Then and Now: Alejandra Gomez ’14 MSEd ’16

by · January 11, 2018

Alejandra Gomez tutors a Newburgh resident in English language classes at the Newburgh Armory in 2013.

In 2013, Alejandra Gomez ’14 MSEd ’16 was a junior at Mount Saint Mary College, majoring in Hispanic Studies and pursuing Education certification. The college interviewed her as part of an article on ESL tutoring taking place at the Newburgh Armory.

Today, Gomez is a special education teacher for the Spackenkill Union School District.

The then-junior was working with Karen Eberle-McCarthy to provide weekly ESL tutoring for Newburgh adults. The Mount student knew firsthand the difficulty a language barrier could present. Having immigrated to the United States from Chile, she began kindergarten speaking only Spanish. This program allowed her to give back to the community by helping others become fluent English speakers.

One of the people the caring student was aiding in the program was her father, a Newburgh resident. He often accompanied Gomez to the class.

“It hits home,” said Gomez. “I know how hard it is for people to learn a second language, so this whole program is very important to me.” In 2013, the student was looking forward to studying abroad in Spain with Eberle-McCarthy the next semester.

Now, in 2018, Gomez utilizes her ESL tutoring skills with students in her classroom who are both English language learners and in need of special education services.

Her Mount preparation gave her the skills she needed to combine these two passions. “MSMC allowed me to gain the knowledge, experience, and tools that I needed to get to where I am today,” she reflects. “The professors are very well educated and enthusiastic about what they teach, probably because they were all in our shoes once. I was able to find a mentor and a friend in several of them.”

Gomez’s study abroad and volunteer experiences still stick with her today. “I was able to travel and study abroad in Spain with Dr. Eberle-McCarthy, who ensured that we all had an excellent trip,” she said. “There is so much you learn about yourself and the world when you travel, that you just can’t get through literature alone. I also made some great ties to the Newburgh community through the programs that I was involved in during my time there, including the Newburgh Armory and the schools where I did my student teaching. The amount of fieldwork and experience that the Hispanic Studies and Education programs at MSMC offered made all this possible for me. Today I am able to do what I love and enjoy doing, and do it well.”

Are you interested in pursuing a major in Hispanic Studies? Learn more about the Mount’s program, including study abroad opportunities in Spain!