Catching up with…Mercedes Mayna Medrano

Publication Date

Mercedes Mayna Medrano has been a visiting professor of Spanish and Hispanic studies since fall 2022.

Originally from Lima, Peru, she came to the U.S. in 2016 to receive her doctoral degree from the University of Pennsylvania.

Mercedes Mayna Medrano visiting the Museum of Modern Art in New York City last summer.

Mercedes Mayna Medrano visiting the Museum of Modern Art in New York City last summer.

“I really enjoyed my time in the Ph.D. program and love teaching at Union College,” she said. “However, it is still hard to be apart from all my family, especially my mom and grandmom, but they are proud of my accomplishments, especially because they never had the work and educational opportunities I have had.”

Medrano is working on her first book, tentatively titled, “Melodramas of Fear of the Indigenous Peoples: Southern Andean Literature in the 19th Century.” The book focuses on literature in Perú and Bolivia, her second favorite country.

Catching up with...

Each week a faculty or staff member is profiled. Answering a series of short questions, the profiles are intended to be light, informative and conversational.

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“I have traveled to Bolivia many times and have an extraordinary connection to this country, especially the music and dance.”

She also loves building LEGOS, which decorate her office. She loves to re-watch movies and TV shows; one of her favorites is “Star Trek: The Next Generation.”

Even though she misses Philadelphia, especially the Pho soup and Zumba classes, two things she loves about living in Schenectady are wings and IPAs. She also enjoys going to the movies. Living downtown helps her to go to the cinema regularly.

FIRST APP YOU LOOK AT IN THE MORNING: Instagram. It is always fun to catch up with famous people and friends. Also, all my collection of memes comes from there.

GO-TO BREAKFAST: I am teaching at 8 a.m. this term. So, I bring my breakfast to college (usually strawberries, plain yogurt with honey and granola) and eat it when I finish my second class at 10:20 a.m. I don’t drink coffee. I don’t like how it tastes. I know. It is weird, but I don’t like it.

WHAT’S THE LAST GREAT BOOK YOU READ?: “Los jardines de Nora” by the Bolivian writer Blanca Wiethüchter. It is an allegory about the situation of the Aymara people in Bolivia. I have included this book in my next class for the winter term, about women writers in the Hispanic world.

BEST ADVICE YOU EVER RECEIVED: “Never take a step back, not even to gain momentum.” It applies to everything.

FAVORITE PLACE TO VISIT: In the U.S. – Washington, D.C. I love museums, and they are free there. In the world, La Paz, Bolivia. It is a chaotic city in many ways, but it has a great spirit and personality.

WHAT ARE YOU WATCHING RIGHT NOW? I’m watching “Love is Blind” and rewatching “Sex and the City.” Both are guilty pleasures.

ONE SKILL YOU WISH YOU HAD: I would like to be able to play volleyball professionally. I love it. I don’t play bad, but I couldn’t be a professional player.

THREE DINNER PARTY GUESTS (living or deceased): Shakira. I have loved her and her music since the beginning of her career. According to Spotify, I belong to the select group of 0.01% of her listeners. Jane Austen. Since I first started to read her books, I was fascinated. “Persuasion” is one of my favorite books. Beatrix Kiddo (Black Mamba), the main character in Kill Bill. I don’t like violence in any form, but something is interesting about this character and how she looks for revenge.

FIRST CONCERT: I don’t remember my first concert, but I remember the last one, Karol G, a Colombian singer.

LITTLE KNOWN FACT ABOUT YOU: I’m shy, especially in big groups. However, when I’m at a party, and it plays Latino music, reggaeton, salsa, merengue, etc., I don’t care and dance. Same with karaoke. I am not a good singer, but I have the spirit to do a good performance.