling to help people in my community through translation. At my retail job, I speak up whenever a customer asks if anyone speaks Spanish. It might be a small gesture to explain a sale or help someone find an item, but it makes someone's day less stressful when you treat them with kindness and are able to help in any way.

What are your favorite parts of being a Spanish major?  

My favorite parts of being a Spanish Major and a Spanish speaker in general are learning to communicate more effectively in a different language and studying different cultures. I eventually will add a minor in Secondary Education or concentration in teaching so that I can one day spread my passion for Spanish by helping others learn it. Learning an additional language is definitely a valuable skill. 

What advice do you have for anyone beginning to learn a language? 

Take risks in class and don't be afraid to put yourself out there. No one is judging you, and making mistakes helps you learn. Also, any practice in the target language is helpful; I love using the app Duolingo for grammar and vocabulary practice.  

And, most importantly, if you could have any dessert in the world, what would it be? 

My favorite dessert in the world is Oreo cheesecake! 

We are so fortunate to have such great students in our Department, and we enjoy working with each of you. Thank you for your dedication and effort in our classes. We know that we are living through unprecedented times, and we are here to support you. Stay tuned for the “November Student of the Month”! It could be you!  

Keep up the great work.  


Dr. Cordeiro, Dr. Vargas da Costa, and Dr. Britland  


Congratulations to our Student of the Year...  Mariah Prosansky!

Student of the Year

Mariah Prosansky is currently a senior at FSU and has earned a 3.94 GPA.  She is graduating with a major in Spanish and a concentration in Education. Mariah is also part of the Honor Program at Framingham State.  She was selected unanimously by the whole faculty as the best candidate to receive the Student of the Year Award. We are all very proud of her accomplishments. Her dream was to became a high school teacher and with great pleasure we announced that she got hired by the Ashland School System to work as a Spanish teacher starting on September of 2020. In our department, she is always ready to collaborate, participate and help with the activities and events, such as the Language Tables, Sigma Delta Pi events, and more. This past summer, she traveled to Santiago, Chile where she took two courses at the Pontifical Catholic University in Santiago:  Contemporary Hispanic Literature and Chilean Culture. Professors at the University in Santiago were amazed by her Spanish proficiency and research abilities. Along with her Spanish and Education studies, Mariah holds several leadership positions. She is the secretary of FSU’s Nu Theta chapter of Sigma Delta Pi, the National Hispanic Honor Society. She is also the Vice-president of the Education Club. For the past three years, she has been working for the Campus Events Office as an Event Service Manager and before that as a Reservation Assistant. We wish her all the best in the years to come.

Congratulations to our Emergent Linguists 2020!

Emergent Linguist

Julia Cohen is currently in her junior year and is majoring in American Sign Language and English interpreting.  She has demonstrated outstanding academic work and has improved and expanded her American Sign Language skills during the past two semesters.  She has been one of the hardest working students involved in establishing the American Sign Language Club and is currently serving as Vice president. Julia has been involved in the planning and hosting of various Deaf events on FSU campus including the ASL Club Bake Sale for Valentine’s Day, the Deaf Panel, and various other events.  Julia also participated in the interpreting team at the Women’s Basketball game and showed her skills by providing access to Deaf attendees. She was willing to stand up in front of a large crowd and interpret parts of the basketball game. She served as a role model for younger FSU students to see opportunities that interpreting majors are afforded.  

Emergent Linguist

Kathleena Thompson is a major in Spanish with a minor in Portuguese at Framingham State University. She has revealed herself to be an applied and diligent student, who showcases a profound love and dedication for languages. Kathleena is serious about her academic work, and is dedicated to helping other students, to whom she is always ready to extend a hand. She attends and supports cultural events on campus and is a member of FSU’s Nu Theta chapter of Sigma Delta Pi, the National Hispanic Honor Society. Moreover, Kathleena is an advocate for Portuguese studies at FSU and acted as a key student resource as we developed the Portuguese Minor proposal. Currently, she acts as the Portuguese Tutor at CASA. Kathleena has also written a children’s book in Portuguese that is now available in two of the Framingham Public Schools. Furthermore, she was selected to attend the prestigious Middlebury College Portuguese Summer School and received a competitive scholarship to fund her studies there. In the past, Kathleena taught English to Brazilian immigrants at Pro-Gente Connections, a non-profit dedicated to the support of immigrants in the MetroWest area. 

