Spanish Faculty

  • Pablo Celis-Castillo
    Assistant Professor of Spanish
    Carlton Building 116A
    2125 Campus Box Elon, NC 27244
    (336) 278-5241

    Pablo G. Celis-Castillo was born in the Northern Andes of Peru in the mid-eighties. Originally trained as a filmmaker, he received his PhD in Latin American literary and cultural studies at the University of Kansas in 2014. He is interested in Peruvian visual culture and in performance theory. He is also interested in Latin American literature from the 19th to the 21st centuries, film studies, and in technology-based approaches to language teaching. His current scholarly work discusses how cultural expressions reflect upon the armed conflict that Peru endured during the 1980s and 1990s. He is particularly interested in analyzing how the psychological consequences of the political violence are portrayed in fictional narratives associated with the conflict.

  • Mayte de Lama
    Associate Professor of Spanish
    Carlton Building 317
    2125 Campus Box Elon, NC 27244
    (336) 278-6294

    Mayte de Lama is from Vigo, Spain, where she earned a B.A. in Education. Teaching has been one of her passions for many years. She began her career in education teaching English to Spanish children in elementary and middle school for almost a year. Then, she was presented with the opportunity to attend graduate school in the U.S. when she received a teaching assistantship from the University of Kentucky. She earned her doctorate degree in Hispanic Studies in 2003, and that same year she accepted an Assistant Professor position at Elon University. Her research interests include Spanish women writers, humor and eroticism in literature, and immigration in contemporary Spanish films, among others. Mayte has led summer and semester programs in Spain and Costa Rica and she is fond of learning and researching other cultures. She enjoys working out, reading, watching international films, hiking, and spending time with family and friends. She loves going back home in the summer and looks forward to enjoying the beach, tasty fresh bread, the breeze of summers in Galicia, travelling, and reconnecting with her family and friends overseas. Have you ever travelled to Spain? If you have been to this beautiful country, you can understand why Mayte returns there every summer.


  • Mina Garcia-Soormally
    Associate Professor of Spanish in the Department of World Languages and Cultures
    Global Commons 207
    2675 Campus Box Elon, NC 27244
    (336) 278-5810
    Specialty: Early Modern Spanish Literature, Transatlantic issues in literature, Representations of witchcraft and sorcery in literature.

    Born in Málaga, Spain, Mina García earned her Bachelor’s degree in English Philology from the Universidad de Málaga.  After completing her undergraduate degree, she continued as a student at the Universidad de Málaga, pursuing doctoral studies in Spanish Philology.  While working on her Spanish dissertation and teaching Spanish language at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina, USA, she realized a growing interest in Trans-Atlantic Studies, and began a second Ph.D. program in the Romance Studies Department at Duke. She holds two Ph.D. degrees: one in Spanish Language and Literature, with an emphasis in Early Modern Literature, from Universidad de Málaga, Spain; and a second one from Duke University with concentration on transatlantic studies during the colonial period in Latin-America. Dr. García's research interests include the role of literature in the expansion of the Spanish empire, Early Modern Spanish literature, transatlantic studies and Latin American colonial culture and literature.  Her first book, entitled Magia, Hechicería y Brujería: Entre La Celestina y Cervantes, waspublished by Renacimiento (Seville, Spain) in 2011.

  • Ketevan Kupatadze
    Senior Lecturer in Spanish in the Department of World Languages and Cultures
    Carlton Building 312
    2125 Campus Box Elon, NC 27244
    (336) 278-5846

    Ketevan Kupatadze received her Ph.D. in Spanish and Spanish-American literature from Emory University and joined Elon faculty in 2007. Her teaching and research interests include contemporary, post-Boom Spanish-American narrative and the intersections of literature, identity, and socio-political discourses. Her disciplinary recent research examines the possibilities of rethinking cosmopolitan tradition through its relationship with the practice of hospitality from a Spanish-American perspective, particularly in the works by Manuel Puig, Rodrigo Fresán, and Ignacio Padilla.

    Ketevan is also actively involved in the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning. Her most recent projects include the flipped classroom pedagogy and the discussion-based, collaborative approaches to teaching a foreign language. She has led planning and implementation of new Spanish curriculum at Elon University’s Department of World Languages and Cultures, which focuses on the development of students’ intercultural competence and critical thinking abilities, in combination with the advancement of their linguistic competence. She has also co-led the department’s efforts to integrate meaningful writing assignments throughout the language curriculum as part of the University’s Writing Excellence Initiative.

