Linsy Gonzalez
Boyden, Iowa
Linsy Gonzalez


Linsy is a first-generation college student who grew up in Boyden, Iowa. She’s involved in La Mosaic multicultural student club, the Intercultural Club and the intercultural development office as an intern. She’s also a Bridge Scholar, member of the Honors Program and teaching assistant for the translation and interpretation (T&I) program. Her goal is to become a certified medical and court interpreter and to create a better environment for Spanish-speaking communities when a language barrier exists.

Open doors
Initially, I didn’t want to attend Northwestern because I grew up in the surrounding area. But then I met Northwestern staff member Dr. Rahn Franklin at a local leadership conference, as well as professor Piet Koene, who leads the translation and interpretation program. During a college visit with my mom, professor Koene explained the program and answered questions I had about Northwestern. I really appreciated the opportunity to meet one-on-one with a future professor, not to mention that our meeting was all in Spanish, which was a tremendous help to my mom, who only speaks Spanish.

Dual advantage
Since I was born in the United States, I speak English and Spanish but learned Spanish first. As I grew up, I helped my mom by interpreting for her on the phone or in the community and by translating important papers. I didn’t see being bilingual as being important due to the negative view of speaking Spanish in public, but Professor Koene pointed out the great opportunities I enjoy as a bilingual speaker—and that it was a matter of practicing and developing skills I already had. He helped me realize that majoring in this field was a way to help our growing Hispanic communities not only locally but throughout the country.

Putting it in practice
Every T&I class goes by quickly, and I keep wanting to absorb more of each class. It’s fascinating the ability we T&I students have to simultaneously interpret from language A into language B. One of my favorite things to do as a T&I student is interpret during chapel, when we are given the opportunity to practice our skills by repeating in Spanish what we are hearing in English. Professor Koene can listen in while we interpret via a livestream and give us helpful feedback during class.

A world of friends
Besides an education, Northwestern has given me great friends and connected me to a variety of different people. I never would have imagined that I would have friends from all over the world, such as the Netherlands, Germany, Nigeria, Italy and Malaysia—and not only from different countries, but different states. I’ve met kind people all throughout campus who are willing to help me with a problem or simply have a conversation with me.