Faculty and Staff

All full-time tenure-track faculty members in the Department of Modern Languages at Saint Mary's College hold the Ph.D. in their respective disciplines. All are active scholars in their fields of language pedagogy and/or literary criticism and teach at every level in the Department, from the 101-102 Introductory courses to the upper-division literature, culture, and independent study courses. They are also academic advisors to majors and minors, providing assistance from course selection to foreign study and graduate school advising.

Arabic Chinese Spanish French Italian German Staff





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Soraya Wirth

Lecturer of Arabic
108 S Regina

Soraya, a native of Egypt, received training in teaching Arabic as a second language from Penn State STARTALK Arabic Academy for Teachers. Since her arrival at Saint  Mary's in 2010, Soraya has taught Introductory Arabic language courses as well as Intermediate Conversation and Reading Arabic courses. Her approach to teaching is geared toward developing functional abilities to use Arabic accurately and fluently in speaking, listening, reading and writing. As culture is the fifth language skill, students are equally invited to learn about basic cultural concepts related to the Arab World.

Soraya taught Arabic at Honeywell to employees traveling to Egypt and Saudi Arabia and taught Arabic to youths at the ISM school for ten years. She lectured at Notre Dame and Purdue Universities regarding women's achievements and career development in the workforce and was an advisor to the Notre Dame Minority Engineering program (MEP).

Soraya received her BSME degree from Southern University in Baton Rouge and MSME degree from the University of Notre Dame. She worked for Honeywell International for 30 years and is a Honeywell Six Sigma Certified Black Belt. She published papers in the IEEE technical journal and lectured at Notre Dame in the area of Control Systems/Application. Soraya was awarded a U.S. patent for the commercial fuel control system on the G.E. 747 Jet Engine.



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Beverly Wu

Lecturer of Chinese
125 S Regina


Alice Siqin Yang

Lecturer of Chinese and Coordinator of China Summer Program
125 S. Regina and 50 Spes Unica, Room 123W
574.284.5380 and 574.284.4263

Dr. Yang is the lecturer of Chinese, the advisor of the Chinese Cultural Club, and the coordinator of the China Summer Program. She is a native Chinese and received her B.A. and M.A. in English and American Literature in China as well as training in Teaching Chinese as a Second Language. After nine years of teaching experience at Wuhan University, she pursued her M.A. in women's studies at the University of Northern Iowa and Ph.D. in comparative and international development education at the University of Minnesota. She received a research grant from the Ford Foundation and completed her dissertation on women's development and gender equity in Chinese higher education.

Besides her teaching assignment, she is the Assistant Director of Global Education at the Center for Women's Intercultural Leadership and supports all study abroad programs. Her areas of interest include: Chinese language, culture, history, gender/women's studies, international education and exchange, and intercultural education. She offered a course on Chinese Women and Society for the China Summer Program in 2009.


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Consuelo Cervantes

Professor of Spanish - Latin America Specialist
127S Regina

Consuelo Cervantes is from Tijuana, México where she completed a Bachelor’s in Hispanic Literature at Universidad Autónoma de Baja California. She holds a Master’s degree in Spanish from San Diego State University, and currently she is a doctoral candidate at University of California, Davis. Her research and teaching interests include contemporary Latin America with an emphasis in Mexico, gender studies, cultural studies, and body representations of women in literature and art. Her dissertation traces the path of the contemporary urban pícaro (rogue) as represented in novels from México and Colombia within a queer perspective. She has been a guest editor at Brújula, the Journal of Latin American Studies from the University of California, Davis.

Consuelo Cervantes’ teaching experience ranges from introductory to advanced levels of Spanish as well as Spanish for Heritage Speakers, composition, and upper division courses. She teaches literatures and cultures from Latin America bringing awareness to its diversity, complexity, and ever-changing identities.

Monserrat Mochon

Professor of Spanish
101S Regina

Ty West

Assistant Professor of Spanish
114S B Regina

  • Ph.D. Spanish, Vanderbilt University
  • B.A. Comparative Literature, University of California, Berkeley

Professor West specializes in interdisciplinary approaches to nineteenth-century culture, history, and literature in Latin America, with emphasis on Mexican literature and culture. More specifically, his current research explores the relationship between travel, intellectual and cultural history, and print culture in the nineteenth-century Mexico.

