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“A large part of Hostos’ work, which goes somewhat unnoticed, was his advocacy of women’s rights, particularly in the classroom. While teaching at the University of Chile, Hostos spoke on ‘The Scientific Education of Women,’ where he advocated for women attending colleges.”





“Hostos is in my DNA, Rosario said, it’s a part of who I am and if not for Hostos, I don’t know where I would be. I’m grateful for the College and what it has done for me. I want to instill in my daughters, staff, students and everyone I connect with to go above and beyond and even if the plan or road isn’t clear, to keep going, keep moving.”


“The more knowledge we have of our history, when we realize that we’re part of progressive movements much bigger than ourselves, we can become inspired as spokespeople and social agents, bringing our particular gifts to on-going, present day struggles for gender justice and fairness.”





“Dave Valentín was a man from the Bronx who carried all the soul of Puerto Rico. His music was alive much as the world revolves around the sun.”



“The faculty and administration at Hostos are truly dedicated to their craft, they care beyond these walls, beyond the limitations of their resources. I haven’t come across one person at Hostos who does not believe in the work they do.”



“The common thread in my poetry is transforming some of the ugliest things in one’s life into something as beautiful as a poem. My concept is beauty is truth, truth is beauty.”









CELEBRATING 50 YEARS These are exciting times at Hostos Community College. Spring is in the air, and we recently kicked-off our year-long celebration of our 50th anniversary. Innovation, change and remaining on the cutting edge have been a part of Hostos since 1968. We were visionary then, and we are visionary now. Our Office of Communications has embraced this mantra in this new and redesigned issue of Caiman magazine. Here in its pages you will read—and see through vivid images—how the women of Hostos have helped power us to extraordinary heights. You will also learn about our special students, faculty and alumni, who are also carrying forward our commitment to excellence. So, step into summer with this new and dynamic magazine. It’s what the best of Hostos is all about.

David Gómez, Ed.D. President





A Year of Celebration


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Mon. Tue. Thur. Fri. | 12:00 pm to 5:00 pm Longwood Art Gallery @ Hostos Main Gallery “Boleros” will feature artwork by emerging artists responding to this music genre (Spanish love-themed songs) from the 30’s & 40’s that originated in Cuba and Mexico. Project Space: WElab, a local initiative including an interactive exhibit, a curriculum, and a living archive to explore social, historical, environmental and economic challenges.




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Thur. | 3:30 pm to 5:00 pm “Hostos the Man, Hostos the College, and the Bronx:” Professor Orlando Hernández is one of a few scholars in the world working to translate the work of Hostos into English. This exclusive presentation by Hernández will focus on Hostos’ educational philosophy and how it fits in the 21st Century. Tues. | 3:30 pm to 5:00 pm “Hostos Dreams:” Professor Inmaculada Lara-Bonilla believes one of Hostos’ greatest accomplishments is the impact it has had on immigrant communities from all over the world. The dreams of many have become realized because of Hostos Community College. She brings a surprise speaker to talk about the power and importance of plural voices. Wed. | 3:30 pm to 5:00 pm “Our South Bronx Today:” Educating and Empowering Students for the 21st Century. Moderated by Professor Thomas Beachdel, this panel combines leading community voices and artists to discuss the role of Hostos as a leader of urban education in the heart of the changing South Bronx. Thur. | 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm Hostos50: State of the College & 2017-2022 Strategic Plan unveiling. Thur. | 7 pm | Repertory Theater Noche Flamenca performs Tres Sueños: When Muslims, Jews and Christians Dream Together. New York’s leading Flamenco dance company performs this powerful work featuring Spanish, Hebrew, Ladino, and Arabic songs from Andalusia, Spain spanning the 9th to the 15th centuries - a “golden age” of philosophy and culture where all three traditions influenced each other.

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NOVEMBER Sat. | 12:00 pm to 7:00 pm | Gymnasium, C-Lobby Comité Noviembre National Puerto Rican Artisan Fair, Book Expo & Memorabilia Exhibit. The annual day-long cultural event will feature nearly 100 artisans and authors from Puerto Rico and the United States.


Thur. | 7:00 pm | Repertory Theater Kwanzaa–This annual College-wide celebration features a leading African dance ensemble.






I am delighted to lead the launch of the new and improved Caiman. Having spent more than 15 years in media, it is my pleasure to work with the Hostos communications and marketing teams on this project. I am particularly honored to participate in this issue, which celebrates bold and strong women who lead by example and break their own personal glass ceilings in their journey. Thanks to community supporters like Bill Aguado, we were lucky to find photographer Marisol Díaz who, through her lens, was able to bring these inspiring stories to life. We will continue to work with our community partners and bridge our shared vision for a better tomorrow through photographs, stories and essays that show and tell the colorful voices of our common humanity. Get ready to be inspired.

Ana Martínez Orizondo Vice President Division of Institutional Advancement




Division of Institutional Advancement VP for Institutional Advancement

Ana Martínez Orizondo

Art, Editorial Design & Production

José R. García

Designer & Illustrator

Alice Curiel Baldonado Contributing Writers

Camille Currie Ericka Douglas Richard Pietras  Copy Editors

Susan Bronson Joseph Goodrich Photography

Marisol Díaz Ericka Douglas Eduardo Hoepelman  Simon Lee  Francisco López  Arpi Pap Photography Romain Suinat  Magda J. Vasillov Caiman

The Caiman is the Hostos Community College official publication for students, alumni, faculty, staff, and friends of the College. Published three times a year by the Division of Institutional Advancement. View the online version at Join the Conversation

Connect with Caiman magazine and the Hostos Divison of Institutional Advancement. Share your story ideas, comment on what you read, submit news notes and expand on your thoughts in the online community. Letters and Story Ideas

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Email to tell us what you think about the latest issue of Caiman magazine and to share your comments on the stories. Your letter may be published in an upcoming “Letters” section of the magazine. Letters to the editor, story ideas and contributions are welcome; they may be edited for clarity and length. This publication accepts no responsibility for unsolicited manuscripts or photographs. All submissions are subject to editing and are used at the editor’s discretion. Office

Division of Institutional Advancement 120 East 149th Street, Room D-214 Bronx, NY 10451 t. 718-518-6579 e. w.






INVITED PHOTOGRAPHER: Chris Mangino @ChrisMangino! − Congrats to Class of 2017 @Hostos College Nursing pinning.


Glenda Grace − @gggrace07 Last night’s Gala @HostosCollege was great. Students’ stories were so inspiring & there was even a #CincodeMayo surprise!


mayafreelonasante Nova says congrats to my cuzzo Kervin for graduation from Dental Hygiene School @HostosCollege #newrolemodel #doinitwell.

MARISOL DÍAZ ARTIST STATEMENT: When people meet me, the questions are usually the same. What kind of camera is it? How long have you been shooting? But every so often someone asks, what made you want to be a photographer? With a smile I say, I have been an artist all my life. I knew I would be doing this for the rest of my life.

michelequinterow My love and I in 2013 at the Passing the Torch ceremony @HostosCollege, our Alma Mater, where we met.

