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Whitworth faculty highlight, advocate value of Costa Rica Center

September 20, 2013

Whitworth’s Costa Rica Center presents a rare and unique opportunity for liberal arts students studying in the Pacific Northwest. This fall, Professor of History Rafaela Acevedo-Field and her husband Kenneth Field, an adjunct professor, will be teaching at “Whitworth South” to help students immerse themselves in Latin American culture.

Acevedo-Field, an assistant professor of history, will be teaching courses on Latin American history and religion in Latin America, and she will also serve as a discussion group leader for a Core 350 group that will examine issues related to national identity and foreign policy. Acevedo-Field joined the Whitworth faculty in 2011 and has since looked forward to teaching for a semester in Costa Rica. She is particularly excited about introducing her students to Nicaragua and Cuba. She describes Cuba as a Latin American cultural mecca that will help prepare students to become global citizens.

“A cross-cultural education allows students to interact in a global market and develop empathy for people in other cultures,” says Acevedo-Field, who grew up in Mexico City. As they become immersed in Latin American culture, students who take her courses may be surprised to find that history’s outcomes are different than what they’ve been told in the past.

After living on campus for the first week, students will move in with host families near the Costa Rica Center. And in addition to their extensive trips to Cuba and Nicaragua. Kenneth Field, Acevedo-Field’s husband, will teach Intro to Ethnomusicology at the center this fall. The course introduces techniques for studying music cross-culturally. This course will have a special emphasis on Latin-American music. Field, who holds an M.A. in music composition and a Ph.D. in linguistics, began teaching at Whitworth last spring as an Adjunct Professor of music.

Building on Whitworth's 30-plus successful years of study programs in Central America, the Costa Rica Center offers courses that meet general education requirements for students in any major. Courses include intensive Spanish language at various levels; history, culture and civilization of Central America; ecology of Costa Rica; and Core 350 – the capstone course in Whitworth's worldview studies program.

Learn more about the center by clicking here.

Located in Spokane, Wash., Whitworth is a private liberal arts university affiliated with the Presbyterian church. The university, which has an enrollment of 3,000 students, offers 60 undergraduate and graduate degree programs.


Lindy Scott, director of the Costa Rica Center and professor of Spanish, Whitworth University, (509) 777-4837 or

Lucas Beechinor, media relations manager, Whitworth University, (509) 777-4703 or