Alverno professor Jennifer Flamboe

Alverno Professor Heads to Chile

Jennifer Flamboe will add a new stamp to her passport this summer.

The chair of Alverno’s World Languages department, director of its health-care interpretation program and associate professor of Spanish was selected to participate in the Fulbright-Hays Seminars Abroad program.

Flamboe and 16 other U.S.-based educators will journey to Chile for a firsthand look at the socioeconomic reforms underway there. Participants in the month-long program, administered by the U.S. Department of Education, will pay close attention to the country’s changing education landscape.

When she returns to Alverno, Flamboe plans to share what she has learned through an interdisciplinary GEC course covering culture, geography and economy. She may even bring her students to Chile.

Flamboe hopes to strengthen Alverno’s ties with sister school Catholic University of Temuco, which has hosted Alverno students and sent students here. She also sees the trip as a “great springboard” to build relationships with other Chilean schools.

Flamboe was first bitten by the travel bug when she studied abroad in Ecuador as an undergraduate (she has since taken Alverno students to Ecuador twice, with a third trip expected next year). The experience not only affirmed the former premed student’s switch to a Spanish major but also helped her build up her confidence.

Back in the U.S., Flamboe was working in a health clinic’s medical records office but found herself frequently summoned by doctors to translate for Spanish-speaking patients.

“It opened up this whole new understanding and level of empathy,” she says.

She saw a valuable career opportunity and, after earning her master’s degree from the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee, joined Alverno in 2007 to launch the health-care interpretation program. The program has grown under her leadership and, with the Alverno Interpreter Institute conference hosted on campus twice a year, has gained national attention.

“Alverno is positioned well because of her,” says History professor John Savagian, who nominated Flamboe for the Fulbright-Hays program.

Flamboe, a nationally certified health-care interpreter, continues to work with patients at Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin. She owns Equalingua LLC, which provides interpreting and other language-related services. And last year, she spent an “amazing” two weeks interpreting for and assisting a dental health mission to Comitancillo, Guatemala.

“Jennifer is a massive doer. She is everywhere,” Savagian says.

Flamboe says she can’t overstate the importance of immersing yourself in a new culture.

Research shows that “people who are bilingual or bicultural approach problems differently,” she says. Another perk? “You learn more about yourself.”

This article originally appeared in the summer 2017 issue of Alverno Magazine.

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