For me, photography isn’t just about point and shoot. The art of writing with light is also about learning with light. Every day I go out, I encounter new people, experiences and insert myself into their lives. I learn about them, even just a bit. I learn that we are all similar, even though our genders, skin tones, language, and cultures are different. We are all the same. We want to be understood. We want all of this, that we call life to mean something. That is powerful! That human connection is human, and I use my camera to comprehend.

BIO: Originally from Puerto Rico, Marisol Díaz is a photographer with over 20 years of experience. Díaz is currently a freelance photographer with Newsday and an Adjunct Professor at City College of The City University of New York.

ABOUT PORTFOLIO: edc_adams It took me half of the week to make this. Many hours working hard to get to the vision that I wanted. Getting 90 on this final project!!

s4shostoscc Hostos Commencement Class of 2017! #s4shostoscc #hostoscommunitycollege #Hostos50

In each edition of the Caiman, an invited artist will showcase his/her work. Visit our YouTube channel to view a behind the scenes video of Marisol Díaz.




LISANETTE ROSARIO: THE SPIRIT OF HOSTOS “I want to instill in my daughters, staff, students and everyone I connect with to go above and beyond and even if the plan or road isn’t clear, to keep going.”


LISANETTE ROSARIO Director of Career Services Division of Continuing Education & Workforce Development




ransforming Lives, Forging Futures since 1968” is the tagline for the College’s year-long 50th anniversary celebration. It speaks to the resiliency, commitment and dedication of Eugenio María de Hostos Community College, to its students and the community over the last five decades. Students have walked these halls, professors have lectured, and countless others have left their mark on the community. And if you walk the halls enough, observe the students, and look at the artwork and photographs around campus, you can even feel their stories, the history. One such story—and the perfect example of the life-changing, transformative power of Hostos—belongs to Lisanette Rosario, Director of Career Services. Raised just blocks away from Hostos, the then 19-year old single mother of a toddler daughter enrolled at the suggestion of her mother. Equipped with real-world life skills, maturity beyond her years and street sense from a troubled childhood, she embarked on an unsure future. “Even though I didn’t have a clear plan for myself, I knew that I just needed to keep moving, to keep going and eventually opportunities would open up for me,” said Rosario. So that’s what she did; the shy student became active on campus. And, what others didn’t know was that behind the reserved nature was a fearless, hardworking and focused young woman with a relentless fire burning within. One of the first opportunities she embraced was a work-study position in the Counseling Office, and it didn’t take long for the staff to recognize her potential. Jackie Ruiz, former office assistant at the Counseling Services and Academic Advisement Department, became one of Lisanette’s first mentors at the college in 1999. As an Hostos alumna from the Class of 1993, Ruiz saw herself in Lisa. “Lisa was incredibly responsible. She had a tremendous work ethic and she never, ever gave up,” Ruiz said. Rosario continued to impress and soon completed her associate’s degree in Liberal Arts. Ruiz knew she was ready for more. “Hostos made me the woman I am today, and I knew that with the same encouragement and support, Lisanette could excel, too,” said Ruiz. “I recommended her for a job in Career Services, because I wanted to empower

her. I had mentors challenge me when I was a student, and it was time for her to grow and for me to pay it forward.” What she calls her “robot years,” Rosario settled into Career Services just fine. She took on every single job in the office – learning every aspect of the department from top to bottom. Rosario worked at Career Services during the day, attended Hunter College part-time in the master’s program at night and worked a retail job in between, all the while raising her daughter Kristelle and preparing for the arrival of her second daughter, Caitlin. But nothing stopped her. She kept going. She kept moving. “I was always so in awe of how she balanced everything,” said Lillian Morales, a mentor and former Résumé and Interview Specialist at Career Services who is currently Executive Assistant to the Vice President of Student Development. “Lisanette was, and still is, a great role model for all students, especially women. But what’s most impressive about Lisanette is that she displayed the same passion for every role and every task she took on.” Lisanette rose through the Career Services ranks one rung at a time and now, nearly 18 years since she stepped onto campus as a student, is the Director. And, she isn’t resting on her laurels. She keeps going. She keeps moving. “I challenge my staff to challenge themselves on a daily basis. What can we do better, what new ideas can we develop and how can we do more; those are questions we ask ourselves,” Rosario said. “I grew up in this community and I understand the students and their struggles, because I was once like them. And I think that relatability helps the connection and helps us provide the services they require.” Under Rosario’s guidance, the Career Services Office has trained, counseled and guided thousands of students in proper career preparation. In 2015-2016, the office saw a 68% increase in visits and the dedicated staff provided interview and résumé writing assistance, career assessments, professional attire seminars and other services to more than 11,000 students and alumni. On March 31, Career Services hosted the wildly successful ‘Big Caiman Job Fair’ that brought over 60 employers to campus to connect with more than 300 students. “To see her now, compared to how shy and reserved she was then. It’s incredible. I’m so proud of the woman and professional she has become. After everything she’s been through in her life, this is the happiest I’ve seen her and I think the College and her love for the job has a lot to do with it. She is a true testament to how Hostos transforms lives,” said Morales. “Hostos is in my DNA, Rosario said, it’s a part of who I am and if not for Hostos, I don’t know where I would be. I’m grateful for the College and what it has done for me.” “I want to instill in my daughters, staff, students and everyone I connect with to go above and beyond and even if the plan or road isn’t clear, to keep going, keep moving.” As for Lisanette’s future plans, a doctorate degree in education is in her sights. True to her mantra, she’ll keep going and keep moving until the goal is reached.


TO DO THE JOB The Division of Continuing Education & Workforce Development offers: 30 Certificate Programs leading to careers and professional advancement in various industries, English for Speakers of Other Languages, High School Equivalency Diploma (HSE) Prep, College for Kids and personal enrichment courses.

Register Now! Call 718-502-6576 or visit

Visit our Oral History Project to learn more about Lisanette Rosario. Tel 718-518-6656 Fax 718-518-6744 560 Exterior Street, Bronx, New York 10451




JERILYN FISHER: LEADING THE CHARGE “Being conscious of gender inequality and ways in which sexism and misogyny still affect all of our lives truly prepares students for many challenging daily situations and the gender-related dynamics they encounter.”


JERILYN FISHER PH.D. English Professor Coordinator, Women’s and Gender Studies, Chief Reader




