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The Department of Modern Languages is committed to preparing all University of Akron students to succeed in the global economy and to become productive and engaged global citizens. Our students achieve linguistic competencies and multicultural literacies, develop critical-thinking and problem-solving skills and connect with diverse local, national, and international communities. 

Our enthusiastic and passionate faculty, staff and students look forward to helping you explore our world!

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Welcome to the Department of Modern Languages

Bienvenue - Bienvenidos - أهلا وسهلا - Willkommen - Benvenuto - ようこそ - 歡迎  

304 Olin Hall | (330) 972-7487



Call 330-972-6552 for an Appointment



Gavin DeMali

Beginning I and II, Intermediate I and II

Tuesday: 3-6

Wednesday: 10-11, 2-5

Thursday: 10-11, 3-6

Friday: 10-11

Yousef Saleh

Beginning I and II

Wednesday: 2-5:45



T’Amor Bowman

Beginning I and II, Intermediate I and II

Wednesday: 3-5

Friday: 10-1



Leah Choban

Beginning II, Intermediate I and II

Wednesday: 4-6

Friday: 10-1

Claire Steiner

Beginning I and II, Intermediate I and II

Tuesday: 10-1, 4:15-6

Wednesday: 12-6

Thursday: 10-1,4:15-6

Dominick Polochak

Beginning I and II

Thursday: 12-3

Gregory Holmes

Beginning I and II, Intermediate I and II

Tuesday: 1-2, 5-6

Wednesday: 10-12, 4-6

Thursday: 1-2, 5-6


Cameron Knaus

Beginning I and II, Intermediate I and II

Tuesday: 10-1

Thursday: 10-1

Friday: 10-1


Natalie MacKay

Beginning I and II, Intermediate I and II

Wednesday: 2-6

Friday: 10-12

Lauren Palky

Beginning I, Intermediate II

Tuesday: 12-6

Thursday: 12-6

Vyshnavi Ramini

Beginning II, Intermediate I and II

Tuesday: 2:30-6

Thursday: 2:30-6

Friday: 11:30-1

Recent Headlines

Dr. Zanetta's work selected for AGC's 2019 52 Weeks-52 Works desk calendar

Congratulations to Dr. Maria A Zanetta for having her work selected for AGC's, a Cleveland based Graphic design company,  2019 52 Weeks-52 Works desk calendar!  The selected works will be exhibited in the Fawick Art gallery of Baldwin Wallace University. The exhibition runs from November 9th to November 30th and the opening reception is Friday November 1st from 5 to 8 p.m.


University of Akron students from the Certificate of Advanced Spanish for the Health Professions and First Responders reached out to members of the Hispanic community at Community Health Fair in Lorain, Ohio.

On Saturday October 26th, University of Akron undergraduate students Leah Choban (Biomedical Science major) and Corinne Plas (Social Work major) of the Certificate of Advanced Spanish for the Health Professions and First Responders under the direction of advisor Dr. Parizad Dejbord Sawan reached out to women from the Hispanic Community to help with language and cultural access. The Free Community Health Fair was brought by the MetroHealth Breast/Amigas program. Students assisted patients with the filling out medical forms and translated for nurses during clinical breast exams at Sacred Heart Chapel in Lorain.

leah and corrince Loraine

According to the Community Outreach Manager, Leah and Corrine were excellent volunteers who did an amazing job. They were able to help patients complete a mammogram questionnaire for those patients who needed to have one done on-site at the event.
Leah was asked to help interpret for our Urologist as well at one point during the day. They were recognized for being accommodating and always having a positive attitude.  
metro health
Certificate of Advanced Spanish for the Health Professions Showcased as Example of Best Practices

Certificate of Advanced Spanish for the Health Professions Showcased as Example of Best Practices

Two faculty from the Spanish section of the Modern Languages department, Dr. Cortney Benjamin and Dr. Parizad Dejbord-Sawan, participated in the panel "Medical Spanish across the Pipeline" at the 2019 Ohio Latino Health Summit conference at Ohio State University. This year’s conference title was "From Cultural Competency to Humility: Lessons Learned."

The panel provided an overview of the programs and courses in Spanish for the Health Professions that are growing across the nation and across Ohio by showcasing three programs that highlight best practices in the teaching of Medical Spanish in the area. The programs chosen were:

  • a Columbus high school program for heritage learners,
  • a Latino Health Elective at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine and
  • the Certificate of Advanced Spanish for the Health Professions at the University of Akron.

NEOMED student and graduate from this University of Akron Spanish certificate, Tina Rizkala, also participated in the panel and described the experiential learning opportunities that she enjoyed as a certificate student with St. Bernard's Free Health Fair, Faithful Servants Care Center and Axesspointe Community Health Centers.

Dr. Zanetta's artwork chosen to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month

One of Dr. Maria Alejandra Zanetta’s artworks was chosen by the Bureau of Workers Compensation in Columbus Ohio to be the feature art for the Hispanic Heritage Month bookmark.


Also 3 pieces of her artwork had also been selected to be part of the Pasos de Arte 2019 at the Columbus Cultural Art Center. The show, which is one of the events that celebrate the Hispanic Heritage month, runs until September 14. For more information follow this link:





I was born and raised in Buenos Aires, Argentina, where I studied Fine Arts at the National School for the Arts. After graduating with a Bachelor’s Degree in Fine Arts, I attended The Ohio State University to pursue doctoral studies in comparative literature, focusing on the relationship between painting and literature. After graduation, I joined the University of Akron, where I am currently a Distinguished Professor and I teach a wide range of courses in Hispanic literature, language, art and culture.  

My artwork is held by public and private collectors in the United States, South America and Europe such as The Ohio State University Newark Campus; The University of Akron StudentUnion; The University of Akron, Buchtel College of Arts and Sciencesthe Columbus Metropolitan Library; The Summa Health building, Akron, Ohio; The Akron-Summit Public LibraryThe Cleveland Art Association (CARTA) and The Ortega y Gasset Foundation, Toledo, Spain among others

I am represented by the Brandt-Roberts Galleries in Columbus and by the Harris Stanton Gallery in Akron and Cleveland.

Two of the pieces exhibited here, "The Dream" and "La escalera," allude to the struggles and hard economic realities that force migrants to leave family, friends and home to come to the United States to work on jobs that most American citizens don’t want to do. Many of them die in the attempt while others endure abuse and terrible working and living conditions. A few ones, the fortunate ones, achieve the American Dream. While these pieces are not meant to be interpreted as an endorsement of illegal immigration, they are an attempt to help humanize these “others” who, now more than any time in our history, are being unjustly demonized and degraded for political gain. The hope is that, by humanizing the “other,” we also become more human in the process.

Modern Language's Student Wins Ben Auburn Award in Cultural Criticism

Modern Language's Student Wins Ben Auburn Award in Cultural Criticism

Jackson Gagne, a junior International Business major with a minor in French, is this year’s winner of the Ben Auburn Award in Cultural Criticism. The title of his short story was “The Foxes and the Wildcats.” Gagne received a $500 cash prize.

The second place winner was Abigail Watson, a senior Political Science/Spanish/Psychology major, for her poem titled “Cerebral Landfills.”

Winning third place was Emily Bower, a senior Public Relations major with a minor in French, for her short story titled “…..No Offense.”

Pictured are Sandy Auburn, far left, and Dr. Mark Auburn, center rear, with the students who participated in this year’s competition. From left are Donna Toth, Maria McNeill, Abigail Watson, Jackson Gagne and Emily Bower.