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Department of Modern Languages

There are clear advantages to preparation in more than one language for students, particularly now that effective communication is such a valuable commodity in the workplace.

For example, as the presence of other languages in the U.S. population grows, and as air travel and telecommunications bring people from different parts of the world together, being able to think and operate in another culture opens many opportunities.

The SUNY Potsdam Modern Languages major combines well with other disciplines, providing graduates career opportunities in fields like public relations, social services, education, anthropology and the law. Many French and Spanish graduates continue their studies at the graduate level while others are hired by employers in government and in business - all of which are actively seeking to meet the need for language and culture skills in the decades ahead.

For more information, contact the Department of Modern Languages office at (315) 267-2792.

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The American Dream

In just four years, Miryam Veliz Calderon ’20 & ’21 graduated from SUNY Potsdam with an undergraduate degree in math and Spanish, followed by a master’s degree in secondary math education. With a unique combination of language, math, and teaching skills, Veliz Calderon quickly landed a job back home on Long Island after commencement. At just 22 years of age, she’s already a leader in the classroom, working as a bilingual math teacher for immigrants who recently arrived in the U.S.

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Taking the World by Storm

From an immersive experience in SUNY Potsdam’s Department of Modern Languages, alumna Meghan Sullivan ’11 launched an impressive career with the United Nations World Food Programme in Haiti—humanitarian work focused on food insecurity in the Caribbean nation, where around 3.7 million people are in desperate need of assistance.

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SUNY Potsdam to Unveil Bridging Cultures Mural on Dec. 5

SUNY Potsdam will celebrate the installation of a Bridging Cultures Mural created by the Chilean-American artist Francisco Letelier and student artists with a ceremony on Thursday, Dec. 5 at 4 p.m., in the Lougheed Learning Commons lobby. Letelier led the collaborative mural project during a visit to campus last spring, as part of a unique exhibit of Chilean arpilleras.

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Miryam Veliz Calderon ’20

There is no doubt that Miryam Veliz Calderon ’20 is going places. A double-major in Spanish and mathematics, Veliz Calderon does not shy away from opportunities to grow as both a leader and a scholar. Since coming to SUNY Potsdam, she has actively participated in a variety of clubs and organizations on campus, ultimately taking on leadership roles. She has had the opportunity to work as a teaching assistant and attend conferences in both math and Spanish, including a trip to Madrid, Spain for 10 days as an intern for the AIBR International Conference of Anthropology with Dr. Sergio López.

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Ryan Hutchins '19

During the military dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet, groups of Chilean women created arpilleras—colorful pieces of artwork depicting scenes from Chile—as a way to protest and communicate the atrocities occurring in their country. In the summer of 2018, Ryan Hutchins ’19 spent two weeks in Chile to help interview the women who created the historic pieces of art.

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Cristina Jiménez ’20

Cristina Jiménez ’20, a double major in Spanish and psychology,  traveled to Granda, Spain in Sept. 2018 as part of an internship with Dr. Sergio López and four other SUNY Potsdam students who helped to organize an international scientific conference held at the University of Granada.

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Dr. Liliana Trevizán

Dr. Liliana Trevizán, a Spanish professor in the Department of Modern Languages, has been educating SUNY Potsdam students for the past 25 years, guided by her strong convictions for democracy and equality.

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"Cultures of Latin America” Students

During the fall 2017 semester, SUNY Potsdam Spanish students raised funds for rebuilding efforts in Mexico & Puerto Rico.

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“I had a wonderful experience in the modern languages program. I am passionate about language and literature in general, so it was so much fun to be able to devote my time to learning Spanish and French and analyzing novels and poetry. The classes were small, often with all of us sitting around a table together. So, it was more intimate and familial than a normal classroom setting.”

Meghan Sullivan ’11