n the 1960s, the nation was fully engaged in protests from coast to coast, and young people, in particular, were heavily involved in significant antiwar demonstrations and pouring into the streets to plead for civil rights for African-Americans, the gay community, Latinos, and other groups who did not have a voice. Another powerful movement that came from that time was the resurgent feminist movement, and Hostos English Professor Dr. Jerilyn Fisher was one of those young people who was at the forefront. Her passion for female empowerment and inquisitiveness about genderrelated issues began as a high school student in Long Island. The teenager, on the brink of exploring and understanding her own womanhood in the context of changing social expectations, attended “consciousness meetings” after school, which helped fuel her passion. “I was very active in demonstrations and marches from Washington, DC to Boston and everywhere in between,” Fisher said. “I was fighting for equality on every level, especially when it came to women’s rights.” Taking her activism and fervor to SUNY Binghamton, Fisher quickly made a large impact on campus. Not engaged by any of the traditional academic programs offered, she applied to the Innovational Projects Board to create her own major in Women’s Studies. And, in 1974, the board approved it. But receiving approval was just the beginning. What came next was more challenging than even she anticipated. Since women’s studies was in its infancy stage across the country, few colleges offered classes, and online classes didn’t even exist. In order to fulfill requirements for her degree, Fisher had to travel to different universities to study in Portland, Vermont, and Washington, DC, while enrolled in the two courses offered in Women’s Studies at Binghamton. After four years, the hard work and perseverance paid off, and Fisher became the first student in SUNY Binghamton’s history to receive a Bachelor’s Degree in Women’s Studies. “I wasn’t quite sure where the degree would lead me,” Fisher said. “But I did know that the movement for women’s rights needed support and educating myself to educate others about feminist scholarship was one way to make a difference.” Since there were few colleges offering a master’s degree in women’s studies, she went straight through and earned her Ph.D. in Literary Studies from American University. Returning to New York after working for the National Women’s Studies Association at the University of Maryland, and after teaching at several local NYC colleges, Fisher landed at Hostos Community College in 1990. Fueled by her passion for women’s studies, she wanted to translate her zeal into a

curriculum that didn’t then exist at Hostos. With a female population of approximately 75 percent in the 1990s, Fisher knew that such a program of study was needed and could see that it was aligned with the dream of Eugenio María de Hostos: to provide quality education for underserved communities, including women. “I knew the power that women’s studies would offer our students. The power that comes with seeing life through gendered lenses would open their worlds to new self-awareness as well as new research interests and a new sense of their intellectual potential,” Fisher said. “To understand that personal experiences of oppression and culturally-imposed insecurities women often feel aren’t personal at all. In fact, those experiences are “political” as the 70s slogan goes, coming at us from traditions and from institutions such as the media, law, and religion that sustain men as the dominant sex. I wanted to equip future generations, both female and male, with the tools they’d need to grasp those concepts.” So the woman who led her own personal and educational “liberation” journey was preparing to lead Hostos students in that direction, too. For many years, Jerilyn presented a women’s studies proposal to the Dean of Academic Affairs. And, each year, her proposal was rejected. That didn’t stop her. She persisted. She’d go back to the drawing board and return the following year for another chance to be heard. Fisher said that after about seven attempts, she made the same presentation to the new Provost, whom she describes as an “academic feminist,” Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs, Daisy Cocco De Filippis. De Filippis was inspired by Fisher’s devotion and passion. De Filippis was convinced that the time was right for such an offering, and she also knew that Jerilyn was the right person to carry the torch for women’s studies at Hostos. “I remember Professor Fisher proposing the academic program to me,” said De Filippis, who is now the President of Naugatuck Valley Community College. “It was a no-brainer. We had such a large female community, and we needed to support them.” The official Women’s Studies program (later changed to Women’s & Gender Studies) launched its foundational class, Introduction to Women’s Studies in 2002. It has continued to flourish and expand under the guidance of Fisher, the program’s coordinator. “Today our courses in Women’s & Gender Studies are enrolled to full capacity each semester, including male students,” stated Fisher. “My sense is that the texts empower students and they then take the subject matter into other classes. Being conscious of gender inequality and ways in which sexism and misogyny still affect all of our lives truly prepares students for many challenging daily situations and the gender-related dynamics they encounter.” Since its inception, Fisher has expanded and promoted gender and sexuality forums to educate students outside the classroom.

Hostos’ annual Women’s History Month celebrations began in 2003, augmented later by the popular Fall Film Festival in Women’s & Gender Studies: “Breaking Boundaries/Crossing Borders.” “The more knowledge we have of our history, when we realize that we’re part of progressive movements much bigger than ourselves, we can become inspired as spokespeople and social agents, bringing our particular gifts to on-going, present day struggles for gender justice and fairness. That’s what I want our students to leave with, a full understanding of their power to make a difference,” Fisher said.







WOMEN “By educating women…men will not only be just, but will also ensure the future of a new social order in which women will apply their intelligence and warm feelings to the problems of living.”

—Eugenio María de Hostos (1839–1903)


s Eugenio María de Hostos Community College embarks on its year-long celebration of a halfcentury of service in the South Bronx, let’s recognize two “gems” that have contributed to the College’s legacy: Eugenio María de Hostos (1839– 1903) and the amazing contributions of women. Eugenio María de Hostos, the man the College was named after, was born in Puerto Rico and died in Santo Domingo. What he accomplished as an educator, philosopher, liberator, and sociologist in Latin America and around the globe cannot be overstated. A large part of his work, which goes somewhat unnoticed, was his advocacy of women’s rights, particularly in the classroom. While teaching at the

University of Chile, Hostos spoke on “The Scientific Education of Women,” where he advocated for women attending college. Fast-forward some 115 years later, women are lifting Hostos Community College to new heights. The College’s early years were highlighted by its immensely popular and successful Nursing and Dental Hygiene programs, which trained a large number of women to enter needed healthcare positions in area facilities. Currently, 67 percent of Hostos’ students are women, who are thriving in a myriad of programs and majors. Looking back as we look forward, please meet three women of Hostos who are helping the College shine bright during our Golden Anniversary.



DR. LORETO PORTE: A LIFETIME OF TEACHING “Her passion is contagious and she will be greatly missed when she retires. Her imprint on Hostos will be forever felt.”


ostos and its students will soon have to accept a major subtraction from their campus. But the additions that longtime Hostos Professor of Mathematics Dr. Loreto Porte leaves will endure forever. Retired in May of this year, Professor Porte’s legacy of student support is unmatched. She landed at Hostos some 39 years ago after leaving the military dictatorship of her home in Chile. It was a time of great change in her homeland, and not for the better. After excelling in mathematics at Universidad Técnica del Estado, where she obtained a B.A. and a master’s degree in Mathematics, she became the first Chilean to receive a scholarship and study at Teachers College, Columbia University in New York City during the early 1970s. She obtained her doctoral degree in 1976. But Chile was always on her mind. “I really wanted to be home, but I wanted to finish my degree at Teachers College, too,” Porte said. “It was a strange time.” After some back and forth between New York City and Chile, Porte found an up and coming community college where she really wanted to work. “People told me that I had to see what was going on at Hostos, that it was very progressive. I found it to be very exciting. It was also very political, with a huge Hispanic population served. It felt comfortable for me.” It felt a lot like home. And, a four-decades-long educational love affair with Hostos was born.


Portrait of Professor Porte (1979) by Magda J. Vasillov, part of a series titled “Faces of Hostos.”




