UNM professor aims to expand students’ Arabic skills through a summer program


UNM Associate Professor of Arabic Dr. Emma Trentman is directing the STARTALK program at UNM which aims to teach and enhance students’ Arabic speaking skills during the summer. 


The STARTALK program encourages middle and high school students’ critical language skills. It provides free Arabic classes taught by local Arabic speakers, instructors, and student mentors. STARTALK is funded by the National Security Agency (NSA).


“The STARTALK program is a free Arabic program for middle and high school students.  Students spend three weeks learning Arabic and about Arabic-speaking cultures,” Trentman said. 


Trentman said that her research interest lies in classroom learning along with understanding multiple languages.


“I research language learning in study abroad, virtual exchange, and the classroom, with a focus on multilingual approaches to language learning,” Trentman said.


Trentman said she enjoys seeing students progress in the language and its culture. Her long-term goal is to expand the learning of Arabic beyond her community.


“To develop students’ language and cultural skills and connect them to Arabic speakers in Albuquerque and beyond is my goal,” Trentman said.