In Fall 2021 I begin the third year of my PhD studies in Portuguese at IU, with a minor in Second Language Pedagogies. My first two years have been filled with great and challenging experiences in inspiring graduate seminars, both in person and online. As I step into my last year of coursework, I am thankful for all the learning opportunities my professors and colleagues have shared with me. I am also excited to take exams to be able to dedicate myself to my preferred areas of research.
Graduate Perspective: Marcela Lemos
Since my first semester at IU, the expectations that I nurtured when I left my home country to research Brazilian literature under Dr. Luciana Namorato's mentorship have translated into an original research project. My project addresses the treatment, in 21st-century literature, of a historical period whose memory reverberates in contemporary politics and culture: the 1964-1985 military dictatorship. I investigate the roles and effects of ekphrastic and graphically reproduced photographs in the post-memory of the Brazilian military dictatorship. In Spring 2020, I won the Luis Dávila 2019-20 Best Graduate Student Essay in Latino Literature, Arts, and Culture for a paper on Kathleen de Azevedo's Brazilian-American novel Samba Dreamers, which deals with the trauma of torture under the military regime. Besides, I have presented papers on photography and post-memory in three graduate student conferences, including Diálogos XVII and XVIII.
In the relatively short time that I have been at IU, I have attempted to contribute to the Portuguese program in different ways. During my first year, I coordinated Cafezinho, our Portuguese conversation hour, creating opportunities for instructors and students to interact and participate in cultural events. In Spring 2021, as part of the activities for my minor, I am conducting the first task-based needs analysis of college Portuguese in the United States to propose a reformulation of our Portuguese for Business course. This project, developed under Dr. Laura Gurzynski-Weiss's mentorship, proposes that our Portuguese for Business course follow a task-based curriculum. It is funded by IU's Center for International Business Education and Research (CIBER), at Kelley School of Business. The results will be presented at the 108th Annual Conference of the American Association of Teachers of Spanish and Portuguese (AATSP) in July 2021.
In the year of 2020-2021, I also served as GSAC's Social Chair. This job was particularly challenging because it required creative ways to maintain a sense of community at the department in times of social distancing. It was, nonetheless, very rewarding: I had the opportunity of working with wonderful people I would perhaps not have known otherwise. I also virtually met new colleagues and helped successfully organize Diálogos XVIII.
My trajectory at IU so far has encouraged me to pursue opportunities to promote the knowledge of Portuguese and Lusophone cultures within positive learning environments. I am beyond grateful to all my professors, especially my mentors Dr. Namorato, for her generosity, guidance, and friendship, and Dr. Gurzynski-Weiss, for her kindness, empathy, and support. I am also indebted to our departmental staff as well as to my dear friends and colleagues.