I was born in the small town of Bergen, the Netherlands, and raised in Amsterdam. I have been working as a lecturer in Spanish for over 25 years, first at the Universiteit van Amsterdam and since 2001, at the University of Chicago, where I started and for many years directed the Spanish Heritage Language Program. Another course I developed and that I have been teaching since 2001 is Span 21100, Las regiones del español, a course on Spanish sociolinguistics.
Furthermore am I in charge of all language assessments within the Spanish program, from the placement exam up to the Fulbright language evaluations.
I received my MA in Spanish Language and Literature from the Universiteit van Amsterdam and my Ph.D. in Spanish Literature and Culture, from the Rijksuniversiteit Groningen (Netherlands).
My research interests include heritage language development and pedagogy, heritage language assessment, and the effects of Censorship on the development of Catalan literature during the Franco dictatorship, the topic about which I wrote my dissertation. In the course of my dissertation research in the State Archives in Alcalá de Henares (Spain), I discovered an unpublished manuscript of a novel by the Catalan writer Manuel de Pedrolo, that came out in 1997 under the title of Doble o res with an introduction by me.