Spending summer with NU staff

    Is it summer yet? No.

    But it's never too early to start planning. Take a look at what three Northwestern professors are doing this summer:

    ¡Hola, España!

    Elisa Baena, a senior lecturer in the department of Spanish and Portuguese, will be teaching 28 Northwestern students about Spanish culture as they study abroad in Barcelona beginning in June.

    “I’m with them 24 hours for whatever they need and I also teach a class,” Baena said. “It’s a lot, but I love to show them the country and be with them learning Spanish and being able to see how they use it.”

    After the six-week program ends, Baena will head back to Chicago to complete some research before she takes a “real” vacation.

    “I have to do a lot of things in a short time,” said Baena. “That’s why I need to go somewhere!”

    This year, she’s excited to be visiting San Francisco for the first time.

    The adventures of Loren Ghiglione

    Medill professor Loren Ghiglione is participating in three different journalism conferences around the country this summer, from a National Association of Native American Journalists conference to the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication conference in San Francisco. But first, he’s trying to finish a book.

    “I’m hoping to get it done before the summer starts because I’ve been carting these files and boxes of books back and forth from Massachusetts, where I spend the summer, and here,” said Ghiglione, gesturing to a stack of plastic containers full of files from the more than 13,000-mile trip he took with two students in 2011 to retrace the travels of Mark Twain.

    “What we were really interested in was interviewing people about identity issues,” Ghiglione said.

    As Ghiglione and the students revisited key locations from Mark Twain’s life, they explored both the evolution of Twain’s identity and the ways Americans define themselves in light of race, immigration, sexual orientation and other topics. The in-progress book will chronicle the trip.

    Work won’t be the only thing on Ghiglione’s schedule, however. When he’s not at conferences or working on his book, he intends to spend time with his two daughters and his grandchildren.

    “We have a summer cottage in Martha’s Vineyard which is between the two kids,” Ghiglione said. “The grandchildren like going there and we like going there, too.”

    Can you repeat that in [insert language here]?

    Linguistics professor Bozena Pajak will be leaving Northwestern University July 1 to start a new position with the popular language-learning application Duolingo.

    “They don’t currently have anyone who is an expert in language learning and how languages should be taught,” Pajak said. “At this point it’s a little fuzzy as to what the position will actually be, as I’m the first hire, but the main idea is that they want somebody who knows the research on language acquisition.”

    Pajak is no stranger to language acquisition. In addition to her native language, Polish, she speaks English, Spanish and French and has studied numerous other languages including German, Arabic and Russian.

    Although excited to be a part of an application that impacts millions of users, Pajak said her departure is bittersweet.

    “I’ll definitely miss all the people in the department, the faculty and the students,” Pajak said. “The undergraduates are amazing, all very smart and all very motivated.”


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