College of Liberal Arts

University of Mississippi

Spanish Gives Student New Focus, Direction

Honors student Molly Hutter of Lynchburg, Va., had every intention of majoring in journalism when she got to the University of Mississippi. She had a passion for the field and a desire to be a reporter. Then, while fulfilling her basic journalism requirements for a foreign language, she found new inspiration in her Spanish classes.

“When I started out at Ole Miss I was pleasantly surprised to realize that I had retained everything I had learned in high school [Spanish], and that I enjoyed the language more than I had remembered,” Hutter said.

It didn’t take long for that enjoyment to blossom into full-fledged appreciation. “I began to think, why not take a few more classes? Maybe I can turn this into a minor,” she said. Then the 300-level classes sealed the deal and gave Hutter’s future a new direction.

At the 300-level in Spanish, students move beyond basic grammar and study Spanish and Latin American culture, literature and linguistics, as well as more advanced grammar. “I loved everything about it—the language itself, the culture and the history behind it. I decided then to turn that minor into a second major,” she said.

With her double major in mind, Hutter focused her Honors thesis on censorship in the Spanish press under the Franco dictatorship, and changes in freedom of the press after Spain’s transition to democracy in the mid-1970s.

While she admits it was difficult, she loved studying the Spanish press, Spain’s history, and some basic fundamental elements of journalism more in depth. “My Spanish, journalism and honors classes all prepared me well for the level of analytical thinking that the study demanded,” she said.

Hutter’s passion for the Spanish language shows in her work. Melvin Arrington, professor of modern languages, teaches Hutter in an upper-level Spanish course. “Molly is doing work in that course that is equal to what my best graduate students are doing,” Arrington said. “That’s how good she is.”

According to Hutter, the best part about majoring in Spanish is that her love for the language happened organically. “If you had told me my first day at Ole Miss that I was going to end up with a degree in Spanish I wouldn’t have believed it,” she said. She also credits the university as a factor. “The Spanish curriculum here is really strong and offers an interesting and diverse set of classes. I ended up really connecting with the courses and with the language and found a passion of mine I never expected.”

After graduating in May, Hutter hopes to pursue a career in international journalism and plans to one day see Spain. “I can’t wait to make it over there and to surround myself in the culture I’ve learned about and learned to love,” she said.