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Sellers, Julie A. 1973- (Julie A. Kruger)

Sellers, Julie A. 1973- (Julie A. Kruger)

PERSONAL:

Born January 29, 1973, in Newton, KS; daughter of Robert Lee (a farmer) and Florence Leah (a registered nurse and homemaker) Sellers; married Philip John Vaske (a database analyst), June 10, 2006. Ethnicity: "White." Education: Kansas State University, B.A. (Spanish; summa cum laude), 1994, B.A. (French; summa cum laude), 1996, M.A. (Spanish literature), 1996; attended Center for Bilingual Multicultural Studies, Cuernavaca, Mexico, between 1994 and 1996, University of Santiago de Compostela, 1996-97, and University of Kansas, 1997-98; University of Wyoming, M.A. (international studies), 2000, Ph.D., 2005.

ADDRESSES:

Home—Laramie, WY. Office—Wyoming Department of Education, 2020 Grand Ave., Ste. 500, Laramie, WY 82070. E-mail—[email protected]; [email protected]

CAREER:

University of Wyoming, Laramie, assistant lecturer in Spanish, 1999-2005; Wyoming Department of Education, Laramie, foreign language training specialist, 2005—, codirector of Wyoming Teacher Policy Institute, 2006—. Conference presenter in the United States and abroad. Laramie Municipal Court, interpreter and translator, 2001—; Circuit Court of the 2nd Judicial District, Laramie, interpreter and translator, 2003—. Piano teacher, sometimes under name Julia A. Kruger.

MEMBER:

Modern Language Association of America, American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages, National Society of Collegiate Scholars (distinguished member), Phi Beta Kappa, Phi Kappa Phi, Pi Delta Phi, Sigma Delta Pi.

AWARDS, HONORS:

Rotary ambassadorial scholar in Spain, 1996-97.

WRITINGS:

Merengue and Dominican Identity: Music as a National Unifier, McFarland (Jefferson, NC), 2004.

Also author of poetry and short stories. Contributor to books, including Warming Up the Chill: Teaching against the Structures, edited by Laurie Milford, Jane Nelson, and Audrey Kleinsasser, University of Wyoming (Laramie, WY), 2003. Contributor to periodicals, including Hispanic Culture Review, Passport Journal, and (under name Julie A. Kruger) Confluencia and Troika.

SIDELIGHTS:

Julie A. Sellers told CA: "I cannot remember a time when I was not fascinated by stories and words. I grew up in rural south-central Kansas, where it was common to swap stories from the days gone by as well as the day before. I especially loved listening to my grandfather tell stories of the olden days, and as he painted those scenes with his words, I saw then vividly in my imagination. Before I could read myself, I begged for others to read to me and paged through books just to look at the words. As a result, I could read before I ever began school, and I started making up my own stories in my imagination, usually with the farm animals or my dolls as protagonists, before I could actually write them down. Growing up on a farm, I had to find a way to entertain myself, since I didn't have the luxury of next-door neighbors. I spent hours reading on the school bus as it made its rounds before driving the ten miles to school. It was this combination, I believe, of listening to colorful stories, reading constantly, having the necessity of learning to entertain myself, and the open spaces of Kansas in which to dream and imagine that contributed by my writing. I have reflected on my rural upbringing in several essays, and nature is often prevalent in my writing, thanks to the hours I spent outside as a child.

"A broad array of writers and works has influenced my own writing. As a girl, my favorite author was L.M. Montgomery, with her Anne of Green Gables reigning supreme as my all-time favorite book. I was exposed to literature in other languages as I progressed through my studies of Spanish and French in college. I was especially fond of the poetry of Gustavo Adolfo Bécquer, Rubén Dario, José Gorostiza, and Pablo Neruda. These, among others, have influenced my poetry in Spanish and English. Isabel Allende's amazing storytelling abilities and plots that interweave generations to tell family tales also touched a chord with me. Similarly, Julia Álvarez integrates the historical with the personal to create moving novels that span the decades. Turning to family stories as a base for my creative writing is steadily becoming more and more common in my short stories, and I have in mind a novel that would follow a similar pattern.

"My first book, Merengue and Dominican Identity: Music as a National Unifier, grew out of my interest in questions of identity in Latin America. In 1993 I spent the summer living and working in the Dominican Republic as part of a community service project. It had been a life-changing experience, and out of it I developed a love for the country and a taste for merengue music. As I studied more about identity processes, my experiences in the Dominican Republic kept returning to my mind, so I decided to join these two interests through my research. My hope for this book is that it will expose others to a place and culture that are dear to me, and that it will encourage readers to reflect on their own identity."

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