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Department of Languages and Literatures

12/18/2017

To Whom It May Concern:

It is a genuine pleasure and honor for me to write a recommendation on behalf of Liz Bair. I have known Liz
since January of 2017, when she enrolled in both my Culture and Civilization of Spain and Survey of Peninsular
Literature classes at the University of Northern Iowa. In the fall of 2017, Liz took my Hispanic Graphic Novel
class, and I am currently the advisor of her Honor’s thesis. During the time in which I have known her, it has
been rewarding to witness Liz’s critical thinking, communication skills, and academic ability blossom. She is a
mature, self-disciplined individual who falls within the top 10% of students I have worked with at the
University of Northern Iowa in regard to intelligence, dedication, and both creative and critical thinking. Liz is
an unforgettable student, both due to her intellectual depth and her strength of character, and I have no doubt
that her teaching career will positively impact many students.

Liz is an analytical and curious learner who takes great pleasure in the creative and critical thinking process. In
her course work, she makes relevant connections between assignments, her life, and her future as an educator.
Liz is extremely invested in the caliber of her academic work, applying considerable effort to her projects. Of
all the students I have worked with, Liz continually astounds me with the elegant way in which she blends
creative and critical thinking in her essays, exams, and projects, creating pieces that I often ask to keep as
models for future students. For her final essay in Hispanic Graphic Novel, Liz wrote about the different types of
isolation experienced by elderly characters in a nursing home in the graphic novel Arrugas (Wrinkles). Her
analysis was nuanced and impeccably argued, demonstrating a clear understanding of various literary devices.
In this class, students were also required to create two of their own graphic novels, and hers were stunning, both
visually and in regard to content. The head of my department has asked me to create an electronic copy of these
graphic novels to be used in promotional materials for prospective students. Liz’s unique ability to blend
creative and critical thinking will serve her well as an educator, as she no doubt will create activities and
assignments that challenge students in multiple ways.

From the first day of class, Liz revealed herself to be an intelligent, capable student leader with academic and
communicative abilities that will allow her to effectively impart knowledge in her own classroom. Liz
consistently comes to class prepared to participate in activities and help foster discussion with her unique and
well-thought-out perspective about the material. Not only does she know how to express her own views, but she
interacts well with others and listens actively. Liz takes on responsibility in small group discussions in a way
that makes other students feel their opinions are valued and included in the conversation. Liz strives to achieve
a meaningful engagement with the content of any class, and she facilitates a positive classroom environment,
helping to turn our classroom into a community. If a group gets off track, I have seen Liz deftly guide the
discussion back to a more productive place.

Based on her presentations and contributions to class discussions, I am confident that Liz will be a captivating
and intellectually stimulating teacher. In Hispanic Graphic Novel, students worked in pairs to create and
execute a 30-minute lesson about one of the primary texts we were reading. Liz’s presentation was outstanding
and engaged the entire class. It can be difficult for students to present in a second language, but she conveyed
her message in a clear, concise manner that invited students to think critically about the topic. Liz and her
partner selected key scenes from the primary text and asked each group to act out a scene and modify the

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ending. Liz and her partner then gave a demonstration of what this activity should look like. She later wrote in
her reflection that the demonstration was not planned but rather something she thought of in the moment. This
example of innovation shows Liz’s adaptability and quick thinking, which will serve her well in the classroom.
After groups acted out the scene, Liz and her partner offered follow-up questions and led a brief discussion of
the scenes. I was impressed with Liz’s classroom management skills and her activity’s ability to further
students’ understanding of the primary text. Liz was not just completing an assignment, but rather she used this
opportunity to teach her classmates and hone skills that she will use in her own classroom.

Liz is one of the most meticulous, responsible students I have had the pleasure to work with, and I am delighted
to serve as her Honor’s Thesis advisor this academic year. This is a commitment that I do not take lightly, as it
requires frequent meetings and firm deadlines for the various components of the thesis. I agreed to work with
Liz because I knew she would be conscientious and would create a project that I would be proud to advise.
Liz’s thesis is unique and innovative, examining the connection between artistic/creative projects and different
facets of identity. Liz has developed a project, along with well-researched and developed guidelines, that
students will complete in one of my classes in the spring. I am excited to see what Liz’s analysis will find.

Paired with her leadership and academic skills in the classroom, Liz’s background in Spanish will allow her to
become an effective, culturally sensitive teacher in any classroom setting. Not only have Liz’s Spanish studies
refined her sense of cultural understanding, but her overall Spanish skills are incredibly strong. I can attest to
her preparedness in all aspects of communication in Spanish. Liz’s spoken Spanish is fluent and clear; I have
witnessed her oral production in formal presentations, as well as in small and large group discussions. In the
Survey of Spanish Literature course, Liz perfected her already excellent skills at reading and analyzing complex
literary texts in Spanish in a wide range of genres and from a variety of time periods. Liz is an extremely well-
rounded Spanish speaker and writer, proven by her essays in Hispanic Graphic Novel. Liz has a well-developed
understanding of Spanish culture; she has taken Spanish Culture and Civilization with me, and she will be
studying abroad in Barcelona, Spain, for two week this summer. Liz strives to immerse herself in Spanish
language and culture in ways that extend beyond the classroom. This scholastic and cultural curiosity will allow
her to continue learning and innovating her teaching methods for years to come.

Although she does not have a classroom yet, Liz embodies the definition of a true teacher. Her character and
intellect make her a welcome addition to any organization, class, or group that she joins. She is quite simply the
kind of person with whom students and colleagues want to surround themselves: kind, analytical, creative,
assertive, and curious. I have met very few individuals with the generosity of spirit and empathetic world view
that come effortlessly to Liz. She will be an asset to whichever school is fortunate enough to work with her.
Please do not hesitate to contact me if you would like to discuss Liz’s qualifications further.

Sincerely,

Dr. Heather Jerónimo


Assistant Professor of Spanish
University of Northern Iowa
402.750.7263
heather.jeronimo@uni.edu