Emergent Linguist

Kelsey Carvalho is currently in her junior year and has earned a 3.44 GPA.  She is pursuing a double major in American Sign Language-Deaf Studies and Child and Family Studies.  Her dream, since she arrived on FSU campus her freshman year, has been to establish an American Sign Language Club. She has worked tirelessly to establish the American Sign Language Club and finally achieved her goal Spring semester of her Junior year. Kelsey currently serves as President of the ASL club and continues to work tirelessly raising funds for the club which already total almost $500.  She is also working as an RA on campus. As part of dorm life Kelsey has shared Deaf awareness information with students on her floor.  She has done this both informally and more formally by hosting small Deaf awareness sessions with students on her floor. Through this sharing of information and advocacy of the Deaf Community, members of the FSU Community are learning about American Sign Language, the Deaf Community and Deaf Culture. 

FSU World Languages is now on Instagram!


You can follow the Department and learn all about the activities, programs, and events that students and faculty are doing.


Sigma Delta Pi Updates 

Sigma Delta Pi Logo

The Nu Theta chapter of Sigma Delta Pi, the National Hispanic Honor Society, planned several events for the Spring 2020 semester and beyond. These include:

Café Culto: A bi-monthly Spanish coffee and conversation meeting at Red Barn Cafe in Whittemore Library. Café Culto is an enjoyable space for students of all levels to meet and practice speaking in Spanish.

Spanish Film Night: We are organizing a Spanish film series for the Framingham community. Sigma Delta Pi members will screen the films and hold a Q&A session afterwards. The original kickoff did not go as planned due to the Covid-19 crisis, but stay tuned for more in coming semesters!

Movie Night

Netflix Party

During the second half of the semester, we have still found ways to enjoy Hispanic languages and cultures together even though we are not on campus. Students have been hosting weekly, virtual Netflix parties on Fridays. Faculty and students watch comedies in Spanish and discuss them with each other on the Netflix Party platform. It's been fun to meet and laugh while practicing Spanish!  

Invited Guests

The Department of World Languages continues to offer students access to experts in the field of Hispanic languages and cultures. Following the shift to remote learning, we have had several scholars come as guest lecturers to our courses. Kate Good (Ph.D. UNC Chapel Hill) gave a talk to SPAN 302 (Advanced Spanish Composition and Conversation) and SPAN 420 (Contemporary Spain in Crisis) about Cataluña, the Catalan language, and Catalan culture. María Esparza Rodríguez (University of Virginia) hosted a discussion on Latin American female artists, writers, and filmmakers in SPAN 302. We look forward to more visits from scholars, authors, and artists!

Kate Good

Dr. Kate Good (Ph.D. UNC Chapel Hill)

María Esparza

Dr. María Esparza (University of Virginia)

Learning about Latin America: ¡ Gracias a nuestrxs invitadxs!

In the Spring 2020, students enrolled in SPAN202 hosted amazing guest speakers sharing about Latin America current affairs. In February we had Omar Alarcón, movie director from Bolivia who discussed the indigenous culture and political participation in his country. Shantall López, Director of Nuclear Energy in Dominican Republic, brought a deep reflection on the challenges of being a woman of color in a heavily male area such as Engineering. Professor Patricia Sánchez-Connally, Assistant Professor of Sociology at Framingham State University, shared her trajectory as an immigrant in the United States and analyzed El Salvador in the 80’s and currently. Finally, in May, SPAN202 hosted Professor Emilce Cordeiro, Chair of the World Languages Department at FSU, for a conversation about learning English and building an academic career in the USA as an immigrant. She also shared perspectives on Argentina’s political moment and social challenges. ¡Gracias a todxs!


Omar Alarcón (Bolivia)


Shantall López (Dominican Republic)

Zuzu Angel

A movie screening about the dictatorship years in Brazil

On February 12, the Department of World Languages held the screening of Zuzu Angel at the North Hall Commons. The event was a success with over 40 very diverse attendants: FSU students and their families, faculty members, and ESL students. The director of the Brazilian Women’s Group Heloisa Galvão led the Q&A after the screening focusing on the years of dictatorship and political repression in Brazil. Based on the true story a famous Brazilian fashion designer in the 70's, Zuzu Angel the movie shows the struggle of a mother searching for her son Stuart, a member of a leftist university group who suddenly disappears during the darkest era of Brazilian military regime and media censorship. The event is part of the Brazil Movie Series coordinated by Professor Everton Vargas da Costa and it is sponsored by Consulate-General of Brazil in Boston and the Department of World Languages at Framingham State University. 

