Skip to main content

Irene Finestrat Martinez

Assistant Professor of Instruction

Irene Finestrat received her PhD in Hispanic Linguistics, with a focus on Second Language Acquisition and Bilingualism, from the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC). Irene is interested in understanding the unique cognitive-linguistic, cultural, and affective backgrounds learners bring into the classroom when acquisition occurs in the learners’ home country as well as in the study abroad setting. This research informs inclusive language teaching pedagogies that leverage students’ strengths for effective teaching and learning.

Irene has taught Spanish at elementary, intermediate, and advanced levels of proficiency; Spanish for bilingual speakers, as well as courses in Spanish Linguistics and Second Language Acquisition at different institutions. At Northwestern she is also the coordinator for Spanish 125-0: Accelerated Intermediate Spanish. Her goal in the classroom is that learners develop a curiosity for languages, cultures, and the different worldviews they express. Her dedication to students in and outside of the classroom has been recognized in the form of the 2021 UIC Teaching and Mentoring Award.

Originally from Alicante, Spain, Irene moved to Chicago in 2014. Since then, she has been involved in initiatives aimed at promoting bilingualism and raising awareness about language and accent discrimination, two topics that she is passionate about.