Department of Spanish and Portuguese

College of Letters & Science
HomeKristopher M.

Kristopher M.

Major(s) and Certificate(s): 

Spanish MA

Graduation Year: 
Current city: 
College Station
Current state/province/country (if outside US): 
What have you done since graduating from UW-Madison?: 

Since graduating with my MA in Spanish, I spent nine years teaching Spanish at both K-12 and post-secondary levels. I taught all levels, Spanish 1 - AP Language, at public and private schools in Atlanta, Georgia. Then I changed my teaching field completely and I now teach classes on sustainability, decision making, and personal/professional growth at the Mays Business School at Texas A&M. I also take undergraduate students to Costa Rica every May where we visit local companies and bio-dynamic farms to understand their role in sustainability.

Language(s) : 
What motivated you to study this/these languages?: 

When I was a teenager in Charlottesville, Virginia, I got a job at a local pizza restaurant. Most of my co-workers were Hispanic, which gave me an immediate and practical incentive to further my study of the language. I discovered very quickly that knowing and using Spanish enabled me to communicate much more effectively than using English.

How have these languages enriched your life?: 

Spanish has impacted my life inalterably. The study of Spanish empowered me to develop life-long relationships, gave me the opportunity to study abroad for a year in Spain, led me to further my graduate study of Spanish literature, and helped me meet my wife, Cindy, who is Colombian.

What do you remember about your UW language classes? How were they different from other classes you took?: 

I took mostly master's level courses in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese. These courses served as the foundation for understanding literature from Spain and Latin America. However, there were three Ph.D. seminar courses in particular that I remember vividly. These courses were the "Decline of the Spanish Hero" (taught by Prof. Will Risley), "Colonial Latin America and Post-Colonial Theory" (taught by Prof. Francisco Ortega), and "Don Quijote" (taught by Prof. Steve Hutchinson). All of these courses stretched me beyond my current capacity to be a better reader and writer of advanced literature.

How have you maintained or improved your language(s) since graduation?: 

I use my Spanish almost every day with my wife and our little girl, Isabel.

What advice do you have for current language students?: 

Invest daily in your body and mind, give your very best to projects that matter to you, and keep in touch with the people that impact you the most.

What is your favorite word or phrase in a language you know?: 
Duris non frangor - "I am not disheartened by difficulties"