The Asociación de Alumnos y Ex-alumnos de Español (AAEE) presented original research by students and its first keynote speaker at the sixth annual Conference on Literature, Culture and Languages at the Titan Student Union Thursday.
“This is the best turnout we’ve had; most participation by students, in terms of presenters,” said James Hussar, assistant professor of Spanish and Portuguese and advisor to AAEE. “We’ve never had 37 presenting.”
The event was the sixth annual conference hosted by AAEE and sponsored by the Association of Inter-Cultural Awareness and Associated Students, Inc., allowing both undergraduate and graduate students in the Department of Modern Languages and Literature to present their original research.
The sessions included research by students in the following subjects and of their respective departments: Vietnamese Language and Culture, Spanish American Literature, French Film and Culture, TESOL: Testing and Listening Proficiency, Chinese Culture, Spanish Linguistics, Spanish Literature and Culture, TESOL: Research and Methodology, Brazilian Short Story and Secondary Education: World Language.
Hussar said the research presented at the event is original research student presenters have completed and allows them to work on their presentation skills.
“Generally, this is research that was developed for one of the courses, and then with the guides and mentorships of the faculty in Modern Language and Literatures, help develop it for the conference presentation,” Hussar said. “This is great preparation for those who plan on going on to graduate school. Not only does it look wonderful on curriculum vitae and resumes, but it is also very nice preparation for them in their future academia when they go on to present themselves as professionals.”
Cecilia Cummaudo, 30, a Spanish graduate student and president of AAEE, who also presented her research at the event, said the event’s turnout was due to good planning.
“This year, our organization was a lot better than years before,” said Cummaudo. “It’s a little bit difficult because we have the event during the day.”
The conference took place from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Outside students, like Ryo Matae, 32, a business management student at LASC in Irvine, also attended the event.
Matae said attending the conference with his classmates and professor from LASC was beneficial, as the TESOL research presented was relevant.
“It was fun because some topics related to my problems about learning English,” said Matae about the sessions.
Christian Santos, a poet, novelist and journalist from Nicaragua shared some of her poems with the audience, including a couple from her newest book, Travesía Desnuda, an anthology of “three books of loving and mystic poetry,” she said. She was the first keynote speaker for the event, as the organization hadn’t had one at previous conferences.
Santos founded an association of women writers in Nicaragua and a group, Mujer y Poesía, at the end of last year in an effort to fight for the rights of women. One of her poems was printed on shirts of the Grupo Estratégico por la Despenalización del Aborto Terapéutico and worn at women’s rights protests throughout Central America.
“I think that poetry allows human beings to open their heart, put their feelings in the open and liberate themselves,” said Santos about the importance of language and literature, specifically poetry. “I think this is poetry’s mission — enter into the soul, open it and let it all out and enjoy life or suffer — it’s a ‘mezcla.’”
Vinicio Murillo, 23, a music major, said Santos’ poetry was enjoyable and said a lot about her native Nicaragua.
“I really liked her poetry,” said Murillo. “It was very, very beautiful and had a lot of feeling and emotion.”