Helga Zambrano, Ph.D.

UC Berkeley – B.A.
UCLA – M.A., Ph.D.

Professional focus: I hold a Bachelor of Arts in Spanish and comparative literature from UC Berkeley and a Master of Arts and Ph.D. in comparative literature from UCLA. My doctoral research explored sound and narration in Nicaraguan and Guatemalan literature. I specialize in the research fields of 20th century Latin American and U.S.-Latinx cultural, literary and musicological studies.  I teach Foundations of Civilization and Advanced Studies Existentialism and the Human Condition and Honors Conflict and Resolution in the Middle East. I also am an avid distance runner.

Scholarly or professional activities: I attended a pair of teaching institutes staged in July 2022 at Boston University by The Association of Boarding Schools (TABS) for new boarding school teachers. NowBoarding addressed the culture and traditions of boarding schools while the New Teacher Institute focused on instruction and classroom management.

I recently published my research in an academic ethnomusicology journal, SIBE. My article analyzes representations of sound and technology in select literary works by Nicaraguan author Rubén Darío to offer a new historical perspective on U.S. occupation in Central America in the early 1900s. I will continue researching, writing and publishing in academic journals specializing in Latin American music and sound studies.

Grew up: Born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area to a family that emigrated from Nicaragua.

Favorite spot at Webb: I am in awe of the beautiful oak trees on campus. You might find me reading or taking a lazy nap under one of them!

Favorite music or musician/band: My musical preferences are rather eclectic. Just take a peek into my Spotify playlists! I currently have on loop The Weeknd’s Dawn FM album and John Mayer’s Sob Rock album. I’m a huge fan of yacht rock music from the 1980s and I’ll listen to artists like The Doobie Brothers, Kenny Loggins and Christopher Cross. I also love Latin pop, reggaeton and salsa, especially Marc Anthony, Gente de Zona, Bad Bunny, Maluma, Gaby Moreno, Natalia LaFourcade, Jorge Drexler and Kevin Johansen.

Favorite book or author: I enjoy rereading Jorge Luis Borges’ short stories and essays in “Ficciones,” “Labyrinths,” and “The Book of Sand.” I’m also reading books related to self-compassion, vulnerability, and Buddhist teachings. Some of my favorite authors and researchers are Kristin Neff, Tara Brach, Michael Alan Singer and Brené Brown.

Favorite TV show or movie: I’m an avid viewer of “Mad Men” and “The Sopranos.” I have also loved watching this summer’s blockbusters, like “Top Gun: Maverick” and “Jurassic World: Dominion.” All the Marvel films are an all-time favorite for me as well!

Typical Saturday routine: I enjoy waking up early to practice yoga or drink a good cup of coffee.