LVC Alum Utilizes Spanish Skillset on Campus
Lebanon Valley College alum Breanne Zipko always knew that her interest in the Spanish language was worth pursuing: “I picked it up naturally and felt extremely comfortable speaking, reading, and writing in Spanish very early on in high school,” she said. So when looking for schools that suited her aspirations, Lebanon Valley’s small classes and community feel drew her to campus.
During her time at Lebanon Valley College, Zipko, who graduated in 2009, excelled in Spanish courses with the help of her professors and through her study abroad experience. Zipko credits Dr. Diane Iglesias, late chair and professor of languages, as her most memorable professor. “She had a way of inspiring students to do their best by sometimes pushing them outside their comfort zones.” She also noted that Advanced Conversation, her most memorable class, helped her piece together all of her Spanish knowledge and begin to apply it to real-world situations.
Zipko’s Spanish focus also led her to spend a semester abroad in Spain. She felt that this semester was highly influential in fine-tuning her Spanish abilities, and gave her the opportunity to become fully immersed in the Spanish language and culture. Her semester abroad gave her a chance to bridge the gap between the classroom and the real world, which positively reinforced her Spanish skills. “It gave me a new level of appreciation for non-English speaking families in the U.S. It gives you more patience and empathy,” she said.
Zipko now works as assistant director of financial aid at Lebanon Valley College and believes that her bilingual abilities have translated well into the workplace. She says that her Spanish classes gave her the listening and comprehension skills to focus on the general understanding of a conversation rather than becoming overwhelmed by focusing on understanding every word. “I think it’s wonderful that the College is able to assist our Spanish-speaking families in this manner and further enables us as a College community to help everyone feel included and welcomed.”
Zipko is able to utilize her bilingual abilities to communicate with Spanish-speaking families, and make them feel more welcomed into the Lebanon Valley College Community: “Everyone in general can benefit from the experiences of those that are different from us; therefore, remain open-minded, compassionate and patient,” she said.