Testimonial: As a first generation Latina going to college, I started off very uncertain about many things: what degree is going to help me reach my goals in the future? Where will this degree take me? What degree will not only bring value to my work, but also fulfill me?
After starting off with just a degree in Nutrition Science, I finally decided to double major in Spanish. I grew up pretty insecure about my Spanish as a teenager, and I just knew that if I wanted to give my future career even more meaning, I wanted to be able to convey and express myself in Spanish. When I reached the halfway point of my studies, I was able to speak more fluently and confidently. More importantly, however, I was able to better understand not only my own roots, but also the struggles of other people from Latin America.
Four years after graduating with a degree in Spanish, I can say now with utmost satisfaction that my degrees have taken me far, about 1,600 miles away from home. A few months after graduating from UCD, I applied to an international medical school in Mexico and have not only been able to excel my vocabulary, but have also gained experience, culture and understanding about many conditions still affecting Latin America.
I returned to the US and have now been able to put my Spanish skills and experience to work in helping those who face the difficulty of confronting a language barrier with their doctor. Given the countless and extensive conversations that I have encountered with Colombians, Venezuelans, Puerto Ricans, Guatemalan, and other Latin people from different nationalities, let's just say it's been challenging at times to pickup the similarities compared with my own dialect. However, being fearless and welcoming to those differences in Spanish has enabled me to communicate and reassure these patients and their medical concerns, ultimately fulfilling me and continually motivating me to work even harder to bring these Spanish services to the underserved in my community.
Testimonial: I studied a variety of topics at Davis (Spanish, International Relations, Economics, and Math). I am now working as a Research Assistant at the Federal Reserve in Washington, DC. While I cannot say speaking Spanish has directly helped me get this job, knowing the language has definitely helped me form deeper professional and personal connections. Since I moved to DC, I've met so many Spanish and Latino professionals, such as economists at the Federal Reserve and at the Banco de Espana, the Ambassador from Honduras, diplomats from the embassy of Argentina, etc. In each of these encounters, when I spoke Spanish, they were very impressed and were more inclined to speak to me about a variety of topics and provide professional guidance. Outside of work, I've also met many members of the Spanish and Latino communities and have formed close connections with some of them.
Alumni Placement: I’m currently working as a Clinic Manager at Native American Health Center in Oakland where we see many Spanish-speaking patients.
Testimonial: After receiving my BA in Spanish and Communication, I went to Yale University to get my Master of Public Health where I studied how to address health disparities clinically and through research. Happy to connect with any UC Davis Spanish majors who are considering healthcare and serving Spanish-speaking populations! When I was at UCD, I also was a volunteer at Clinica Tepati (UCD student run clinic) where I started out as medical translator for Latinx patients.
Alumni Placement: I am a Bilingual Case Manager.
Testimonial: I have been working as a Bilingual Case Manager for 4 years now. I work for a nonprofit that serves families with children 0 to 5 (funded by First 5 of California). I double majored in Psychology so I am able to provide Parent Education and Child Development support to families. My case load is 90% monolingual Spanish speakers. My degree in Spanish allows me to serve Latino families using all of my reading, writing and verbal skills I learned at UC Davis. Having professors from different Spanish speaking countries also allowed me to gain knowledge on different cultures within the Latino community. I serve a diverse population of Latinos from Mexico, Central and South America.
Maricela Zuniga Rodriguez
Alumni Placement: Paralegal for an immigration attorney.
Testimonial: I took a paralegal position for an immigration attorney where the majority of our clients are Hispanic and most don’t speak English. I translate for the attorney, for clients, translate legal documents, letters, declarations, birth certificates, marriage certificates etc. sometimes other attorneys from out of the office hire our paralegals to translate for their clients in court, paralegals can charge 100-200 per trial. I hope this helps!
Alumni Placement: I am attending law school at Syracuse University.
Testimonial: I was a Spanish and International Relations double major in undergraduate. After I graduated, I worked in a law firm for a couple of years. I used my Spanish (and Portuguese) major pretty often during that time period, as we had many clients in Spanish speaking countries, and I was able to review documents in Spanish and communicate when needed. Currently, I am attending law school at Syracuse University, and I plan on taking the bar and becoming a lawyer on the East Coast before I make my way back to the West Coast. I truly found that the writing in the Spanish classes immensely approved my writing in English, and that has transferred over into legal writing. Please feel free to send my email along to anyone who has any questions or just needs to talk about things! I would love to help any students out in any way I can.
