Modern Languages - Our Alumni

Alumni Stories

Katherine Howes - Class of 2005

Katherine Howes works for the Colorado State Public Defenders here in Durango. She does criminal investigation in Montezuma and Dolores counties. The cases she works on range from DUI's and domestic violence charges to homicides and rapes. She often works with clients that do not speak English. Katherine works with attorneys in the Public Defenders office to translate their charges and their advisements. In many cases involving Spanish-speaking clients, Katherine also spends time working with their families to insure proper mitigation. She was hired for this job, in great part, because of her ability to speak and translate Spanish.

Dr. Alegría Ribadeneira - Class of 1992

Serving traditional Ecuadorean food during
“Día de los muertos” at CSU-P

Alegría Ribadeneira was born and raised in Quito, Ecuador, where her father told her stories of when he attended FLC and played basketball for the “Aggies.” When it was her turn, she embraced the opportunity and Durango quickly became her second home. At Fort Lewis she was inspired by many of her teachers’ dedication, knowledge, and concern for students. As she searched for a career it soon became evident that she wanted to follow in her professors’ footsteps.

Always an avid reader and writer, she realized she could integrate all her passions by pursuing a higher degree in Spanish Literature. Leaving Durango and all her friends behind was a difficult decision, but she knew she had to do it in order to have the career she dreamed of. She attended University of Florida in Gainesville, which houses one of the largest Latin American collections in the U.S. With 45,000 students UF was a big change. She earned a teaching assistanceship that paid for her graduate studies and provided a salary. Her biggest reward, however, was being in the classroom with her students. Her love for teaching was recognized during her fifth year at UF when she was awarded the Calvin A. VanderWerf Award for excellence in teaching. The award is given to the top TA among thousands at the university.

With her students at University of Florida

In 2006, she received her PhD. When it came time to search for a job, with her heart still in Colorado, she decided to take a teaching position at Colorado State University -- Pueblo. She wanted to come back to a small university, like her alma matter, where she knew she could make a greater impact in her students’ lives. She is currently an assistant professor of Spanish, teaching both language and literature courses. She also is working on a book manuscript entitled “Shattering Spheres” that deals with novels written by women and set in times of war and revolution in Cuba, Mexico, and Spain.

Besides her teaching and research she loves to reach out to the community to promote the study of foreign languages, and she conducts workshops for second language K-12 teachers in order to share the most effective second language acquisition teaching philosophies. She lives with her husband, whom she met at Fort Lewis, and their two dogs, who were born in Durango. When she looks at her career and her family, she knows everything good in her life started at her beloved Fort Lewis College.