Professor West has lived extensively in Latin America and Europe and incorporates his experience abroad in his courses at Saint Mary's College where he aims for his students to become curious learners and critical thinkers, reflect on cultural diversity, and value difference.


Jennifer Zachman

Chair of Modern Languages and Associate Professor of Spanish
159N Regina

  • B.A., College of St. Benedict
  • M.A., Ph.D. Pennsylvania State University

Dr. Zachman is a specialist in twentieth century Spanish Literature. Her primary areas of research interest are: Spanish women writers and contemporary Spanish theater. Other areas of interest include: feminism and women's studies, film studies and intercultural studies.


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Mana Derakhshani

Professor of French
153 N Regina and 50 Spes Unica, Room 117W
574.284.5374 and 574.284.4058

  • B.A., M.A., Ph.D., University of Utah

Dr. Derakhshani is Professor of French in the Department of Modern Languages. She has a Ph.D in nineteenth-century French poetry, her first love, however since coming to Saint Mary’s College in 1989 her scholarly work has focused on the pedagogy of languages and intercultural studies. She has developed new courses in Francophone Studies and the Culture of Business in the French-Speaking World, and is currently working on a new course on French Cinema. She was instrumental along with several other colleagues across the campus for creating the Intercultural Studies Minor and has taught the Introduction to Intercultural Studies course every year since its inception. She was one of the co-writers of the proposal to the Lilly Foundation for the Center for Women’s Intercultural Leadership and served as its Interim Director in its first year (2000-2001).

Dr. Derakhshani actively participates in her field by presenting papers, sessions, and workshops related to her research at conferences on a regular basis. With Dr. Julie Storme, she co-directed a highly successful institute for secondary teachers of French, funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities, at Saint Mary's during the summer of 1993, on "Integrating Language and Culture through Content-Based Foreign Language Instruction."

She has published an advanced-level French reader entitled Voix Francophones: le monde contemporain en textes, about which one reviewer wrote, "By encouraging [students] to reflect on such problems as ethnic stereotypes and the destruction of the environment and to examine their own sense of national identity, their religious beliefs, their prejudices, these texts will have an impact greater than their stated goals, and the many 'voices' that they record will resonate in the students' minds long after their course work has been completed." She has authored articles on teaching culture and on intercultural aspects of French cinema.

She was the recipient of the 1995 Saint Mary's College Multicultural Award and of the Indiana 1997 French Teacher of the Year at College Level Award.

Renée A. Kingcaid

Professor of French
104 S Regina

Dr. Kingcaid is a specialist in nineteenth- and twentieth-century French prose fiction, with a special interest in psychoanalysis and narrative theory. She has published over a dozen articles and delivers regular conference papers in these fields.

Her 1992 book, Neurosis and Narrative: The Decadent Short Fiction of Proust, Rachilde, and Lorrain, has been praised as "excellent," "imaginative," and "enlightening"; the Revue d'histoire littéraire de la France cited it as opening "new methodological and interpretative perspectives" on the fiction of late 19th-century France.

Dr. Kingcaid has received numerous grants from Saint Mary's College in support of her teaching and research initiatives. She has presented conference papers in numerous venues on diverse topics in French literature and culture. Dr. Kingcaid has held many positions of leadership on the Saint Mary's campus, including one term as Modern Languages' Department Chair, two terms as Faculty Assembly Chair, and two terms as Chair of the Curriculum Committee.

She particularly enjoys teaching Intermediate French, Transition to French Literature, courses in the French novel, and she frequently supervises independent literary studies.

Julie Storme

Professor of French and Italian
76 Spes Unica, Room 115

  • B.A., M.A., Ph.D., Northwestern University

By training an eighteenth-century specialist (her dissertation was on Montaigne's and Rousseau's conflicted identity as a writer), Dr. Storme has concentrated her professional activities at Saint Mary's College within the field of foreign language pedagogy. She is the author of the workbook for Situations et contextes, a first-year French textbook, and co-authored the intermediate textbook Ouvertures, now in its third edition.