Paola Magana Orozco
Alumni Placement: I am currently a legal assistant at a civil and labor law firm in Sacramento. I often sit in during client meetings as a translator as well as perform intakes for Spanish speaking clients. I will also translate documents for the firm to use for these clients. It makes you more marketable to have an academic background in Spanish!
Alumni Placement: I currently teach in Spanish and receive an annual stipend for being bilingual and working with the program.
Testimonial: After graduating I went into education as a paraprofessional. Helping kids in intervention groups (I initially got hired because I was bilingual). I liked it so much I went back to school to get my teaching credential in general education. I went through UC Davis School of Ed. I got my bilingual teaching credential and now work at a Dual Immersion program. The program has a Masters part that you can do in six months using your classroom as a source to collect data for your required inquiry. So I also got a Masters in Bilingual Education.
Where I currently teach in Spanish and receive an annual stipend for being bilingual and working with the program. I have a couple CSets to take to add a Spanish single subject credential. Overall, having a Spanish major allowed me to get this opportunity in teaching.
Kristen Mendez Prieto
Alumni Placement: I am currently teaching second grade bilingual education. I got my credential and MAnat the Davis school of Ed too.
Alumni Placement: I currently work as a legal assistant for a law firm called Milstein, Jackson, Fairchild & Wade.
Testimonial: One of the reasons why I choose to major in Spanish was to better learn my language, but most importantly learn the academic Spanish. Many of us including myself grow up learning improper Spanish. When we get to the professional field it becomes a little harder to communicate in Spanish at a professional level or to translate properly. My plans are to become an attorney in the criminal law field which is why I want to ensure I can be fluent when it comes to writing, speaking, and reading in Spanish.
I currently work as a legal assistant for a law firm called Milstein, Jackson, Fairchild & Wade. It is a well known law firm in Los Ángeles. I work for their construction department where I am in constant contact with clients who don’t speak English or can barely understand the language. In this field sadly for many of our clients there’s a language barrier and this is where I come in and make a difference. My Spanish major has helped me so much academically and professionally.
Most importantly, it has granted me so much more confidence when carrying professional conversations at work.
We become the people that many remember because we made them feel more comfortable and relaxed for being able to adequately communicate in Spanish. This is just one of the many careers one can take with a Spanish major.
Alumni Placement: I am working on my masters degree in Teaching English to Speakers if Other Languages (TESOL) with a specialization in Language Program Administration.
Testimonial: Since graduating I have been involved with some really exciting projects. I actually changed my trajectory from teaching Spanish to teaching English to Spanish-speakers. In 2017, I moved to Manizales, Colombia where I taught in public and private secondary schools for about a year. If any students are interested in living in Colombia, I would be happy to speak with them about my experience.
After the year abroad, I came back to the US to refine my skills. Right now I am working on my masters degree in Teaching English to Speakers if Other Languages (TESOL) with a specialization in Language Program Administration. I plan to graduate in May 2020. Upon graduation, I hope to run an Intensive English Program somewhere in the states.
I am getting my degree in Monterey, CA at The Middlebury Institute of International Studies (MIIS). This school is a great option for Spanish-speaking undergrads interested in teaching Spanish, translation, policy-making, and so much more. Again, I’d be happy to speak with students who are interested in getting their master’s degree!
Alumni Placement: I am currently a Bilingual Administrative Assistant for the San Mateo County Office of Education (SMCOE).
Testimonial: The examination process had a translating portion as well as a live interpreting portion that was easy to navigate thanks to UC Davis courses like the Spanish for Native Speakers series and Communication Skills for Bilingual Teachers. Because of my Spanish degree, I have been a resource to multiple programs in the organization for translating information about local, state, and federal educational mandates. Even though our county is multilingual, the staff at SMCOE is not so I feel like I am a bridge for Spanish speaking families who can help them navigate the Education Code and Board Policies that are often not in their language. Working in the Education field, I have learned the importance and the increasing need for Spanish speakers not only in teaching roles but also in administration because it is a lifelong asset that helps underrepresented communities.
Alumni Placement: I am currently a Marketing Localization Coordinator at Fitbit, helping reach global audiences through the translation and cultural adaptation of our marketing assets.
Testimonial: I got into the Localization industry because I was a Spanish Language Specialist for Wish - where I mostly helped translate content and give insight on the Latin American market. Clearly my Spanish degree was put to good use because I am a heritage speaker and I greatly improved my writing skills in Spanish! Being a Language Specialist was extremely rewarding and fun, but I also became more aware of the different opportunities available in the tech sector. Because of that, I decided to get my master’s degree in Translation and Localization Management from the Middlebury Institute because I wanted to be more involved in Localization project management. This degree allowed me to get to my current role at Fitbit but I also feel grateful for the foundation that I got from my Spanish Major from UCD! I recommend this major to anyone who wants to get involved in any international related career with a focus on Latin America or those who wish to help the Spanish speaking communities here in the States.
