Meet Our Language Coaches and Staff


Karina Barragan

Year: Sophomore

Major: Criminal Justice and Psychology

Minor: Spanish

Hey, my name is Karina Barragán. I was born in the United States, but come from a family of Mexican immigrants. At the age of five, I was a Spanish speaker learning English. As of now, English is my dominant language, but I still continue to speak Spanish in my everyday life. Being a native Spanish and English speaker, I have seen the priceless benefits that come from knowing more than one language. As manager I hope that my interest for language, culture, and getting others excited about learning a new language grows.



Cameron Christoffel

Year: Senior

Major: International Business and Spanish

Minor: Global Studies

Hello everyone, my name is Cameron. I love learning about the history, nations, cultures, races, and traditions that surround all of the world’s languages. I’ve been actively learning Spanish ever since 7th grade (9 years), have traveled to Spain on 5 separate occasions, and even did a year-long study abroad at La Universidad de Carlos III de Madrid. My role in the language lab is to coach students on how they can pursue their passion for learning languages outside the classroom. I am also an event planner for the Weiss Language Center and I run Marist’s campus-wide Languages at Marist Facebook and Twitter pages.



Lenni Joya

Year: Freshman

Major: Spanish and Political Science

Minor: Italian and Global Studies

Hi everyone, I am Lenni. I arrived to the United States from El Salvador in 2011 at the age of 15. As many immigrants in the United States, I did not speak English at all. I started learning English the same year, and then after two years I began learning Italian as my third language. Spanish is my first language and I am very proud to speak all those languages. Each single language has a powerful meaning for me.



Diana Carballo

Year: Sophomore

Major: Political Science (International Relations)

Minor: Global Studies

Hi, my name is Diana. I am an International Student from Mexico. Spanish is my first language but I started speaking German in school when I was 5. Did all my primary and secondary education in German. I Started English and French at 13 and I went to school in Orange County, California at 18.



Hadeline Hanonik

Year: Freshman

Major: Psychology

Hello everyone! My name is Hadeline Hanonik and I am originally from Paris, France although I was born in the states. I am fluent in French and speak it constantly with my family! My job at the language center is to organize any French events for students to partake in as well as helping anyone with work regarding the language or just learning it in general. 



Ben Pousada

Year: Sophomore

Major: Computer Science

My name is Ben Pousada. My grandparents on my mom’s side were born in Spain and Spanish was my mother’s first language so I've grown up speaking it my whole life and absolutely love the language. I hope that my work here at the Weiss Language Center will show other students how amazing other languages are, and that they don't have to be boring to learn. My specific job here is to find video games that will teach a language, but still be enjoyable to play. 



Shannen O’Brien

Year: Senior

Major: Spanish and Secondary Education

Minor: Psychology

 ¡Hola a todos! I have been learning Spanish since I was five years old. My first visit to Spain was in April 2011 with my high school, where I celebrated my 17th birthday. I return to Marist after an academic year abroad in Madrid, where I celebrated my 21st birthday. I am the recipient of the Raymond F. Weiss Memorial Scholarship and the Donald P. Schmidt ’57 Memorial Scholarship, both for Modern Language majors. This year I will be working as a Spanish Coach in the Language Lab.



Giovanni Gonzalez

Year: Sophomore

Major: Political Science and Spanish

Minor: Latin American and Caribbean Studies and Global Studies

Hey everyone! My name is Giovanni Gonzalez, but I go by Gio. I was born in Connecticut, but my family is from Mexico. I learned Spanish and English at the same time when I was little, but I would say I have more fluency in English than I do in Spanish. Although I was spoken to in Spanish for my whole life, I only started speaking it when I was around 12 years old. I began French in high school and I am trying to better my French through personal studies.