Milena M. Hurtado
I am a teacher, writer, and scholar. I have been teaching Spanish language, literature, and culture courses since 1997. After receiving my Ph.D. in Hispanic Languages and Literatures from the University of California at Santa Barbara, I moved to the East Coast and taught in Pennsylvania and North Carolina. After nine long years there, I decided to come back home to California and pursue my profession in Ventura County. I am fortunate to have found a new home at Oxnard College.
My passion for the study of language and culture has always been a part of my identity, but it became clearer when I moved to the United States at the age of 12. Although I was committed to learning the English language, I strived to preserve my traditions and my native language. When I was a child my grandfather once told me “si quieres aprender, enseña” or “if you want to learn, teach.” Back then, I did not quite understand what he meant; now I do: by teaching, I learn, and by learning, I become a better teacher.
My objective as a teacher is to motivate my students to develop their own learning interests and critical thinking, and at the same time establish a learner-centered environment in the classroom. More than one decade as an educator has made me aware of the needs and interests of a culturally and ethnically diverse student body. As a result, I prepare lesson plans considering the interconnection between a student’s own knowledge, culture and learning abilities, the subject matter discussed in class, and current debates on social issues. I choose content and activities that are both significant and challenging for the students so that they are stimulated to think “beyond” their comfort zone and feel involved in their own learning process. Similarly, the activities and class discussions I facilitate encourage students to make connections between Spanish language and other disciplines.
My work as a scholar revolves around Latin American literature, Spanish Golden Age Theater, Original documents of the Mexican Inquisition, female characters in Spanish and Latin American literature, Latino/a identity and education. My two books Proceso Inquisitorial de una hechicera: el caso de Catalina de Miranda (2006) and El Mariscal de Virón (2011) are transcriptions and annotated and critical editions published by prestigious academic institutions in Mexico and Spain, respectively.
I am an avid reader of Mexican writer Elena Poniatowska, Brazillian author Paulo Cohello, Spanish born writers Javier Marías and Angeles de Irisarri, Nicaraguan poet Gioconda Belli, and Italian lyricist Eugenio Montale. Thanks to my love of language and culture, I am able to read all of these works in their original versions. I also enjoy traveling, hiking, and have recently discovered my love for nature and photography.