I come from a military family and grew up in Puerto Rico, where I learned Spanish. I attended Duquesne University and earned a B.S. in Secondary Education and a B.A. in Spanish. I taught high school Spanish at Vincentian Academy in Pittsburgh and Ben Davis High School in Indianapolis. I earned my M.A. in Spanish through University of Northern Iowa's abroad programs in Spain and Mexico. I earned my Ph.D. in Spanish Literature at Purdue University. My specialty is Spanish Peninsular literature, 20th-21st century, and my subfield is genre fiction, especially detective fiction.
My research interests include Mikhail Bakhtin, contemporary Spanish genre fiction, film, and Portuguese literature. I love to read, play with my son, go to the beach, travel, and play video games.
Ph.D. Spanish Literature, Purdue University
M.A. Spanish, University of Northern Iowa
B.A. Spanish, Duquesne University
B.S. Secondary Education, Duquesne University
Honors and Awards
- Business Language Research and Teaching Grant (submitted) - BLRT awards provide incentives for foreign language faculty to teach and do research in a business context. 2014
- Purdue Research Foundation Summer Research Grant - The PRF Summer Research grant is awarded to outstanding Ph.D. students to fund summer research on their dissertation projects. 2010, 2011
- Purdue University Ross Fellowship 2005-2006
I will be helping to organize the Polk Teen Hispanic Festival this semester, and Spanish students from FSC will participate in coordination with nursing students to promote healthy lifestyles. I have also encouraged students to participate in the Polk Hispanic Festival and in organizing the Hispanic Film Festival.
20th and 21st century Spanish literature, 20th and 21st century Portuguese literature, Spanish and Portuguese detective fiction, world detective fiction, genre fiction, Mikhail Baktin, dialogism, masking, Borges.
Ongoing research projects:
"Textual pastiche a
nd the development of detective fiction in Eduardo Mendoza's La verdad sobre el caso Savolta
and Charles Felix's The Notting Hill Mystery"
"The dialogic functions of masking in Seis problemas para don Isidro Parodi
"Unmasking the Portuguese Detective: Hidden Genres and the Play of Identify in O misterio da Estrada de Sintra."
Publications and Exhibitions
“(Un)Masking Barcelona: Recontextualizing Urban Interactions in Eduardo Mendoza’s El misterio de la cripta embrujada, El laberinto de las aceitunas, and La aventura del tocador de señoras.” Lucero 21(2011): 101-19. Web. 15 Nov. 2011.
“Dreaming the Impossible Dream: Finding Don Quijote in The Seventh Seal.” Comparative Cinema: How American University Students View Foreign Films. Beate Allert, ed. Lewiston: Edwin Mellen, 2008. 293-308.
Translation into Spanish
La creación. By Franz Josef Haydn. Trans. Melissa Garr. Cond. Chris Ludwa. Indianapolis, IN. 21 Apr. 2007. Performance.
Smith, Melissa and Kristen Adams. “Latinas in the U.S.: Demographics.” Girls Inc. Fact Sheets. August 2006. Girls Inc., Indianapolis. 17 Jan. 2011. http://www.girlsinc.org/sites/default/files/downloads/latinas_us_demographics_factsheet.pdf
Smith, Melissa and Julia Eminger. “Latinas in the U.S.: Social Issues.” Girls Inc. Fact Sheets. August 2006. Girls Inc., Indianapolis. 17 Jan. 2011.
Smith, Melissa and Heidi Holmer. “Latina Resources for Girls.” Girls Inc. Resource Lists. June 2006. Girls Inc., Indianapolis. 17 Jan. 2011.
Smith, Melissa and Heidi Holmer. “Latina Resources for Youth Workers.” Girls Inc. Resource Lists. June 2006. Girls Inc., Indianapolis. 17 Jan. 2011.
Smith, Melissa and Heidi Holmer. “Latina Resources for Parents & Families.” Girls Inc. Resource Lists. June 2006. Girls Inc., Indianapolis. 17 Jan. 2011.
Papers Read at Professional Meetings
“All the Labor Without the Workers’: Virtual Immigration and the Non-Hegemonic Cultural Experience in Sleep Dealer.” Northeast MLA Convention, Harrisburg, PA. April 2014.
“Toward a Philosophy of the Creative Act: Metafictive dialogism in El cuarto de atrás.” KFLC: The Languages, Literatures, and Cultures Conference, University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY. April 2014.
“Unmasking the Portuguese Detective: Hidden Genres and the Play of Identity in O mistério da estrada de Sintra.” Conferencia Internacional de Literatura Detectivesca en Español, Texas Tech University, Lubbock, TX. September 2012.
“Which Genre Is It Anyway?: Dialogic Genre Interactions in Eduardo Mendoza’s El misterio de la cripta embrujada.” 15th Annual Hispanic and Lusophone Studies Symposium, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH. April 2012.
“On the Border of Identity: Masking, Dialogism and Recontextualization in Eduardo Mendoza’s El laberinto de las aceitunas.” 21st Annual Symposium on Hispanic and Luso-Brazilian Literature, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ. February 2011.
“A Fox Among the Hedgehogs: Metaphorical Utopian Signs in Borges’ “El sur” and “Tlön, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius.” Semiotic Society of America Conference, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN. February 2006.
“Vocabulary Strategies.” Reading Across the Curriculum Conference, Ben Davis High School, Indianapolis, IN. October 2004.