Working as a managing director in a public relations firm in Washington, DC that consulted on political campaigns in Latin America rekindled Robert McCarson’s interest in the Spanish he had studied at Brevard High School and as an undergraduate journalism student at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. So, he hired two tutors from Spain and Venezuela, working with each for a year for three hours a week before his workday began.
Fast forward to 2003 and Mars Hill University’s Spanish instructor decided to return to western North Carolina to start the region’s first Spanish-language weekly newspaper, which he published until 2021. He has been teaching Spanish full-time in the Asheville area since 2018, including 2022 as Mars Hill adjunct, with a particular focus on acquisition-driven instruction.
Before moving to the private sector, McCarson was press secretary to two U.S. House members, including the current majority leader of the U.S. Senate, and the U.S. Senate Budget Committee. Prior to moving to Washington, he was a reporter for the Associated Press and newspapers in Brevard, Boone, Asheville, Greensboro, and Raleigh.
In addition to earning his bachelor in journalism from UNC in 1986, the first-generation college graduate earned a master’s degree in teaching of Spanish and Spanish culture, graduating magna cum laude in 2022 from the Pontifical University of Salamanca, Castille and Leon, Spain. McCarson is also author of a book in Spanish for beginning Spanish students, “Fort San Juan,” based on the lone survivor of the indigenous razing in 1568 of the fort Spanish conquistadors built and occupied for 18 months near present-day Morganton. He is married to Jasmin Arzon Marcano and has two adult children, Colin and Emma, and two stepchildren, Skyle and Rochelle. The couple enjoys hiking with their dog, Marley.