Dr. Iliana Portaro has been an assistant professor of Spanish at Southern Utah University since 2013. She specializes in 19th and 20th-century Latin American literature, women’s studies, and the intersection between literature and journalism.
Portaro grew up in both Lima, Perú and Santa Ana, California and began her study of Latin America at the University of California, Santa Barbara. She has a bachelor’s degree in Latin American studies, a master’s degree in Spanish literature, and a doctorate in Latin American literature and cultures.
Portaro began teaching during graduate school, and now teaches a variety of courses that reflect the interdisciplinarity of her field.
“Latin American Women Writers is one of my favorite courses because my students and I worked really hard and challenged one another to think in new ways. This resulted in phenomenal conversations and essays about feminism, gender roles, intersectionality, Latin American history, and the inclusion of women in the literary canon.”
She currently teaches the following classes at SUU:
LANG 3250 World Cinema
SPAN 2020 Intermediate Spanish II
SPAN 3100 Conversation Through Film
SPAN 3300 Introduction to Literary Studies
SPAN 4893 Internship
Portaro explains that within the study of Spanish, students learn not only the language but discover that it is an interdisciplinary field.
“As a Spanish major/minor, you can take courses in culture, history, linguistics, literature, film, gender studies, etc. The most interesting aspect for me is that there is always something to learn and new aspects to consider.”
Teaching at an institution that emphasizes excellence in teaching and experiential learning is the perfect fit for Portaro.
“I like to interact with my students, learn from and about them, and constantly evaluate what I do to better suit their needs. My colleagues are bright, engaged, and kind. They are a key component of why I love SUU.”