Student Profile - Amy Morgan

English, Spanish major explores new cultures

For Amy Morgan, studying at Lamar University has provided extraordinary opportunities and exposure to new cultures that she never envisioned while growingAmy Morgan up in Silsbee.

An English and Spanish major, Morgan traveled to Salamanca, Spain, in summer 2011 for a study abroad program offered by Lamar. Recently chosen as one of LU’s two David J. Beck Fellows for 2013, she is now planning her second trip abroad. For her fellowship project, Morgan will travel to Argentina for a literary seminar, study and work on a literary translation in summer 2013.

“This time I’m going to be alone, not with a group from Lamar, which is exciting. I’ll get to see how I thrive on my own in a different environment,” Morgan said. “I’m also planning to stay with a family in Argentina. This is going to force me to step out of my comfort zone and push myself to really experience the culture.”           

A longtime love of reading and literature made majoring in English a natural choice for Morgan. “Now it’s not just the story. I like the phrasing,” she said. “When I read something, I’ll think, ‘that’s a really beautiful way that he wrote that.’ It’s not necessarily the plot or the characters. The writing itself has started to become more and more attractive to me.”

She added a second major in Spanish after taking a few classes to fulfill a foreign language requirement. “It’s fascinating,” she said. “A huge number of people speak Spanish all over the world. Each country is going to have its own variations of the language, its own culture and history. It’s exciting to get to see all of that.”

The interest in Spanish sparked by her Lamar classes and professors prompted her decision to pursue a career as a literary translator. She applied for the David J. Beck Fellowship as a step toward that goal. The fellowship covers all expenses including tuition, fees, books and on-campus room and board for one year, along with up to $10,000 for a summer project proposed as part of the application. During her summer project in Argentina, Morgan will have the opportunity to meet with author and seminar organizer Mempo Giardinelli, whose work she plans to translate into English.

“Getting the chance to meet with the author I’m going to be translating is going to be amazing. Getting to listen to all the different writers and translators and critics from around Argentina will be a really helpful learning experience for me,” Morgan said.

“I don’t think translators get some of the credit they deserve sometimes. I feel like it’s overlooked. A lot of the literature we have today, it wouldn’t be possible for us to read it without translation,” she said.

Along with her studies, Morgan has enjoyed her involvement in student organizations at Lamar. She has served as secretary and historian of the Honors Student Association and has enjoyed service opportunities with the Honors Program. She has a campus job in the Honors office. Additionally, she serves as president of Sigma Tau Delta, the English honor society, and is a member of Sigma Delta Pi, the Spanish honor society.

Lamar’s proximity to her hometown and good academic reputation made it an attractive choice when she was deciding on a college. She finalized her decision when she was offered a Mirabeau Scholarship, which covers room, board, tuition, fees and books for four years. Morgan said she appreciated the opportunity to live on campus and take advantage of the full college experience because of the scholarship.

Perhaps her favorite part of Lamar University has been her classes because of the knowledge she has gained and the relationships she has built. “I really love learning and reading and getting to discuss different things with my fellow students and professors,” Morgan said. “I’ve had some really awesome professors that have made classes really interesting and fun.”

Whether in a classroom on campus, reading literature for an English or Spanish course, or exploring another country, Morgan has found multiple windows into other worlds and other cultures through LU.