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QU professor brings worldly experience
Judith Kollias is a well-traveled woman. Kollias, an adjunct associate professor of Spanish at Quinnipiac, has visited over 30 countries in her lifetime.
Fluent in Spanish, Kollias has traveled to Spain several times and also Mexico, South America and Puerto Rico. She believes that there is a great benefit in speaking the language of any country one visits.
“The fact that you know Spanish is very advantageous when you’re talking to people in the hotel, for example,” Kollias said. “Also, getting to know people who live in these countries is something you can do. You have insight into the language and the culture.”
Kollias remembered a time in her travels when speaking Spanish in Colombia became very beneficial to her. “A waiter told me not to drink the water. He said it was ‘esta mala.’ Since I was the only one who understood, I was the only one who didn’t get sick,” Kollias said.
In addition to traveling, Kollias is also passionate about her profession. She has taught for the past 40 years and cannot remember a time in her life when she did not want to be an educator.
“I’ve always wanted to be a teacher, from the time I was a little girl,” Kollias said. “I used to play school as a little girl with friends. It was very natural for me to be a teacher.”
Her love of teaching is apparent from watching her in action. Standing at only 5 foot 3, the petite Kollias continually moves around the classroom, engaging the students and rarely stopping to take a seat.
Kollias began her teaching career in Branford, in 1964 where she taught Spanish at a junior high school. Kollias remembered this time in her life as very stressful. Later on, she began teaching high school Spanish in Cheshire, where she currently resides.
As an adjunct professor at Quinnipiac, Kollias currently teaches Spanish 201 and 202. In addition to teaching on the college level, she is also a literacy volunteer in Waterbury, where she teaches a conversation class for mostly Spanish speaking adults learning English.
Outside of the classroom, Kollias keeps busy in the community. She is a volunteer at the Cheshire Canine Facility and she attends many musical and dramatic performances and lectures sponsored by the university. The little spare time she has left, Kollias spends with her husband of 37 years, John, a retired world geography teacher.
Kollias is also a docent at the Yale Center for British Art in New Haven. “One of my passions is art,” Kollias said. “I can’t paint or anything, but I like to look at it and talk about it.”
Working at the museum gives Kollias the opportunity to put her love of both art and Spanish together. “I’ve done many tours in Spanish,” she said. “We talk about British art in Spanish, which is always fun.”