Sunday, May 10, 2015

Student Spotlight: Nick Romito

by Ann Abbott

Nick Romito was a great student, but he's also a great guy. I love that about him. 

Nick is applying to medical school after a few years out of college, and I thought that many of my students who want to go to medical school, too, might benefit from reading some of the things that Nick did as a Spanish student at Illinois. (If you want to know what Nick has done since college, I have video interviews with him on my YouTube channel.)

Here's what Nick wrote:

I wanted to give you a list of all of the classes that I took for my Spanish Minor. I passed with a grade of A+ in 50% of the Spanish courses I have taken there. The class that I took specifically with you was Spanish 202—Spanish for Business where I had a very high attendance rate (maybe missed one class for when I was sick with the flu). I also took SPAN 232—Spanish in the Community where Megan Kelly was my TA during the same semester, but you were listed as the professor for the class. I graduated from UIUC with Latin Honors status of Summa Cum Laude.
SU 07 SPAN 141—Intro to Spanish Grammar (Proficiency Test Passed)
FA 07 SPAN 200—Reading in Hispanic Texts
SP 08 SPAN 204—Practical Review of Spanish
FA 08 SPAN 208—Oral Spanish
SP 10 SPAN 228—Spanish Composition
FA 10 SPAN 202—Spanish For Business
FA 10 SPAN 232—Spanish In The Community

Community Service Learning (CSL) Information
I did my CSL work at Central High School In Champaign for SPAN 232 where I worked in an ESL classroom tutoring students in the sciences.

Other Information
Since I worked in an ESL classroom for high school students, I learned a lot of new vocabulary from the students in science and math—ESPECIALLY with numbers. This was my first time really interacting with hispanohablantes in the community for such an extended period of time, so what I got out of this was the confidence to speak to others in Spanish. In the beginning those kids felt just as uncomfortable speaking in English as I did in Spanish, and that the most important thing is that we made an effort to communicate with each other. It’s not just about the language itself, but HOW you say things, your gestures while communicating, and how you can re-phrase and formulate new ways to say things in a second language. This kind of thing you can’t learn from a book.  At the end of the day the kids learned something from my tutoring and gained confidence and this was the most important to me.  I want to preferably go into pediatrics (maybe orthopedic pediatrics or reconstructive plastic surgery for children that have had accidents) so learning to work with children in a second language was a challenge and I’m glad to have had the experience. I also may be interested in doing a Doctor’s Without Boarders program after medical school in which my Spanish will come in handy!  You also know this from the video blogs that you posted, but I had a job after college as a Quality Assurance specialist for a food production company where I had to go out on the floor and make quality checks. Most of the employees only new how to speak Spanish so I would not have been as successful at that job if it weren’t for the classes I had taken. I saved a lot of bad food product from reaching the public.

I did not have an honors project, however we did have a final project that you issued for the Spanish for Business class that was a group effort. We had to put together a video presentation, however I think what was most memorable was the memos that we had to write because it helped me write in a professional tone of voice in Spanish which I had never done before. However, I was VERY conversational in our team group discussions in SPAN202 that we would have about the required reading and about the questions that we had to have prepared before class. There were no essays, however it would be nice to mention that I did really well on writing these memos and how active I was in participating. I spent a lot of time writing these and preparing for those discussions because I care a lot about my work and how much I’m learning….also how much I can pass this onto others and affect someone else positively with that knowledge.  Some of these group discussions in SPAN 202 focused on controversial issues which opened my mind up to new viewpoints and also awareness of what is happening in other countries. Also, when I took SPAN 228 I also wrote an essay on stem cell research in Spanish which was pretty challenging, but interesting!

Unfortunately I did not have the opportunity to study abroad with my 2 other majors in Chemisty and Molecular Cellular Biology. However I wish I did though!

May I use your information on my blog?
Absolutely you can add this to your blog post! You already have a couple of videos of me where I talked about my experiences after college. I would love to be a positive model for your incoming and existing students.  Let me know if you need anything else!  

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