Passion for language | Instructor Spotlight: Rodney Ulibarri

By Stephanie Stuckey, Staff Reporter

Rodney Ulibarri, faculty mentor, at CNM grew-up bi-lingual, speaking both English and Spanish at home.

He does translations for many of the academic departments of CNM as well as the CNM website, he said.

He is also an instructor for Spanish 101 and 102 level classes, he said.

“I find the differences and similarities of multiple languages very interesting,” he said.

Prior to accepting the Language Translator position at CNM he was primarily a Spanish instructor, but has also taught math courses at CNM as well, he said.

Ulibarri’s history with CNM also includes working as an achievement coach for a program called La Communidad and being a clerical specialist in the registration office, he said.

He has a bachelor degree in psychology and Spanish from the University of New Mexico as well as a masters in Linguistics, he said.

“I worked on a project of linguistic variance called a linguistic atlas which involved the history of Spanish and its relation to New Mexico,” he said.

Ulibarri said the project started in Mexico City, then went to Spain, and finally New Mexico.  He entered the project in 1991 and interviewed people from all over New Mexico.

He interviewed three different generations both female and male from the ages of 18-35, 35-65, and 65+ he said.

“The love for linguistics became evident to me when I was ten years old due to having a sister who is hearing impaired which gave me an opportunity to  learn sign language so I could communicate with her,” he said.

He began to notice similarities in Spanish and sign language in the way certain words related to each other, he said.

Ulibarri recalls his grandparents being literate in Spanish and taught him how to read in Spanish by reading the Bible and singing Spanish hymns with him, he said.

Originally from northern New Mexico, Ulibarri grew-up in the south valley of Albuquerque, he said.

He recalls as a student at Harrison Middle School, the thought of attending college did not even cross his mind, he said.

“Even though I earned above average grades, and made the honor roll, I did not think of college as an option,” he said.

Ulibarri graduated from Rio Grande High School in 1984 where many of his teachers expected him to go onto college and major in medicine or archaeology, he said.

Rodney Ulibarri working hard for students.
Rodney Ulibarri working hard for students.

Photo by Stephanie Stuckey

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