Zuzu Angel

Spanish Language Table Spring 2020

Spanish Language Table met twice during the Spring 2020, before the Covid19 pandemic.  We were lucky to have Dr. Constanza Cabello, Vice-President of Diversity and Inclusion at Framingham State University on February 20 as our special guest and we enjoyed a delicious Chilean meal (Gracias, Sodexo!). We also had an extraordinary meeting on May 5th to celebrate Cinco de Mayo via Zoom, hosted by SPAN 202 students. We cannot wait to meet again at the Dining Commons as soon as possible. For now, keep calm and practica Español!



FSU Works to Support Undocumented and Immigrant Students

(From Campus Currents)

The COVID-19 pandemic is a scary time for everyone, but particularly worrying for our undocumented, DACA and immigrant student populations.

Last week, Dr. Patricia Sanchez-Connally from the Sociology Department and Dr. Everton Vargas De Costa from the World Languages Department led a discussion on how the University can best support these students in our current environment. The event was hosted by the Center for Inclusive Excellence (CIE) and was open to students.

Vice President for Diversity, Inclusion and Community Engagement Dr. Constanza Cabello also took part in a webinar on the same subject. Resources from that event can be found at:

Everton CIE

2019 World Languages Highlights

Sigma Delta Pi -  Nu Theta Chapter at Framingham State University

Framingham State University’s Spanish program in the Department of World Languages is an active member of Sigma Delta Pi, the National Hispanic Honor Society, with its Nu Theta Chapter. Sigma Delta Pi is the largest foreign-language honor society in the world. Framingham State's Nu Theta Chapter was founded in 1978.

 During the Fall Semester, FSU’s Nu Theta Chapter of Sigma Delta Pi inducted nine student members to the organization: Samantha Cruz, Taylor Gaston, Payton Hodsdon, Patricia Lyna, Jessica Pollard, Mariah Prosansky, Marc Respass, Zackera Solis and Kathleena Thompson.

 The students will plan activities to promote the study of Spanish language and Hispanic literatures and cultures at Framingham State University and in the greater Framingham Community. Congratulations to these students!

Stay tuned for upcoming events and activities.

Sigma Delta Pi

Sigma Delta Pi

Guest Speakers in World Languages Classes

Margareth Shepard, City Councilor from Framingham, and first Brazilian-American citizen to be elected in the U.S.A. for a City Council position, spoke to Elementary Portuguese I about political engagement and Brazilian immigration in the U.S.A. 

In Intermediate Spanish I, Ramón Valdivieso and María Elisa Muñoz, a Ecuadorean couple completing an MBA program at Framingham State University had an informal conversation with students about Economy and Social issues in Ecuador. This activity was part of a semester project students accomplish interacting with students from Ecuador via Skype and on campus.


Fall 2019 Spanish Language Table

This Fall, the Spanish Language Table was hosted by Professor Everton Vargas da Costa and Spanish Major Marc Respass. We are grateful to Sodexo for providing delicious meals from different Spanish-speaking countries to welcome our awesome guests. Thank you Professor Mirari Elcoro (Psychology and Philosophy, FSU), Professor Joanne Britland (Spanish and Portuguese, FSU) and Adriana Luchian (Adi's Schools of Language).

language table

language table

Welcome New Majors and Minors in the World Languages!

The Department of World Languages held a reception to our new faculty members, majors, and minors in American Sign Language, Spanish, and World Languages. Happy start of the semester, everyone!

Majors and Faculty

Downtown Walking Tour - Fall 2019 Beginnings 

On September 3, 2019, Professor Vargas da Costa led a Walking Tour in Downtown Framingham. During the trip, students, faculty and administrative agents at FSU explored the Brazilian gastronomy and influence in Framingham. Courtney Thraen, Executive Director of Downtown Framingham Inc. led the historic tour, Padaria Brasil Bakery offered students for coffee and pão de queijo (Brazilian cheese bread), and Braza Grill Union House hosted the group for a traditional Brazilian barbecue lunch.

At the Bakery


Movie Screening: One Day We Arrived in Japan

On Sept 19, the Department of World Languages held the screening of the documentary One Day We Arrived in Japan at the Alumni Room at 6:30pm. The event was a success with over 60 very diverse attendants: language students, faculty members, ESL students, deans, the Consul-General of Brazil in Boston, Ambassador Benedicto Fonseca Filho and other consular representatives, members of the community. The directors Aaron Litvin and Dr. Ana Paula Hirano led a very personal and instructive Q&A after the screening and the level of engagement of the audience brought many different perspectives about the immigrant experience in Japan and in the USA. The event is part of the newly Brazil Movie Series coordinated by Professor Everton Vargas da Costa and it is sponsored by Consulate-General of Brazil in Boston and the Department of World Languages at Framingham State University. Check the images below:


Aaron and Ana Paula

Portuguese Children's Books: new titles, new partners

"Writing Children's Books in Portuguese" is a project-based assignment students complete as part of their semester coursework in PORT101 at Framingham State University. The activity intends to involve students in community service by using a foreign language as they pick linguistic elements of Portuguese that they learn throughout the semester and use them to craft a childhood literacy material. 

