Posted by: SSU Lingua Franca | April 27, 2020

Phi Sigma Iota

Phi Sigma Iota International Foreign Languages Honor Society

By Dr. Kristine Doll and Dr. Anna Rocca

PSIThe World Languages and Cultures department is proud to announce the names of candidates who have been inducted into the Phi Sigma Iota Honors Society for 2019-2020. Phi Sigma Iota is an international honor society that bestows academic honor and recognition in the field of world languages and literatures. To be invited to join this prestigious honor society is a testimony to scholastic and community excellence and leadership.

In addition to the national prestige that Phi Sigma Iota confers, members are also eligible for publication and scholarship opportunities as well as for national and international internships, including those of the Washington Center, the United Planet, and the U.S. Department of State Student Interns∴◊◊◊hip Program, among others. Because Phi Sigma Iota is a member of the Association of College Honor Societies, there are additional opportunities for grants, scholarships, and preference for Federal Jobs.

Inductees include undergraduate majors and minors, graduate students in the MAT in Spanish program, faculty members and members of the community. New members are recruited by invitation from faculty based on exceptional academic and community achievement and leadership in foreign language studies.

The induction ceremony is held annually in the Grand Ballroom at the Hawthorne Hotel, Salem MA. Given the covid-19 pandemic this year, we are unable to hold our ceremony but will combine both the 2020 and 2021 celebrations next April.

For any questions, please contact either Dr. Kristine Doll or Dr. Anna Rocca


The inductees for the 2019-2020 school year are:

MAT in Spanish

Cristina Jauregui Figaredo is a Spanish elementary educator at East Elementary School in Hingham, MA. Jauregui has taught elementary Spanish for five years in both Hingham and Milton. During this time, she has focused on building strong Spanish language skills in her students and inspiring an enthusiasm to explore other cultures. Before moving into education, Jauregui had a successful international career in Compensation and Benefits in the telecommunications industry working for companies like France Telecom and Vodafone. Jauregui, grew up in Spain, earned a BA in Psychology from the University of California at Berkeley, and later obtained a Master’s degree in Human Resources from ICADE University in Madrid, Spain. She currently resides in Hingham MA with her husband and two children and is expected to obtain her MAT in Spanish from Salem State University in December 2020.

Maria Hernandez Koehler (Maruchi) was born and raised in Puerto Rico, speaking Spanish and, at school, learned English and French. Later on, she graduated from Villanova University in Pennsylvania with a Bachelor’s Degree in Education and French. She started teaching in 2009, as a Spanish and French teacher. She has taught both languages in Pennsylvania, Maryland and Washington State. Now, Maruchi teaches Kindergarten through third grade Spanish at Cunniff Elementary in Watertown. She is finishing her Masters of Arts in Teaching Spanish at Salem State University. Maruchi loves her husband Dan, volunteering, dancing, singing and her two cats.


Rachael Kuper studies Professional Writing, French, and Translation in Salem State University’s English and World Languages Departments. She works in the Mary G. Walsh Writing Center as a Peer Tutor, as well as a Course Embedded Tutor in French 501, a senior seminar in French. Rachael has consistently been on the Dean’s List during her years at Salem State University and anticipates graduating Summa Cum Laude in May 2020. She aspires to attend law school in the fall.

Samantha Stickney is a World Languages and Cultures major, with a concentration in French. She has an additional Art & Design major, concentrating in both Printmaking and Art History. She is also completing the Certificate in Translation. At Salem State, she spends her time as a member of the Commonwealth Honors Program and working three jobs: French Peer Tutor, Desk Receptionist, and a First-Year Mentor. Upon graduation, she hopes to pursue a job as an Assistant Language Teacher with the Japan Exchange and Teaching (JET) Program.

Marina White is a junior at Salem State University majoring in World Languages and Cultures and minoring in German and English. Language, literature, travelling, and writing are her passions. She firmly believes in the power of words, no matter what language they are from. She also believes that in this day and age, it is more important than ever to strive to be not only an American citizen, but a global citizen as well. She is honored to be accepted into the Phi Sigma Iota Honor Society, and is grateful to all her wonderful professors and peers at Salem State. She can’t wait to see where her love of language continues to take her.

Italian and French

Benjamin Geary is a senior at Salem State University majoring in French and minoring in Italian. He is currently an Italian tutor at Salem State University and the president of the university’s Italian Club. He enjoys learning about foreign languages and cultures. Outside of school, Ben likes to spend his time with his friends and family and hiking in the woods. His adventurous personality and love for nature will guide him in his future endeavors.


Ashley Greco is a senior at Salem State University and will be graduating in May 2020. She is a History major with a concentration in European History and she also holds two minors in Italian and Women’s Studies. She is the Vice President of the university’s Italian Club and works diligently to put on events for the club’s members. Ashley is preparing for a teaching fellowship in the Lombardy region of Italy, which begins in October 2020.

Mathias Nehuen Cardona is a senior at Salem State University. His major is Theatre Design with a concentration in Lighting Design. Mathias is also pursuing SSU’s Translation Certification in Italian. He is double minoring in Music and Entrepreneurship. Mathias was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina and has traveled and lived around the world from a young age. One of the biggest challenges he faced was becoming fluent in English and succeeding in the United States after 12 years of solely speaking Spanish. Mathias is giving his all to achieve his dreams by pushing his commitment to his studies to the limit.