Within the field of language pedagogy, she has special expertise in the teaching of reading and culture. With Dr. Derakhshani, Dr. Storme is a frequent presenter of papers and workshops at pedagogy conferences, and was co-director with her of the NEH-funded Summer Institute for Teachers of French at Saint Mary's in 1993 on "Integrating Language and Culture through Content-Based Instruction."

Dr. Storme has been instrumental in developing the French Studies major, with special courses on France and America from the eighteenth- through twentieth-centuries, and the history of French colonization, for which she received a SISTAR grant (student-faculty research) from Saint Mary's. She also serves on the InterCultural Studies Committee, having served as its first coordinator. Along with others on this committee, she helped establish the InterCultural Studies Minor at Saint Mary's.

Marianne Hahn

Lecturer in French and German
114 S Regina

  • B.A., M.A., University of Notre Dame



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Peter Checca

Assistant Professor of Italian, Counselor of the Rome Program
145 A Regina

  • BA, Boston State College
  • MA, Middlebury College
  • Ph.D., Pennsylvania State University

Dr. Checca has written three manuals which he uses in his courses: Italian for Beginners, Parliamo in Italiano, and Italian through Video. In addition to Introductory Italian, he enjoys teaching Advanced Italian Grammar and History of Italian Cinema.

His research interests focus on Italian cinema and contemporary Italian literature. In 1991, Dr. Checca received the prestigious Maria Pieta Award from Saint Mary's College, in recognition of his outstanding teaching.

Betta LoSardo

Adjunct faculty

  • B.A., Boston College
  • M.A., Middlebury College

Betta LoSardo is an Adjunct Instructor at Saint Mary's as well as an Assistant Professor at DePaul University. Her areas of expertise, in addition to competence-based and adult education theory, include Italian Renaissance art and culture, Italian American Studies, and Corporate Art collecting. Ms. LoSardo has an A.M. from Middlebury College in Italian Studies and has studied at the Universita' di Firenze.

Robert Morse

Senior Lecturer in Italian
167C Regina

  • B.A., University of Pennsylvania
  • M.B.A., George Mason University
  • M.A., University of Virginia

Currently Senior Lecturer in Italian, Mr. Morse first learned the language while living, working, studying, and traveling in Italy for fifteen years. Robert was employed there in the sports business, first as a professional basketball player in the European League, then in sports broadcasting and event management in Rome.

Mr. Morse earned his Masters degree in Italian language and literature from the University of Virginia in 2007. Since his arrival at Saint Mary's that year, Robert has taught Introductory and Intermediate Language, Italian language and Literature, and the upper division courses of Advanced Conversation and Composition, the Italian Short Story, and Italian Cultural Studies. Other areas of academic interest include Italian films, and inter-cultural sports studies.

Umberto Taccheri

Associate Professor of Italian
110 S Regina

  • Laurea in Lettere (BA) Università "La Sapienza" in Rome
  • MA, Ph.D., University of Pennsylvania

A native of Rome, Italy, Dr. Taccheri is a specialist in Medieval and Renaissance literature; his other interests include Cinema Studies and Italian Cultural Studies, and the application of information technology in education.

Dr. Taccheri joined the department of Modern Languages in 2001, after having taught Italian in Academic Institutions for almost a decade. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania with a dissertation on Dante Alighieri, and published articles on Ludovico Ariosto, Luchino Visconti and Thomas Mann, and Dante. Two of his articles on the cinema of Roberto Benigni are in press, and will appear in collections of scholarly essays on the director of Life is Beautiful.

Since at Saint Mary’s, together with Introductory and Intermediate language, Dr. Taccheri has taught upper division courses on Italian Culture and Civilization, Advanced Conversation, the Short Story Tradition and Introduction to Italian Literature I and II.


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Marianne Hahn

Lecturer in German and French
114 S Regina

  • B.A., M.A., University of Notre Dame



Language Learning Center


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Rita Tuse

Modern Languages Staff Assistant
151 Regina