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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

Recent Headlines

Congratulations to Ariana Williamson on winning the Muriel L. Walker Nursing Scholarship

Nursing/Spanish major Ariana Williamson has won the Muriel L. Walker Nursing Scholarship from Cleveland Clinic Akron General and the Akron Chapter of the National Black Nurses Association. Ariana has completed the Certificate of Advanced Spanish for the Health Professions and participated in the DISSTA Study Spanish Abroad program in 2019. 

Congratulations, Ariana, on begin the first recipient of this award!  Enhorabuena!

Read more about it here: 

Congratulations to Dr. Zanetta on her piece, Here We Are.

Congratulations to Dr. Maria Alejandra Zanetta on her latest success in the art world!  She currently has a piece (see below) on display as part of the Short North One World Mural Series in Columbus.  Full details about the series and other piece can be found at

 Here We Are

Image preview

Alejandra Zanetta – @alezanetta
Brandt-Roberts Galleries – @brgalleries
Installed at 642 N. High St.

Argentinian artist Zanetta’s piece alludes to the generational rift that she feels exists today. “While we, the ‘adults,’ the ‘parents,’ think we are always right, that we made the right choices, in reality we are leaving the new generation a complicated world, a world which is threatened by multiple challenges that we did not properly address: climate change, social inequality, and mass migration.” The figure holding his head in his hands alludes to the mythological figure Atlas, who has the weight of the world on his shoulders. The title Here We Are alludes both to the dire situation in which we find ourselves and to the will of this new generation to “contradict” their parents and to take stock of the situation.

Saying Thank you is the universal language of food

Imagine how delighted, and grateful, the staff of the Akron Children’s Hospital Emergency Room was late one Thursday afternoon last spring when the gift of five huge pizzas, and beverages, was delivered from Upper Crust in Highland Square?

Dr. Parizad Dejbord-SawanThe surprise was from our own Dr. Parizad Dejbord-Sawan, an associate professor who teaches Spanish in the Department of Modern Languages.

“It gives the pizza place some extra business and is a thank you to these health care professionals on the frontline to acknowledge the difficult work they are doing,” says Dejbord-Sawan. “Sort of a win-win.”

She’s one of several individuals who are part of a Facebook group initiative to send meals to area health professionals. The initiative is led by Heather Pollock, a visiting assistant professor of instruction in our Department of Anthropology and Classical Studies. Dr. Kathryn Feltey, an associate professor in our Department of Sociology, is also a member.

Dejbord-Sawan has a special connection to the medical professionals working at Akron Children’s Hospital.

Since the fall of 2015, she has been teaching the 9-credit, three-semester Certificate of Beginning Medical Spanish program on-site at Children’s. Medical personnel from Summa Health System and private practices have joined in classes as well.

“I developed the certificate for local medical professionals and supporting medical staff with no prior knowledge of the Spanish language or appropriate cultural training, who need to interact daily with Hispanic patients of limited English proficiency,” explains Dejbord-Sawan. In addition to teaching the classes, she recruits the students and facilitates their applications to admission as non-degree seekers at UA.  

“It has been very rewarding as current medical professionals and alumni regularly share stories about how it has changed their practice and has allowed them to establish quality relationships with their Hispanic patients,” adds Dejbord-Sawan, who says that by the end of this year’s cycle, 55 will have graduated from the program.

With the current coronavirus pandemic, Akron Children’s Hospital has had to cancel all of its on-site education classes, but Dejbord-Sawan and her students are undaunted.

“I am working with them to figure out how they can share technology so all can attend live, virtual classes,” says Dejbord-Sawan. “We are changing our meeting time so that it is later in the evening and they can get home in time to connect.” 

Q&A with Dr. Maria Alejandra Zanetta, Distinguished Professor of Spanish

Maria Alejandra Zanetta is an artist and professor living in Akron, OH. Alejandra teaches Hispanic literature, language and culture studies courses at the University of Akron. As an artist, her printmaking and collage work reflect her interest in experimenting with texture and color. Zanetta is also a part of the museum’s Akron Art Library program with her work Vino. Hear Zanetta discuss her love of The Artist and His Wife, using mark-making for texture and movement, and her sweet obsession: chocolate.

Instagram: @maria_alejandra_zanetta_art

Brandt Roberts Gallery, Columbus, OH:

Harris Stanton Gallery, Cleveland, OH:

One World Mural Series in Short North:

Akron Art Library:

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



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

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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