Graduate Students

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Sergio Andruccioli hails from Buenos Aires, Argentina. He earned an MA in Spanish from Florida International University and is currently working on his doctoral dissertation on XXI century Argentinean literature and the literary movement known as Nueva Narrativa Argentina. His research areas of interest include literary theory, representations of violence and marginality in Latin America at the turn of the century, XXI century Latin American emerging authors, XX century cannon comparative studies, otherness and subjectivity, representations of marginal urban spaces as a new cartography in the narratives, ideologies and political discourse in the formation of individual and national identities, and cultural and genre studies. Before beginning his doctoral studies, Sergio taught for ten years in the City University of New York-CUNY system, teaching Spanish language, Hispanic literature, and film. He also taught Spanish at Stony Brook-The State University of New York. He has additionally taught ESL classes in Miami. Sergio’s publications include La ficción como liberación, sobrevivencia y manipulación en Cambio de armas de Luisa Valenzuela y El beso de la mujer araña de Manuel Puig (St. John’s University, 2019), as well as a poetry book and a play about poets Manuel Ramos Otero and Federico García Lorca (2015), which was staged at New York Hispanic/Latino Book Fair, Queens, NY. He has published dozens of books reviews as a freelance writer for Daily News-Hora Hispana, New York City.

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Claudia Battistel Tomada has a law degree from the Universidad Católica Andrés Bello in Caracas, Venezuela, and two certificates in Translation Studies from the Universidad Metropolitana in Caracas as well as Florida International University. Prior to coming to the U.S., she worked as legal consultant and translator in Venezuela. In 2015 Claudia joined the Department of Modern Languages at FIU and completed her MA degree in Spanish whild working as a Teaching Assistant. Her research interests are immigration literature and border studies focusing on the representation of geographic and metaphorical borders as well as migratory experiences and cultural hybridity in Hispanic literature and film. Claudia enjoys her work with the Spanish Graduate Student Organization. She is passionate about languages and translation, and in her free time enjoys outdoor activities, cooking and spending time with family and friends.


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Anna M. Cepeda received her B.A. and M.A. in Spanish and Spanish Literature from Florida International University. Her fields of interest include domestic violence in Contemporary Spanish and Latin-American Literature, cinema studies, visual studies, popular culture and literary theory. Originally from Cuba, Anna is interested in promoting, teaching about, and centering Hispanic culture at the university. Since 2016, she has been an active member and official in various positions of Sigma Delta Pi, the Collegiate Hispanic Honor Society. Anna was also one of the founders for La Hora Del Café, which is a safe space for students to practice their Spanish over coffee and croquetas. She has been a member and official of the Cuban American Student Association (CASA) and the Modern Language Graduate Student Organization (MLGSO). Anna has also taught Spanish as part of a community outreach program with the Miami-Dade Public Library System. In her free time, she enjoys reading, traveling, and trying new baking recipes.


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Gabriela C. Escobar Rodríguez earned a B.A. in literature and linguistics (Licenciatura en Letras) from the Universidad Católica Andrés Bello in 2013, and a M.A. in Spanish from Florida International University in 2018. Gaby has been teaching languages since 2013: English at the Instituto Loscher in Caracas, Venezuela and then Spanish at FIU. She is particularly interested in differentiated instruction, and has taught different levels of Spanish courses to include Spanish for heritage speakers, Spanish composition, Spanish for special purposes, and English and Spanish contrastive syntax. Her main areas of research are: Latin American narrative at the turn of the century, nation states’ images of themselves as represented through literature, citizens and their relationship with literary discourses and power systems, and the portrayal and evaluation of marginalized spaces and its inhabitants. She is also interested in translation from English to Spanish and vice versa. She enjoys applying task-based language teaching to face-to-face as well as online versions of instruction, as well as and computer-assisted language teaching and learning.


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Jeniffer Fernández earned her M.A. in Spanish and her B.A. (Summa Cum Laude) in Spanish Literature and Communication Arts at Florida International University. Prior to beginning her doctoral studies, she worked as a producer coordinator at Univision 23, where she was responsible for writing public service announcements and producing several aspects of media involvement in community service. Her research areas of interest include: Performance Studies, Latin American Theater and Film, and 19th and 20th century Cuban Literature. She has been a recipient of the Eliana Rivero Scholarship in Cuban Studies as well as the Pablo Ruiz-Orozco and Miguel Angel Quesada Memorial Scholarship. In her free time, she enjoys attending theatrical performances in Miami as well as promoting humanities-based initiatives for school children. She often volunteers at local non-profit cultural organizations and serves as a reading tutor for ESOL students at a local elementary school.


