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Former GDC Members

Alayna Simonds (she/her)

Business Administration Major and Spanish Minor, 2022

As a BBA undergraduate with a management and marketing emphasis in the UM Ross School of Business with a minor in Spanish, my RLL minor has been an outlet for myself to authentically learn from and interact with a language other than my own. I volunteered to be a part of the RLL’s Gender Diversity Committee to create, engage in, and inspire critical conversation around how the teaching of Romance languages can be iterated to create a welcoming platform for all genders and identities. As someone who does not identify as non-binary and uses she/her/hers pronouns, I recognize that I have much to learn in the space of gender inclusivity, and am grateful to have joined a group of individuals whom I am learning from everyday.

Clarisa Russenberger (she/her)

Romance Languages & Literatures Graduate, 2022

I am a Romance Languages & Literatures (RLL) graduate, combining French and Italian. I volunteered to be on this committee because I want to help create a more inclusive community within RLL and LSA at the University of Michigan. Language, along with general human culture, is evolving and changing. I believe it is important that this department evolves alongside it. I'm hoping to help in any way I can, learn from my peers, and help instigate a concrete change at the University of Michigan. 

Blake Gutt (he/him)

Assistant Professor of French

I volunteered with the committee to help ensure that non-binary and neutral language is available in all of RLL's language and culture classes. It's important that every student is aware of these major linguistic innovations and, above all, it's crucial that non-binary and agender students are given the tools to accurately express their identities in the languages they're studying.

Amber Galvano (they/them, she/her)

BA, Spanish & Cognitive Science, & BMA, Vocal Performance, 2021

I’m volunteering for this committee because, as an undergraduate, I observed and felt the need for expanded gender-diverse language and representation in the Romance language classroom. Students who enter these classrooms deserve the tools to describe themselves and others accurately in their second language, and I want to help promote an educational environment where acknowledgement of gender-diverse identities is normalized. Establishing that space can make a world of a difference in the lives of trans and nonbinary students, and it’s important for all students to be aware of relevant linguistic innovations and cultural issues in the languages they learn.

Persephone Hernandez-Vogt (they/them, she/her)

PhD, Spanish Literature, 2021

I am proud to have been a part of RLL's exploration of gender-inclusive language pedagogy. Considering authentic practices with regard to gender-inclusive languages provides a great opportunity for language education departments to remain aware of changes in language and to provide a thoughtful and welcoming environment for all students.