Christa Cottone '14


 By Jennifer Pugliese '15

 Students looking to take on a double major can find guidance from Christa
 Cottone. As a 2014 Marist graduate, Christa has worked to put both of her
 majors – English and Spanish – to use in her current graduate program at
 Seton Hall University in Orange, NJ.

 As a graduate student in Strategic Communication working toward her
 Master’s degree, this alumna describes how her Marist coursework has
 given her a solid foundation for graduate school. Christa recounts how
 she delivered two mini-grammar lessons as part of a graduate school
 presentation: “I used what I had learned in History of the English
 Language and in Spanish language courses to demystify grammar. I
 wanted to tell my classmates that understanding technicalities makes
 implementing correct language that much easier.”

 The dual major, Christa shows, has value due to the way one works both concentrations together in harmony. Both in creating
 presentations and in teaching others, Christa uses her English and Spanish backgrounds to shape new lessons for the
 students she teaches when she’s not in the graduate school classroom: “I am a full-time graduate student, but I do work as a
 substitute teacher in three schools…During one class, I taught verb conjugations to eighth graders, peppering the lesson with
 grammatical terms. During the lesson, I reiterated what I had learned in History of the English Language and applied the
 knowledge to Spanish grammar. The result was a marrying of my English knowledge and my Spanish knowledge; students
 learned English grammar and Spanish grammar in one class.  By the end of the four classes, students were able to define
 an infinitive and an inflection in both languages.”

 When asked what advice she would give to other students, Christa strongly recommends that students consider studying
 abroad during their time at Marist. Christa spent a semester in Madrid, Spain, and she suggests that studying abroad is
 essential in helping students understand a second language: “Studying abroad helped me to lessen the gap between
 writing and speaking.  Immersion forced me to face my fear of speaking, as I needed to speak Spanish every day, not just
 for a class period twice a week. The first day that I was in Madrid, I could barely utter complete sentences. But, by the end
 of my semester abroad, I could have impromptu conversations in complete, grammatically correct sentences.  I stopped
 having to think about the words that I wanted to say—they just came out.”

 Christa also advises students to “Work hard. It sounds simple, but it can be tough to do.  You are going to become frustrated,
 but that is okay. You do not have to love your majors all of the time. Despite the difficulties, I would not have majored in
 anything else. I learned so much, and all of my hard work has clearly paid off.”