Dominic Massa is a fourth year student at Salem State University and is expected to graduate in spring 2020. He is a History major with minors in Italian and in Education. Dominic began his studies at Salem State in summer 2016 as a student in the Summer Bridge Academy. Once he completed the Academy, Dominic began work towards his goal of becoming a history teacher. Midway through his second year, he learned that he could graduate early if he so desired. Rather than graduate early, Dominic took advantage of this opportunity to acquire the minor in Italian language and culture. He knew it would be additional work but he would not be deterred. Through hard work and determination, he is quickly approaching graduation and soon will be advancing to a Master’s Degree in History.

Jacqueline Nunes (Jackie) is a junior at Salem State University majoring in History and minoring in Italian language and culture. At Salem State, she is the secretary of the Italian Club and is very involved with the World Languages and Cultures department. Jackie has been studying Italian at Salem State every semester since her first year. She works hard in all her classes and extracurricular activities. Her dedicated work has brought her the opportunity to finish her undergraduate studies a semester earlier than expected. Jackie will graduate from Salem State in December of 2020 and will leave for Lombardy, Italy to participate in a teaching fellowship in January 2021.


Shannon Adam is a sophomore at Salem State University, majoring in Media and Communications with a Public Relations concentration and minoring in Spanish. She is part of the Commonwealth Honors Program and the president of the SSU chapter of the Public Relations Student Society of America. Shannon grew up in Munich, Germany, but moved to the United States eight years ago with her family. She works part-time at Rockport Music and, in her spare time, enjoys creating videos about her favorite TV shows. This summer, she will be studying abroad in Heredia, Costa Rica, and next spring semester 2021 in Oviedo, Spain.

Shaima Azam is a senior in the Bertolon School of Business pursuing her bachelor’s degree in Business Administration with a concentration in Accounting & Finance. She is also minoring in Spanish and Economics. Shaima holds a leadership role in two groups on campus, including her role as Vice President in the Business Honor Society, Delta Mu Delta and Treasurer of the Accounting Association. She is also the Senior Marketing Assistant for the Career Services Office on campus, and has held this role for the entirety of her time here at Salem State.

Allysha Dunnigan (Ally) is a commuter student from Lynn, MA majoring in Communications, with a concentration in Journalism and Public Relations. She studied abroad in Oviedo, Spain last year and fell in love with the language, culture and lifestyle. This experience encouraged her to continue her education and to pursue a minor in Spanish with the goal of becoming fluent. Ally plans to travel as a journalist after graduation and hopes that her knowledge of the Spanish language and culture will enrich her journeys.

Ashley Hames was born in Beverly, Massachusetts, attended Beverly Public Schools from elementary to high school, and graduated from Beverly High School in 2018. Since arriving at Salem State University in the Fall of 2018, they have changed academic paths based on a passion for learning about the human experience. Originally, a Psychology major with a minor in Spanish, Ashley discovered that they wanted to learn more about the rich, diverse cultures and experiences within the Spanish-speaking community and embarked upon a second major in World Languages and Cultures with a concentration in Spanish.

Emma Lee is a sophomore in the Commonwealth Honors Program at Salem State University. She is currently working towards a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology, with minors in both Spanish and Mathematics. In her free time, Emma is an avid reader and loves to spend time with friends and family. She also loves music, and enjoys attending concerts and playing the ukulele. Emma has always been a dedicated student and is very excited to be inducted into Phi Sigma Iota. She is extremely grateful for the opportunities she will have as a result of her membership. Emma extends her congratulations to all the other students invited to join Phi Sigma Iota.

Honorary Members

Chiara Durazzini is a native of Florence, Italy, and has lived in Boston since 2000. She is the artistic director and co-founder of the Commedia dell’Arte troupe Pazzi Lazzi for which she performs, directs and teaches around the country, and of ImproNati – Boston Italian Theatre Company. She is the co-chair of Cultural Affairs at the Dante Alighieri Society of Massachusetts and a co-founder of BIA – Boston Italian Artists, a networking organization for Italian and Italian-American artists in New England. Ms. Durazzini received a master’s degree in Art, Music and Theatre at the University of Bologna, Italy.

Vincent Procopio, a graduate of Salem State University, is an MUPC Magistrate for the Essex Probate and Family Court under the Register of Probate, Pamela Casey O’Brien Esq. The Essex Probate and Family Court recognizes the importance of providing all litigants and court users with equal access to justice. Beginning in the spring of 2019, Mr. Procopio designed and supervised a program of internships at the court for WLC students. Vincent used the students’ skills in foreign language to translate court forms and procedural instructions for Spanish-speaking court users. Their hard work and dedication over the course of the semester is now benefiting many families and court users throughout the Commonwealth. Such a practical and daily application of commitment to community and justice is at the heart of everything Vincent does and is a hallmark of his professional and personal relationships.

Maria Luisa Saraceni is a member of three Italo American associations in Greater Boston; she spends her time volunteering teaching Italian to children in the North End School S. John. She is also the secretary of the Pirandello society.


Dr. Guillermo Avila-Saavedra is an Associate Professor at Salem State University where he teaches courses on Media Studies, Intercultural Communication, and Latin American and Latinx Studies. He has served as faculty fellow for Diversity and Inclusion and for the First Year Experience. His scholarship looks at the intersection of media, culture and identity in a globalized world. A native of Ecuador who has lived in France and the United States, he is a committed advocate of world languages and cultures instruction for its capacity to advance the cause of global equity and social justice.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: