LeeAnn M. Gilroy, B.A. 1995

Department lead, Speech and Debate Coach, Solon Community School District - Solon, IA

1995 Major: Spanish

How has being a graduate from Duke's Romance Studies Department helped shape you personally and/or professionally?

"1. I learned well the language I teach. Devoted hours to pronunciation and study of the classics and Latin American literature and especially poetry built my vocabulary such that I am well-spoken with native speakers. 2. My degree requirements left enough room for other learning that supports what I do every day. I took 2 education courses, I took brain science courses, I took math courses. This makes me a phenomenal learner and teacher. I can model struggle in ways that students understand. 3. I was given opportunity to travel and study abroad to learn a third language. 4. I was given opportunity to sit in class with native speakers from Spain, where my prior experience had been with teachers from Mexico. It was a huge stressor at first, but as the increased years of exposure built, it helped me as a musician, a global citizen. 5. I took a house course with Student Action with Farmworkers. I used my Spanish with migrant farmworkers one summer and learned about the world through their eyes. This was invaluable in developing my language skills, my knowledge about systems of power in our country, and human rights. 6. I had the chance to vacation at a beach and the mountains. 7. My wind symphony traveled extensively to give concerts up and down the East coast of the U.S. and my program of study let me go abroad when the chance popped up."

What advice would you give students in Duke's Romance Studies programs?

"Take a course in something that is a sideline to your major. You will broaden your perspective and experiences. Take time to learn about Durham. That community is a powerhouse of dynamics in life. Visit Durham schools, good things going on! Live as the best version of yourself as often as you can."

LeeAnn M. Gilroy