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Western students Itzel Olivera, Kendra Sutton, Sylvia Cohen, and Alessandro Tomasi participated in the 2nd Annual Undergraduate Students Conference “Celebrating the Interdisciplinary Humanities” organized by Rockford University, on April 29-30, 2022.  

The Western students' panel was entitled “Nosotros los de entonces: Continuidades culturales, sociales y lingüísticas en América Latina” (We the Then: Cultural, Social and Linguistic Continuities in Latin America). The panel included topics on feminism, language and culture preservation policies, popular indigenous religiosity, and aimed to highlight the relevance of multidisciplinary approaches to debates in and out of the classroom. At the same time, the four papers that made up the panel had in common the relationship between the past and the present, to highlight the relevance of knowing the past as a starting point for understanding, studying, and analyzing the present. Another very relevant element is that three of the papers were presented in English and three in Spanish, which is the second language that these students have learned and study; in this way the relevance of bilingualism was also demonstrated when the speakers and attendees were able to navigate the topics presented in both languages.  


The papers presented were the following:  


Kendra Sutton 

Title: “Concordancia feminista entre Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz y Rosario Castellanos.” (Feminist Concordance between Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz and Rosario Castellanos). 


Alessandro Tomasi. 

Title: El retorno de los dioses: la intersección entre la religiosidad, historia y globalización en “Chac Mool.” (The return of the gods: the intersection of religiosity, history, and globalization in "Chac Mool"). 


Sylvia Cohen.  

Title: Rarámuri Language Conservation and the Rural School System in Chihuahua Mexico: When Bilingual Education Isn't Enough. 


Itzel Olivera 

Title: “La suciedad dentro de la Sociedad: la abyección frente a la pandemia y la sexualidad.” (Dirt within society: Abjection in the face of pandemic and sexuality). 


The panel was organized and moderated by Prof. Hugo García González, Department of Modern and Classical Languages of Western Washington University. 




Our own Sylvia Cohen has been awarded third place among the best papers presented at the 2nd Annual Undergraduate Student Conference that is organized and hosted by Rockford University. This year the theme of the conference was "Celebrating the Interdisciplinary Humanities." 


Sylvia's paper was entitled "Rarámuri Language Conservation and the Rural School System in Chihuahua, Mexico: When Bilingual Education is Not Enough." is an excellent paper in which Sylvia exposes and analyzes in detail the conditions of education for the students of the Rarámuri community, highlights the inadequacies of the bilingual system, and proposes possible solutions for a universal conservation of language and culture.

Sylvia's work approaches the issue of indigenous language preservation from a broader perspective where language itself is one of the essential pieces of a historical-cultural universe. Sylvia proposes a concept of integral preservation that must pay attention to other aspects of the indigenous culture that produce and reproduce language as an organic . From social relations to production relations, from interactions between the material world to the spiritual world, Sylvia's work highlights the importance of cultural preservation to keep a language alive beyond the classrooms of bilingual education.


Sylvia's paper will appear in the journal Deinós, along with the other award-winning papers from this Conference.


Congratulations to Sylvia for this new achievement!

B.A., French, 2017

B.A., Japanese, 2017

B.A. French and Russian & Eurasian Studies, 2016

B.A., Japanese, 2015

B.A., Interdisciplinary Concentration and Spanish, 2015

B.A., French and Spanish, 2015

B.A., French and economics/environmental studies, 2014

B.A. Spanish, 2013

B.A. German and Linguistics, 2013

B.A., German and Sociology, 2013

B.A., Anthropology and Spanish, 2011

B.A., German, 2010

B.A., German, 2010