The Department of Spanish & Portuguese is delighted to announce this year’s Marsha Gray Ehrlich Scholarship Fund recipients. Marsha Gray Ehrlich was a former graduate student in our Department, and an inspirational teacher during her long professional career. She received a Master of Arts, with a major in Spanish, on August 17, 1968. She carried the preparation she received from our Department and her joy for Spanish to New York, where she taught Spanish and Latin in public schools for more than thirty years, before retiring in 2002. Ms. Ehrlich carried her love and passion for languages inside and outside the classroom, inspiring colleagues and family alike.
Our first recipient, Tristin Bautista, was recognized for his work as an academic mentor within UW-Madison’s Center for Academic Excellence working with first-generation, low-income students of color in need of academic assistance across all levels of Spanish and as a founding member of Dreamers of Wisconsin through which he engaged with Spanish-speaking communities across the state. Upon learning he had been selected as a recipient, he wrote, “To have been able to connect my service on campus to something I’m so passionate about like the Spanish language has been an absolute privilege, never once feeling like work. Receiving this award affirms all of the effort I’ve put in throughout undergrad as a tutor and translator, and I’m honored to be recognized in this way!”
Our second recipient, Sara Mulrooney, was recognized for her work mentoring bilingual students through the Juventud after-school program and volunteering with the River Food Pantry assisting Spanish-speaking clients. She writes, “I am incredibly grateful and honored to be selected as a recipient of the Marsha Gray Ehrlich Scholarship. Putting my language skills to use through community service has been one of the most fulfilling and meaningful experiences of my undergraduate years. My Spanish education here at UW-Madison has prepared me with an appreciation for linguistic diversity, a curiosity for cultural learning, and the skills to communicate and connect with others within our community. I feel a responsibility to put that education to use to have a positive impact outside of the classroom. Spanish has enabled me to connect with others and make a difference in unique and enriching ways whenever I serve my community. I would like to extend my gratitude to the family of Marsha Gray Ehrlich, the UW-Madison Spanish department, the community partners I have worked with over the years, and my family and friends.”
Our third recipient, Erin Wruk, was recognized for her assistance with avenues toward citizenship and advocating for immigrant rights. She has also worked as an election official, using her Spanish skills to make sure language barriers were not barriers to vote. She says, “I am so thrilled to study abroad in Barcelona this summer and further improve my Spanish language skills. The UW-Madison Spanish department has introduced me to the most supportive staff and students during my time here, and I am so grateful. Community outreach and organizing are one of my passions, and using the Spanish language to make connections with more people in my community is incredibly important to me. Thank you so much to all the absolutely wonderful Spanish professors at UW-Madison that have helped me learn and grow.”
Congratulations, Erin, Sara, and Tristin, from everyone here in the Department of Spanish & Portuguese, on your sustained commitment to community service!