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Meet Nicasio Urbina

New Prof "likes UC."

Date: 4/18/2006
By: Sarah Gerrety
Phone: 382-8198
“I like UC. It’s a big change from Tulane University, but it’s vibrating, has great potential, and the urban location allows for good opportunities,” says associate professor Nicasio Urbina in comparing UC to his former institution in New Orleans, where he taught Latin American literature for 14 years.

Urbina, a Nicaraguan born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, received his BA in Spanish and MS in Modern Language Education from Florida International University. In 1987, he earned a PhD in Hispanic literature and became a US resident. After teaching high school for three years, Urbina made the switch to teaching at the college level and has enjoyed it for over 20 years. He came to Cincinnati two years ago because his wife, a pediatric cardiologist, was offered employment at Children’s Hospital.

In New Orleans Urbina and his family spent free time attending various festivals, and after arriving in Cincinnati, they especially like celebrations of its many diverse cultures. “We have enjoyed festivals here like Oktoberfest, Hispanic Festival, and Su Casa Festival. The first weekend we were here we attended the Irish Festival at Coney Island,” he says. At present he is involved in the committee planning the Hispanics Month Celebration.

Urbina directs Latin American Studies, a small but growing program at UC. His classes include U.S. Hispanic culture, a graduate course on Central American Literature, and Latin America Today. He notes that he enjoys “working with students as they explore different areas of Latin American culture and allowing them to express their points of view.” He also conducts the Taft Research Seminar on Poetry in which his students and faculty from around the area present works in progress and discuss their research.

In addition to teaching, Urbina’s career has included writing in three different genres: literary criticism, short stories, and poetry. “I have always loved literature and knew that I wanted to become a writer,” he says. Although he has been influenced by Latin American author Gabriel García Márquez, he admits, “I try to step back because I want to write in my own voice.” He is currently working on a collection of 15 short stories, two books of poetry, and one book of literary criticism, as well as periodical contributions for La Prensa, a Nicaraguan newspaper. Urbina participates in recreational racquetball and won the intramural competition in winter quarter. He and his family also spend time skiing at Perfect North and horseback riding at Green Stables in Mt. Healthy. Although he does enjoy various sports, his favorite free time activity is reading and writing. He adds that one of his favorite books by an American author is Truman Capote's Breakfast at Tiffany's. Summing up his time at McMicken thus far, he observes that he feels “lucky to be at UC at this point in time because the new administration is implementing changes that will truly transform the university and make our institution one of the best public universities in the nation."

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