Ramón César Mendez, a Ph.D. candidate and instructor in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese, is the College of Humanities 2023 Outstanding GAT Award recipient.
As an instructor, Mendez has taught in the Basic Language Program, the Heritage Language Program, the Online Program, as well as self-designed, upper-division literature courses.
“His research, teaching, and interests show great potential and leadership skills in articulating community through literature and critical activity,” wrote Associate Professor Monica Morales in nominating Mendez for the award.
“César's teaching exemplifies the power of the humanities to illuminate the connections across disciplines and the beauty to be found in different modes of knowledge production. Through his tireless support and mentorship of his students, César has made an outstanding impact on the undergraduates of the College of Humanities,” wrote Associate Professor Faith Harden, the department’s Director of Graduate Studies.
A former student wrote that “His mentorship has had a profound impact on my life, and I feel incredibly grateful for the opportunity to learn from him. I will always cherish the knowledge, skills, and values that he has imparted to me, and I know that they will continue to serve me well as I move forward in my academic and professional endeavors.”
Mendez was the co-founder and co-organizer of the Latin Americanist Working Group, organizing a series of public lectures by Latin American scholars with the purpose of connecting graduate students and faculty in the discipline through research, literary analysis and critical dialogue.
In Spring 2022, Mendez was awarded the Confluence Center for Creative Inquiry’s
Border Lab Graduate Fellowship to create and facilitate a bilingual community writing project centering on the experience of border-dwelling. Building on that project, he then organized a bilingual poetry workshop for an interdisciplinary group of undergraduate students the following semester.
“To say that César has inspired many would be an understatement,” wrote a group of fellow graduate students. “From an early point, the curiosity and compassion with which he interacts with his fellow graduates provokes thoughtful conversations, insightful revelations and, often, profound connections. Over the course of his time in the program, in addition to his own extensive teaching experience and his admirable academic commitments, César has graciously offered his time and energy to provide advice, exchange ideas, or simply to share his literary and theoretical interests with others.”