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Spanish Enthusiast Turns Passion into Career

By Kaitie O'Hare

Photo courtesy of Robin Salomon

Photo courtesy of Robin Salomon

During a time in history when America becomes more of a melting pot each day, alumna Robin Salomon, CAS/’10, has found her niche in the working world right after graduation with her confident bilingual abilities.

A Spanish language alumna, Salomon earned both a BA in Spanish studies and a certificate in Spanish translation. She has been learning the language for 10 years, honing her talent by traveling abroad to countries like Argentina and using her Spanish on a daily basis. The Spanish enthusiast has taken her passion and turned it into a career with JBS International, Inc., where she is currently a bilingual information specialist for one of their clients—the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA).

JBS International, Inc. offers managerial and information technology solutions to many public and private sector companies encouraging individual and global wellness around the world. Their client list includes federal agencies like the Department of Justice, nonprofit organizations like the American Cancer Society of California, and private companies like Kaiser Permanente.

Salomon has been employed with JBS International, Inc. to handle NIDA’s English and Spanish inquiries and requests from the public. She responds to questions and sends information to those seeking NIDA publications or facts and statistics on drug abuse, all in the language she enjoys so much.

“[I] am essentially either distributing publications that NIDA offers, or handling what we call a unique request, in which there will be someone who maybe calls or emails and wants to know something specific, like how long cocaine stays in your system,” she says.

Providing information on drug abuse to those that could benefit from it is an aspect of Salomon’s job that she finds rewarding, as she also minored in psychology during her time at American.

“The thing I like most about my job is that I’m indirectly helping people by distributing information on drug abuse that will essentially promote education and awareness,” she says.

Her job has even sparked interest in returning to graduate school one day to advance her education in psychology and mental illnesses. She says her dream job right now would be to become a bilingual mental health counselor or therapist of some sort. However, for the moment, she is content with where she is in her career and is looking forward to seeing what the future holds for her in such a diverse city such as Washington, D.C., where being bilingual gives her a leg-up.

Salomon says that practicing Spanish in her everyday life has helped her to advance so far in the language.  “I really owe my personal endeavors to learning the language. I  befriended a lot of people in the area who speak Spanish as a first language, and we always speak in Spanish together and do things like go to salsa dancing clubs—and other things that relate to the culture,” she says.

Her dedication to the language has certainly paid off as she begins laying the foundation of career with JBS International, Inc., but Salomon says there’s still a long way for her to advance with Spanish.

“With languages in general, even in English, my father would always say that you yourself aren’t even going to be fluent in your mother tongue. There are always words in the dictionary that we will never know and will never even know they exist, and the same is true with my Spanish. I will never be so fluent as to say that I know everything.”