Elizabeth Zavala

Elizabeth A. Zavala is a student at New Mexico State University studying for a degree in Spanish. She was born in Bakersfield, California, but for most of her life, she was living in Guanajuato, Mexico. At the moment she is working cleaning houses here in Las Cruces, NM. Her future plans are to graduate in December, continue on to her master’s degree and then go to a doctorate. She wants to be a Spanish teacher and specialize in literature, because she loves reading. What she likes to do most to have fun is to travel, read, and dance cumbia.


Project Description:

Title: Border Spanish in New Mexico.

Abstract:¬†There has been significant research conducted on U.S. Spanish, documenting how Spanish spoken in the U.S. differs from other varieties of Spanish. Studies have discussed New York Spanish, Miami Spanish, Los Angeles Spanish, and even Northern New Mexico Spanish. The purpose of this project is to document what Southern New Mexico Spanish sounds like. Through interviews conducted with Spanish speakers¬†around the southern part of the state, we will describe some of the unique features of the sounds, structures, and meanings that make this area¬īs Spanish unique.



  • Project description, timeline, and milestones developed with mentor; on file with DSP
  • Complete half of project milestones
  • Attend a professional conference (without presenting)
  • Present scholarly work at conference, exhibition, recital, film festival, reading, etc.
  • Author or co-author a manuscript submitted for publication
  • Attend workshop on applying for the National Science Foundation (NSF) Graduate Research Fellowship (GRF) program
  • Apply for graduate or professional school

Completed benchmarks listed in italics


Elizabeth’s mentor: Dr. Kate Bove:

Dr. Kate Bove is an Assistant Professor of Spanish in the department of Languages and Linguistics. Originally from North Carolina, she received her PhD in Hispanic Linguistics from the University of Georgia. Her primary research interests are language contact, semantics, and bilingualism. Her research primarily focuses Yucatec-Spanish contact in Yucatán, Mexico. In her free time, she enjoys traveling, hiking, and salsa dancing.