Porte will tell you herself, and others will say the same about her, that she likes taking on projects, building them into something great, and then stepping away to start something new. It’s been a cycle the diminutive Doctor of Mathematics Education has followed for nearly four decades. And while she has done everything from writing her own developmental mathematics workbook to helping The City University of New York launch its first online baccalaureate degree, she has always remained focused on student success. Porte began her career with the most vulnerable students, those who needed extra help in mathematics. While she eventually moved to teaching more advanced courses, she always tried to teach one developmental course. “At first, it was very different teaching (developmental education). I had to return to the basics, but it was also a very rewarding process,” she said. “I loved it and still do. These students are often afraid of math, so I feel it is a big job. The challenge has been shared by many of my fellow

faculty, and we realize it is a big, important job. We need to show them how beautiful math is.” Her dedication to students led her to return to college to earn yet another degree later in life in a field other than mathematics. She went on to pursue a master’s degree in Computer Science at Queens College, because it was inconceivable for her to be a mathematics professor and not have some expertise in computers. “If computers were going to play such an important role in the future of teaching and learning, then how could I be effective if I were not an expert?” Promoting computer-related workshops for faculty in the 1980s and 1990s turned into her becoming the first Director of Hostos’ Office of Educational Technology in early 2000. She forged a lasting and extremely productive relationship with former students Carlos Guevara and Iber Poma. “She was my professor in Calculus I, back in the late 1990s,” Guevara recalled. “I remember her being very organized and methodical, while also being committed and passionate about her students.” Guevara himself had immigrated to the United States from Ecuador in 1997, eager to pursue a college degree and a career in technology. Their back stories were similar, as was their passion for technology-based education programs. Fast-forward to 2002, Guevara had earned his B.S. in Computer Science from the City College of New York and Porte had asked her former student to join her in a new venture: helping in the newly-formed Office of Instructional Technology as an instructional designer. “The main goal of the office was to establish Hostos as a role model for technology innovation, and Loreto was our director and our leader,” Guevara said. “She was the Director for six years, and she was very dedicated and supportive. We were always looking for new ideas and new initiatives to keep faculty engaged and on the cutting edge.” Now commonly known as “EdTech,” the Office develops, implements, and supports the integration of technology for classrooms, while providing training to both faculty, staff and students—supporting all levels of learners. Since its launch, EdTech has been responsible for everything from faculty and student technology trainings, to seeing that



well over half of the classes at Hostos use Blackboard and other teaching technology tools. “We really want to create a sense of support, that was something Loreto was passionate about,” Guevara said, adding EdTech’s goal is to increase Blackboard use 5 percent each year. Coming full circle in a sense, Guevara, who holds a master’s degree in Computer Science from Polytechnic University, now serves as the Director of EdTech, as well as the Center for Teaching and Learning. “It is very rewarding for me to carry the torch that Loreto held so well,” Guevara said. “To honor her leadership is very special. She was always very dependable. She always kept her word in relation to getting projects up and running. That is something I took from our relationship.”

“What started with one online degree program has turned into over a dozen, including online graduate degrees, and Loreto had a big hand in that.” Other former students who went on to do great things at Hostos include Felix Galindo, a Senior Developer in the IT Department; Iber Poma, Coordinator of Student Support for EdTech; Ramón Gómez, full-time faculty of the Math Department, and others. Hostos Provost and Vice President for the Office of Academic Affairs Christine Mangino is another witness to her passion and “get things done” attitude, as Porte was instrumental in developing the College’s Supplemental Instruction (SI) program. Launched in 2012, SI uses students who have passed particular classes called “Peer Leaders” to help guide students. Peer Leaders are trained and sit in designated classes to offer guidance on everything from coursework to navigating the campus. To perfect the program during the creation phase, key faculty members, including Porte, traveled to the University of MissouriKansas City, to study its model. Since the pilot in 2012, students in SI courses at Hostos have thrived. Analyses of pass rates for the 2014-2015 and 2015-2016 academic years continue to support the findings that students who complete specific SI sections of mathematics passed at higher rates than students who complete non-SI sections. While Porte recently retired, she has been entrusted with various college-wide assessments, which will be used for everything from Middle States Commission on Higher Education reviews to college continuous improvement initiatives. Mangino said Porte has helped the team make a world of difference in that arena, too, as nine departmental assessments have been completed within the past year. “Professor Porte has a genuine enthusiasm and dedication for every project she has undertaken during her impressive career at Hostos and CUNY,” Mangino said. “Even as she retired, Loreto is still excitedly working on her latest assessment project. Her passion is contagious and she will be greatly missed. Her imprint on Hostos will be forever felt.”




Professor Porte with one of her students.

A LEGACY WITH A LONG REACH Porte’s impact away from Hostos has been equally as large. When CUNY was looking to launch its first online baccalaureate degree, they reached out to Porte to help plan, execute and implement the huge technological and educational initiative. George Otte is Director of Academic Technology and Chief Academic Officer of the CUNY School of Professional Studies, which is home to most of the University’s online degree programs. Otte said Porte was instrumental in building the general education foundation for that first degree, a foundation that now underlies eight undergraduate degrees, with more on the way. She also worked on curriculum development and served as a “consortial faculty” for that first degree during its first few years.

Her role in that project has not been lost on Mr. Otte more than a decade later. “She was really indispensable,” Otte said. “What started with one online degree program has turned into over a dozen, including online graduate degrees, and Loreto had a big hand in that.”

TIME TO TRY SOMETHING NEW It’s March 23, and Professor Porte has just finished teaching another Math 010 class. The room is filled with students who might have once been afraid of math, or have just not found the right teacher to show them its beauty. As Porte leaves the classroom to work on college assessments, or grade papers, or whichever project needs the most attention, students Amanda Seda, Angélica Gerónimo and Emilienne Anzara marveled at how their

professor has been able to pass her passion along to them. Anzara, who is the mother of two children, and who emigrated from Africa, said as an adult student, she never dreamed of earning straight A’s in mathematics. “I was afraid of it. It made me nervous,” Anzara said. “I had a knot in my stomach, but now, I always want to do 100 percent for her and myself. She is remarkable.” Amanda Seda is another former “fearer of math.” The freshman nursing student said she never understood mathematics before taking the course. “I think I only had one teacher in high school that took the time like Professor Porte does,” Seda said. “She not only takes us stepby-step, she gives us personal attention, and even inspires us not to use calculators. … Good math teachers are hard to come by.” Hostos is so glad it found one … and so much more.



ARELYS PEÑA: PUTTING DREAMS FIRST “I still spoke no English and was cleaning apartments in Brooklyn for work. I knew this wasn’t what I wanted to do with my life, so I decided to come to Hostos and change my life.”


eing first is often associated with beating out the competition. But when it takes on a more personal meaning, it is even more powerful. Arelys Peña came to Hostos with the dream of becoming the first person in her family to attend college. But, this dream would entail taking college classes for the first time in English. Now, the 30-year-old mother of two can taste her dream of owning and operating a Mexican restaurant with her husband—a decade after not being able to articulate her aspirations to some of her classmates and professors at Hostos.

LEARNING TO FLY Speaking only Spanish, Peña moved to the Bronx from Guatemala in 2010 eager to do more with her life for herself and her family, but before college, another huge first step came: becoming a U.S. citizen. She applied for citizenship exactly five years after landing in this country. The process took approximately six months. She leaned on her younger brother at that time, who was a better English speaker, as well as Google Translate to get through the test.




For Peña, it was everything. “While waiting for the big day, I had to study a book about the history of the United States,” she recalled. “The interview was based on that book, and studying for the exam was not easy. I had to translate it almost word-for-word. But, I did it.” Her brother is now enrolled at Lehman College and wants to study elementary education. On October 7, 2011, she celebrated becoming a U.S. citizen with her husband, parents, sister, and daughter. “I’ll never forget how proud they were of me,” she said through a wide smile.

