Maria Black '17

Maria Black ’17 majored in Spanish and International Studies. She graduated Summa Cum Laude and was the 2017 recipient of the Shelly Moorman Outstanding Student Award in Spanish. As an undergraduate, she spent her spring junior semester studying abroad in Salvador, Brazil. After graduation, Maria went on to pursue her J.D. at Loyola University of Chicago Law.


Below Maria responds to a few questions about her experiences since graduating from St. Thomas.

What have you been doing since graduating from St. Thomas?

I moved to Chicago to attend Loyola Law School. I am in a specialized legal writing program that has an Intellectual Property focus and I think I would like to practice copyright and/or trademark law. Law school has been very hard, but I feel that St. Thomas prepared me in terms of diligence when it comes to studying and a background knowledge that has translated well to legal studies.

Why did you decide to major in Spanish?

I decided to major in Spanish because, having lived in Argentina, speaking Spanish is part of my everyday life. I see how knowing another language connects you to amazing people that you might not have been able to connect with without that skill. I spoke fluent Spanish, but wanted to refine my grammar skills and have a well-rounded knowledge of the language and its history.

How has knowing Spanish benefited you personally and professionally?

The Spanish major has benefitted me personally because it has connected me to a language that I had been familiar with my whole life in a way that I had not been before: I now understand not only how to speak the language, but also its history, and the reasons for each grammatical rule. It has benefitted me tremendously professionally because employers love to see that you can communicate with a wide array of people. Additionally, when dragging my feet through law texts, it helps me better understand the many Latin phrases used in my texts.

What advice would you give to incoming or current students who are considering majoring or minoring in Spanish?

I would tell them to go for it! The professors are amazing and want you to succeed. Having a Spanish major or minor can lead to so many opportunities. It has helped me in law school, but would also be helpful for a wide array of careers because it allows you to communicate with a whole new world of people and see problems and find solutions though different ways of thinking. With a major or minor in Spanish you become more marketable overall, and it is a great setup for success and happiness.