Featured Students

Featured Student: Jacob Woosley


                                                   This picture was provided by Haley Hayes Photography

  • Name: Jacob Woosley
  • Year: Senior
  • Major: Spanish with Teaching Certificate
  • Hometown: Mt. Vernon, Illinois
  • Quirky Fact: I am a sports addict and my football team left me (Rams).
  • Favorite thing to eat on campus: T-Room Mozzarella Sticks
  • Best movie you’ve seen recently: The Force Awakens
  • Favorite movie: Anything with Leonardo DiCaprio
  • Favorite book: The Harry Potter Series
  • What you like to do on campus: Bench next to the library, take naps on the quiet floor of the library and look for Pokémon in the Quad.


Q & A:

Tell us about yourself:

I’m from a decently sized town in Southern Illinois called Mt. Vernon, and I am a senior here at Murray State. I love sports, I am usually either watching sports or attempting to play them, though I am not very good at actually playing sports. I am in Alpha Sigma Phi, a fraternity at Murray State which I am really involved in. I really enjoy hanging out with my fraternity brothers as well as my other friends on campus. I’m a big Star Wars geek as well as a technology geek, so I really enjoy playing games. I tend to be really competitive when I am playing games, sometimes even a little too competitive.

What made you come to Murray State?

I only looked at a couple of colleges when I was in high school. I looked at one that was probably the most popular for people to attend, that live in the Mt. Vernon area. Even though it was a lot closer to home, I just wasn’t impressed with it. Then I came to Murray and I just kind of fell in love with it. And now that I’m here with everything, academics, being involved with a great fraternity, and all the people I’ve met here, it has really started to become home for me. It’s going to really make graduating and leaving even harder. I may even decide to stay here for grad school.

Who have you enjoyed working with?

I have really enjoyed my time in the Department of Modern Languages. When I was a freshman I had a really great Spanish professor who is no longer here, I think he moved to Pennsylvania, whose name is Dr. Messer. Dr. Bodevin, who retired last year was also great. Some other professors I’ve enjoyed working with are Martin Kane, Dr. Romero-Gonzalez, and Dr. Picech-Reisinger. They are not only great professors but really great people who really care about whether you succeed or not. Sometimes, when they notice that you’re having troubles, they will reach out to you both inside and outside the classroom in order to make sure you get the help you need.

Who inspires you in life?

Definitely my parents, they work really hard, to help me be able to attend here, to make a great life for not only themselves but also for my brothers and I. When I was still new to the fraternity, there were some of the older guys that I really looked up to and aspired to be like. They made me want to try to get a position within the fraternity and to make a name for myself on campus as well as to just be a good student.

What made you choose the major you did?

When I was in high school I kind of literally had no talent, which is still kind of true. However, I was always pretty good at Spanish and I thought it was a lot of fun and really enjoyed the classes as well as the language itself. I especially enjoyed using my knowledge of Spanish when I studied abroad in Mexico this past summer. When I first came to college, I knew I wanted to do something with Spanish, but, I didn’t think I wanted to be a teacher at that point. As I started helping the lower level Spanish students more and more and seeing that I was able to really help them when they were struggling I came to truly enjoy teaching. Seeing them go from not doing well, to doing well and really succeeding in their classes has been really rewarding to me. This has all really pushed me towards a teaching career in Spanish.

Work related to your major:

I studied abroad in the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico this past summer, and I really had a blast while there. While I was there, once a week I would go to the Spanish/English Library of Merida and hold conversation tables that would last for 3-4 hours. The main purpose was so that the American’s who were visiting could practice their Spanish and the local Mexicans could practice their English. What was the most rewarding to me, was being able to be in a country that wasn’t my own, and using a language that I have acquired and worked so hard to learn, and build relationships, make plans, and hang out with people all while using a different language.

I am currently working on my senior thesis right now and will be looking into the effects of study abroad as well as the benefits and how it can help you to be more competitive in the work place when you are looking for a job.

I have also worked at a Mexican restaurant for the past three summers. This might not seem super professional or anything, but, just being able to use the language constantly and for various purposes, both casually and professionally, with people who were born and raised in Mexico has been a lot of fun and has really helped me to get better. It has really helped me to learn all sorts of things that you might not get to learn in the classroom.

Future plans:

I am currently planning to attend grad school and will soon begin to apply to a few programs. I could be a high school teacher, or if I get my master’s, being a professor someday would be really cool. I don’t really know where I want to teach as of yet. I really love Mexico and I do plan to go back eventually no matter what. But I wouldn’t mind teaching here in America either. However, I don’t plan to be limited to just teaching; I would love to be a translator. Since I love sports so much, and what with all the athletes who come from Cuba or other Latina American countries that don’t speak any English, to be able to serve as a translator for them to the media and coaches would be a lot of fun.


Jacob is an enthusiastic student who transmits his passion to everyone in the class so he is a pleasure to work with. When he was a student in my class I could count on him for his insights and perspective. Now, as his advisor for his senior project on the differences between the Educational systems of the United States and Cuba, I have had the opportunity to work more closely with him  as he develops and hones his research skills. I am looking forward to seeing the outcome of his research and I am confident he will be a great teacher—in many ways he already is!

-Tanya Romero Gonzalez

From having work with him a couple of times, I can say that he is a warm individual with a positive predisposition; a  nice person to be around.

-Elena Picech Reisinger


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