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Celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month

HHM 1x2 2020

National Hispanic Heritage Month, which runs September 15 to October 15, honors the cultures and contributions of Hispanic and Latino Americans.

The School of Arts and Sciences marks this important month by celebrating the school’s outstanding programs, teaching and research, student achievement, and alumni accomplishment.

This year’s heritage month coincides with the 50th anniversary of the establishment of the Program in Puerto Rican Studies, which is now the Department of Latino and Caribbean Studies, a multi-disciplinary hub of teaching, research, and service at Rutgers University-New Brunswick. The program’s inception in 1970 served notice that a new era in American higher education had begun and that Rutgers would be at the forefront of this movement.

The stories below show that the bold spirit of social justice, intellectual seeking, and academic innovation that helped launch the Program in Puerto Rican Studies is fully present today, from the students who produced fresh research on New Jersey Latinos to Professor Marcy Schwartz’s inspiring “Spanish for Community Engagement” course to faculty research like Kathleen Lopez’s work on Chinese migrants who came to Cuba as indentured laborers.

There are many ways to mark National Hispanic Heritage Month. But be sure to check out the stories below and celebrate with Rutgers!


  • Looking Back at a Student Movement that Changed Rutgers

    “In my wildest dreams I never thought I’d be part of any movement,”  says Margie Rivera. But in the late 1960s, she and her fellow Puerto Rican students at Livingston College sought support for an academic program that would focus on the study of their heritage, history, and culture. The impact of their activism endures to this day.

  • Practicing Law and Contributing to the Greater Good

    “Here I was, a second-year associate, sitting next to these accomplished professionals,” says Arianna Mouré DC’2006, and a graduate of Seton Hall Law School. Mouré was appointed by Governor Phil Murphy to New Jersey’s Joint Commission on Puerto Rico Disaster Relief.

     

  • Senior’s Bold Path Fused Professional School Experience with Liberal Arts Tradition

    Two schools. Two majors. Two distinct academic missions.  But April Lopez used the skills she learned from her marketing major at Rutgers Business School to help the marginalized Latinx communities she was learning about in her Latino and Caribbean studies major at the School of Arts and Sciences.

  • Latino and Caribbean Studies

    “I really knew very little about my Latinx identity, and nothing about my Afro-Latina background,” Jonelsy Gonzalez says. “It’s very difficult to understand your history when it’s not in your textbooks.” Her major in Latino and Caribbean studies has opened up whole new worlds of knowledge.

  • From Energetic Student to Deputy Secretary of Higher Ed

    Deputy Secretary of Higher Education in the administration of New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy, Diana Gonzalez, who has a B.A. and an M.A from Rutgers, works with state leaders to expand educational opportunities across New Jersey.

  • Rutgers Students Break New Ground on NJ Latino Research

    Lilia Fernández, a professor of Latino history, led a team of students who produced the Latino New Jersey History Project, a multi-media research effort that draws from census data, public archives, and interviews to provide a rich, detailed, and sometimes surprising picture of New Jersey Latinos.

  • Rutgers Graduate Mixed Activism with Academics and is Poised for Career as a Scholar

    A double major in political science and Latino and Caribbean studies, Geidy Mendez was one of 14 in the nation selected for a national political science summer program. Now she is poised to graduate with the class of 2019 and continue her activism.

  • Rutgers Students Get a Lasting Lesson in Community Engagement

    “I see so much interest from this generation of students in wanting to do something good,” says Marcy Schwartz, chair of Spanish and Portuguese. So in “Spanish for Community Engagement,” students explore issues such as housing, health, and education, and get a deep lesson in community aesthetics examining the murals of New Brunswick.

     

  • A Powerful Memoir Inspires Students to Tell Their Stories

    In a seminar, students majoring or minoring in Spanish study the memoir by Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, then write their own. Professor Dámaris M. Otero-Torres saw the book as a powerful means to explore race, gender, and politics, and to inspire students to reflect on their own lives.

  • Breaking New Ground in Latino, Caribbean Studies at Rutgers

    Faculty in the Department of Latino and Hispanic Caribbean Studies are advancing their field and winning honors with books covering such disparate topics as the visionary artistic movements of early 20th century Mexico and the epic journey of Chinese Cubans. 

  • Scholars Take Fresh Look at Haiti and Dominican Republic

    The Transnational Hispaniola conference exploring the complex relationship between Haiti and the Dominican Republic took place at Rutgers in 2012. In this Q&A in the lead up to the conference, Professor Carlos Decena, the principal organizer says the conference was breaking new ground in the study of these two neighboring nations.