Elena Casey ’12 came to Messiah to learn how her faith and reason could together illuminate the stories and patterns of the world. As a Spanish and English double major at Messiah, this meant traveling: physically, to other global communities as a visiting scholar at the Universities of Barcelona and Oxford, and, intellectually, into the historical perspectives that helped shape the beliefs and systems we maintain today.
Today, Elena continues making connections between places, times, and academic disciplines. Having completed her M.A. in Hispanic Studies through Middleburg College in Madrid, Spain, Elena is now a Ph.D. candidate of Spanish and Royster Fellow at UNC Chapel Hill. She researches the representations of mental illness in the religious and secular literature and science of 17th century Spain. Her research has been published in the online, scholarly journal eHumanista, and Elena has presented at the Asociación Internacional de Teatro Español y Novohispano de los Siglos de Oro (AITENSO), which she was happy to attend alongside her former Messiah College professor of Spanish literature, Gladys Robalino. She currently teaches advanced grammar, composition, and culture courses for the Spanish Minor and Major at UNC, and is developing a first year seminar for UNC freshman on the history of mental health and illness with several colleagues while working on her dissertation.
Elena has also worked as a coordinator of Chapel Hill’s Carolina Conference for Romance Studies and student editor for her department’s publications, Hispanófila and Romance Notes. Beyond her department at UNC, Elena works as a tutor for student athletes through the Academic Support Program for Student Athletes (ASPSA) and is a mentor for first-generation college students interested in graduate education.