Student Profiles


What courses have you have taken as a LAPR minor?

Introduction to Latino Studies

Race and Ethnic Relations

Social Movements and Collective Action

Latina Identity and Empowerment

Individual Study Project in Latino Studies, “An Analysis of Collective Behavior and Empowerment Strategies present in Latina-focused Service Agencies”


Are there any courses that taught you something new or that you did not expect to learn?

I was originally not familiar with Latino history and learned a great deal of it in LTN 110 Introduction to Latino Studies. We studied the history of Latinos in the United States – when and how each group arrived, as well as the struggles they faced as they settled. We also discussed what was happening in the country they emigrated from. In the Latina Identity and Empowerment course, I learned about significant Latina women in history that I had not known much about prior. It was interesting to learn about some of the very first Latina feminists, and to know the ways in which they created social change.

What extracurricular activities have you engaged in related to the LAPR program?

I created an art piece for the Latina Identity Art Exhibit. I created a piece that spoke to the problem of femicide, gender inequality, and physical abuse towards Latinas. I am currently also conducting research that ties into the Latina Identity and Empowerment course that I took. I am studying empowerment strategies present in Latina-focused agencies, and hope to find that Latinas are being provided the services that assist them in creating positive and healthy lives for themselves and their families.

How do you think LAPR studies will help you professionally and/or intellectually?

I think that the courses in this program have increased my knowledge of the history and lives of Latino Americans. It has given me a better understanding and appreciation for all the ways in which they are intertwined with each of us in this country. I think this knowledge will be useful as the population of Latinos/as in the United States grows to be the majority. I also think that the opportunities I have had to conduct research while being a part of this program has played a significant part in my personal growth. It has given me the opportunity to challenge myself and to research a topic that I am passionate about.

Why did you choose to minor in LAPR?

I chose to minor in LAPR because I thought it would be beneficial in the type of education/work I am pursuing. The areas in which I would like to work as a social worker have high Latino populations, and it will be important for me to understand their history, their culture, and the unique challenges that Latinos face. Personally, it was also important for me to understand my own Peruvian culture and the history of my ancestors. I knew that by choosing this minor, I would be able to learn and connect with those things, and I have. I now have a better understanding of who I am and where I come from.

One of the greatest experiences I have had at Central was through the Latina identity and Empowerment course. Last summer Professor Heather Rodriguez [and Professor Leah Glaser] made headlines when was awarded a $10,000 grant from NEH/ALA to lead a campus exploration of the Latino experience in America. I was lucky enough to be one of her Latina identity students. No other course on this campus is anything like that class. No other learning experience I have ever had caused me to feel more of a connection to my identity as a Latina American. Through the interviews she encouraged us to conduct, I learned things I never knew about my family and my community.

I had the opportunity to connect with legends of the Latino community in my own hometown including women involved with new haven politics in the 1960s and the woman who is the current editor of Connecticut’s largest Latino newspaper. The Latina Identity and Art class gave us students the tools we needed to create art dedicated to empowering Latino identity. The exhibit allowed us to involve our family and bring the warmth and spirit of Latino America to the Central campus.


(Left) Artwork completed by Marlene DeJesus for Latina Identity and Art Exhibit

What courses have you taken in the LAPR program?

I took Intro Latino and Puerto Rican Studies with professor Rojas and that course introduced me to new information about the history of Latinos, specifically Puerto Ricans. I was truly shocked by some of the things that were revealed to me in that class. I learned that the Puerto Rican people have been robbed of their land’s goods and in turn, they have left with nothing more than pollution and debt. The women were sterilized and they were treated as a lesser race of people. The people have developed a sentiment of inferiority which can often translate into the Puerto Rican American youth being youth being ashamed of their heritage. This is common among many second generation Latinos.

Are there any courses that taught you something new or that you did not expect to learn?

