Bradley junior pairs journalism and foreign language studies to double opportunities

February 6, 2012

By Steven Johnson ’13

Alejandra Lopez has accomplished many things as a junior at Bradley University, and some of her work reaches people living all around the state of Illinois. Currently, she works as a translator/interpreter at Day Care Resources in Morton, a sponsor of the USDA Child and Adult Care Food Program.

“Their mission is to work hand in hand with child care professionals to insure a healthy future for America’s children through proper nutrition and exercise in a safe nurturing environment,” Lopez said.

Before she was hired, the company did not have a translator, yet most of the people served by Day Care Resources in Illinois speak Spanish as their first language.

“My job is to translate documents that these providers need and also make phone calls to request legal information,” said Lopez. “It is a very rewarding job. I can hear the sound of relief in their voice when they hear me say, “Hola, me llamo Alejandra,” and they thank me for helping them.”

Lopez has also done similar work for the Federation of Jalisco (a state in Mexico).

At Bradley, Lopez is pursuing a journalism major and a minor in Spanish. The ability to speak two languages fluently touches all aspects of her life on campus.

“Being bilingual in general has helped me out a lot not only career wise but academically and socially as well,” Lopez said. “Being able to speak two languages makes me a double fit for a job. I can target double the audience and have doubled the career opportunities.”

“Alejandra is an outgoing individual who is conscious about her Latin American background,” said Dr. Melvy Portocarrero, a professor in the foreign language department. “In class, she is always ready to participate and to learn about new issues.”

Lopez one day hopes to write professionally for a Spanish magazine.

“I consider myself a bridge, because I am linking two cultures,” Lopez said. “Language barriers are hard to overcome, and it is an issue our society is having these days. It only takes a person to learn a language and apply it to real life situations to help.”