News & Events
During the spring 2017 semester, students from Concordia Law University and Boise State University collaborated with local immigration attorneys to represent individuals in the Boise immigration court who seek asylum, protection under the convention against torture, and special immigration juvenile status as part of PROJECT LAURA. Students from Boise State University assisted with bilingual interpretation during attorney-client visits, as well as with document translation.
Project LAURA is Boise’s legal community’s response to the Latin American refugee crisis. Since 2014, the number of Latin American families fleeing violence in the U.S. has significantly increased, and as of 2016, unrepresented refugees facing deportation total approximately two-thirds of all Boise’s non-detained removal cases. Until Project LAURA, no pro bono program existed in Boise to provide legal representation of these individuals.
Nicole Derden, immigration attorney and founder of Project LAURA, was the instructor of record for the Immigration Clinic at Concordia Law School, and Fatima Cornwall, federal certified court interpreter, was the instructor of record for the Department of World Languages with Boise State.
During the semester, all students were encouraged to observe hearings at the immigration court in Boise. Bilingual students were able to listen to the official interpretation provided by certified court interpreter Mark Conta, who later debriefed them on language and procedure questions.
The culminating project for all students was a mock immigration merits hearing at Concordia, where law students played the role of defense attorneys, and language students provided simultaneous and consecutive interpretation services. Several local attorneys who also taught the immigration clinic played different roles: Angela Richards played the role of judge and Angela Levesque played the role of therapist.
Many Idaho certified court interpreters also contributed to the success of the mock hearing. Diana Arbiser, federal court certified interpreter, was in charge of providing formative assessment during the mock hearing; Sandra Barrios, statewide language access manager for the Idaho Supreme Court, played the role of the monolingual Spanish-speaking respondent; and Vanesa Bell, language access coordinator for the fourth judicial district, was also in attendance.
Last month, the German section of the World Languages program hosted its annual Do Deutsch German Outreach Day for local high school students. Approximately 450 students from seven high schools across the Treasure Valley participated in the all-day event. “The event is designed to raise awareness of the value of language learning, and how languages open up opportunities,” said Dr. Heike Henderson, associate chair of the Department of World Languages and Literatures and German Section Head. Read the full article here!
Each year, one member state from the Pacific Northwest Council for Foreign Languages (PNCFL) selects a speaker to present at the American Council for the Teaching of Foreign languages (ACTFL) annual conference. 2017 is Idaho’s year to select a presenter and the Executive Board of the Idaho Association of Teachers of Language and Culture (IATLC) has selected Department of World Languages’ Amber Hoye and Fatima Cornwall’s presentation titled “A Teacher’s Toolbox: Comprehensible Input Strategies for Language Educators.” Their presentation was selected from the IATLC conference which took place in Pocatello, Idaho, last October. Cornwall and Hoye will have the honor of presenting their session at ACTFL as the BEST of PNCFL this coming November in Nashville, Tennessee.
The Eloise Garmendia Bieter Chair in Basque Studies was created through an agreement between Boise State and the Etxepare Basque Institute of the Basque Government in July 2015. A professor is invited to teach graduate students, with the aim of increasing the study and research of issue related to Basque language and culture. This is one of several chairs of Basque Studies maintained by the Etxepare Institute around the world.
The chair is named in honor of Eloise Garmendia Bieter. Eloise was born in Boise in 1925 to immigrant parents from the Basque Country and remained active in the Basque community throughout her life, as did her husband, Pat Bieter, a former Boise State professor and Basque convert.
In 1974 their family lead the drive to launch a study abroad program connecting Boise State to the town of Oñati in the Basque Country. Eloise and Pat passed away in 1999, but the Bieter-Boise Basque ties remain strong.
This chair strengthens the academic presence of Basque culture at the university and Treasure Valley community. A scholar is invited to Boise State to teach a course to graduate students, with a stay that ranges from a few weeks to a few months.
Our Basque Studies Minor student Madalen Bieter singing in Basque
Boise State Meistersingers singing in Basque
Biotzetik Basque Choir
Spanish Major Samantha M. Rodriguez Honored and Alicia Garza Speaks as Keynote Speaker at Idaho Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Monthly Luncheon
Samantha M. Rodriguez, María Mabbutt and Alicia Garza
Department of World Languages, College Assistance Migrant Program
Student Samantha M. Rodriguez was awarded the Aspiring Youth Award at the Idaho Hispanic Chamber of Commerce monthly luncheon held Feb. 16 at the Hispanic Cultural Center of Idaho in Nampa. This honor is given to Latino college students who have been involved in community work and are dedicated to making a difference in people’s lives. Rodriguez is majoring in Spanish with minors in political science and Latin American/Latino studies. She currently is the president of OELA (Organización de Estudiantes Latinoamericanos) and MEChA (Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano de Aztlan).
At the same event, María Mabbutt, an instructor with the College Assistance Migrant Program, was awarded the Community Pillar Award. Mabutt was honored at the luncheon because of her dedication to advocating for Latino youth and education.
Alicia Garza, an associate professor of Spanish in the Department of World Languages and director of Casita Nepantla, was one of three keynote speakers who spoke about the state of the Hispanic Community in Idaho. Her remarks focused on the political climate in Latino communities in Idaho.
This past week, the German Section hosted its 6thannual do Deutsch German outreach day for local High School students. Approximately 450 students from seven different high schools attended the all-day event. Students completed nine stations with German activities and also participated in competitions between the schools. Rebecca Sibrian (German instructor, Department of World Languages) was the main organizer of the event. Also involved were her colleagues Beret Norman, Franzi Borders and Heike Henderson, as well as many student volunteers.
My name is Luz Camarena and I am the Spanish teacher at St. Mary’s School in Boise. We have been teaching Spanish consistently since 2014 starting half-day at KG. Our idea was to keep growing with the same rhythm through upper grades and became a two way immersion school, but unfortunately we do not have the resources to continue as planned. As it is now, we are offering Spanish literacy. I am hoping to offer an internship to Spanish students who would be interested in helping!