The annual graduate student conference of the Department of Spanish and Portuguese has always represented the great potential of our graduate students. This conference, which is organized every year by the Graduate Student Advisory Committee (GSAC) with so much enthusiasm and commitment, is for many a first step towards presenting research to other colleagues and researchers. In an effort to create a welcoming and supportive environment, Diálogos encourages the submission of original research work not only to graduate students, but also to undergraduate students who are majoring in Spanish.
Following a tradition that began in 2018, Diálogos XVII included a panel for undergraduate Spanish majors. Emma Gerrety, Matthew Williams, Margaret Drake, and Kylie Beily, led by Associate Professor Erik Willis, presented "Un estudio acústico y sociolingüístico del proceso de la desafricación de la africada [tʃ] -> [ʃ] en el español dominicano," in which they shared their findings about this linguistic phenomenon that often occurs in certain Spanish-speaking areas, including the Dominican Republic. The four students efficiently took turns to present their study in a comprehensive and precise way and provided very thorough insight into the phonetic and sociolinguistic factors that characterize this phenomenon. At the end of their talk, the group was provided with positive and constructive comments that will help them to move forward with their project. The panel was a great success and the audience showed great interest in their project.
The involvement of undergraduate students in Diálogos is a significant achievement. The new generation of researchers in the fields of Hispanic Linguistics and Literature are taking the lead in moving forward with research work. Encouraging undergraduate students to participate in conferences like this is highly beneficial not only for their academic, professional and personal development, but also for creating a community in our department that fosters inclusiveness and mutual support at different levels. We hope that in future editions of Diálogos the participation of undergraduate students will be even greater than this year and that they will continue to inspire us all with their innovative and original research.