Temple University celebrates Hispanic Heritage Month
The institution hosted an alumni panel about career opportunities with a Global Studies degree.
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Starting on Sept. 15, Temple University (TU) launched a month-long series of events in celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month. From arts and culture to law and politics; a variety of panels, exhibitions and presentations aim to pay tribute and honor the contributions of the Latino community to the institution.
According to Hiram Aldarondo, Senior Associate Dean for Academic Affairs at College of Liberal Arts, TU class of 2026 is the most diverse group the institution has ever had — with 51% of students identified as people of color. Aldarondo described this year’s celebration as historical, since the institution has never done something this big. He is excited for people to learn about the cultural differences between the different Latin American countries, which are often put in the same label.
“I want everyone to recognize that when we talk about Hispanic and Latinx, we need to talk about communities,” he added. “We aren’t the same, we can speak Spanish or Portuguese, but we are very different from each other.”
On Tuesday, Sept. 20, TU hosted its fourth event, entitled Latin American in Global Studies: An Alumni Panel — which was organized by the College of Liberal Arts professor Sanjoy Chakravorty, who once a year likes to connect students and alumni, to give them a perspective of the future. In 2022, he decided to blend it into the Hispanic Heritage Month celebrations and bring students who have been working in Latin America and Caribbean affairs.
Saskia Kercy who graduated from the TU in 2018 came back to virtually talk with current students about career possibilities with a Global Studies degree. Besides also having earned a bachelor's degree in Economics, she focused on Caribbean studies throughout her years at the institution. After TU, she earned her masters in Economics at Howard University. Now she works as a research consultant at The Sadie Collective — a non-profit organization that aims to increase the representation of African-American women in economics and related fields.
A Philadelphia native by way of Haiti, as she likes to say; Kercy explained her capstone project topic, which was an economic analysis of the Caribbean Hispaniola island — that is divided into two nations: Dominican Republic and Haiti. Passionate about Haitian culture and history, she wanted to find out how Haiti came from being a lucrative French colony to one of the poorest nations in the Western Hemisphere.
“I am a poet who decided to study economics because I didn’t understand why my world looked the way it did,” she said. “Even though my family was trying so hard, we still weren’t finding the American dream.”
Kercy explained that one of the challenges she faced the most, both as an undergraduate and graduate student, was trying to find specific microlevel data for countries that weren’t large Western nations. Interested in economic mobility and invested in learning why so many people have run away from Haiti and stopped investing in the country, she keeps working and researching about those topics until today.
“I’ve committed my life to doing as much as I can for as many people as I can,” she said
If you want to see what’s coming next, click here for the full calendar of events.