Peña first stepped foot on campus at Hostos in 2014 and began another journey through the ESL program. A little more than a year later, she was enrolled in the Accelerated Study in Associate Programs (ASAP) and began her Business Management studies in 2015. “I still spoke no English and was cleaning apartments in Brooklyn for work. I knew this wasn’t what I wanted to do with my life, so I decided to come to Hostos and change my life.” She wasted little time. It took her a little more than two years to learn a new language and earn her associate’s degree. The road was rough, and Peña found the CUNY Assessment

Test in Writing (CATW) a huge hurdle to clear. Passing the CATW test is necessary for ESL students to enter classes in their chosen major. “It was a very hard time. My daughter, Darlyn, was only 4, and my son, Daniel, was just six months,” Peña said. “I would cook, take care of the children and help Darlyn with her homework first. Sometimes I would not start my homework until 11:30 p.m. or midnight and get to bed around 1:00 a.m. It was three years, but it felt like 10.” Peña also worked at Hostos without pay at the beginning of her journey, as part of the Human Resources Administration



Arelys Peña visiting her ASAP mentor Berkis Cruz-Eusebio.

(HRA)/College Opportunity to Prepare for Employment (COPE) assignment—both welfare programs. While she did not earn a wage, health benefits were provided and she also received valuable work experience. The programs’ stringent rules dictated that she must attend each of her four to five weekly classes. While she juggled work and raised her children, she completed her ESL courses, earned her degree and was eventually promoted to a paid Work-Study position and, most recently, to a College Assistant position. With the help of her husband, Alejandro, and a huge drive to succeed, Peña persevered and became an inspiration for other student-mothers. She is also an inspiration to her daughter, who is now 7 and thriving in her classes. About to enter the second grade, Darlyn enjoys school and even has her sights set on college. “I want to be a teacher,” Darlyn said, adding that she was very proud of her mother’s accomplishments in the classroom. Since her arrival at Hostos, Peña’s constant mentor and life coach has been Berkis Cruz-Eusebio, an ASAP Career & Employment Specialist. Cruz-Eusebio said while Peña initially worked for free performing basic office duties, she exuded professionalism and possessed an unquenchable desire to excel. “You never would have guessed she wasn’t getting a paycheck. She was always on time, ready to work, and ready to take on new tasks,” Cruz-Eusebio said.




Peña is still working at Hostos … and she still amazes CruzEusebio. “Now, she is my right-hand,” Cruz-Eusebio said proudly. “I didn’t have to instill any drive in her, only direction and support, and she took on the responsibility and ran.”

THE BUSINESS AT HAND Having already studied business administration in Guatemala, Peña excelled in her business courses. Thanks to her hard work and the support she received at Hostos, she walked in June’s Commencement Ceremony and has already begun her Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration with a concentration in Law at Lehman College. “My father left for the United States when I was 3. He also worked in restaurants, so it is special that I am following in his footsteps. He is extremely proud that I have earned a degree. I chose Business Management as my major because I want to open an authentic Mexican restaurant,” Peña said. Jorge Silva Puras is a Distinguished Lecturer in Hostos’ Business and Accounting Unit. During his class, Peña was asked to create a business plan. Two months in the making, she called it an extraordinary learning experience, and her former teacher remains impressed with her work. “Arelys exemplifies that special student who recognizes an

opportunity and puts her passion and expertise into practice,” Silva Puras said. “Her restaurant business plan was very thorough, and the entire class was impressed with the level of detail that was shared. I look forward to visiting her restaurant in the future when it opens.” Becoming a restaurateur is now more than just a dream. Peña now urges other students to remain determined and not get discouraged. “It takes a lot of work, especially if you don’t speak the language. But if you put in the time and effort, anything is possible.” She put her dreams first, and they are coming true at last.

“Arelys exemplifies that special student who recognizes an opportunity and puts her passion and expertise into practice.”



Arelys Peña at home with her family.






“I use sports as a vehicle to change attitudes, behaviors and ultimately lives.”




KRISHNA DASS: BUILDING CHAMPIONS “For Dass, true success is not seen in a score, it is in the people you help.”


ven as a young girl growing up in Guyana, Krishna Dass was separating herself from the pack, winning footraces against boys and girls much older than she. Though the races were run for knick-knacks, they foreshadowed a drive that would carry Dass, and those who work with her, to great heights. After moving to the United States when she was 6, Dass grew into a multi-sport athlete, playing softball, basketball and volleyball—eventually gravitating mainly towards volleyball. She excelled on the court at William Cullen Bryant High School in Long Island City, before playing four years at Hunter College. As a student-athlete, Dass was flying high, earning top honors in the CUNYAC, including Rookie of the Year and two Player of the Year awards. Additionally, Dass won Most Valuable Player awards for both the CUNYAC Tournament and for the Hunter College women’s volleyball team. Dass would take that same drive she had as a student-athlete and apply it to a career in athletic administration. “As a former three-sport student-athlete at Hunter College, I can relate to CUNY students and fully understand the multiple challenges they face, since I have had to overcome them myself,” Dass said. “Because of that, I have dedicated my energy to ensuring that I give these students the human capital, the resources and the confidence to pursue their goals.”

CUNY POWER Dass is no stranger to CUNY, having made a large impact at Hunter College, City College of New York, and Baruch College before coming to Hostos in April 2013. Her CUNY résumé reads like a recipe book for sports success. During her four seasons at The City College of New York, she led the Beavers to the 2009 City University of New York Athletic Conference (CUNYAC) Women’s Volleyball Championship Title and a berth in the NCAA Division III Tournament. In 2008, she led the team to a CUNYAC regular-season championship and earning Coach of the Year honors. In 2007, she tied the school’s record for the most wins in a season (26), while capturing Coach of the Year honors again. During four seasons at Baruch College, she lead the Bearcats to two CUNYAC Tournament championship matches and won regular-season and championship titles in 2005 and was named CUNYAC Coach of the Year in 2002 and 2005. Outside of CUNY, she helped transition the program at Sarah Lawrence College to NCAA Division III status as a women’s



Krishna Dass with Assistant Women’s Basketball Coach and Track Coach Dominique Winstead.

volleyball coach and Associate Director of Athletics. As a coach, it took Dass one year to lead that team to the 2012 Hudson Valley Women’s Athletic Conference Championship where she also won HVWAC Coach of the Year. Currently pursuing a doctoral degree in Higher Education Administration from Northeastern University, Dass said her goal at every stop has been the same: change the culture for the better through athletics. “I use sports as a vehicle to change attitudes, behaviors and ultimately lives,” Dass said. “It is what drives me to build championship-caliber programs so that the students feel a sense of pride, accomplishment and camaraderie.”

WINNING ATTITUDE To call Dass’ impact on Hostos transformative, would be an understatement. While the athletic teams had been relatively competitive, they have been on record runs since her arrival. Since that time, Hostos teams have won regional and conference titles, plus a 2015 Region XV title with the men’s basketball team and 2017 Region XV title with the women’s basketball team. And most recently, she supported the women’s basketball team during its run through the NJCAA D-III Tournament—a first for the program—where it finished 5th in the nation. But the success the Caimans, as well as the entire Athletics Department staff, have enjoyed is just the tip of the iceberg.




