Graduate Students


Timothy Alford was born and raised in Albertville, Alabama. He received his Bachelor of Arts degree in Music Performance and Music Education from the University of Alabama in Huntsville and his Master of French Studies degree from Auburn University. He is currently studying Romance Languages at the University of Alabama with an emphasis in Applied Linguistics. His area of interest is the origin, acquisition, imposition and modification of orthographic systems.



Forrest BlackbournForrest Blackbourn was awarded a B.A. in Spanish (2007) and an M.A. in Spanish and French (2009) from Mississippi State University.  He is a Ph.D. Candidate in Romance Languages and is writing under the direction of Dr. Ignacio Rodeño.  The dissertation, entitled “Textual and Cultural Explosions: Diasporic Dialogues in the Bildungsroman Caribeñounidense,” analyzes the coming-of-age processes of characters that are subjected to diasporas involving the Caribbean and the United States.  His article, “La máscara afro-puertorriqueña: una auto-re-presentación a través de la búsqueda de la identidad racial, étnica y nacional en Down These Mean Streets” was published by The Coastal Review in 2011.  Additionally, he has published three poems and a creative, cultural essay in Divergencias: Revista de estudios lingüísticos y literarios at The University of Arizona.  His creative nonfiction piece, entitled “Me acuerdo—I remember—Me acuerdo,” was published in Vision 2011: Paying it Forward at Mississippi State University.

Betsy Brooks, born in Fort Myers, Florida, received her B.A. in International Studies and Spanish from Mississippi College in 2008, and her M.A. in Spanish & Applied Linguistics from the University of Alabama in 2010. She is currently writing her doctoral thesis “From History to Herstory: Re-Writing the Past through Fragmentation in Spanish Testimonial Literature” under the direction of Dr. Ana Corbalán.  Her general research interests include 20th/21st century Peninsular Literature and Film, testimonios, and historical memory in post-war Spain.



Ana Capanegra is from Buenos Aires, Argentina. She was awarded her B.A. in TESOL from The Teacher’s College “Dr. Joaquín V. González” in Buenos Aires, Argentina. She received her M.A. in Spanish from The University of Connecticut in 2005 and she is now pursuing her PhD in Applied Linguistics from the University of Alabama. Her research interest is the reading to writing relations at beginner levels.


Larissa Clachar, from San José, Costa, Rica, was awarded her A.A. from Marion Military Institute in 2003, her B.A. from Judson College in 2006, and her M.A. from The University of Alabama in 2008. She is currently a Ph.D. Candidate in Romance Languages at UA. Her research interests include 19th Century Transatlantic Studies, the Latin American Foundational Novel, and Naturalism.



Brett Drummond, currently of Hueytown, AL, spent his childhood moving around the United States and Europe with his family. He received his Bachelor’s in Spanish from UAB, and holds two MA’s, the first in Education from UAB, the second in Spanish from UA. He is currently working on his PhD in Romance Languages. His primary research interests are transatlantic film discourse between Spain and the United States. More specifically, he is working on studying Pedro Almodóvar and John Waters.



Ally Firestone grew up in Hiram (Georgia), and she received her BA in Spanish from Georgia Southern University in 2012. Currently, Ally is pursuing her MA in Spanish/Applied Linguistics. Her primary research interests include Second Language Acquisition and Sociolinguistics.




Elizabeth Grassmann is from Eaton, Ohio. She completed her B.A. in Spanish Education at Bowling Green State University and accomplished her M.A. in Spanish at Ohio University. She is a first year Ph.D. student at the University of Alabama. Her research focus is 19th century Latin American literature.




Shelly Hines-Brooks is a doctoral student in Romance Languages from Science Hill, Kentucky. She received her B.A from Centre College in 2007 where she majored in Spanish and anthropology, and her M.A. in Spanish from the University of Alabama in 2009. She is currently working on her doctoral thesis, “La escritura de la memoria como herramienta de diálogo en la metanovela española del siglo XXI”, under the direction of Dr. Ana Corbalán. Her research interests include Spanish literature, new historicism, cultural studies, metafiction and historical memory in Twentieth and Twenty-First Century Spanish novels.


 Jessica JacobsJessica Jacobs is originally from Guadalajara, Mexico. She received her BA in Spanish with a minor in French from Southern Oregon University, Ashland, OR. After spending a few years traveling and working throughout the United States as well as abroad, she is now pursuing her MA in Spanish Linguistics and has been very active in the department as Spanish Club Director (2011-212) and Spanish House Director (2012-2013). Her primary interests are in Second Language Development and Pedagogy.   




Sarah Langscaster
Sarah Langcuster is originally from Auburn, AL. She received her B.A. in Spanish and Classics from the University of Alabama in 2011 and she is currently working on her M.A. in Spanish Literature at the University. Some of her research interests include 20th century Latin American Literature and Postwar Spanish Literature.
Claire Mitchell is from Jackson, Tennessee, and received her Bachelor of Arts in Spanish and Public Relations from Union University.  She also received a Master of Arts in Romance Languages from the University of Memphis, and currently is pursuing her PhD in Romance Languages, specifically Spanish Linguistics.

Dani Peterson graduated with a B.A. from the Calvin College in 2006 where she became interested in Spanish and French. She came to the University of Alabama in 2008 to continue her studies of Spanish and French language and culture, through a M.A. of Romance Languages. She now continues at UA as a Ph.D. student whose research interests include the construction of identity through ethnicity, gender and citizenship in 20th and 21st century literature, particularly through Chicana and French-Algerian texts.



Seth Roberts, originally from Tennessee, received a Master’s degree with a Spanish concentration from Middle Tennessee State University in 2009 and a B.S. in Business Management from Samford University in 2006. As a Ph.D. student in Spanish his concentration is 20th century Latin American literature. In addition to studying abroad in Costa Rica, the Czech Republic, and Spain, he has worked as medical interpreter and is a member of the Sigma Delta Pi Spanish Honor Society.


Laura Rojas-Arce was born in San José, Costa Rica. She received a degree in psychology in Universidad Hispanoamericana in Costa Rica in 2005. She received a master’s degree in Hispanic Literature in The University of Alabama, in 2007. She is currently a PhD candidate in Central American Literature. She studies the presence and manifestation of violence in 21st century Central American novels.



Valencia Tamper is a native of Birmingham, AL. She received a B.A. in Spanish from The University of South Alabama in 2006 and an M.A. in Spanish from Bowling Green State University in 2009. She is currently a Ph.D. student in the Department of Modern Languages and Classics at The University of Alabama. Her research interests include The Golden Age of Spanish literature.



Tara Trent was born in Tuscaloosa, AL, received a B.A. in Spanish & Psychology at the University of Alabama, and is currently pursuing a M.A. in Hispanic Literature. If you’d like a little personal info, she loves anything having to do with music (especially artists such as Rob Thomas, Alejandro Sanz, Los Secretos, Eminem, Maná) and Harry Potter. She also loves fútbol, writing poetry & songs, and performing as a singer/songwriter (



Student Organizations

Sociedad Nacional Honoraria Hispánica
(National Collegiate Hispanic Honor Society)