Tezanos-Pinto follows passion, makes difference in other’s lives

Jill GordonRosa Tezanos-Pinto, Associate Professor of Spanish and Director of the Latino Studies program in the IU School of Liberal Arts at IUPUI

By April Klingler, Liberal Arts News Bureau

For Rosa Tezanos-Pinto, Associate Professor of Spanish and Director of the Latino Studies program in the IU School of Liberal Arts at IUPUI, studying South America and its people and teaching others about Latin American literature and culture is her passion and her vocation. 

Originally from Lima, Peru, Tezanos-Pinto’s education brought her to North America while also sharpening her interest in literature from Latin American countries and “how Hispanic writers envision their nations.” 

Tezanos-Pinto recently returned to her home continent, spending time in Argentina during her sabbatical to learn more about how Argentine writers, who have left their homeland due to “relocation, exile, and displacement,” reflect upon their experience. During her one-month stay, she discovered just how deeply the writers’ political and social worries intertwined with their writing. 

“During the nineteenth century several writers –such as Eduarda Mansilla– wrote important books about their experience in the United States or were entrusted by the Argentine government to develop diplomatic and economic ties with the United States,”  said Tezanos-Pinto. “Juan Bautista Alberdi, Domingo Faustino Sarmiento (seventh president of Argentina), Leopoldo Lugones, Eduardo Mallea were among several writers who served as delegates or ambassadors in this country. By contrast,  the political instability in the twentieth century compelled a number of writers –Sylvia Molloy, Luis Alberto Ambroggio, Luisa Valenzuela, among them–  to leave Argentina. These migrations turned to be very productive in all cases.  The well-known author, Ricardo Piglia, who had stayed in Buenos Aires during the 1976-1983 Military Junta, wrote a critical part of his work while teaching at Princeton University.” 

In addition to being known for her scholarship, Tezanos-Pinto has been recognized with many awards for excellence in teaching including the Indiana Teacher of the Year Award (2013) from the state’s Association of Teachers of Spanish and Portuguese,  the Indiana University Trustees Teaching Award (2012 and 2010), and the Jaguar Athletics Favorite Professor Award. For her service and civic engagement, she was named a Boyer Scholar (2008) and received the Joseph T. Taylor Excellence in Diversity Award (2014). 

The key to Tezanos-Pinto’s success is “to have a plan, work hard, and inspire others with your passion and ethics.” She encourages her students and others to follow their dreams—as she did—and to make a difference in the lives of others. 

She hopes that the Latino Studies Program which she founded in 2012, will help some IUPUI students on this very path as they gain the tools they need to live in an increasingly diverse society. 

Tezanos-Pinto says, “It’s been a pleasure to have had this career. My life’s work has only become better and better.”

Posted August 5, 2014