The gymnasium is also almost unrecognizable, as the court now sports graphics to reflect the Caimans “Swamp”—all part of a huge facelift that included a new weight room, aerobics room, gymnasium and aquatics center. She has also coordinated co-ed activities and a popular summer basketball camp for youngsters. And she will again try her hand at coaching in the fall with the women’s volleyball team. She was on the sidelines when the team won its last CUNYAC Women’s Volleyball title during the 2014-15 season, after she stepped in during an emergency to coach the last two weeks of their season. “I would like to get them back to contending for another CUNYAC title,” Dass said. “I am confident in my abilities and our players. I just think everyone deserves a chance to be a champion.” The Athletic Department is also ready to launch Hostos’ first track and field program, something Dass has been passionate about for years. With the added track teams, the Caimans will look to compete on the national stage and contend for the Commissioner Cup in 2017-2018. Johanna Gómez is the Assistant Dean of Student Life at Hostos. She knew Dass would make a positive impact early on. “I remember the first day Krishna stepped foot on our campus. What impressed me most about her was the drive to make our athletics program about inclusion, as well as her desire to make a difference in the hearts and minds of our

Krishna Dass with Head Men’s Basketball Coach Marquee Poole and Head Women’s Basketball Coach DeVernie Winston.

students,” Dean Gómez said. “She has accomplished those goals and so much more.” Dass’ dedication was recognized in the summer of 2016 by the National Association of Collegiate Women Athletics Administrators (NACWAA), who named her an “Administrator of the Year.” The NACWAA is the premier leadership organization that empowers, develops, celebrates and honors women working in college sports. Dass was recognized with seven other honorees across all NCAA divisions last year in Kansas City, Missouri. “Sports has served as a platform for me to feel empowered, emblazoned and unstoppable,” Dass said. “In a playing field that is not always fair, it was important for me to break barriers and to position others to do the same. As such, I have embraced the motto ‘Lift As You Rise,’ as I have embraced my responsibility to encourage, mentor and assist other women to change the notion that athletics are only for the… ‘good old boys!’” Dominique Winstead is the Athletic Academic Coordinator at Hostos and has experienced first-hand Dass’s dedication to others. “Krishna is all about having her staff grow professionally, and she personifies the mission to bring people up with you, or as she likes to say, ‘Lift As You Rise,’” Winstead said. “Over this past year, she has introduced me to several different professional development trainings that have helped me grow not just professional but personally. Krishna has taught me

that networking and building relationships is truly the key to a successful career. I would really describe her as an agent of change. She’s always looking to improve upon the next thing.” Part of Winstead’s duties is serving as an “athletic academic coach,” meeting with student-athletes regularly to discuss academic resources, how to navigate college life, even advising with class assignments. And Dass is right there with her, using what she learned earning her B.A. in Economics from Hunter to help with mathematics. Dass is also building leaders away from the courts and fields at Hostos. Players have participated in cancer benefit walks, got their hands dirty improving local parks, and aided local charities. It’s all about building better programs by building better people. “I am proud that we have been able to establish a culture of excellence at Hostos, while taking a comprehensive approach to building champions in and out of the classrooms, providing academic support, enhanced sports-specific training and life skills programming, Dass said. “As a result, we are experiencing tremendous success, including increased retention and graduation rates. With three conference titles, two regional titles and two national appearances in the past four years, it is evident that the athletic program has found the right formula to building the whole student.” For Dass, true success is not seen in a score, it is in the people you help.







DAVE VALENTÍN: GIVER OF THE GIFT OF MUSIC (April 29, 1952–March 8, 2017)


DAVE was so much fun as a person. His humanity revealed itself in his music, joyful, effortless and filled with humor. Working with him was an opportunity to laugh, groove, and always be amazed by his virtuosity and inventiveness. There will never be another like Dave Valentín. The world seems a little darker without him."

ostos Community College and the Hostos Center for the Arts & Culture community were saddened by the passing of highly-acclaimed flutist, South Bronx native and Hostos supporter, David Joseph Valentín. The entire Latin jazz community lost a true legend and worldrenowned musician in March of 2017. In honor of Mr. Valentín’s love for his Puerto Rican Bronx roots and passion for Latin jazz, we compiled some special thoughts from some of the people he touched.

— Arturo O’Farrill    Pianist and composer

DAVID had a special relationship with Hostos, performing here on countless occasions. In fact, he was a participant in the inaugural event for the opening of the Hostos Center for the Arts and Culture in 1994. His desire to be recognized as someone from the Bronx was very important to him. He could be performing anywhere around the world and in every concert, he’d make mention of his Bronx roots … ‘This next song is for the Bronx, where I’m from.’ … That was common for Dave, because he was proud of his people and proud of his South Bronx connection. Our family has been deeply moved by the outpouring of love and support from so many in this city and around the world. He will be missed but his music will be forever present in our lives.”

— Lourdes Torres     Cousin of Dave Valentín and Director     of Grants Administration at Hostos

DAVE Valentín was a ‘musician’s musician,’ a good friend to all, and a cool dresser. Dave always performed in a suit or sports jacket, never forgetting to have his silk handkerchief sticking out of his breast pocket. He never had an ego, and I don’t even think he realized how famous he was. He always had time for young musicians and would take time to offer advice. The impact he had on the music scene was his unique style of playing. He had the ability to combine percussion sounds with his mouth, while at the same time play the melody with his mouth.”

— Richie Bonilla     Longtime friend and manager

DAVE was my good friend and mentor, who influenced me probably more than any other musician. Dave started out for me as an amazingly beautiful flute sound ... with rhythmic fire! As a classical flutist at that time, having just



INMEMORIAM finished my BFA in flute performance (I also loved jazz and his music), I approached him for lessons. After a few lessons, he became my mentor, my friend and eventually my colleague, as I had the honor of sharing the stage with him on many occasions in jams and concerts. Dave was one of the most generous musicians I knew. What I learned from Dave, both as a flute player and as a person, led me to be able to perform and record with Charanga and Latin jazz bands, travel the country and abroad, and even begin a solo recording (which includes a tune I wrote for him back in 1986 when we first met). He always believed in me, and he was always positive and encouraging. He helped welcome me into what is now my musical family. Dave Valentín made my world a better place. His warmth, beauty, flute playing, humor, smile, and, I could go on for days, will be deeply missed. His spirit will be with me always in my playing and in my teaching. I am blessed to have so many awesome memories to cherish that are part of who I am. He opened the doors for flute players by redefining the instrument and its role...thank you, Dave!”

— Connie Leviatin  Flutist

DAVE Valentín was a beautiful free spirit from the Bronx who brought the Latin jazz flute to another world internationally. He also raised the awareness of talented Puerto Ricans from the Bronx.”

