María Elena Lee-López
Instructor of Spanish Language and Culture
María Elena Lee-López was born and raised in Havana, Cuba. She studied psychology and worked as a psychologist for 18 years. In Cuba her hobbies were scuba diving and gardening. She was a member of the Botanical Society of Cuba. In 1999 she won the visa lottery and immigrated to the United States in 2000. Her initially limited English skills prevented her from practicing psychology in the United States, so she earned her master’s degree in Spanish at Portland State University in 2006 and was hired that same year to teach Spanish at Washington State University Vancouver and Clark College.
Recipient of Student’s Award for Teaching Excellence, Washington State University Vancouver, Spring 2011.
Nominee for 2014 Distinguished Woman of the Year award, Washington State University Vancouver, Spring 2014.
First year Spanish (101 and 102), second year Spanish (204), third year Spanish (308 Intermediate Grammar and Composition, 307 Intermediate Listening and Speaking, 306 Intermediate Reading and Translation, 350 Spanish Literature and Films). Also Spanish 121 Cuban Culture, Spanish 361 for Business and Spanish 362 for Health Professionals, Spanish 111 Latin American Films, and Spanish 110 Cinema from Spain.
Cuban Culture, Spanish 121.
Children’s perspective in Latin American Cinema, Spanish 111.
“The religious discourse and the cannibal denomination as instruments of power and identity in ‘La última cena’ de Tomás Gutierrez Alea.” Cine-Lit Conference on Cuban Cinema and Literature. Portland State University, Portland, Oregon, February 2007.
“The Use of Secular Metaphors and Mystical Pedagogy in Santa Teresa de Jesus’ Las moradas del castillo interior” Rocky Mountain Modern Language Association. Albuquerque, New Mexico, October 2010.
“The Feminine as a Trigger of Violence in La Familia de Pascual Duarte.” Rocky Mountain Modern Language Association. Scottsdale, Arizona, October 2011.
“The Horrors of Slavery, Violence, Cannibalism and Religion in The Last Supper.” Florida International University, Miami, Florida, October 2011.
Section chair of Latin American film and literature, “Escaping reality in the film ‘Pan’s Labyrinth’ and the short story ‘With Eyes Shut.'” Rocky Mountain Modern Language Association, Boulder, Colorado, October 2012.
Forthcoming: “The use of Common Craft to develop speaking fluency in first year Spanish students.” ACTFL Convention and Expo. New Orleans, Louisiana, November 2018.
Spanish Mysticism: Secular Metaphors and Mystical Pedagogy in Santa Teresa de Jesus’ “Las moradas del castillo interior.”
Hispanic films “The religious discourse and the cannibal denomination as instruments of power and identity in ‘La última cena’ de Tomás Gutierrez Alea”.
Second Language Acquisition.
2007–present: Spanish Club Advisor.
2011–2012: Recruitment and Retention Committee.
Lecture on “Cuban Visual Texts: A Gendered Experience,” with Julia Portela, professor of art at the Instituto Superior de Arte in Havana, Cuba. Washington State University Vancouver, October 2010.
Student exhibit of Day of the Dead altars and celebration. Washington State University Vancouver, November 2007–present.
“Salsa Night”: Free salsa dancing lessons followed by a party where the students practiced the steps they learned. Washington State University Vancouver. March 2012
“Cuban Night”: Live Cuban salsa band and Cuban food was provided free for the students by the Spanish Club. Washington State University Vancouver. March 2014
“Women in Cuba” for Dr. Luz Maria Gordillo’s WST 335 Women in Latin American History. Washington State University Vancouver, May 2012.
“Academic Experiences for Latin@s” for the first Latin@ Luncheon Panel at WSU Vancouver, organized by the student Latin@ Club. November 2010.
Study abroad experience:
Connecting Community – Participated in a faculty-led study abroad program focusing on student participation in community-organized activities during the summer in Antigua and Panajachel, Guatemala (Summer 2007).
Consultant for a faculty-led study abroad trip to Cuba at Washington State University Vancouver. Researched and planned the cultural events and historical visits as well as room and board (2008).
Led a faculty-led study abroad trip to Cuba with 8 students from Washington State University (Summer 2014).
María Elena Lee-López
Multimedia (VMMC), room 202P