Regis alumna Gabriela DeRobles uses language to help others

May 2014 graduate Gabriela DeRobles is poised to do great things – not that she hasn’t already. A recipient of the Latina Safehouse’s Latina Honoring Latina award, DeRobles recently graduated from Regis College with a double major in Spanish and sociology, receiving awards of excellence in Spanish, sociology and French. We recently caught up with DeRobles to learn more about her Regis experience and how it prepared her to lead a life in service of others.

How would you describe your Regis experience?
At Regis, I have found passions and have learned I can accomplish more than I could ever imagine. There are many injustices in our society, and we are all responsible for being agents of social change and advocating for structural changes. Regis’ Jesuit values have cemented my passion to combat injustice.

You study the nuance of language – why?
I find it important to study the ways language is affected by social, political and historical factors because it can help us develop a greater understanding of language maintenance and change. Language is something that affects us all. It reveals our interconnectivity and shared humanity.

What was it like to receive the Latina Honoring Latina Award for your work teaching English?
I am very flattered and honored to have received such a beautiful award. Latinas, especially those who are undocumented, lack access to necessities such as health care and education. Yet, they remain resilient. I have become very close to these women and have come to know their stories and their struggles. I am now more aware of the difficulties that immigrants face on a daily basis. This motivates me help more people like these women even if it is just by teaching them English.

What’s next for you?
I have been admitted to Georgetown’s Ph.D. program in Spanish linguistics, so I will be there the next few years. I will focus my studies on sociolinguistics, so I can combine my passion for Spanish and sociology. I want to pursue graduate studies in Spanish linguistics to achieve a greater understanding of the main issues affecting language acquisition, maintenance and change as they pertain to the Spanish language.