Learn with Our Spanish Faculty | University of Portland

Learn with Our Spanish Faculty

Maria Echenique, Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Spanish, Latin American studies track coordinator


I was born in Bolivia and more than twenty years ago I came to the United States to pursue graduate studies in literature. Now, I teach Spanish language and Latin American literatures and cultures with the aim of inspiring students to see the learning of a new language as a way to open doors to cultures and go gain insight and appreciation for what peoples in the Hispanic world contribute to our world.

My research focuses on Latin American writers whose voices have been ignored or silenced for a long time — women, working class, indigenous peoples — and the stories they have to tell. As a teacher, I feel like an ambassador of Latin America to this side of the world. It is a mission I take seriously since there is a great need to better understand the cultures and history of our neighboring countries to the south, whose influence becomes ever more important in this country.

Lora Looney, Ph.D.

Director of the Spanish program

Dr. Lora LooneyA Spain specialist for over thirty years, Dr. Looney is known for teaching Spanish through projects like theatre, travel ads, food fairs, music festivals, blogging, and digital posters that explore fictional characters in literature and film. She is developing a website to engage students in her research on Spain’s historical memory of its civil war and dictatorship through the representation of juvenile protagonists in fiction and film. Dr. Looney directs the Spanish program and particularly enjoys developing curricula, advising current students, and alumni outreach.


Matthew Warshawsky, Ph.D.

Chair of International Languages and Cultures

Dr. Matthew WarshawskyI teach all levels of Spanish language courses, especially our SPN 301-302 sequence, Advanced Spanish Composition, Conversation, and Culture I and II. My upper-division classes focus on the literature and culture of the medieval, Renaissance, and Baroque eras in Spain, as well as on Jewish Latin America. I enjoy this opportunity to teach such a wide variety of classes, because doing so enables me to continue growing as a teacher, scholar, and colleague. For example, I continually introduce new readings into all my courses and experiment with different types of classroom activities. I have also served as department chair since 2015, during which time I have learned a lot about how the University functions and helped ILC continue to be a unit that is flexible, embraces opportunities for growth, and broadens the worldview of our campus. In my free time, I enjoy spending time with my increasingly far-flung family; keeping active as a runner, cyclist, and walker; and reading as much as possible.




Teaching that Inspires