Karen Primorac '62

Headshot of the Spanish department alumna Karen Primorac, class of 1962.

In the fall of 1958 I entered Dickinson intending to major in biology with the goal of preparing myself for medical school. However, four years later I descended the steps of Old West with a diploma that read:  B.A. in Spanish. How did this happen?  In my freshman year I was urged by Professor Kirk to pursue the study of languages for which he assured me I showed great aptitude. I proceeded to major in Spanish and began the study of French. The stimulus and positive influence of my professors took many forms:  lively and interactive classes, informal meetings on campus and in their homes and, especially, encouragement to study abroad (Professor Ramos for a summer study program in Guadalajara, Mexico and Professor Ruiz for graduate school at Middlebury College in Vermont and Madrid, Spain). Professor Ruiz also predicted that I would someday be a fine teacher, a future that I had not really envisioned. However, his word proved to be true when I began a teaching career right out of my M.A. program, as an instructor in Spanish at the University of Maryland.  Marriage followed, a move to Michigan, the arrival of two children and I continued teaching at the college level.  I eventually completed a Ph.D. in Romance Linguistics at the University of Michigan, a discipline that combined my scientific bent with my interest in languages.  I have taught introductory linguistics courses, linguistics applied to language teaching and Spanish language courses during a very satisfying long career.  Over the years I also co-authored three editions of a book designed for language students: English Grammar for Students of Italian. When I retired from the University of Michigan in 2007, I did so with the realization that I had thoroughly enjoyed every minute of the adventure of passing down to the next generations my passion for languages and cultures. I believe I have returned in good measure the gift of rigorous academic formation reinforced with affirming personal support that was so generously bestowed on me as a student at Dickinson.

Al Miller '63

I was a double major at Dickinson - Spanish and Political Science. After graduation in 1963, I went to Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies-SAIS and graduated with an MA in 1965.  In June 1965, I entered an international bank's management training program. After 15 months in NY, I was assigned to Guayaquil, Ecuador, for two years, followed by 2 years in Lima, Peru, 2 years in Recife, Brazil, 6 years in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and 3 years in Mexico City.  I moved back to the U.S. in 1982. I worked in Dallas and San Francisco and in 1989 returned to New York City where I continued working with Latin American clients until I retired in 1999. My Dickinson Spanish language and culture background was the inspiration for my 35-year Latin American business-banking career where Spanish and Portuguese was the primary way I communicated with clients and most colleagues. Since retirement, I've been active in Dickinson Alumni Council and other alumni and class activities.

Pam Searles Miller '65

After graduating from Dickinson in 1965 with a major in Spanish and a minor in Education, I lived briefly in New York City then spent the next 17 years in Latin America.  I taught at the high school level at American/international schools in Guayaquil, Ecuador, and in Recife and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.  I received an MA in Education in 1982 from the University of the Americas in Mexico City; about half of my course work was in Spanish.  Upon returning to the US, I began teaching English as a Second Language at the community college level.  I taught ESL in Marin County, California, for 6 years, and, after moving back to the East Coast, in CT for 15 years.  I retired recently as Coordinator of the Language Lab at Norwalk Community College.  I've "used" my Spanish (and Portuguese, which I learned in Brazil) my entire life, both socially and professionally.  The classroom at Dickinson was the starting point for my life-long interest in languages and culture.  I've always remained "connected" to Dickinson and have been active in alumni and class activities.

Margorie Hamlett '70

Photo of the Spanish and Portuguese department alumna Marjorie Hamlett, class of 1970.

  After graduating from Dickinson in 1970 I went on to become a Senior Language Analyst/ Supervisor at the U.S. Department of Defense in Ft. Meade Maryland until retirement in 1995.

Ten Zheng '72

I am the Multicultural Advocate at the Mental Health Association of Central Carolinas in Charlotte and work in bringing the best of what America has to offer into the lives of our refugees and immigrants.   I presently teach English to speakers of Spanish at Central Piedmont Community College.  I am also a certified Spanish teacher.