Alumni Placement: I am currently in law school and working as a paralegal for a non-profit that provides free immigration services to our community.
Alumni Placement: After graduating (and during my last two years in college) I had the opportunity to work as an intern and then program coordinator with a nonprofit that operated out of Sacramento but worked with people directly in Cuba. My major in Spanish helped me to obtain and thrive in that position. Ultimately though I decided to go back to school. Now I am in law school, and anticipate graduating in May 2020.
Testimonial: I was actually a double major in Clinical Nutrition and Dietetics and Spanish. I currently have more of a focus in Nutrition, but majoring in Spanish has helped me a lot. I lost a lot of my spanish my first two years of being at UCD, but majoring in Spanish helped me learn more about the academic side of things, which has helped because I work with the latino population so I am familiar with different terms that maybe I would not have known if I did not major in spanish which is helpful when communicating with my patients. Majoring in spanish also allowed me to study abroad, which helped because I learned a lot about different cultural lifestyles and eating habits. If I had the chance of majoring in Spanish again, I would do it all over again, not only does it look pretty on paper, but the professors I had were amazing and made my experience a really good one and the people are great.
Alumni Placement: I work full time at Stars Therapy in Salinas, CA, as a Child Developmental Specialist (CDS).
Year of Graduation: 2021
Testimonial: I graduated in June of this year and I received my Bachelor of Art's in Psychology and Spanish. Since my graduation, I have been working full time at a company called Stars Therapy in Salinas, CA which is my hometown. My job title that I hold at this company is a Child Developmental Specialist (CDS). What this title means is that I am a specialist who works with children with autism and any other mental health issue such as ADHD, Cerebral Palsy, Down syndrome, etc. I work with parents as well as their children in coaching them on how to apply the programs that we teach them which is in the form of applied behavior analysis therapy. Spanish has helped me an immense amount because I learned how to properly conduct myself, in Spanish, in a professional setting, which applies a lot in my job because I interact with psychiatrists, occupational therapists and board certified behavior analysts. All of these professions, including mine, work with the community of Salinas which is about 90% latinx and therefore I am required to know how to speak spanish, as well as write it. The spanish major has given me the confidence to speak spanish in my field and give me the opportunity to understand a higher academic Spanish that I can then read, understand, and translate for the parents that I work with.
Alumni Placement: I am in my second year of veterinary school pursuing a career in Livestock Medicine.
Year of Graduation: 2018
Testimonial: I graduated in June 2018 with a double major in Spanish and Animal Science and continued on to Veterinary School at UC Davis. I initially majored in Spanish for its benefits like study abroad and to have a break from science classes to make time for literature. However, I have found that Spanish has been a very helpful skill in the veterinary profession. I volunteer to give animals vaccines and other veterinary care on the weekends, and I am one of the few people there that can translate for our Spanish-speaking clients. I have also found that my Spanish classes gave me a better social and cultural awareness that many of my peers were not exposed to through their science-heavy coursework. I am very sure that my ability to communicate in another language has added depth to my resume and helped me to receive internship offers to gain more experience during my summers.
Now, I am in my second year of veterinary school pursuing a career in Livestock Medicine. I have used my Spanish language skills on dairies that I worked on this past summer, where many of the workers are native Spanish speakers and may not be able to comply with instructions that the veterinarian provides only in English. I have also started working with a Chilean faculty member to gain one-on-one mentorship and learn about poultry medicine. I hope to devote part of my career to development work, and the ability to speak Spanish and communicate poultry medicine and husbandry are rare skills that are very valued in my planned career field.
Alumni Placement: I currently work at Canal Alliance, as a Donor Communications Coordinator.
