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Ph.D. candidate is first FIU student to receive Modern Language Association’s committee appointment


Svetlana Tyutina, a Ph.D. student in the Department of Modern Languages, has been appointed to the Modern Language Association (MLA) Committee on the Status of Graduate Students in the Profession.

The committee focuses on issues that affect graduate students in language and literature. Since her appointment, she has met with association officials at the MLA headquarters in New York and is preparing a panel discussion on balancing academia and personal life for the 2014 MLA Congress in Chicago.

“No student at FIU has received this honor from the association,” said Maida Watson, professor of Spanish and a member of Tyutina’s doctoral committee. “Most students elected to the graduate student committee have graduated with Ph.D. It’s rare to have a candidate be a part of it. I’m so glad she’s being recognized for her research and involvement in the field.”

Svetlana TyutinaTyutina is set to earn a doctorate degree in Latin-American and Spanish Literature in 2014. Originally from Leningrad, USSR, Tyutina grew up speaking Russian and started learning Spanish at age five. She is also fluent in English and Portugese and speaks Arabic and German at intermediate levels.

Tyutina earned a bachelor’s degree in Linguistics in 2004 from the Herzen State Pedagogical University of Russia. She earned a master’s degree in Latin-American & Spanish Literature from the University of Northern Iowa in 2005. While attending a conference in Peru, Tyutina met Watson and Maria Asuncion Gomez, who gave her information on the Ph.D. program and encouraged her to apply to FIU.

At FIU, Tyutina is the president of the Modern Languages Graduate Student Organization and active member of the Graduate Student Senate. Tyutina has also worked with international press during Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) soccer games, heads of state during the 300th anniversary celebrations of St. Petersburg, and with the director of the National Academy of Tango, Horacio Ferrer, as an interpreter.

“I always say I didn’t choose Spanish, Spanish chose me,” Tyutina said. “My most exciting life experiences have always been linked to the language. It sounds cliché, but knowing different languages helps you see things from a different perspective. Each language is its own world. I feel I’ve become a better person by understanding and appreciating other cultures.”

Tyutina’s appointment to the Modern Language Association’s Committee on the Status of Graduate Students in the Profession will run through June 2015.

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