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Ryan Bessett

Associate Teaching Professor, Department of Literature

What excites you most about coming to UC San Diego?

“I am excited to be joining UC San Diego because of its vibrant academic community, its multicultural community, and especially due to its proximity to the U.S.-Mexico border. I am also pleased to be part of UC San Diego as it strives to become a Hispanic-Serving Institution.”

“Me emociona unirme a UC San Diego debido a su comunidad académica dinámica, su comunidad multicultural, y sobre todo por su proximidad a la frontera entre USA y México. Me alegro de llegar en un momento en que UC San Diego se esfuerza por llegar a ser una Institución de Servicio a la Comunidad Hispana.”

Why did you choose your field of study?

“My first interest was Spanish and then I found linguistics. I was fascinated by how power dynamics affect people’s prejudices about the way others speak and that led me to study sociolinguistics and especially the variation in Spanish/English bilingual communities along the U.S.-Mexico border.”

“Mi primer interés fue el español y luego descubrí la lingüística. Me fascinaba cómo las dinámicas de poder afectan los prejuicios que la gente tiene sobre la forma en que otros hablen y eso me llevó a estudiar la sociolingüística, en particular la variación en comunidades bilingües de español e inglés en la frontera entre USA y México.”

What advice do you have for students studying the arts and humanities?

“Follow your passion, read a lot, and, above all, develop your ability to think critically. These are skills that will later not only be valuable in a humanities career but also in life.”

“Sigan su pasión, lean mucho y, sobre todo, desarrollen su habilidad de pensar críticamente. Estas son habilidades que no solo serán útiles en una carrera en las humanidades, sino también en la vida.”

How do you view your role relative to the greater regional community?

“Given that UC San Diego is part of a border community, I feel that my role is to serve the Latinx community and especially to promote the use of Spanish (and bilingual speech) at the university and in the community. I strive to create a safe space for my students to use their Spanish in a stress-free environment.”

“Dado que UC San Diego es parte de una comunidad fronteriza, siento que mi papel es servir a la comunidad latina y, sobre todo, promover el uso del español (y el habla bilingüe) en la universidad y en la comunidad. Me esfuerzo por crear un espacio seguro donde mis estudiantes puedan usar su español en un ambiente cómodo y sin estrés.”

What is something about yourself that is not typically included in your bio?

“I really enjoy nature and I am very happy in San Diego, exploring all its beaches and trails.”

“Disfruto mucho de la naturaleza y me siento muy a gusto en San Diego explorando todas sus playas y todos sus senderos.”

Ryan Bessett earned a PhD in Hispanic Linguistics from the University of Arizona. His research interests center around language variation and change, Spanish in contact, bilingualism, Spanish as a heritage language, language acquisition and Spanish phonology. He is especially interested in the Spanish spoken around the U.S.-Mexican border and through variationist methodology differentiating contact-induced change from language-internal variation by comparing the Spanish of monolingual speakers in Sonora, Mexico to the Southern Arizona bilingual Spanish of speakers who come from families from Sonora.