LATINX Interdisciplinary Studies Talks on Civic Leadership & Mentoring

September 4, 2018 at 2:03 pm

Spartanburg, S.C. – In celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month, the LATINX Interdisciplinary Studies Talks on Civic Leadership & Mentoring at the University of South Carolina Upstate will host three events this fall.

“As the only tenured Latinx professor at USC Upstate, I want to highlight why representation matters especially as South Carolina has one of the fastest-growing Latinx and Hispanic populations,” said Dr. Araceli Hernández-Laroche, associate professor of modern languages and Assistant Chair of Languages, Literature, and Composition. “Cultural competencies, intercultural communication and languages play key roles in preparing our students to lead in our increasingly interconnected global communities.”

Guest moderators this semester are Dr. Carolina Webber (communications), Professor Hubbard Smalls (business) and Dr. June C.D. Carter (Spanish). Hernández-Laroche says as mentors, they open doors of opportunity and she hopes to highlight the work of more mentors each semester.

Hernández-Laroche launched this event series to ensure that USC Upstate fosters a space where Hispanic and Latinx culture is visible and vibrant in the daily lives of faculty, staff, and students throughout the university. “Perhaps more importantly, we want to offer students of all backgrounds the opportunity to learn about civic leadership and the critical need for mentoring from scholars, public intellectuals, writers, artists, community leaders and mentors from the Latinx community and/or those who work to serve the growing Latinx population.”

Timothy Monreal, a middle school social studies teacher in Foundations of Education at USC, will deliver a lecture entitled, “I Wanted to Make a Difference, but It Is Just So Hard: Reflecting on the Experiences of Latinx K-12 teachers in the Southeast,” on Monday, Sept. 17 from 4 to 5:30 p.m. in the Health Education Complex.

Monreal will provide context for Latinx teachers in the Southeast, share pilot qualitative research with Latinx teachers in South Carolina, and discuss his experiences as a Chicano middle school teacher in the Southeast, including burgeoning work with two groups: South Carolina United with Immigrants and Latinx Educators of South Carolina.

“A larger Latinx population naturally means changes in school demographics, yet the K-12 teaching force remains overwhelmingly white,” said Monreal. “In South Carolina, where I conduct research and teach middle school, only 1 percent of all teachers identify as Hispanic. However, as scholarship about Latinx in the Southeast grows, there is a dearth of research about Latinx K-12 teachers in this geographic area. Even as there is tepid talk about increasing representation and diversity in teaching, we know little about the experiences of Latinx educators in the South.”

Monreal has 10 years of K-12 teaching experience and his research interests include the New Latinx South, Latinx education in the Southeast, social studies teaching, and teacher education. He was named 2018 Doctoral Student of the Year in Educational Studies at USC and he serves on the leadership team of South Carolina United with Immigrants.

Mike Young, director of capacity building at PASOs, will deliver a lecture entitled, “Community Health Workers—How PASOs Puts Paulo Freire’s Pedagogy into Practice” on Thursday, Sept. 27 from 12 to 1:30 p.m. in the Sansbury Campus Life Center Ballroom.

PASOs helps build a stronger South Carolina by supporting Latino communities with education, advocacy, and leadership development. It uses Paulo Freire’s work for creating a more fair, equal, and stronger society where all voices are heard. Young’s presentation will outline basic Freireian principles and how PASOs’ organizational mission sets them in motion.

Young holds a master’s degree in cultural anthropology for research conducted in Guatemala with Q’eqchi’ Maya communities. His current tasks at PASOs entail supporting service providers so they can better address the needs of the Latino populations in South Carolina.

Dr. Stephanie M. Knouse and Dr. Angélica Lozano-Alonso, Spanish professors at Furman University, will discuss why it is important to incorporate community-based and service-learning in their classrooms as their students engage with the Latinx networks in the Greenville community on Tuesday, Oct. 30 from 2 to 3:15 p.m. in the Sansbury Campus Life Center Ballroom.

Knouse’s research focuses on second language acquisition of Spanish, language variation, and language pedagogy. She has been collaborating with local non-profits in the Greenville area for more than six years. Knouse’s publication “High-impact practices in a Hispanic Linguistic course: Facilitating lessons of diversity and advocacy” was recently featured in the journal Dimension and can be accessed online here. Lozano-Alonso’s specialty is Latin American Literature, with an emphasis on Mexican literature and Latino literature. Her most recent publications are on the use of popular culture and the internet in Michele’s Serro’s How to be a Chicana Role Model and on the role of friendship and exile in Silvia Molino’s En silencio, la lluvia.

 All three events are free and open to the public. More information, contact Dr. Araceli Hernández-Laroche, associate professor of modern languages and assistant chair of the Division of Languages, Literature and Composition, at 864-503-5221.