— Annette A. Aguilar

 Musician, producer, educator and Leader of Annette A. Aguilar & StringBeans Latin Brazilian jazz group

WHEN it came to the flute, Dave really had no peers in the jazz world. His beautiful tone and technique were informed by the rhythmic knowledge he had gained over the years from playing Afro-Cuban music in the Charanga orchestra tradition, as well as his love of Brazilian music. Combining that with his knowledge of the blues and jazz, along with his great personality, well, he's left a vacuum on that instrument that's going to be very hard to fill. Back in 2002, Dave and I, as well as Cuban pianist Gonzalo Rubalcaba, and Spanish alto saxophonist, flutist Jorge Pardo, were invited by pianist Chucho Valdés to be the judges for a Best Latin Jazz Composition



contest that the Spanish Music Publishing firm SGAE had sponsored. It was a very prestigious event, and submissions came from all over the world. They put us up atthe Hotel Mejía Cohiba in Havana. Dave and I laughed about how no one would believe that they had invited two Nuyoricans from the South Bronx to be part of such a prestigious event. We all met daily listening to the submissions and looking at music scores taking our job very seriously - the Grand Prize for the winner was $10,000. Gonzalo is a genius as a pianist composer and arranger, and he was making a very heady, lofty, intellectual statement about a particular submission that we were all discussing. Without any of us looking, Dave had taken two cigarettes and stuffed them into each of his nostrils. He suddenly turned around to Gonzalo and said, "But what do you really think?" We all exploded in laughter, including Gonzalo. That was Dave. He took the pretentious stuffiness out of the room immediately. Now we were just a group of good friends who were relaxed and could 'get down' and really judge these musical submissions without any pretentious air. That's what I will always remember and miss about my fellow S.O.B. - Son of the Bronx. So long Dave. No worries, someday we'll meet, play and laugh - again."

— Bobby Sanabria     Drummer and Composer DAVE Valentín was a man from the Bronx who carried all the soul of Puerto Rico. His music was alive much as the world revolves around the sun. His love and passion to help students and others is just a preview of how big his heart is. Many of us who had the chance to play with him felt that soul and enjoyed every moment. From the start of GRP and the finish line of Tito Puente, Dave knew that his legacy through his flute was a need beyond scriptures. The world is a much better place now knowing that Dave played amongst the greats. As time goes on, we will all know that his symbol of love and music is the reason why many others continue his path of the Coquí."

— Carlos Henríquez     Bassist of the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra

Dave Valentín by MNGR.

DAVE was one of the most energetic and prolific musicians in the world of Latin jazz. He was always excited about any musical project that he was involved with. He started out as a percussionist, which helped him obtain a better understanding of the rhythms, and became one of the most outstanding flute soloists. Great enthusiasm and perfect solos will be very difficult to match and he is already terribly missed.”

  — Bob Sancho Music aficionado and VP Development and External Affairs at Bronx Lebanon Hospital I FIRST experienced Dave’s music when I was living in the San Francisco Bay Area in the 1980s. The radio station KJAZ had a wonderful Saturday afternoon Latin jazz show hosted by Jesse “Chuy” Varela – who featured Dave Valentín virtually each week. Dave was a true pioneer in what he was doing – and the flute added so much to the genre. I had a chance to meet Dave when we did the benefit for him in 2014 at Hostos. It was very evident that he was well-loved by so many people. He was very generous to Hostos over the years in donating his talents to fundraising events, which he did for other organizations as well.  A true gentleman of the Bronx.”

  — John MacElwee

Director of the Hostos Center for the Arts & Culture




HOSTOS’ new Vice President for the Division of Institutional Advancement, Ana Martínez Orizondo, came to Hostos by way of Miami, Florida, where she last served as the Director of Development for the Patricia & Phillip Frost Art Museum at Florida International University, a public institution of higher learning where she also earned a master’s degree in liberal arts. A life-long learner, Martínez Orizondo also holds a bachelor’s degree in Spanish and communications from the University of Pennsylvania. Born in Cuba, she is no stranger to New York City and brings a wealth of experience in media, marketing and fundraising to the College. We talked to VP Martínez about her passions and her vision for the Division. Where are you originally from? I was born in Santa Clara, Cuba. We came to the United States via Spain. I grew up in Queens, NY, and after college, moved to Miami where I lived until recently. What brought you to Hostos? The desire to make a real difference, a search for meaning and purpose, and the call of our times. The history we are living is asking us to be awake, act, speak up, and hold on to our Truth. Hostos Community College is a microcosm of the global conversation. I want to be surrounded by faculty and staff who are real change agents and trailblazers and be inspired by students who overcome obstacles and are not only transformed, but become part of the solution. It’s all here. While you just arrived, what is it about the College that excites you the most? There are many components of the College that excite me, but opportunity and meaning are at the top. Where many




may see lack of resources and funding needs topped with the challenges of our times, I see opportunity, opportunity, and opportunity. There is so much potential here. Hostos has gone a long way since it was founded, and now, as it turns 50, we enter its next phase. I can’t wait to experience it. The college is also my personal opportunity to give back and come full circle. I, too, was once a student in need, attending public school in Queens and going to college on a PELL grant, learning English and assimilating to a new culture while helping make ends meet as my brother and I worked to support our mom, the only bread winner. I see myself in many of our students and their struggles and I can sincerely say that, like the song says: “What doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger.” What is your favorite book and/or movie? This is a tough one because I love to read and watch films. However, I absolutely devoured Patti Smith’s memoir, Just Kids. I remember leaving work early, because I could not wait to get home and finish the book. Her story speaks to the power of artistic truth and self-expression, but also to the transformational and, at times, painful power of love. Her literary style is sublime. I actually met Ms. Smith at a book presentation, and I was so nervous to meet her that I teared up as I approached her. I remember saying to her, “thank you for being” as she signed my books. What is your favorite thing to do when you are not trying to promote the people and programs at Hostos? I love creative writing, reading, and taking power walks while rediscovering NYC. I also enjoy photography and dancing. I have kept journals since the age of 10, so you can imagine how many journals I have by now. My other hobbies relate around visual stories and thinking. I love taking pictures and any creative endeavor that helps me make connections I wouldn’t normally make. I am blessed to live near a playground like Central Park, where the subject matter changes by the second and inspires me daily. I also relish time and great conversation with family and friends, and if you get me on the dance floor, you better be moving your feet, because I love to dance, especially salsa. What is the most important thing that you feel can help take Hostos over the top, as far as exposure and support? A unified fundraising and branding strategy. In order to stand out in today's saturated media culture and the many important local and global causes, we need strong and clear messaging, powerful storytelling and branding awareness. We, as an institution, have to be laser clear on our value proposition and why giving to Hostos is the right thing to do. Who is the person you look up to the most and why? Living person, would be my brother, Raúl. He has been my mentor, my anchor, and point of reference throughout my life. I love and admire his resilience, positivity, creativity, generous spirit and steadiness. He is a loving husband and father with

