Wartburg gave me opportunities to expand my world view

NAME: Allison Milner 


MAJORS: Spanish and writing

CURRENT EMPLOYMENT: PhD candidate in Spanish linguistics, University of Houston (St. Louis)

WHY WARTBURG: I chose Wartburg because of its focus on a strong liberal arts education, and its gracious financial aid. I also really enjoyed the emphasis on diversity and the fact that I was given so many opportunities to expand my world view and education in Iowa.

WHAT IS THE ONE THING YOU NEVER IMAGINED YOU COULD DO BEFORE COMING TO WARTBURG: Before coming to Wartburg, I was not interested in pursuing Spanish academically or professionally. And now, eight years later, here I am pursuing a degree in Spanish linguistics. The Wartburg Spanish department fundamentally enriched my life in ways I never knew possible.

Allison Milner

WHO ARE YOUR MENTORS/ROLE MODELS AT WARTBURG: My biggest role models at Wartburg are Dr. Zak Montgomery (Spanish), Dr. Rachel Clark (English), and Jette Irgens (Pathways/WRSL). Without their constant encouragement and belief in me, I would not be where I am now. 

HOW DID YOUR WARTBURG EXPERIENCE PREPARE YOU FOR LIFE AFTER COLLEGE: The skills I gained at Wartburg helped me in an indirect fashion. In terms of post-college life, I think that the critical-thinking skills I gained from the curriculum at Wartburg were the best tools.

WHY WAS YOUR WARTBURG EXPERIENCE WORTH IT: My experience was worth it for two main reasons. First, it introduced me to and kindled my love for the Spanish language and culture, which gave me the skills I needed for the workforce. It also gave me an academic and professional support system. The small class size and emphasis on building relationships at Wartburg has led me to still keep contact and seek advice from my professors.

HOW DO YOU LIVE OUT THE WARTBURG MISSION: A big reason that I am pursuing a degree in Spanish linguistics is to be able to use my skills to advance pedagogy in heritage language education. Heritage Spanish speakers (individuals who grow up speaking/hearing Spanish in the home, but then transition to a more English-dominant language use as they grow up and go to school) are a VERY important, VERY present part of the U.S. population, and they have generally been overlooked in the past in terms of language education. With my degree and research, I want to help improve curricular design for heritage Spanish speakers so that they are as prepared in their language abilities upon completion of high school or postsecondary education as any other language learner.

WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE WARTBURG TRADITION: It would be a toss-up between Outfly morning or the entire month of May Term.

WHAT ADVICE DO YOU HAVE FOR CURRENT STUDENTS: Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Always visit your professors during their office hours, even if it is just to say ‘hi.’