Rutgers GSE CMSI

Melisa Zozaya

Melisa Zozaya is a third year Spanish major at Florida International University. She was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina and moved to Miami, Florida from Montevideo, Uruguay in August 1999, at the age of ten. Having the privilege of living in multiple countries, Melisa learned about the cultural differences within various countries and also how to effectively assimilate into a new culture. One of the most impactful moments in her life was her transition from Montevideo, Uruguay to Miami, Florida. This transition was particularly important because not only did she have to learn a whole new language she also had to learn a new dialect for the language that she spoke her entire life. Her experience has pushed her to pursue a career in Spanish to share this language with others and to teach people that there are many ways to speak Spanish. She hopes to encourage other Spanish speakers to teach their children Spanish and to persevere through the fear that this will hold them back from speaking English properly. Melisa intends to obtain a Ph.D. in Spanish in order to further her research on the Spanish language in the United States and how it can be further promoted. Other areas of research interests include Spanglish, Spanish for heritage language learners, Spanish literature, and Latin American Cultures. She has taught a Spanish beginners course as an intern at the Miami-Dade Public Library of Coral Gables and through that experience, she has developed a passion for teaching.