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Delia Garcia holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Spanish Philology from Universidad de Malaga, Spain, and two Master’s Degrees from the Universidad de Sevilla: one of Education and one in Hispanic Studies. At present, Delia is a Ph.D. candidate and Teaching Assistant at Florida International University. Her research areas of interest are Cuban Literature, Latin American literature and Cultural Studies. She loves spending time with her friends, music festivals, traveling as much as possible and diving in secondhand bookstores.


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Habey Hechavarria is a theater expert and Hispanist from Havana, Cuba. He obtained his Bachelor’s of Performing Arts with a specialization in theater from the Instituto Superior de Arte, in Havana, Cuba, and then went on to earn his Master’s in Education with a specialization in Spanish language teaching from Nova Southeastern University in Miami. At present, Habey is working towards his doctoral degree analyzing the poetry of Juan Ramón Jiménez in America. His areas of research include the literary work of José Lezama Lima, Hispanic poetry of the 19th and 20th centuries, and the concept of theatricality. Habey’s teaching experience is extensive in both the areas of theater and Spanish language. For fourteen years, he served as a professor of theater history and theory at the Faculty of Performing Arts at the Instituto Superior de Arte in Cuba. Habey has broad experiences in acting, artistic direction and theatrical advising. He has published works as a show and theater critic, as well as on cultural journalism in both Cuban and in U.S. mediums. These have included El Nuevo Herald and the website Teatroenmiami.com. Habey has given lectures on theater in Miami and in Cuba, where he has been a judge for film and theater festivals. He is also a judge for the “Premio Escena de Miami,” an award that recognizes local Miami theater that is conducted in Spanish. Habey enjoys teaching the Spanish language and applying the concept of social interaction, context, and acting to language learning. (There is no concept in Spanish that he can’t act out for students!). He is also particularly interested in supporting black Spanish language learners, and recently published an article on black language learners’ needs in collaboration with FIU and Florida Memorial University, South Florida’s only historically Black college.


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Luciana Kube Tamayo obtained her bachelor’s degree in Audiovisual Journalism from the Universidad Católica Andrés Bello in Caracas, Venezuela, and her Master of Arts in Spanish at FIU. She is a former member of the Camerata Barroca de Caracas, conducted by Isabel Palacios, and studied music at the Conservatorio Simón Bolívar in Caracas as well as the Conservatori del Liceu in Barcelona. During this time, she studied with masterclass professors such as David Roblou, Jordi Savall, Montserrrat Figueras and Andrew Lawrence-King. Luciana also worked in Teatro Real de Madrid in the Subtitling and Publications department. Her research areas of interest include the Colonial Villancico, the décima and the syncretic genres of the Eighteenth Century through both the musical and the literary approach. Luciana received the Monseñor Pellín Award for her thesis Arte Jesuítico en América Hispánica in 1997, and she has published two articles in the flamenco magazine La Nueva Alboreá from the Instituto Andaluz del Flamenco (2018 and 2019). In 2002, she wrote an instructional reading book for Spanish learners Diarios de Venezuela (Espasa Calpe Press.) Her research interests include Colonial Villancico, the décima and the syncretic genres of the Eighteenth Century through musical and literary approaches.



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Ivonne Lopez-Arenal graduated from the Art Institute of Habana, Cuba, and holds an MA in Spanish from Florida International University as well as an MS in Spanish language pedagogy from NOVA. Her research specializations include Contemporary Cuban Theater and Latin American Theater; literature and police drama; gastro-critic in Cuban Theater; transatlantic connections between dramatic literatures of the Hispanic world, and Cuban and Latin-American Cinema. She is working on written in Cuba and the U.S. by Cuban writers during the second part of the 20th century and the 21st century, examining how they exist as a single body.



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Mariana Martínez-Karandashova was born in Havana, Cuba, and moved to Toronto with her family in 2009. While living in Canada, she earned a trilingual B.A. in Hispanic Studies (English-French-Spanish) and a Certificate in Spanish-English Translation from York University. Mariana then worked as a language assistant at a primary school in Madrid, Spain. She then moved to Miami, where she completed her M.A. in Spanish from Florida International University. At present, she is working towards her doctoral degree and teaching Spanish beginning level language courses. Mariana’s research focuses on Women Studies and Spanish and Latin-American literature of the 20th century.