Our Latina Identity and Empowerment class changed my understanding of Latinos and how important our history is, despite how little we hear about it. The class answered questions that I did not realize I had, such as what Latinidad means. Prior to taking the course I had never heard of this term, which is unfortunate considering I am Latina. Surprisingly, I was not the only one. Many of my classmates had no idea what it meant either.

In general, what have you learned in the program?

LAPR-related courses have been an important part of my personal development because they have taught me to continue learning and seeking the truth about my ancestors. These courses have helped me to be proud of my heritage and my people. I have realized that in learning about our history, I have learned about myself and who I aspire to be. LAPR-related courses at Central Connecticut State University were my first exposure to Latino history. Prior to taking these courses I had learned about American history, European history, as well as the history of many other races, but I had never learned anything about Latinos. Latinos make up a large portion of the American population an in a time when the Latino representation in the media is negative, we need to have the background knowledge about our people to remind us of how far we have come. I learned that LAPR-related courses are important and that there need to be more courses like this to inform people of our struggles and our triumphs.

What extracurricular activities have you engaged in related to the LAPR program?

As a part of my Intro to Latino and Puerto Rican studies class, I joined some classmates to help inform Hartford residents about town meetings that they could participate in. These meetings would give them a say on the changes happening in their own community. We met in front of the Hartford Public Library on Park Street, passed out flyers and informed people of the date and time of the meetings.

In doing the Latina Art Exhibit I was able to teach the class a story about Dominican Republic. My art piece told the story of three Dominican sisters who defied their dictator and sacrificed their lives for the freedom of their country. These sisters fought against sexism, racism, and lead the movement that ended the reign of Dictator Rafael Trujillo. Their story needed to be shared and I am glad that I did not back away from the opportunity to incorporate their story into my artwork because my classmates had never heard of them before. The Mirabal sisters’ story is important to know because it showcases powerful Latin women.

How do you think LAPR studies will help you professionally and/or intellectually?

LAPR-related courses helped me to grow intellectually because they have encouraged me to continue on with my studies and continue trying to become a positive role model for Latinas. It has taught me that I should continue sharing the things that I learn with those who have not had the privilege of taking LAPR courses. It has already helped me to know the history and facts so that I can have informed conversations with other people. I thinks this is important in light of all that is happening in America at the moment. LAPR-related courses have also influenced me professionally by directing me to pursue a career that allows me to help my community. I would also like to help educate my fellow Latinos and help to provide services that they are not offered.


What courses have you taken as a LAPR minor?

Introduction to Latino and Puerto Rican studies

Latina identity and Empowerment

Sociology of Immigration

Social Movements

Individual Study Project in Latino Studies

Are there any courses that taught you something new or that you did not expect to learn?

Introduction to LAPR required reading books that were really eye opening about the privilege certain ethnic groups experienced over others. Certain physical characteristics gave individuals more opportunities than others. Latina Identity and Empowerment taught me about many important women (Frida Kahlo, Sor Juana) that are still known to this day as women that fought to make a difference.

In general, what have you learned in the program?

There are so many things I learned, but most importantly, I realized how little I knew about the history of Latinos in the United States. I also learned that many of the stereotypes towards Latinx are not all accurate, they are just continuously reinforced through media. It takes learning about this culture to know the facts.

What extracurricular activities have you engaged in related to the LAPR program?

I have participated in the annual Latina Identity Art Exhibit, the “Cubans in America” talk, and the “Latinas and pregnancy” talk.

How do you think LAPR studies will help you professionally and/or intellectually?

Statistically speaking, the population of Latinos is projected to increase in the years to come, so knowing about this culture is both helpful and important.

Why did you choose to minor in LAPR?

Getting to know different cultures has always been interesting to me, so when my advisor mentioned that LAPR studies was an option, I immediately thought it was a good idea. I want to go into the education field, so I think minoring in LAPR is beneficial.

Contact Information

Juan David Coronado
Associate Professor
Latin American, Latino, & Caribbean Center Executive Board
Latino & Puerto Rican Studies Minor
Ebenezer D. Bassett Hall