I am originally from Granada, Spain, and attended Nebrija University in Madrid, where I majored in English Philology, minored in Tourism, and studied abroad in Michigan. I graduated with honors in Linguistics and immediately began my PhD studies in Applied Linguistics to Teaching Spanish as a Foreign Language at my Alma Mater.
In order to conduct my doctoral research, I moved to Aachen, Germany, in 2004, where I became faculty for Spanish and Linguistics at the Institut for Romanische Philologie at the RWTH Aachen University.
I obtained my PhD in 2009 and since then live in New York City, where I am a proud member of the faculty at the Department of Latin American and Iberian Cultures. I co-directed the Spanish Language Program from 2011 to 2014 and every semester I have the pleasure to be the organizer of our Applied Pedagogy Workshops.
Outside of Academia, I am a Linguistics Consultant and I specialize on the fine-tuning of social narratives in English and Spanish through the lens of Applied Cognitive Linguistics and the idea that #wordsmatter, so it is of great importance to choose the right metaphors and linguistic images when crafting discourse!
I hold a European doctorate (Doctor Europeus) with Honors in “Applied Linguistics to Teaching Spanish as a Foreign Language” from Nebrija University in Madrid, Spain.
My thesis, titled Gramática cognitiva e instrucción de procesamiento para la enseñanza de la selección modal, empirically focused on pedagogical and methodological approaches to teaching complex grammatical constructions to foreign learners. In 2010, my dissertation was awarded the Premio ASELE de Investigación (research award) by the Asociación para la Enseñanza de Español como Lengua Extranjera, and it has been published twice: in 2011 by ASELE, and again in 2012 by the Ministry of Education in Spain. In 2015, a Digital Edition of my PhD work was featured in the inaugural number of Portales: LAIC's Journal of Undergraduate Research. This annotated, digital edition was created by Barnard graduate Lacey Beck, whose work can be read here.
My major areas of research are Second Language Acquisition and Cognitive Linguistics, which I teach at the graduate level at Columbia, Nebrija University or Universidad Internacional Menéndez Pelayo, among other institutions. Within these areas, the book Qué gramática enseñar, qué gramática aprender (Ed. Edinumen), co-authored with colleagues from Columbia University and the Instituto Cervantes, was published in 2012.
Both my teaching and research have concentrated on various aspects of the linguistics-oriented classroom: grammar, reading comprehension, written production, or the teaching/learning of language through content (CBT/CLIL).
I am also interested in technology for language learning, mainly through Email Tandem exchanges and Twitter, the latter through the exploration of the linguistic landscape of ÑYC. My research has been presented and published in several journals and conference proceedings.
In May 2016, I was honored to be the recipient of a Hybrid Learning Course Redesign and Delivery grant, awarded by the Provost of Columbia University. With my grant proposal, entitled A Flipped Approach to the Grammatical Curriculum of the Spanish Language Program: The Case of the Intermediate II Level, I created a video series on the grammatical curriculum of the Intermediate II level in order to facilitate access, processing, and agency of the students outside of the physical classroom.
Social Media presence
- Mind in Body and Space: What Cognitive Linguistics may bring to Heritage Language Teaching - Talk at the Observatorio de la lengua del Instituto Cervantes en Harvard University (2019)
- Mind and Body in Space: A Cognitive Linguistics Account for Language Teaching - Université du Québec à Montréal (2017)
- ELEdeLengua podcast interview (2013)
- Moderation/participation in an online panel on the role of grammar in the SFL classroom (2014)
- Difusión's blog interview about Second Language Acquisition and Cognitive Grammar in the classroom (2015)
- Interview on Cognitive Linguistics and L2 teaching for the #TwitterELE-popular YouTube Channel ProfeDeEle TV (2016)
During the Fall 2014, the "Course Relief Program" at Columbia University allowed me to re-design and digitize my SPANW3300 course: Two Cultures, One Country: Islamic and Christian Influences in Spain Across Time. A blended learning and flipped classroom approach was used, along with several digital tools to foster and inform our undergraduate research objectives at LAIC. The newly designed course was very successfully implemented during the Spring 2015 term and continued through Spring 2017.
My latest and dearest teaching project at Columbia is my course: Mind and Body in Space: A Cognitive Linguistics Account of Language, open both to Graduate and Undergraduate students, and underway to being a part of the Linguistics Major at the College.
My teaching of Elementary, Intermediate and Advanced courses is directly connected to my research, as I am able to apply cognitive, psycholinguistic, and acquisition principles and approaches to classroom dynamics and language learning. My experience also enables me to ground my methodologies on collaborative work in the class with a task-based and problem-solving approach, and an explicit focus on (cognitive) grammatical form.
Currently advising two Master students at Universidad Nebrija, and three at Universidad Internacional Menéndez Pelayo. All my advisees research within my fields of expertise.
My Graduate course on Teaching Methodology at LAIC took place in the Fall terms of 2016 and 2017.
Through The Beehive / La Colmena, a bilingual blog on Applied Cognitive Linguistics and social narratives, I carry out linguistic analyses of social and political discourse across a wide range of topics.