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October 2021 - Ron Sklar

A student who is remarkably dedicated to his Spanish studies, when one gets to know Ron one realizes that this dedication is actually not limited to his fascination with language but something he applies to all areas of his life. An avid runner, he often shows up for his 9am class beaming, having already gotten in his run (one wonders if it could be possible to bottle his energy). As a pediatrician, his primary motivation to gain Spanish skills was to be able to communicate with Spanish-speaking families. Now semi-retired, he continues to volunteer as a pediatrician and in vaccination drives, still using his language skills to bridge the gap and help those seeking care to feel comfortable and valued. In class he is always fully invested in whatever topic is being discussed and contributes to creating a playful atmosphere where classmates enjoy a sense of camaraderie and together discover the complexities of the Spanish language. We are honored to count Ron as part of our community at Tierra and look forward to continuing to delve into the deep questions in his company.

Name: Ron Sklar
Occupation: Medical Director Premera Blue Cross
Time Studying at Tierra: 3 years

1) Why are you studying Spanish?

"I began to study Spanish in order to communicate with the parents of the newborns that I was caring for. Most of my career I worked in a neonatal intensive care unit and as my career progressed more and more of the parents of my patients with Spanish-speaking. I found I could be more effective as a physician if I could communicate directly with the parents of those I had contact with. I have used Spanish in my work as a volunteer in Guatemala as well as my current work as a medical director with Blue Cross. I also enjoy reading Spanish literature as well as watching videos on YouTube".

2) What is your favorite part about your experience here at Tierra?

"My favorite part of the experience at Tierra is the interactions that I have with the teachers and students. I have been exceedingly impressed with the quality, enthusiasm, and dedication of the teachers that I have encountered. I have also learned a tremendous amount from the students in my classes and have benefited greatly from their friendship. I do hope someday soon we can resume in person classes and I can meet in person the people that I have come to know online".

3) Can you tell us of a time you have been able to use what you have learned studying here?

"In the past year I have used my Spanish knowledge in the drive to vaccinate the people of Oregon. The atmosphere in some of the immunization centers can be intimidating even for people who speak English as a first language. Talking with people in Spanish has allowed me to form connections with people whose first language is Spanish. Native speakers of Spanish greatly appreciate the effort that I put forth to learn and speak Spanish, making it possible for us to communicate".

¡Felicidades Ron!