One of my biggest joys is spearheading an initiative to bring Grameen Bank (micro-lending) to Charlotte. This will impact the lives of the poorest members of the society.  My other major in International Relations has served me well as I am a key link between our newcomers and our institutional service providers.  I advocate for the under-represented and under-served in our community. 

Stephen Meyer '74

Headshot of the Spanish and Portuguese department alumnus Stephen Meyer, class pf 1974.

  Mr. Meyer assumed his current position of Executive Liaison to U.S. Southern Command, Center for Hemispheric Defense Studies (CHDS) in June 2009 after serving with the U.S. Army's Research, Development and Engineering Command as Director, International Technology Center-Americas (Latin America), conducting technology search throughout Latin America.  Steve was commissioned in the Infantry and subsequently became a Latin America Foreign Area Officer, serving at all levels of the Army's political-military structure.  His assignments included Operations and Exercise officer, U.S. Southern Command, and Operations/Executive Officer, Army Forces, Joint Task Force Bravo, Honduras.  Mr. Meyer obtained a Master's degree from the University of Pittsburgh's Graduate School of Public and International Affairs, followed by assignment to the U.S. Military Academy, West Point, as Assistant Professor of Foreign Languages (Spanish).  Steve returned to Honduras as the Army Program Manager, U.S. Military Group and then moved to the Army Staff's office for political-military affairs, focusing on Mexico and Central America.  A memorable experience was serving as the Army representative to the first Defense Ministerial of the Americas in Williamsburg, VA.  Mr. Meyer's last active duty assignment was as Political-Military Division Chief for SOUTHCOM.  After retiring from the Army he worked at SOUTHCOM as project manager for a Joint Logistics Over-The-Shore exercise and as regional program manager for the Humanitarian Mine Action program. 

Daniel Bloom '76

Headshot of the Spanish and Portuguese department alumnus Daniel Bloom, class of 1976.

Daniel Bloom has led segment research at Bank of America, for the past six years, providing subject matter expertise and insight for multicultural consumers, students and young adults, and military customers.  His research has been instrumental in the following areas:

Developing and managing Student Pulse - Bank of America's online research community.  Student Pulse has made major contributions to the company's understanding of student needs, the drivers of those needs, and student behavior.  This research received the 2010 Ogilvy Award (Gold Level) for Financial Services and the foundation's Research Innovation Award, selected from across all industries, for its contribution to the "Morris" campaign's expansion from college students to high school students. 

 As a research lead for the rebranding research that produced the Bank of Opportunity campaign, Daniel directed the qualitative research for the general market, the Hispanic market and the Asian market. 
Daniel directed the research that informed the Hacia Adelante (Moving Ahead) campaign, which was awarded the 2009 David Ogilvy Award (Gold Level) for "excellence in research." This was the first award presented for multicultural market research. 

Daniel has pioneered alternative techniques for segment research, including: 

  • Mixed (or hybrid) data collection methods to ensure that surveys are multicultural surveys are representative of all relevant Hispanic or Asian acculturation groups 
  • Building online communities to conduct research with young adult populations in an environment in which they are comfortable 
  • Developed alternatives to agreement/disagreement scales and importance ratings to overcome cultural biases relative to these types of questions. 

A bilingual, bicultural researcher Daniel has designed, directed, and analyzed custom qualitative and quantitative research throughout the United States and the globe.  He has moderated more than 500 focus groups in English and Spanish throughout the U.S. and Latin America for clients in the following industries: consumer packaged goods, financial services, health and beauty aids, pharmaceuticals, and politics and government.  He currently is a member of the Advertising Research Foundation's Multicultural Council Advisory Board. 

A marketing research professional more than 25 years, Daniel previously held senior research management positions at The Natural Marketing Institute, TNS, Conway Milliken & Associates, Attitude Measurement, and Opinion Research. 

Daniel began his research career as a Fulbright Fellow at the Universidad Central de Venezuela.  While in Venezuela, Mr. Bloom wrote a weekly column on Venezuelan politics for The Daily Journal, and contributed to Latin American academic journals and newsmagazines.  He is cum laude graduate of Dickinson College, and holds a master's degree in political science from Syracuse University.