Welcome to annahiller.com! I am glad you are here; feel free to browse the site and read more about me.
In 1993, I started college at Tufts University. I was an undeclared biochemistry major that wanted more than anything to go to medical school. I dreamed about working with underserved populations and maybe going into the Peace Corps so that I could travel the world, helping people as I went. I decided my freshman year that I would learn Spanish, the idea being that it would be a useful language to have in my pocket as a future M.D.
As a reward for surviving my first year in college, I decided to do a summer study abroad program in Alicante, Spain. I went there thinking that it would greatly help me in my goal of becoming fluent and also help my eventual med school applications. What happened, though, I did not at all anticipate: I fell in love with Spain. Before I knew it, I had abandoned biochemistry and had become a comparative literature major. I left Tufts and transferred to Oberlin College, from which school I graduated with High Honors in December of 1997.
After a short time in New York City as an International Sales Assistant for St. Martin’s Press, I decided that something was missing. Though the job had the word “International” in the title, I had rare cause to use my Spanish. I went back to do my Master’s Degree at the University of Delaware in 1999. At first I was planning on using the M.A. to get a job teaching high school, but I rapidly realized that it would not be enough to satisfy my love of the Spanish language. After graduating from UD, I moved to California and worked as an interpreter in the E.R. at San Mateo County Medical Center. In the meantime, I prepared my applications for doctoral programs in Spanish. I was hooked.
I entered UC-Berkeley in August of 2002 and began my Ph.D. in Hispanic Languages and Literatures. My research focused on the relationship between science, print culture, and literature in early 20th-century Spain. It was fascinating work, and I was entranced by the topic because it drew on my scientific bent, one that had never fully left despite my switch to the humanities. I finished my degree in 2010, and in 2011, I took a Visiting Assistant Professor of Spanish at Kansas State University.
While I was at K-State, opportunities abounded. I was working on a book of translations of short stories with Dover Publications, and I had begun serious research in ecocriticism. I also had the opportunity to develop my own study abroad program from scratch. In conjunction with the Universidad de Córdoba, I designed and implemented a 5-week summer study program. It was an amazing experience, taking those 14 students to Spain and leading a program that so thoroughly reflected my own experiences studying in Spain 15 years previous.
But it was the last thing I would do at K-State: I had landed a tenure-track job at Idaho State University, and by August of 2012, I had bought a house in Pocatello and was beginning my career at ISU. I published the book of translations, several articles, and attended more conferences than I care to mention. It was a rich life. Teaching was challenging, but I had discovered that I found it very rewarding to learn about new methodologies using technology in the classroom. I rapidly developed courses using social media, iPads, and ISU’s Moodle platform to enrich my in-person and online instruction. My greatest interest became online education and educational technology, and I decided that my best option would be to forfeit my academic job and make a go of it in ed tech. I moved to the Bay Area at the very end of 2015 with the hopes of pursuing that opportunity a little further.
I am a quick learner and very determined to meet my goals. While I am currently between careers, I know that my tenacity, my flexibility, and my ingenuity will land me in the right place. And if you are still reading, maybe you will play a part in shaping the next steps of this path that I am on.