On October 2019, Kathleena Thompson, Major in Spanish, joined Professor Vargas da Costa to deliver the titles produced in the Spring 2019 first and second grades part of the Two-way Language Program at Potter Road Elementary School. On December 2019, 20 titles were delivered to the newly-implemented Two-way Language Program at Woodrow Wilson Elementary School, in Framingham. 

Check the list of 20 titles and authors below:

Spring 2019

"Alimentação Saudável" by Kaitlin Rodrick e Amelia Beaton

"Animais" by Katie Eaton

"As Árvores e as Estações" Emily Petro

"Como Dar Banho no seu Cachorro" by Sarah Green

"Como Fazer um Smoothie" by Yesenia Marshall

"Como Você Pode Ajudar" by Kathleena Thompson

"Esportes" by Kelly Burman

"Esportes" by Sean Haser

"Minha Melhor Amiga" by Juliana Schiappa

"Os Animais no Fundo do Mar" by Brittany Watson

"Terça-Feira com Efa" by Mariah Prosanksy

"Todas as estações do ano" by RJ Santiago

"Verbos Comigo" by Sarah Thibault

Fall 2018

"Minha mamãezinha", by Matheus Sardinha

"As estações do ano" by Tiana Souza

"Leo, a tartaruga"by Robson Rodrigues

"O dia de Paulo na praia" by Marquise Adams

"A gigante do oceano" by Amber Cahill 

"Que cor é esta?" by Melissa Vieira and Josilma Montrond

"Ao redor do mundo" by Mason Hollick

Everton Kathleena

Book cover titles

A Response to Racism  

Jesús Ruelas García, ’19, spent two years with Residence Life at Framingham State University. Despite his short tenure, Jesús witnessed the campus community come under attack from a series of hate crimes. Growing frustrated with what seemed like a constant threat of racial injustice and wanting to do something to combat the series of events, Jesús one day brought his film camera to class. The idea was to capture the faces and stories of students whom this directly impacted. From there, Jesús opened it to other faculty and administrative figures of color. As more and more people began to be involved, the project thus started to invite everyone who wanted to participate, especially considering that there must be a community response that showed unity and strength.

In total, Jesús approached over 100 individuals for their portraits and a short statement. After photographing as much as possible, Jesús then fundraised a total of $1,000 for printing. During the last week of the spring 2019 semester, Jesús walked into the McCarthy Center late one night and put up the installation.

The aim of the installation was to instill pride within the impacted community of color, raise awareness about the very real issue of inequality that happens today, while also hoping to continue the conversation about the past racial hate crimes.

The installation, which carried the name of “Response to Racism”, was on display from early May to late July. Jesús Ruelas is currently the World Languages' Student of the Year 2018-2019.

Jesús' Exhibition

jesús' Exhibition

2018 World Languages Highlights

Elementary Portuguese: Writing Children's Books in Portuguese Project

"Writing Children's Books in Portuguese" is a project-based assignment students complete as part of their semester coursework in PORT101 at Framingham State University. The activity intends to involve students in community service by using a foreign language as they pick linguistic elements of Portuguese that they learn throughout the semester and use them to craft a childhood literacy material. 

The goals for crafting children's books in elementary language classes are a) to reflect in a contextualized fashion on lexical and grammatical aspects of Portuguese, b) to build motivation for students to use acquired knowledge to create unique artifacts, c) to foster student's authorship, and d) to connect students with teachers and students with public schools in the area. In April 2019, Professor Everton Vargas da Costa delivered the titles produced in the Fall 2018 to one of the first grade classes part of the Two-way Language Program at Potter Road Elementary School. 7 books written by Portuguese students at FSU to Portuguese students at Potter Road. Check the list of titles and authors below:

"Minha mamãezinha", by Matheus Sardinha

"As estações do ano" by Tiana Souza

"Leo, a tartaruga"by Robson Rodrigues

"O dia de Paulo na praia" by Marquise Adams

"A gigante do oceano" by Amber Cahill 

"Que cor é esta?" by Melissa Vieira and Josilma Montrond

"Ao redor do mundo" by Mason Hollick

Everton talks to children

Book cover titles