What Yolopattli Hernández-Torres wouldn’t give to go back to the Stacks — her home away from home throughout grad school at Illinois.
“How I miss our library,” Hernández-Torres (Ph.D. ’10, Spanish literature and cultures) says from Baltimore, where she’s an associate professor of Spanish at Loyola University.
“I came to Illinois from Mexico in 2002 to pursue a master’s in Spanish literature. I know that studying in the incomparable main Stacks was a key factor in my decision to continue with graduate studies,” she says.
“I completed my Ph.D. under the supervision of Dr. Mariselle Meléndez, who shared her knowledge, time and passion for colonial studies with me. She is still to this day a generous mentor, and a model for me as the ideal balance of a scholar-teacher.
“I also consider Professor Ann Abbott an inspiration (for showing) me to make your knowledge useful in the community and to promote social justice in education.
“Those years in Urbana-Champaign were filled with joy, hard work and friendship. It is hard to choose just one favorite spot in the whole campus.”
Among the locales that would vie for No. 1 on Hernández-Torres’ list:
1. The Quad. “I remember the Quad in the fall with its warm lights and colorful trees; in the spring when all the flowers bloom and hosting all the activities that follow a long winter; in the summer when the student body is gone and you can see the glowing fireflies and read peacefully; in the winter when the snow highlights its beautiful design.”
2. The Foreign Languages Building. “I was so lucky to walk everyday through the Quad to go to the FLB, a building that was often called ‘ugly’ but that has its charm and was a home to me for all those years, and gave me a nice office and all the resources to complete my studies, as well as to help my students as a TA.”
3. Favorite hangouts with her future husband. “I met my husband in Illinois, and we used to study in Grainger Library, work for hours in Giuliani’s on Green Street and Espresso Royale next to the Krannert Center, and we used to meet good friends at Murphy’s for a beer on Thursdays. We walked together in different spots of campus, and together we explored the Twin Cities.
“Our son is learning the alphabet, and ‘I’ is always for Illinois.”