Quick Facts

  • Owns a bearded dragon named Sammy
  • Hosts Monday night socials with baked goods alongside fellow FiR Len White, from Randolph
  • Loves to hike with her family
Scholars@Duke Bio

Prof. Sandra Valnes Quammen

Senior Lecturer of Romance Studies

I’m a senior lecturer in Romance Studies and Linguistics, and the director of the French Language Program. I teach all levels of French language courses, with a particular love for teaching introductory and intermediate language courses.

I took French all through high school, but didn’t really start enjoying it until undergrad. I’m currently working on improving my very rusty Spanish (which I began studying with amazing faculty who are now my colleagues in the Spanish Language Program here at Duke) and have just started trying to learn the rudiments of Finnish.

Broadly speaking, my research focuses on second language acquisition, with a particular focus on the intersections between language learning, multilingualism, and sustainability. With my colleague Liliana Paredes
in Spanish, I also research theories of translanguaging and their roles in language learning and in fostering multilingual communities of practice.

I grew up in Fargo, North Dakota, and even after 20+ years living in North Carolina, am still not used to the heat! I do, however, love Durham, and I enjoy discovering new green spaces, coffee shops, and restaurants! 

In my free time, I like to spend time with my husband and two daughters, who are also excited to be joining the Blackwell community! I also like to cook, listen to music, watch movies, play games (board and card; I am unfortunately horrible at video games), read, and hike.