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Spanish and Portuguese, Deparment of Languages, Literatures and Cultures

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Spanish & Portuguese Undergraduate Research Program

The goal of the Undergraduate Research Program (URPro) within the Spanish & Portuguese Program is to foster an opportunity for undergraduate Spanish and Portuguese major students to partake in a dynamic research experience in which the student works directly with a faculty member and gains firsthand knowledge of academic research.

A select group of Spanish & Portuguese undergraduate students are chosen to take part in the program, based on the student's initial interest in a faculty member's research project, but also based on the faculty member's careful assessment of the student's qualification and background. Students are trained to work collaboratively with both faculty and graduate students in developing studies with real-world impact. This provides the student with applied skills that are readily transferable, and will allow the student numerous advantages in their post-collegiate endeavors. Students with top-notch research training will be very attractive job candidates: they will understand how to investigate the current state of a research problem; select and use the appropriate qualitative or quantitative methods to carry out studies; work collaboratively towards a common goal and write in a way in which findings are clearly conveyed to the public. Since students will have participated in the entire search process and will be privy to the deliverables of the project, they will go to the job market with a clear understanding of the notion "return on investment," a frequent term that is of utmost importance in so many professional spheres in today's world.

The topic and projects that our students can participate in through the URPro with the Spanish & Portuguese program reflect our faculty's expertise in the department. Student researchers are encouraged to present the research conducted through URPro at conferences such as the Massachusetts Statewide Undergraduate Research Conference. They receive opportunities to co-author reports, and the skills and methodology learned through the program may foment their capstone or thesis projects. Most importantly, the URPro is a unique opportunity that students can include on their resumes as they apply for graduate school

Unless it is otherwise stated, students will receive academic credit for URPro proejcts. Students should apply for the project listed below. Once selected to work on a project, they sould enroll in SPAN/PORT 398R - Research Practicum. Students may take up to 18 practicum credits while at UMass. Those credits may count towards the total needed for graduation, but they do not count toward Spanish or Portuguese major requirements. In general, 1 credit hour is equivalent to about 40 hours of work during the semester and students may enroll for up to 3 credits per semester. The practicum is graded as pass/fail. Interested students should contact the appropriate faculty member (based on current openings) and download/complete the following contracts for Spanish and Portuguese repsectively.


Ongoing Projects


Faculty Sponsor Project Description Prerequisites Application Procedure
Amaral, Luiz I seek 4 students who are interested in experimental linguistics and language acquisition for Lab Assistant positions: (1) Wh-extraction in L2 Spanish; (2) Recursion in Prepositional Phrases in L2 Spanish; (3) Portuguese Linguistics and Language Acquisition; (4) Experimental Design (with good drawing skills or experience with Photoshop). Previous coursework in syntax, acquisition or precessing is highly desirable. The student(s) will receive research practicum credit for their work (SPAN/PORT 398R), with the number of credit hours to be determined by the number of hours worked per week by the student. All applicants should speak Spanish. For the Portuguese Linguistics position, the candidate should also speak/be studying Portuguese. Currently no openings.
Armstrong, Meghan I seek 3 students 3 for Lab Assistant positions for ongoing projects involving (1) intonational development (2) descriptive fieldwork on Spanish in Western New England (primarily Puerto Rican Spanish) and (3) L2 acquisition of Spanish vowels. Previous coursework in phonetics (especially Spanish), developmental psychology, statistics or computer science a plus, as well as good drawing skills or experience with Photoshop. Native speakers of Puerto Rican Spanish highly desireable for (3). The 4th position is a web development position. For this position applicants should have experience building websites. The student(s) will receive research practicum credit for their work (SPAN/PORT 398R), with the number of credit hours to be determined by the number of hours worked per week by the student. All applicants should speak Spanish, have a genuine interest in the topic(s) and have at least a 3.0 cumulative GPA. Currently no openings.
Ameal-Pérez, Alberto I seek 2 excellent undergraduate students fluent in Spanish with an interest in Latin@ literature. The student(s) will help me with an ongoing research project on US Latino literature. The student(s) will be required to translate and transcribe literary documents. S/he will receive research practicum credit for their work (SPAN/PORT 398R), with the number of credit hours determined by the number of worked per week by the student. Applicants must be fluent in Spanish, have a genuine interest in the topic, and have at least a 3.0 cumulative GPA. Currently no openings
Lloret, Albert I seek one outstanding undergraduate student with an interest in literature to assist me with my research project on Renaissance and Baroque Spanish Poetry. His or her duties will include transcribing, editing, and indexing sixteenth -and seventheetnth-century lyric texts. The student(s) will receive research practicum credit for their work (SPAN/PORT 398R), with the number of credit hours determined by the number of hours worked per week by the student. Applicants must be fluent in Spanish, have a genuine interest in the topic, and have at least a 3.0 cumulative GPA. Currently no openings.
Russotto, Margara I seek one outstanding undergraduate student to assist me with my research project on Poetry. The student will receive research practicum credit for his/her work (Span 398R) Applicants must be fluent in Spanish and English (fluency in Portuguese will also be welcome), have a genuine interest in the topic, and have at least a 3.0 cumulative GPA. Currently no openings.
Zecchi, Barbara I seek 2 excellent undergraduate students to help me with the ongoing project on Spanish Cinema: http://digitalhumanities.umass.edu/gynocine. The student(s) will receive research practicum credit for their work (SPAN 398R). Applicants are expected to have a good command of Spanish (SPAN 240 or equivalent) and a cumulative GPA of at least 3.0. An interest in cinema and women's studies, as well as some basic skills with webpage design, Drupal, and video edition are preferable but not essential. Transcript, one-page statement of interests, and name of a SpanPort faculty memeber willing to act as a reference. Electronic submissions are preferred. bzecchi@spanport.umass.edu