  • Ricky Mendoza Castano
    Lecturer in Spanish
    Carlton Building 322
    2125 Campus Box Elon, NC 27244
    (336) 278-5805
  • Nina Namaste
    Associate Professor of Spanish in the Department of World Languages and Cultures
    Carlton Building 320
    2125 Campus Box Elon, NC 27244
    (336) 278-6463
    Specialty: food, identity (gender, etc.), contemporary Spanish literature, study away, intercultural competency, pedagogy, and assessment

    Born and raised in Chicago speaking Catalan, English, and Spanish (usually all three languages in one sentence), she venured north to Minnesota to go to St. Olaf College.  She was originally pre-veterinary and took all the required science courses, but her "freebie" courses were in literature and Spanish, which is how she ended up with Spanish and Education majors.  She student-taught in an inner city school in Chicago and stayed afterwards to teach high school Spanish, bilingual biology and bilingual math in the Chicago public school system.  After a few years she decided she needed to figure out how to teach more effectively so she went back to school, this time to Indiana University for a MA.  She had so much fun teaching college students she stayed to get her Ph.D.  When doubting her capabilities to write a dissertation, let alone find a topic, her favorite professor told her, "Pick a topic you love and then figure out how to study it" so she investigated food imagery in contemporary Spanish, Argentine, and Chilean drama (who doesn't like food, right?!).  She was Visiting Professor for a year at the University of Iowa teaching Spanish theatre courses and finishing her dissertation.  Her first tenure-track job was at Grand Valley State University in MI and while the department fit her, the institution didn't so she applied for jobs at small liberal arts institutions that would get her closer to her St. Olaf experience.  They offered her the job at Elon University in 2008 and she, along with her husband, Paul, and (then) infant daughter, Samira, eagerly moved to North Carolina.  A year later she had her son, Kai, and in Spring 2012 she ventured farther south to Costa Rica, with two small children and twenty college students in tow, to lead the Elon Centre in San José program.  In 2013 she happily received tenure at Elon and in 2014 became the Arts & Humanities Director for the Elon College Fellows.  For the next three years she co-led a multi-institutional SoTL research seminar on how to better integrate global learning/study away into the entire collegiate experience.  Each fall she teaches WGS 110 for Women's, Genders, and Sexualities Studies, and teaches courses on food and identity whenever she can.  In Spring 2019 she'll be heading to London to lead the Elon Centre program there.

    Besides spending time trying to plan great courses and classes, improving her teaching, researching and writing articles, and reading anything she can get her hands on, she enjoys playing with her kids, having deep "big picture" conversations with her friends and husband, going on hikes, and traveling as much as possibe. 

  • April Post
    Senior Lecturer in Spanish and Assistant Director of Project Pericles
    Carlton Building 318
    2125 Campus Box Elon, NC 27244
    (336) 278-5621
  • Federico Pous
    Assistant Professor of Spanish in the Department of World Languages and Cultures
    Carlton Building 326
    2125 Campus Box Elon, NC 27244
    (336) 278-5298

    Federico Pous received his PhD in Spanish from the University of Michigan in 2014 and joined Elon that same year.  His teaching and research focus on contemporary Latin American cultural and political dilemmas such as the politics of memory, human rights, and contemporary social movements. He studies the historical relationship between culture and politics and its influence on the constitution of subjectivities throughout the 20th and 21st centuries in the Southern Cone, Paraguay, Brazil, and Spain. He is currently working on a book manuscript Eventos Carcelarios: Subjetivación e inconciente en la prisión latinoamericana about the experience of political prisoners during the 1960s and 1970s in Latin America. His co-edited volume, Authoritarianism, Cultural History, and Political Resistance in Latin America: Exposing Paraguay, is forthcoming from Palgrave Macmillian in 2017.

    In his teaching, he cultivates discussion-based dynamics that encourage critical thinking, cultural reflections, and political questions. He has also organized different cultural events such as workshops, panels, and film series. He is the coordinator of the Peace and Conflict Studies Minor as of Fall 2017.

  • Elena Schoonmaker-Gates
    Associate Professor of Spanish in the Department of World Languages and Cultures
    Carlton Building 212
    2125 Campus Box Elon, NC 27244
    (336) 278-5648

    Professor Gates joined the Department of World Languages and Cultures at Elon in 2012 after completing her Ph.D. in Hispanic Linguistics at Indiana University. Within linguistics, her areas of interest include Second Language Acquisition, Second Language Phonology, Sociolinguistics, Sociophonetics, and Dialectology. She teaches a range of Spanish classes at Elon including linguistics classes taught in Spanish such as Introduction to Spanish Linguistics, Structure of the Spanish Language, and Spanish Phonetics and Phonology. Dr. Gates in the process of developing a pronunciation instruction component for the Spanish undergraduate curriculum at Elon and looks forward to teaching special topics courses in Spanish Dialectology and Second Language Acquisition in the near future. She has presented her recent research findings on second language learners’ perception of foreign and regional accent in Spanish at international linguistics conferences and encourages students to undertake original research projects in her linguistics classes.

  • Donna Van Bodegraven
    Associate Professor of Spanish
    Carlton Building 230A
    2125 Campus Box Elon, NC 27244
    (336) 278-5646

    Dr. Van B was born in Philadelphia, PA and is a first generation college student.  That is, her parents did not go to college.  She graduated with a BS in Secondary Education - Spanish from Penn State, and earned a masters and PhD in Spanish (Latin American literature) from Temple University as well as a second masters in Latin American Studies from the University of Arizona.  In her free time, Dr. Van B is an avid supporter of Elon Phoenix sports, especially men's and women's basketball and football.  She also enjoys travelling, especially to countries where Spanish is spoken.  Dr. Van B. lives close to Elon in Burlington.