The South Dakota World Languages Association (SDWLA) is an organization created to promote the study of world languages and to sustain professional development of language teachers at all levels of public and private education within the state of South Dakota. Each year, the SDWLA chooses a meritorious individual to commend for their language teaching accomplishments.

Piper, a native of Mexico City, Mexico, was recognized for her enthusiasm and effectiveness in teaching, her efforts in curricular reform, and the development of a Spanish tutor program at USD. In addition, she has exhibited commitment to diversity through the promotion of Mexican folkloric dance. Piper, who joined the USD faculty in 2002, has a B.A. in Spanish from Northeast Missouri State University and an M.A. in Latin American Literature from Eastern Michigan University.

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