J. Engel Szwaja-Franken Picture

J. Engel Szwaja-Franken

World Language Chair/Full-time Instructor


I have been a full-time Spanish professor at BC since 2014. When the opportunity arises, I teach French and courses in the English department as well.

I am a literary scholar by training. I completed a Ph.D. in comparative literature at the University of California, Irvine and a B.A. in history and comparative literature at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. My research concerns the politics of literature as a field in early 20th century Latin America, especially in post-revolutionary Mexico.

My interest in learning languages came from my passion for literature and history. I am Panamanian-American and grew up partly in Costa Rica, so Spanish is one of my native languages. However, I have spent much of my life as a student of other languages.

One of my goals for Bellevue College is to have a robust, sustainable course for heritage speakers of Spanish. The course now exists and has run several times, and I hope it can become a regular offering in the future.

Courses Taught:

Spanish 100 series (First-year Spanish)

Spanish 200 series (Second-year Spanish)

Spanish 231/232 (Spanish for Heritage Speakers)

French 100 series (First-year French)

English 101 (English Composition)

English 111 (Intro to Literature)

English 201 (The Research Paper)

English 271/272 (Expository Writing)