Graduate Students Acknowledge QEP Supported Trip to Merida

The Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP) supported two Spanish literature emphasis graduate students to present research on Mario Vargas Llosa’s novels at the XVII International Conference of Hispanic Literature on March 9-11, 2016.

Dr. María Lamarque, associate professor of comparative literature in the Spanish program, led the students, Mayra Pratz and César Jiménez, on a trip to Merida to present their research along with Dr. Lamarque at a conference held at the Hotel Fiesta Americana. The students started their research a year ago. They both took a class on Vargas Llosa the summer of 2014, and chose the author’s work as the topic in their final research paper required for graduation.

“My students did an excellent job at the conference,” said Dr. Lamarque. “They took a complex theoretical approach to Vargas Llosa’s work and produced fine papers reflecting on today’s society. As critical analyst, I push my students to examine issues that impact and affect not only the literary realm or our discursive community, but also, the world. In other words, I enable my students to think critically through the use of theory in their writing. Literary analysis, in particular, provides critical schemes to scrutinize the present world and its representations.”

Students wrote the following email to Dr. Hayes our department head regarding their experience:
Dear Dr. Hayes,

Mayra Pratz & Cesar Jimenez would like express our gratitude by saying “THANK YOU” for the opportunity that was given to us to represent Texas A&M University-Commerce Spanish Literature program at the XVII International Literature Congress in Merida, Mexico. We are pretty sure that A&M-Commerce was very well represented through our research work by the comments that we received from colleagues and the group of scholars that we were fortunate to meet and share our experience with.

This congress was an amazing and rich experience in terms of academics and culture. Our research and dedication to the program comes hand to hand with the hard work, dedication, support, and trust from our professors. A special recognition goes to Dr. Lamarque; she helped us in this process and made it possible for us as graduate students to have the academic experience and do our best to represent the university.

This travel experience and Dr. Lamarque’s course that led to this student research are important contributors to the University’s Quality Enhancement Plan. The goal of our current QEP is to prepare students for an interconnected world. Travel, global courses, and student research are some elements of that plan.