Latino Student Leadership Institute 2015 Preparations

I’m working on the application and invitation letter for our incoming Latina/o students. They should be in the mail by the end of the week.

I hope we get another strong group this year. Last year’s group included several non-traditional students and more transfer students than the previous year. Although a smaller group, we had great interactions and enjoyed the site! Black Rock Retreat had a lot of outdoor activity sites and meeting rooms for our use!

A pause in the swinging!
the whole group
Alumni, faculty, staff, and participants

Notice the swing set. Even young adults enjoy a good push! The visit with alumni, faculty, and staff was a highlight of the weekend.


Local and National Trends: A Call for Need Based Scholarships

One of my students told me that I should be posting more regularly.  Recent reports on Latina/o higher education and earnings prompted this entry.

A study published by TIAA-CREF (I am a contributor through my employer sponsored retirement plan) found that college educated Latinas/os struggle financially We know that Latinas/os earn less than other racial/ethnic groups The fact that even college educated Latinas/os experience financial insecurity should be no surprise!

When I am told that Latinas/os don’t want to take student loans, that seems like a rational decision to me especially when the return on education is not equivalent to the returns for other racial/ethnic groups

Where does this lead me? I advocate strongly for need based scholarships particularly for Latinas/os. As the Latina/o population continues to grow  we would do well as a nation (and Commonwealth) to support Latinas/os’ pursuit of higher education by making it affordable without the burden of crushing student loan debt. I admire the efforts of to provide scholarships and internships, but these opportunities do not benefit the Latinas/os attending predominantly white institutions. An alternative is This national organization also provides scholarships.

To my readers, if you have any suggestions for increasing scholarship opportunities for Latinas/os in Pennsylvania or wish to provide a link to local scholarships for Latinas/os, please post it in your comments. I’ll start by offering this one: The deadline is June 1, students!

150 Lancaster County students tackle race issues at day-long summit – LancasterOnline: Local News

150 Lancaster County students tackle race issues at day-long summit – LancasterOnline: Local News.

I attended this event to represent Millersville University’s Latina/o Studies program. I was impressed with the eagerness of these students to learn more about our program and share their career goals with me. Some of the students who visited my table were Wheatland Middle School students. We have a shared experience of living in the same city. They were enthusiastic about discussing college and opportunities that await them.

Overall, the students at this summit demonstrated promise, a promise to recognize and affirm difference rather than expect sameness. Congratulations to the organizers and many participants!

Graduation 2015

Juan's success!
Juan’s success!
Too many accomplishments to wear around his neck!
Steven with too many accomplishments to wear around his neck!
With diploma holder in hand! The real thing is coming!
Alycia with diploma holder in hand!

After all the hard work weaving and completing finals, they did it! The weavers in their regalia and stoles are at the top of the blog. Additional students with whom I have had the privilege to work are below.

Basking in her success! You did it!
Basking in her success! You did it!
Extraordinary anthropology major!
Extraordinary anthropology major!
Proud of her contributions to the Society on Latino Affairs and Sociology!
We are so proud of her contributions to the Society on Latino Affairs and Sociology!

Weaving Graduation Stoles 2015

Last week, my seniors finished their graduation stoles. Each time we offer these workshops, the students are amazed at how serene and fun weaving can be. Luckily, we have a professional weaving instructor warp the looms and teach the students how to weave their stoles. Then, we finish together by knotting the ends. This has been such a great bonding opportunity. It also provides closure to the semester. I’m really proud of this year’s group. Getting together was difficult, but everyone finished in the end!

Alycia and her finished stole!
Alycia and her finished stole!
Juan’s finished stole!
Steven and Jacinta modeling their stoles!

Dominican Republic Trip

Music & Latino Studies Students and Faculty Prior to Trip
Music & Latino Studies Students and Faculty Before Leaving MU

In the early hours of Jan 11, we prepared to travel to the Dominican Republic. The 46 students and six faculty members would spend nearly a week visiting different sites in the DR, experiencing the luxuries of an all inclusive resort, teaching music to students, and learning more about Dominican culture.

Students assisting a musical performance at Bavaro Bilingual School
Students assisting a musical performance at Bavaro Bilingual School

Weaving Experience

Finish work
Finish work

The photo shows some of the students from my Social Movements and Weaving class who created placement sized projects. Our instructor, Susan Weaver, provided three workshops for the students to teach them about the significance of weaving to the Mayan cultures. Although my students were not engaged in backstrap weaving, their experience with the table and floor looms gave them an appreciation for the physical demands associated with weaving. Many found the experience to be relaxing and rewarding. Of course, Susan engaged in the hard work of measuring and warping these looms that had been in storage for 20+ years!  I’ll save the moving and cleaning portion for another post.

So, what’s the connection to social movements? I used this project as a way for the students to understand the global justice movements, particularly those in southern Mexico and Guatemala. I was inspired by the work of Weaving for Justice and Mayan Hands. Watching video clips is one way to understand the experiences of the women in the weaving cooperatives. Participating in the activity of weaving gives a physical and emotional connection that our readings and videos couldn’t. I was impressed with the final products and the insights that the students achieved.