OUS Scholar: Brianna Botello ’25

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Brianna Botello portrait
Brianna Botello ’25

Major: Spanish

Minor: Latin American Studies 

Hometown and State: Houston, Texas 

What are your favorite memories or activities as a Colgate student?
My favorite memories at Colgate have been through my work with the Spanish department and the Keck Center. Throughout my two years at Colgate, I have been able to assist with putting on plays that tackle social and political issues that face many countries within Latin America. Last semester, I also had the opportunity to help with the planning of the arts and humanities annual speaker event, where I was able to meet and work with Spanish playwright Miguel Alcantud. Thanks to this opportunity, I am currently working on translating his book, Microteatro, from Spanish to English to be published. Through my work at the Keck Center, I have been able to meet some of my best friends on campus and have also gotten the opportunity to explore different linguistic opportunities outside of Colgate. 

You participated in the Middlebury Summer Language Immersion Program. Please share about the application process and the overall experience.
This past summer, I had the opportunity to participate in Middlebury’s Portuguese Summer Language School Program. My interest in studying Portuguese was driven by my desire to attend graduate school to obtain my PhD in Spanish and Portuguese colonial literature. I was fortunate enough to receive funding, from both Middlebury and Colgate’s Summer Funding grant, that allowed me to fully immerse myself in the Portuguese language and culture. Committing to only speaking in Portuguese in an isolated environment was extremely challenging for me. However, I believe that it gave me the confidence and experience that I needed to tackle other difficult and uncomfortable challenges. I also met some of the most brilliant people with whom I share a lot of similar interests. I have stayed in contact with many of them and have received a lot of support and encouragement from them to pursue my dream of attending graduate school. As a result of my experience, I was driven to motivate other students at Colgate to begin studying Portuguese independently. We now have a weekly language table in Frank Dining Hall, where we practice and converse in Portuguese. 

My biggest recommendation for navigating the application process would be to start early! The Keck Center’s director, Cory Duclos, is always eager and willing to meet with students to discuss the options available to them when looking to study a language. I also think that meeting with advisers at Career Services to have your resume certified early is very important. 

What are some of your extracurricular activities on campus?

  • Colgate University Romance Languages Department 
  • Spanish Tutor 
  • Latin American Student Organization [Vice President] 
  • Colgate University Keck Center for Language Studies [Student Ambassador] 
  • Sigma Delta Pi Spanish Honor Society, Colgate University Chapter [Secretary] 
  • Colgate University Keck Center for Language Studies Portuguese Table of Babel [Founder] 
  • Colgate University Keck Center for Language Studies Foreign Language Program [Second Grade Spanish Teacher Volunteer]


What advice would you have for others interested in OUS and Colgate?

I would encourage students interested in OUS and Colgate to reach out to faculty members in their respective fields of interest to get a feel for what Colgate has to offer them academically and professionally. I also think that connecting with OUS scholars who are at Colgate is important. Hearing other students’ perspectives about OUS and Colgate, as well as the personal experiences that they have had on campus, is imperative to making an informed decision regarding your education. I connected with two OUS scholars my senior year of high school to hear what their experiences were like on campus, and this allowed me to make an informed decision on attending Colgate.