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Kiley Guyton Acosta '03

College language instructor and Ph.D. candidate

Lifelong Learner

Kiley Guyton Acosta '03

"Their support changed the trajectory of my career path, amd helped me excel in graduate school and become a more conscientious teacher."

Learning is in Kiley Guyton Acosta’s blood. She plans to complete her Ph.D. in Caribbean and Brazilian literature in December 2011 at University of New Mexico. She’s also an instructor of record in UNM’s Spanish and Portuguese department and an instructor of Spanish at Albuquerque Academy, an independent college preparatory school. Teaching and research are her passions.

“I love offering my students creative and unconventional approaches to exploring a text,” says Acosta ’03. “Every class becomes a unique journey we embark on together. Most begin with little regard for the value of literature, but they become engrossed in reading, writing, and literary analysis because they see how literature is a window into almost any discipline imaginable. It’s exciting to watch them make these connections and understand their world more fully. I view learning as a continual process, and teaching challenges me to guide this process while remaining a student myself.”

Acosta first discovered she enjoyed learning about the world through literature in a Latin American literature class taught by Mildred Rivera, former associate professor of Spanish. Along with Carmen Ferrero, Rivera encouraged Acosta to major in Spanish.

“I admired their teaching styles, scholarship, and rapport with their students, and I wanted to follow in their footsteps,” says Acosta, who transferred to Moravian as a sophomore. “They helped me hone my talents and build confidence as a scholar. This support and attention changed the trajectory of my career path, and helped me excel in graduate school and become a more conscientious teacher.”

Rivera also encouraged Acosta to take on the Honors program, an experience Acosta believes was critical to her doctoral success. “Learning to present an original argument within a solid theoretical framework and ground my ideas with appropriate evidence and scholarly sources was invaluable,” she says. “I learned so much from presenting a committee with my thesis and the formal defense. Terrifying as that was, it was vital to have the opportunity as an undergraduate. Each step of my Honors thesis prepared me for my master’s degree [UNM, Hispanic literature] and Ph.D.”