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Beatriz Muller-Marqués was born in Sagua la Grande, Villa Clara, Cuba, and has lived in the U.S. now for over half of her life. She earned a bachelor’s degree in Spanish with a concentration in Psychology from the College at Brockport in Brockport, New York, and later went on to earn a Master’s Degree in Spanish Literature and Language from the University of South Florida in Tampa, as well as a Master’s Degree in Spanish from Florida International University. Beatriz has over a decade of teaching experience at the high school, community college, and university levels in the U.S. At present, she teaches multiple levels of Spanish language. She is particularly interested in curriculum design for Spanish for Special Purposes, as well as more advanced and inclusive heritage- and L1-focused courses, applying task-based language teaching methodology to the face-to-face and online modalities. Beatriz’s research interests include Latin American women writers, gender studies, feminist and female literature, Latino writers in the U.S., feminist theory, and Cuban and Cuban-American studies. She has received many awards for her pedagogy and research, including Best Teaching Assistant Award, The Pablo Ruiz Orozco and Miguel Angel Quesada Memorial Scholarship, the Ignacio and Sophie Galbis Award, as well as the Doctoral Evidence Acquisition Fellowship and Doctoral Yearly Fellowship at FIU.



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Ramon Muniz Sarmiento earned his B.A. in Spanish from the Universidad de Oriente, Santiago de Cuba, in 2011. While there, he worked for two years as an instructor of Peninsular Literature, covering the Middle-Age to the 20th Century. In 2018, he obtained his M.A. in Spanish from Florida International University. Ramon’s areas of investigation include women’s literature of the Southern Cone and of Spain during the 20th century, primitivism in literary and artistic discourses of Latin America, Spanish film, and Peninsular and Latin American literature of the 20th Century. Ramon has published several articles in academic journals as well as poetry and short stories, and has presented his work at LASA and SAMLA. At present, he is working to complete his dissertation titled Primitivism and women’s literature of the Southern Cone: Gabriela Mistral, Alfonsina Storni, and Juana de Ibarbourou, for which he received the DEA and DYF fellowships (FIU Graduate School). He is also studying neuropsychology and the application of mindfulness to language teaching and learning, as well as differentiated learning, with the Universidad Nebrija (Spain).


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Alberto Sosa-Cabanas earned his B.A. in Hispanic Literature and Linguistics (Summa Cum Laude) from the University of Havana, Cuba. He holds an M.A in Spanish, as well as graduate certificates in both African and African Diaspora Studies and in Latin American and Caribbean Studies from Florida International University (FIU). Before coming to FIU, he taught at the University of the Arts (ISA), Cuba. Alberto’s research areas of interest encompass 19th- and 20th-century Latin American and Caribbean literatures and cultures, Afro-LatinX studies, Caribbean culture, digital humanities, and semiotics. For his research, Alberto has received research fellowships from the Mellon Foundation, the Tinker Foundation, the Cuban Heritage Collection, and the Goizueta Foundation. He was also a recipient of the Eliana Rivero Scholarship in Cuban Studies. Alberto has published works in the US, Cuba, Mexico and in Europe, and in 2018, published an edited volume titled Reading Cuba: Discurso literario y geografía transcultural.



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Jannet Torres Espinoza holds an M.A. in Peruvian and Latin American Literature from Universidad Nacional Mayor de San Marcos, Perú; a Certificate in Mediación lectora (Reading Facilitation) from IBBY-México; and a Certificate in Educational Management (Perú). Before coming to Florida International University, she worked for the Ministry of Education in Perú. Jannet has two passions: literature and education. Her research interests include the development of research methods on narratives and identity as well as Peruvian narrative from the late nineteenth century and first half of the twentieth century. Jannet enjoys teaching and doing research on pedagogical innovation in language learning.


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Hernán Vera Álvarez earned his B.A. (Summa Cum Laude) in Spanish Literature and his M.A. in Spanish at Florida International University. His areas of research include Hispanic and Latino Literature in the U.S., Latin America and Spanish films, and Peninsular and Latin American literature during the 19th and 20th centuries. Originally from Argentina, Hernán worked as a journalist for magazines and newspapers across the United States and Latin America, including El Nuevo Herald, Meansheets, Loft Magazine, El Sentinel, TintaFrescaUS, La Nación, and Clarín. As part of his journalism work, he was able to interview many internationally acclaimed writers such as Adolfo Boy Casares, Sergio Ramírez, Sandra Cisneros, Julia Alvarez, Jorge Ramos, Laura Restrepo, Jorge Volpi, as well as artists including Carlos Santana, Maná, Gustavo Cerati, Gustavo Santaolalla, Juanes and Paquito D'Rivera. Hernán has authored award-winning books, including La librería del mal salvaje (Florida Book Awards) and Don't Cry for Me, América (International Latino Book Awards). At present, he serves as the editor of the anthologies Escritorxs Salvajes: 37 Hispanic Writers in the United States, Viaje One Way. Escritores de Miami en el siglo XXI, and Miami (Un)plugged. Crónicas y Ensayos personales. Hernán teaches creative writing at part of several initiatives with The Koubek Center of Miami Dade College, including community workshops for the Miami Book Fair. He has a podcast about Hispanic and Latino Literature called Conversación Nocturna.