This award is presented each year at the department's reception honoring graduates, which is held the day before graduation. It is given to a limited number of outstanding, graduating Spanish and Portuguese majors. The students are chosen based on the GPA and other criteria decided upon by the department faculty. The award will consist of a certificate and a cash prize.
The Department of Spanish, Portuguese and Latin American Studies is pleased to recognize the creative efforts of students who have chosen to write in Spanish. In early April, there will be a call for submissions in poetry and prose fiction. A department committee will make one award in each category. The award will consist of a certificate and a cash prize. These awards will be presented at the department's annual reception prior to commencement.
The Dr. James A. Castañeda Award in Spanish Literature is given in memory of Dr. Castañeda who taught at Rice in the Department of Hispanic Studies from 1961-2008. Many students remember Prof. Castañeda as both a dedicated professor of the department (particularly Golden Age/Don Quijote), as well as a great supporter of Rice Athletics.
This award will be presented to a student who has submitted the best essay in Spanish or Golden Age Literature. The essays will be collected by the undergraduate advisor and given to the committee for review in early April. Once the winning essay is chosen, the essay will be shared with Dr. Castañeda's son, Prof. Chris Castañeda and his family. The presentation of the award will be presented at the department's annual reception prior to commencement. Besides a certificate, this award carries a cash prize.
This award is given to the student who writes the best undergraduate honors thesis* (SPPO 495) in the department of Spanish, Portuguese and Latin American Studies during each year in which the prize is granted. The prize is named after Maria Teresa Leal, Professor Emerita of Hispanic Studies, who served Rice faithfully for over three decades. The award was established to recognize her outstanding contributions to Rice and the Hispanic community, to reward superior undergraduate work in the field of Spanish and Portuguese, and to demonstrate our program's ongoing commitment to excellence in this academic field. The award will consist of a certificate and a cash award, as well as a fine book, print, or artifact chosen to symbolize Hispanic letters, art, or culture. This award will be presented at the department's annual reception prior to commencement.
The department advises its majors in Spanish & Portuguese who are interested in writing an honors thesis to investigate first a potential subject in an independent study (SPPO 490). From that independent study, besides completing whatever writing the director has deemed appropriate, the student is advised to produce a 5-10 page prospectus for an honor thesis.
This prospectus must be approved by the professor who has agreed to direct a senior thesis. That prospectus is then reviewed by the faculty of the department. If approved, then the student can register for the honor thesis course number (SPPO 495).
It is possible for a student to submit a prospectus without having had an independent study. Such a student would nonetheless be required to find a director who must approve the prospectus before its submission to the department.
By mid April, all senior theses are encouraged, but not required to be completed. Those students who wish to be considered for an award for the best honors thesis must submit by mid-April. Otherwise, if an honors thesis is not submitted to the awards committee, the deadline for completion is set by the director of the honors thesis.
Image: Rice Univesity class trip to Cuba. Photo by Professor Luis Duno-Gottberg, Department of Spanish, Portguese, and Latin American Studies