Faculty Spotlight: Marisela Funes
By SNEHA JAISWAL ‘22
The 2019-2020 school year welcomes Marisela Funes, the newest member of the Modern Languages Department. Funes teaches Spanish Levels 3, 4, and 4 Honors in addition to her duties as dorm staff in Norris House. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in English from the University of Illinois, Urbana; a Master’s in Linguistics and Spanish from St. Louis University; and a Ph.D. in Latin American Literature and Spanish from the University of Illinois, Urbana. Before coming to Milton, Funes taught at the University of Maine at Farmington, the University of Maine at Orono, Colby College, and the University of Illinois, Urbana, her alma mater. She also held a position as Language Chair at Brewster Academy.
What brought you to Milton Academy?
I had a connection to Milton through a friend of mine when I was a professor at Colby College; she went to Milton, and her mother was a teacher here. When I was at Colby, I wondered what it would be like to teach at a boarding school, since I had taught only as a professor at various colleges or universities. My first impression of Milton Academy, was that Milton was the closest a high school could get to college, and I thought that it would be a good mix for me. After Colby, I was at Brewster for two years because I thought I wanted to be an administrator, but I learned that my heart is in the classroom. So, when I heard that there was an opening here, I applied for the job. One interesting fact about my connection to Milton is that Hugo Caraballo, who left the Milton Spanish Department last year, was my student at Colby! The year I left Colby, he came to Milton, so he studied with me for the courses he was teaching here. Now, everything has come full circle.
Why did you decide to teach Spanish?
Teaching is the only job I’ve ever had! I’ve taught since I was twenty-one, when I was in college. I was a tennis coach then, and I taught English in Japan as well, so I knew that I wanted to teach from a young age. After I graduated from college, I lived in Spain, and after that experience I knew I wanted to be a professor of Spanish linguistics or literature.
What goals do you hope to accomplish at Milton?
My goal is always to connect with my students. I would love to share with Milton students the experience of living in Latin America and reading Spanish literature, and to explore the culture with them through movies. I also want to get to know as many students as I can and remember everybody’s names.
What do you do outside of teaching?
I love to cook, host parties, play with my kids, play tennis, play with my dog, read, and travel. Japan was one of my favorite places to travel to, as well as Argentina, Spain, and Peru.
If you could live anywhere in the world where would you choose to live?
I don’t want to say something corny like ‘right here!’, but I am very happy right here. If I had to choose, I would pick Japan because everything about my experience living there—even though I was there for just a year as an English teacher before graduate school. I would encourage everyone to try [teaching English in another country] after college because it’s a great way to travel, share your culture, be an ambassador for the United States, and learn about other cultures.
You can find Funes in the Modern Language Department, in Norris House, or walking around campus. Stop by to say hello!