Year of Graduation: 2018
Testimonial: I graduated with a double major in Spanish and Communication. I am more than happy to share my story with you and Spanish Major students. I currently work at Canal Alliance and I have been with this organization for almost five months. “Canal Alliance is a nonprofit champion of immigrants who are challenged by a lack of resources and an unfamiliar environment. We believe that everyone has the right to achieve their dreams. Every day, we educate, empower, support, and partner with motivated immigrants and their families to best meet their unique needs – from putting food on the table, to becoming U.S. Citizens, to learning English and graduating from college. Because when we support immigrants, Marin becomes a place where everyone can live, work and succeed.” As a Donor Communications Coordinator, I help inform the immigrant community in Marin with updates about changing immigration laws, information/important events (such as PG&E shutoffs) and other resources that they can use to move from a position of vulnerability to one that allows them to capably provide for themselves and their families. In short, I help manage all our forward-facing communications (such as social media, newsletters, flyers/graphics, website updates and more). I’m proud to say that I use Spanish every day at work. I converse with volunteers, clients and colleagues in Spanish. I write website updates and social media posts in Spanish. When I go and table at different advocacy events, I speak Spanish with community members. I have never worked at a place where I have had to use Spanish before. I am very fortunate to be a part of the Canal Alliance team.
Choosing Spanish as one of my majors has been one of the best choices I could’ve made. I did not realize the impact that learning Spanish at a professional level would have on my career.
Alumni Placement: I am a first year medical student at the University of Miami.
Year of Graduation: 2018
Testimonial: I graduated from UC Davis in 2018 as a Spanish and NPB double major and, I am currently in my first year of medical school at the University of Miami. My Spanish major has been very important to me in many ways. Firstly, the knowledge I have of the history of the Spanish language and various cultures has proved vital in allowing me to connect with patients. When working in healthcare, speaking Spanish is a vital skill, but even more so, understanding the backgrounds of patients via knowledge learned in various classes and out of class experiences (study abroad, tutoring, clinic work, etc.) allows me to provide a much better level of care for patients. My Spanish major has given me the language skills and cultural competence I employ frequently while working in a clinic for undocumented immigrants. I regularly connect with others through my knowledge of Latin American countries, cultures, and history and help to educate others. Additionally, many of my classmates have gone on to work in law firms, some are involved in politics in Sacramento and Washington D.C., others in everyday business, and much more. Many have planned trips to countries they've learned about in school to get first hand experience and continue to learn, including myself. I found this major incredibly helpful and vital to my education and would highly recommend it.
Mariela Ramirez Munoz
Alumni Placement: I am expected to graduate in Spring 2020 with a Master's in Counseling with an option in Student Affairs and College Counseling.
Year of Graduation: 2018
Testimonial: I graduated from UC Davis in 2018 with a double major in Psychology and Spanish (both BA's). I really enjoyed Spanish so it was my back-up in case I did not find something within psychology. If all failed, my plan was to become a translator (from English to Spanish & vice versa). After graduation, I started a Master's Program in Counseling with an option in Student Affairs and College Counseling at California State University, Fresno (Fresno State). I am expected to graduate in Spring 2020 and am currently looking for academic advising positions at universities. Spanish has helped me in my graduate internship roles. As an EOP counselor intern, I meet with students and some of them feel comfortable speaking in Spanish so our meetings are in Spanish or a mixture of both Spanish and English. Additionally, I was working for the EOP Summer Bridge program and there was an informational session for Spanish speaking parents. I was able to use my Spanish to communicate with them and interpret information.
Alumni Placement: I am in graduate school studying pharmacy at California Northstate University College of Pharmacy.
Year of Graduation: 2015
Testimonial: I graduated as a double major in Pharmaceutical Chemistry and Spanish in 2015. Developing my Spanish skills in Davis has helped me in the health field. I am in graduate school studying pharmacy at California Northstate University College of Pharmacy. I will be graduating in 2021. When I work in retail pharmacies and in hospital rotations, I have helped many spanish families along the way. The medical field is in dire need of spanish speakers, readers, translators, etc. I am 100% positive that I got all my pharmacy jobs and internships not just because of my determination and passion of helping the community, but that I have the upper edge of knowing the Spanish language in California. My career goal is to be a pharmacist in a latino-based community. I am so happy I am almost there.
In addition, there are so many amazing professors in spanish and I used both my upper and lower division course professors to help write my letters of recommendation to get into graduate school.
Alumni Placement: I am working as a counselor at a middle school in Salt Lake City, UT with low socioeconomic students.
Year of Graduation: 2014
Testimonial: I graduated with a Spanish major and an English minor. After graduating from UC Davis, I worked at a private school teaching a variety of subjects, including Spanish. I also worked with students with autism on academics and behavior. The Spanish major prepared me to work with students, which was always my goal for my undergraduate degree. I was also a Spanish tutor while I was at UCD. I went on and received my M.S in Counseling from California Lutheran University and I am now working as a counselor at a middle school in Salt Lake City, UT with low socioeconomic students. I am loving my career and it all started with UC Davis and studying what I enjoyed. I hope this helps.