By Jeanna Packard
Stories in this student-led and -written Outlook series highlight the distinctive summer internships and work experiences of students from across the academic spectrum. In conjunction with Hispanic Heritage Month, Sept. 15 through Oct. 15, this article spotlights one student's work in bilingual media.
When Jaime Moore decided to start a bilingual Spanish and English online magazine, she acknowledged the challenges at hand and raced ahead -- undeterred by her lack of journalism training or her college student status.
Moore, a junior Spanish major in the Honors Tutorial College, received $3,000 for her proposed bilingual magazine through the HTC Research Apprenticeship fund, said Kathleen White, a faculty member in the HTC. She is the first Spanish major to apply for and receive a grant from the research fund, usually awarded for scientific endeavors, according to Betsy Partyka, director of Latin American studies and Spanish honors tutorials.
Moore's magazine, Ahora, targets heritage speakers -- proficient Spanish speakers who have not had formal language training to enhance their grammar, reading and writing of the Spanish language. This includes many Hispanic children in the U.S. who are being schooled in the English language but speak Spanish in the home.
"The Hispanic population is growing significantly, so there is a need," said Moore, citing a study by the Pew Research Center that predicts the U.S. Hispanic population will triple by 2050 to comprise 30 percent of the nation's population by that date.
Moore, a native of Worthington, Ohio, hopes the magazine will appeal to a wide audience by providing information on Latin American culture, news and language, though Latina females ages 15 to 20 comprise her target audience. Each issue will focus on a specific country or region of Spanish-speaking countries. The Andean countries of Peru, Bolivia and Ecuador will be spotlighted in the first issue -- a draft of which will be completed this fall, Moore said.
"The goal is to find out what's going on in those countries, include some of the history and current events, and then mix in current events going on (in the U.S.) that affect Hispanics and people from those specific countries," she said.
The magazine will appear online through the Department of Modern Languages' Web site. Partyka stressed the magazine's academic applications and benefit to anyone studying or interested in the Spanish language or Latin American culture.
In contrast to most bilingual magazines, Ahora will not present articles in both languages, forcing readers to use both Spanish and English.
"If there is an article translated both ways, people will read what is easiest for them instead of challenging themselves to practice another language," Moore explained.
So far, Moore has written four Spanish articles and four English articles. Her articles include a story on "Quinceañera," a coming-of-age celebration practiced in a number of Latin American countries, and interviews with professors such as Ilan Stavans of Amherst on American Spanglish.
"It was a challenge to organize ideas for a target audience, while exploring different (writing) styles," said Associate Professor of Spanish Emilia Marks, who assisted Moore as an editor during the summer.
As she immersed herself in articles and news, Moore said her passion for the project grew, along with her Spanish and writing skills.
"There are no certainties," she said, "but I'm optimistic about the potential."
Updated Oct. 28, 2008, to include Moore's hometown.
Updated on Sept. 23 to correctly identify the research fund through which Moore received funding for her project.