I graduated from SCU in 1976 with a B.A. in Spanish and in 1977 I earned my teaching credential to teach high school Spanish. At that time high school teaching jobs were scarce so I decided to pursue graduate studies. I applied to Stanford University,was accepted into their Ph.D. program in Spanish, and received my doctorate in 1983. I have been teaching Spanish at SCU since Fall 1978 working my way up from lecturer to the highest rank which is Full Professor. I have been blessed with outstanding students throughout the years– they are what keep the job exciting. However, the highlight of my years at SCU will always be that here is where I met my wonderful husband (and SCU history professor!) Robert M. Senkewicz.
- California during the Spanish and Mexican periods
- Translation of nineteenth-century Californio Testimonios. Current work involves the translation of Mariano Guadalupe Vallejo's five-volume memoir.
- Translation of the correspondence of Fr. Junípero Serra from Spanish to English.
- Military Artists in California during the Mexican War: Hutton, Meyers, and Sully
- 2019 Oscar Lewis Award from the Book Club of California for Outstanding Contributions in the field of Western History
- 2016 Norman Neuerburg Award for Distinguished Research and Writing on the History of Early California [Historical Society of Southern California] for Junípero Serra: California, Indians, and the Transformation of a Missionary, Norman: University of Oklahoma Press.
- 2015 University Award for Sustained Excellence in Scholarship [Santa Clara University]
- 2014 Hubert Howe Bancroft Award for significant achievement in support of historical research and scholarship on California and the American West, in the preservation of primary and secondary source materials about the region, and in the interpretation and imaginative recreation of its history.
- 2010 President’s Special Recognition Award
- 2007 Western History Association Arringotn-Prucha Prize for an article that was published in the Boletín: The Journal of the California Mission Studies Association 23.1 (2006) 22-45.
- 2006 California Council for the Promotion of History: Certificate of Meritorious Performance “For an outstanding contribution to the promotion of history.”
- 2006 Norman Neuerburg Award [California Mission Studies Association]:”For outstanding contributions towards the study and preservation of California's missions, presidios, and ranchos.
- 2004 Joseph Bayma, S.J. Scholarship Award [Santa Clara University]: “In recognition for having established among colleagues and students a well-deserved reputation for productive, meaningful, and rigorous scholarly work.”
- 2003 Norman Neuerburg Award for Distinguished Research and Writing on the History of Early California [Historical Society of Southern California]: Awarded for the book Antonio María Osio’s ‛The History of Alta California’: Memoirs of Mexican California.
- 2002 Brutocao Award for Teaching Excellence [Santa Clara University]
- 1993 David Logothetti Excellence in Teaching Award for Academic Year 1992-1993 [Santa Clara University College of Arts and Sciences]
- 2018 Academy of American Franciscan History: Project title: "Transcription, Translation, and Annotation of Fr. Magín Matías Catalá documents. SCU Archives and Special Collections, Chancery Archives [Menlo Park, CA], Franciscan Archives [Rome]
- 2015 Mayers Fellow: Huntington Library, San Marino, California. In residence at the library during 2016 to conduct research on the Mariano Guadalupe Vallejo Papers.
- 2013 National Endowment for the Humanities (full-year grant): Project: Mariano Guadalupe Vallejo, “Recuerdos históricos y personales tocante a la Alta California: historia política del paIs, 1769-1849; costumbres de los californios; apuntes biográficos de personas notables.” (5 vols., 1875)
- 2007 Program for Cultural Cooperation Between Spain’s Ministry of Culture and United States’ Universities. Project: Translating the Writings of Junípero Serra
- 2006 Historical Society of Southern California/Haynes Foundation. Project title: Language, Law, and Culture:The Translation and Annotation of California Wills, Los Angeles County, 1850-1878
- 2006-7 Academy of American Franciscan History. Project: Translating the Writings of Junípero Serra
- 2004 Historical Society of Southern California/Haynes Foundation. Project: Female Voices and Perspectives: The Testimonios of Thirteen Nineteenth-Century Californio Women
- 2001 Bannan Institute Grant-Santa Clara University. Project: Translating the Correspondence of Fr. Francisco Palóu (1722-1789), Missionary in Central Mexico, Baja California, and Alta California
- 1996 Graves Award in the Humanities. Project: Dissension among the Franciscan Friars in California at the end of the 18th century.
- 1992-93 Irvine Foundation Faculty Research Grant. Project: Translation of Antonio María Osio's La historia de alta California, 1821-1851. A Critical Edition (Continuation of research project begun in 1991)
- 1991-92 Irvine Foundation Faculty Research Grant. Project: Translation of Antonio María Osio's La historia de alta California, 1821-1851. A Critical Edition
- 2018: Junípero Serra's Approach to the Native Peoples of the Californias, in STeven W. Hackel, ed. The Worlds of Junípero Serra: Historical Context and Cultural Representations. Berkeley, CA, and Huntington LIbrary, San Marino, CA,
- 2018: Congregación and Control: The Franciscan Experience in Baja California, In Thomas Cohen, Jay Harrison, and David Rex Galindo, eds. The Franciscans in Mexico: Five Centuries of Cultural Influence. Washington, DC: Catholic University of America
2015: Junípero Serra: California, Indians, and the Transformation of a Missionary
2010: To Toil in That Vineyard of the Lord : Contemporary Scholarship on Junípero Serra
- 2006: Testimonios: Early California through the Eyes of Women, 1815-1848.
- 2002: Guide to the Manuscripts Concerning Baja California in the Collections of The Bancroft Library.
- 2001: Lands of Promise and Despair: Chronicles of Early California, 1535-1846.
- 1996: Antonio María Osio's 'The History of Alta California': Memoirs of Mexican California. Winner of the Norman Neuerberg Prize for Scholarship in Early California History. Given by the Historical Society of Southern California, 2003