Name: Kimberly (Watts) Rutigliano
Major: Spanish / Psychology
Minor: Latin American Studies / History
“After graduation, I completed my MBA at a Mexican Institution and worked for AVANCE Dallas. I am currently the Director of Continuing and Professional Education at SMU and a student in the Ed.D. program."
Why did you choose to major/minor in a World Language?
Because I believed that to be fluent in Spanish would best position me to work in education-related causes and initiatives in Texas.
How do you think studying a foreign language helped to prepare you for your career?
I could not have been given the opportunities I have if I did not speak Spanish. It opened a unique set of doors for me. For example, I became an education and training consultant for the National Criminal Justice Training Center because a bilingual professional was needed to facilitate a focus group on cross-border communication. That project became the basis for my doctoral research. Through that work, I was recently invited to be a guest panelist at the Tri-National Forum for Amber Alert Coordinators; Mexico - United States of America - Canada in Mexico City in May, 2017 to address 'Protocols and Strategies for Cooperation in International Cases involving Missing Children.' I was honored to be included in a roundtable discussion with an amazing array of diplomats and dignitaries including the prosecutorial training director for the US Embassy (OPDAT) and the Attorney General for the office of violence against women and human trafficking (FEVEMTRA, the government agency that oversees the AMBER Alert in Mexico) and the National and International Centers for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC and ICMEC). At the conference, I was able to share details of my doctoral dissertation research (“These Relationships Save Lives”), which looks at the network of relationships and job engagement of AMBER Alert coordinators in Mexico and how they might be strengthened through continuing education and training.
What advice do you have for other students thinking about majoring or minoring in a foreign language?
There is no time or place where the improvement of your overall communication skills and cultural understanding is not a benefit to you. There is only an up-side to this investment.