¡Feliz mes de la herencia hispana, Hilltoppers!

St. Edward’s is proud to be a Hispanic-serving institution for more than 30 years, and in that time, to be nationally recognized as a best college for Hispanic students. In honor of Hispanic Heritage Month, we’re happy to share just a few of the ways St. Edward’s is supporting Latinx students and the greater Spanish-speaking community through academic projects, classes, guest speakers, student groups and more.


Overcoming Barriers

Mental health professionals know that language barriers can sometimes deter Spanish-speaking clients from seeking counseling services. To begin to remove that barrier, Cristina Thornell, assistant professor of Counseling, created an Introduction to Counseling in Spanish course for the Master’s in Counseling (MAC) program. The advanced elective course, which is open to students of all fluency levels in Spanish, will prepare future counselors to work with bilingual clients or to supervise other counselors who work in a bilingual environment.


Translating for Social Good

For her Introduction to Translation class, Assistant Professor of Spanish Emily Bernate enlists community partners so that her students can work on translation projects with a meaningful social impact. For instance, her class has translated materials for mental health clinics, which often are behind other health services in offering Spanish language materials. Bernate also teaches a course for heritage Spanish speakers that helps students improve their fluency while appreciating the value in the U.S. Spanish they already speak.


Bienvenidos Hispanic Scientists

Ciencia sin Fronteras (Science without Borders) is a new program bringing together a Spanish-speaking community in a culturally responsive environment that encourages and supports students studying the sciences in fulfilling their goals. Led by professors Lissette Curry, Andrea Holgado and Santiago Toledo Carrion in the School of Natural Sciences, the program hosted several Hispanic scientists in September including St. Edward’s University President Montserrat Fuentes, who has a doctorate in Statistics, and Fulbright Visiting Scholar Miriam Virgolini from Argentina.


Plugging into St. Ed's

First generation college student Marc Paz, a Kinesiology junior, wants to make sure that first gen students are aware of the many experiences and opportunities they can take advantage of outside of the classroom. “Some first gen students just go to class and work, and they aren’t aware of the programs, internships and scholarships available. We want to point them in the right direction,” Paz said. He’s leading a new group, called First Generation Scholars, that will introduce students to programs and opportunities, and encourage them to plug into resources and services at St. Edward’s that will enrich their academic journey. The idea for the group came from College Assistance Migrant Program (CAMP) Academic Counselor Gilbert Contrerras, a first gen student himself, who is advising the organization. The group is open to all students who are interested.


Latinx Stories from Texas

This fall, the Marcia Kinsey Visiting Writers Series in the School of Arts and Humanities selected two homegrown Texas literary talents that showcase the diversity of Latinx storytelling. On Oct. 21, Hilltoppers will hear from Raul Garza, a Latinx playwright whose stories are acclaimed for authenticity and sense of place. Garza’s play MyHEB garnered FronteraFest Best of Fest accolades and his short stories have been published widely. In September, Emmy Perez, Texas Poet Laureate 2020 and the author of two poetry collections — With the River on Our Face and Solstice — shared her work with students. Her poetry and teaching address personal, political and global forces affecting lives at the U.S.–Mexico border.


The Hispanic Influence on American Catholicism

Having shaped American Catholicism in the last century, Hispanics are poised to do the same in the 21st Century, said Hosffman Ospino, associate professor of Hispanic Ministry and Religious Education, and Department Chair of Religious Education and Pastoral Ministry at Boston College. Ospino is the featured speaker for the Fall 2021 Most Reverend John McCarthy Lecture Series. On Oct. 12, he will speak to the St. Edward’s community on “Latinos and the Re-Creation of American Catholicism in the 21st Century.” Latinos are redefining U.S. Catholicism and have the potential of “re-creating” the American Catholic experience for a new generation, Ospino said.


Creating a Safe and Inclusive Community

The Monarchs on the Hilltop, a student group dedicated to creating a safe and inclusive community for the undocumented and allies, is once again hosting its UNDOCUpeer Training on Oct. 27. The event, which is open to everyone at St. Edward’s, is intended to shine a light “on immigration in the U.S. and inform students and staff about how to become allies to our undocumented and immigrant communities.” Participants will learn about the challenges the undocumented face, the policies that provide help, and the resources available. The Monarchs also operate the Monarchs Food Pantry on campus, which provides fresh food and supplies to food insecure students.