Dr. Mariela Santana was born and raised in Madrid, Spain, and graduated from the Universidad Complutense in Madrid. She received her Ph.D. in Peninsular literature with a secondary specialization in Latin American literature at UC Davis. Dr. Santana was invited to defend her doctoral dissertation at the University of Amsterdam in the Netherlands, and afterwards, she taught advanced composition and introduction to Hispanic literature as a Lecturer at UC Davis before coming to CSUS in 1998.
Currently, at CSUS, Dr. Santana teaches Introduction to Hispanic Literature, Advanced Composition, Contemporary Peninsular Literature, Spanish Literature in the Middle Ages, and Spanish Literature in the 18th and 19th Centuries. Among her scholarly activities Dr. Santana presents papers at Rocky Mountain Modern Language Association conferences and has organized two international literary symposiums at CSUS. She published two literary critiques on Spanish literature in the Department journal, Explicacion de Textos Literarios. Dr. Santana also enjoys writing poetry in Spanish and expects to have several of her poems published in the Spring 2007. She is currently writing a textbook for Span 100, Introduction to Hispanic Literature.
Dr. Santana created the Club de Cine Espanol, a film club open to Sacramento State students and members of the community. In addition, she has organized Tertulias Literarias, round table literary discussion groups, and has read her own poems at the Noche de poesia at the Galeria Posada in Sacramento.