LSA Senior Dan Sulfaro’s passion for learning languages was sparked during his high school Spanish classes and has continued to play a significant role in his U-M career. Sulfaro, a Spanish major, is pursuing a double-minor in Italian and Computer Science. He also has studied Ojibwe at U-M and is interested in learning Japanese.
“I’d like to keep learning languages,” Sulfaro remarked.
During his U-M career, Sulfaro has actively pursued various opportunities connected to his interest in language-learning. He participated twice in a spring U-M study abroad program in Ferrara, Italy, once as a student and again two years later as a Program Assistant. In his role as a Program Assistant, Sulfaro held a variety of responsibilities, including assisting students with translation needs, chaperoning excursions, and serving as a resident advisor. He mentioned one of the highlights of his return trip to Ferrara was reconnecting with his original host family. Sulfaro noted that his host mother was impressed with how his Italian speaking proficiency had developed over the course of two years.
In Ann Arbor, Sulfaro participates in the Language Exchange Club, in which he speaks Spanish weekly with a partner. He also conducts Spanish linguistics research with Prof. Nicholas Henriksen. Sulfaro said the current research project he’s working on involves studying how one’s first language can impact second-language acquisition. His work involves recording individuals speaking and then annotating vowels and consonants in the transcripts. “It is significant work,” he remarked.
Going forward, Sulfaro is interested in pursuing a career in human resources. He said he is interested in helping people feel comfortable in their working environments. Sulfaro said he expects the language skills he has developed will be beneficial in interpersonal communication in his future career.