March 29, 2024
Rafael Cesar standing at a podium giving a speech at open house 2024 upper hyphen wit orchids in the forefront

Rafael Cesar, DUS

Sophomores were met with much more than they expected when they attended the 2024 Open House organized by the Department of Spanish & Portuguese on March 20th at 5pm. Faculty, students, and staff from SPO greeted prospective concentrators in the Upper Hyphen of East Pyne / Chancellor Green which was adorned with balloons, flowers and culinary delights. SPO's Director of Undergraduate Studies, Rafael Cesar, followed a welcoming speech with information reinforcing the reasons why one would want to declare a Spanish or Portuguese major. If the DUS's words weren't enough to convince them, the exciting testimonials of visiting alumni would surely do the job. 

Jose Ortiz and Lydia Spencer at open house 2024 in the upper hyphen

José Ortiz '23 and Lydia Spencer '21

Enthusiastic speeches were given by 6 alumni and a current senior. José Ortiz '23 took the stage first where he told the group about his current work in the medical field. He was followed by Lydia Spencer '21 whose eclectic interests had her trying "squeeze everything in" during her time at Princeton. She later learned she could seamlessly find the interconnectivity of her interests through the continuous support and flexibility she found with SPO. Watch Lydia's full speech on Media Central. 

Similarly, Peter Schmidt '21 found his academic home with SPO and was able to "relax" when he realized he could combine environmental studies as it related to politics and culture and life through the "creative flexibility" offered by the department and through the support of the faculty. Watch Peter's full speech on Media Central.

"This department is a home" said Brandon Dunlevy '21 as he discussed the endless possibilities including the various international opportunities, he himself experienced.  After receiving his master's in Hispanic Studies from UPenn, he will

Clariza Macaspac '24 and Brandon Dunlevy '21

Clariza Macaspac '24 and Brandon Dunlevy '21

now be returning to SPO to pursue a career in teaching through our doctoral program. Watch Brandon's full speech on Media Central.

Karina Aguilar '20, currently working in marketing, says the move seemed to be a natural progression from her work in creative writing and storytelling at SPO under, department Chair, Pedro Meira Monteiro's direction. She will continue to follow her passion through her pursuit of a master's in Latin American Studies. Watch Karina's full speech on Media Central.

Jack Thompson '23 prepared a video for the group from Brazil where he is doing some amazing work in expanding healthcare access in the amazon region of Brazil. He provides 3 reasons why Princeton students should seriously consider a major in Spanish and Portuguese.

In his video, Thompson speaks to the kindness and support of the faculty to which students have greater access given the size of the department along with the interdisciplinary nature of SPO's curriculum and the department's generous funding for thesis research and international opportunities. 

Carrington Johnson '24 at open house speaking at a podium

Carrington Johnson '24

Finally, Carrington Johnson '24 (current senior) took the podium. She started with accolades stating that SPO was the one place that showed her "how to find the intersection of all the things I love." Through the resources available through the department, she was able to travel to Brazil, Panama, and Puerto Rico. In PR she was provided the opportunity to connect with an African American community similar to hers and was able to more deeply understand her identity and race in a global context. She also spoke about her exciting senior thesis project and showcase taking place this week! Watch Carrington's full speech on Media Central.

Check out more photos from the event on SPO's Instagram!

SPO faculty and staff will continue to share their enthusiasm for all that is Spanish & Portuguese in the next several weeks through its participation in the Princeton Preview events under the tent on the McCosh courtyard. This time the excitement will be around potential students who will be on campus on April 9th and again on April 16th to learn about Princeton's many programs and resources. In addition to a warm welcome from faculty and staff, newcomers will be informed about the many opportunities available through SPO, which offers language courses, advanced seminars on literature and culture, translation workshops, as well as summer programs for independent study and summer study abroad.

If you missed Open House, join us at Preview to discuss your options with our faculty and staff!