Monserrat Figueroa ’17
Rock Valley, Iowa

Sports and Spanish

In addition to translation and interpretation, Monse is majoring in sport management. She’s a catcher on the Red Raider softball team and served as the captain of an intramural dodgeball team composed of her softball teammates. She’s also part of Northwestern’s FUTURES program for first- and second-year students of color.

Fielder’s choice
Even though my high school softball coach is a Northwestern alum, I was going to attend another college because I thought NWC was too close to home. But then Chris Nachtigall, Northwestern’s softball coach, started talking to me and I started leaning more toward Northwestern. I really like the people here and the professors are awesome. It’s small but still big enough that I can meet new people throughout the school year. And being close to home is convenient for laundry!

Covering the bases
I like sports. Many college students major in business, but I wanted to do something other than general business so I went into sport management. My older sister convinced me I should also major in translation and interpretation because she knew that knowing Spanish would benefit me professionally. My dream job would be using my bilingual skills and interpreting for professional baseball players. That would be awesome.

Being bilingual
My parents were both born in Mexico and I grew up speaking Spanish at home. I started learning English when I went to preschool or kindergarten. I’m not perfect at Spanish. Sometimes I consider English my first language just because it comes more naturally now. After I started school, the only time I would speak Spanish was at home with my parents. Everything else—my school, friends—was in English.

Professional preparation
The Spanish grammar classes I’ve had have been helpful because my dad taught me how to read and write Spanish when I was younger. In our interpretation classes I’m learning vocabulary for interpreting in a courtroom. And I’m also getting experience interpreting during chapel. Interpreting for a total of 3 hours during the semester is a requirement for class. I look forward to Professor Clark’s stories about his life and experiences growing up in Ecuador, and Professor Koene is like a dictionary with an answer to everything. Even though they’re really smart, they’re not intimidating. I feel like I can ask them anything.