Jordan Steel, a lieutenant with the Appleton Fire Department, is the first person to graduate from the Spanish in the Professions certificate program at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay.
“I have enjoyed the class and feel as if it has helped me to improve my conversational Spanish,” said Steel, who is a resident of Allouez.
Steel says he has utilized his Spanish language skills several times while on duty.
“Several weeks ago I responded to assist in a fire investigation,” Steel said. “An individual at the house spoke only Spanish. I served as a translator for the investigator, and was able to get all of his questions answered. I believe that it was comforting for the individual to have someone to converse with in Spanish.”
Steel says the skills he developed in the program have also helped him in his missionary work in Peru, where he has served as a translator for doctors and nurses at a medical mission.
Steel is currently trying to find a used fire engine to donate to the fire department in San Juan de Lurigancho, Peru.
Spanish in the Professions is a seven-course certificate designed to provide students with intermediate proficiency in Spanish. The courses have been popular with professionals from all walks of life, including teachers, law enforcement, health care workers, funeral home workers, bankers, insurance agents, and travelers.
During the last four years, nearly 300 people have participated in at least one of these courses, according to Mona Christensen, the director of camps and conferences for UW-Green Bay’s Division of Outreach and Adult Access.
The Spanish in the Professions courses provide learners with a flexible approach to language learning by combining individual, computer-based and multimedia learning with face-to-face language practice during the fall and spring semesters, and with intensive face-to-face classes during the summer.
Students in the program learn at a comfortable pace, whether they are beginners or intermediate Spanish-speakers. Students will take an online pre-test to determine skill level.
“This course allowed me to begin at a level that was equal to my abilities. That was very attractive to me,” Steel said.
For more information call (920) 465-2775 or visit www.uwgb.edu/outreach/sip/index.htm.