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Dr. Alonso Benavides

I was born in Arequipa, Peru. I came to New York during the late 50s to study at Columbia University. I earned a Master's degree in Spanish language and literature at the University of Iowa, in Iowa City. Then, I went on to the University of Wisconsin at Madison where I  received a Ph.D. in political science and literature.

I have taught Spanish at Beloit College in Wisconsin for 14 years and for the next 11 years I was the director of the ACM (Associated Colleges of the Midwest) Latin American Studies Program in San Jose, Costa Rica. I was also the director of Brown University’s Hispanic Studies Program in Cordoba, Spain. I came to Santa Barbara and founded Siglo XXI Spanish Language Institute in 1988. Now, I dedicate my time to teach at the Institute.

Click the link to Read Professor Benavides’ 1994 News-Press Article “Keeping pace in a multilingual world.”

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Julissa Peña

​I'm from Colima, Mexico. I grew up in San Fernando Valley, CA. Since I was a child I've been picturing myself teaching and working with my community. I successfully graduated from a bachelor's and Master's degree in Latin American literature at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Currently, I'm in the last year of my Ph.D. at UCSB. As for my professional experience, I've been teaching at UCSB for 6 years (I've taught Spanish, Cultural Anthropology, Socio-Linguistics, and Literature) and at Westmont for 1 quarter. I'm as well the Executive Director of a non-profit organization (the  Immigrant Legal Defense Center).

Mikel Rodríguez Villar

​I'm from the Basque Country, Spain. I was born and raised in Spain and I moved to the US in 2014 to pursue an MA in Iberian Linguistics at the University of California,  Santa Barbara. In Spain, I studied Linguistics at the University of Deusto, Bilbao and for one year I studied at the University of Saint Andrews, Scotland. Recently I got trained as medical and immigration court interpreting. As for my professional experience, I taught Spanish at UCSB for 3 consecutive years and two quarters. I taught Spanish at the Defense Language Institute of Foreign Languages and Cultures and private lessons at Siglo XXI.

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