Spanish professor Lynda Jentsch observes that she joined Samford’s World Languages and Cultures faculty in 1992, the quincentenary year of the encounter between Europeans and the indigenous civilizations of the Americas. Since then, she has seen increasing numbers of students joining in that exchange and sharing her interest in the language, literature and culture of Latin America. Students with non-language majors seem especially interested in studying Spanish.
“I have seen a rise in interest by other schools, particularly the McWhorter School of Pharmacy (MSOP,) in the study of Spanish, and have enjoyed offering an on-line elective for MSOP for two years,” she said. “I think the rise in the number of Spanish minors indicates that students understand the importance of having second, or third, language ability in any profession they may choose,” she added. “It makes a tremendous difference in how one will be viewed by any future employer.”
Jentsch served as Program Director for Spanish and taught courses at all levels, including Medical Spanish and the senior capstone course. Her area of scholarly interest is 20th century Peninsular and Latin American poetry. She translated Writing in the Air: Heterogeneity and the Persistence of Oral Tradition in Andean Literatures by Antonio Cornejo Polar, and translated and published several poems by Peruvian poet Carlos Orihuela.
Jentsch has traveled extensively with students in Europe and Latin America, and regularly served as Professor-in-Residence in Samford's programs in Spain and Costa Rica. She said that experience with students–“seeing firsthand how their lives were forever changed”–has given her the greatest enjoyment at Samford.
Retirement from the classroom is not retirement from Jentch’s exploration of language. She expects to have more time to continue her study of German, and to translate more prose and poetry from Spanish to English, still sharing her love of literature across cultures and languages.