an awesome sense of humor. Although you have been here for only a short time, what is one thing you would tell someone who has never been to Hostos about us? The faculty and administration at Hostos are truly dedicated to their craft, they care beyond these walls, beyond the limitations of their resources. I haven't come across one person at Hostos who does not believe in the work they do. I’ve already met many alums, some who work in our Division, who are models of what Hostos does. We transform lives. The impact of a gift at Hostos echoes across generations. What is your fundraising “philosophy”? I believe a good fundraiser must have emotional intelligence, be a fearless visionary, and a team player. To me, fundraising is more an art form than a science, although it is both. I am not one to focus so much on numbers, that I lose sight of what is most important – authentic relationships. To build relationships, one must have a natural ability to understand, emotionally, where the donor's heart is. One might receive a gift from a donor because of reasons not pertaining to their passions, but it will be a one-time gift. My energies, as a fundraiser, go toward building long-term partnerships that are mutually respectful of each other's social responsibility and impact. In other words, both the fundraiser and the donor are co-creators of the future. Building partnerships is a team effort. I would not have a story to tell if the faculty, staff, students and community were not part of the story. It's not about me, it is about our story. In fundraising, we always have a goal, but internally, I never think that way. Instead, I visualize the result of what funding could do and then work towards that vision. To make history, we often need to be fearless. Courage is required the second before the solicitation, when dreams are about to come true, when the ten million dollar donor is ready to give and all the fundraiser needs to do is ask. That’s the moment the paradigm shifts, from vision to history. Women have been such an important part of Hostos’ nearly 50-year history. As a woman in a leadership position, how do you plan on adding to this legacy at the College? By bringing my authentic self, acknowledging my gifts and empowering other women to own who they are. As a woman in any role we partake, from whatever part of the world we come from, or sexual orientation we identify with, I find that the most powerful act we can manifest is being ourselves. This sounds easy enough, but it isn't. Women have consistently been told who and what they can and cannot be, from men, women, society, culture, and history alike. Breaking free of those expectations and limitations is the challenge. Yet, once we realize and accept who we are, anything is possible. Our uniqueness and our natural gifts come to the foreground. That's when magic happens, when change is inevitable, when nothing can stop us. I hope to awaken that spirit in other women.






risha Parker lost her mother when she was 5. She penned the poem “Our Sorrow” for herself and her siblings as a literary memorial. Her traumatic upbringing in a dysfunctional family would bring more losses, but she found writing to be a soothing salve—something she now uses to make her living, and to teach others the power of the written word. A younger version of herself left home in Ohio looking for a fresh start. Cleveland was a dead end, but she was determined to write a new beginning. She moved to New York City in the 1980s. “I was a free spirit; I always have been,” Parker said. “New York was the fresh start I needed.” Writing a new chapter at Hostos, utilizing her natural writing gifts, Parker found work as a legal secretary. But creative writing was something she knew she was born to do. She was “hungry for scholastic knowledge,” as she likes to say, and eventually, Hostos helped to quench that thirst. “I will be honest, I was in the Bronx, I knew about Hostos and enrolled looking to ‘get in and get out’ after two years,” Parker said. “That didn’t quite happen, but in a good way. I am still here tutoring. I can’t believe it sometimes.” The Liberal Arts major returned to college in 2010 after a failed stint in the 1980s. The mother of two grown children was “all business,” but she was also extremely bright and talented. Cynthia Jones, a longtime Hostos faculty member from the English department, and the New York State Professor of the Year in 2012, recognized Parker’s gift quickly. “Trisha was in my ‘Literature of the Black American Studies’ — a writing intensive course,” Jones recalled. “She distinguished herself by always being an active, engaged student who listened attentively and respectfully to others. She was the only student who earned an ‘A,’ and all her assignments were excellent.” Being a mature student, Jones said, never discouraged




“Our Sorrow”

Sorrow is so overwhelming, and painful. We strain with our inundated memories, loving arms that cuddled and nurtured, ever since she, suddenly, went away. We long, always, for a cuddle, a kiss, her touch. We sleep, as babies sleep, dream uninterrupted dreams and never tire of asking, where did she go. We are grown up now, the tears still flow, but we understand, she went to sleep, and wake up, she never did. —Trisha Parker

Parker from being active and engaged with her classmates. Also adding extracurricular activities, including volunteer work with Hostos’ Student Leadership Academy, it became apparent that Parker was immersing herself in college life a little more than she had planned. “I liked being a part of the Student Leadership Academy,” Parker said. “Director Jason Libfeld was a great mentor, and I just wanted to be more involved and give back. I had a dysfunctional childhood and received a lot of help. Now, doing community service, working with the elderly, it just made sense.” But the writing, particularly poetry, was her passion and it was giving her much more than a degree. “My poetry addresses my traumatic childhood experiences. There are first-person confessional poems, as well as poems utilizing a wide variety of techniques and forms,” Parker said. “The common thread in my poetry is transforming some of the ugliest things in one’s life into something as beautiful as a poem. My concept is beauty is truth, truth is beauty.” She also leaned on other great writers. “I am most inspired by my idol, the late, great Maya Angelou, who made a believer out of me in her poem, ‘Still I Rise.’ I often meditate with those three impactful words resonating in my mind.” Being encouraged by Hostos professors and others, her writing earned her attention and awards. She made Dean’s List, was a dedicated and successful ASAP student, and by 2011, was working in the Hostos Writing Center as a tutor. She eventually earned the ASAP Transfer Scholarship in 2012 and landed at Lehman College, where more accolades came. After earning her B.A. in English in 2014, graduating Magna Cum Laude, she took home three writing awards —the Patricia A. Cockram Prize for Best Poetry Collection, the Alice Minnie Hertz Heniger Prize for Creative Writing, and the College Initiative Victor Hassine Scholarship for best essay—while pursuing her Master’s Degree in English Creative Writing/Poetry. But the student who started her journey “only wanting to stay for two years,” has blossomed into a literary academic and a mentor. She is currently employed at Hostos, where she teaches and tutors students in English, and at College Initiative of John Jay College of Criminal Justice as a mentor of students through their first year of college. Parker is particularly proud of being published in both Obscura, Lehman College’s Literary Magazine, 2015 Edition, and Our Voice, John Jay College PRI’s First Student Newsletter, October 2016 Edition. So what does Parker see in her future? “I just want to be me,” she said through her trademark wide smile. “I want to finish my poetry chapbook, continue to publish, and write a book about my life. I will continue to participate in ‘Spoken Voice’ platforms because, I enjoy adding my own emphasis and voice to audiences. In the end, it’s all about pursuing your passions. You may have to revise multiple drafts before your poetry sounds ‘perfect,’ like beautiful music, but you just have to tell yourself you can do it—because you can!”


Volunteer the Hostos Way! In commemoration of our 50th Anniversary, Hostos is coordinating 50 acts of kindness, 50 events for you to volunteer and be part of #HostosGivesBack. Hostos has created plenty of activities that need an extra set of helping hands. Whether you are concerned with local environmental issues, shelters, churches, parks, schools or hospitals, you can help by getting involved!

TO SIGN UP, PLEASE EMAIL/CALL Diana Kreymer 718-518-4302

This is part of the College-Wide 50 th Anniversary Celebration









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Rokia Diabi ’17 Rokia Diabi is from the Ivory Coast in West Africa, and left her country due to civil war. She speaks three languages and learned English in the U.S. Rokia is extremely thankful to the professors of Hostos for having faith in her. This support has made it possible for her to grow and believe in herself. Rokia wants to become a lawyer and return to her country to be of service. She is amazed at how this country manages a peaceful transfer of power. Rokia is a member of the Student Leadership Academy.

Jasmine Rodríguez ’17 Valedictorian

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Born and raised in New York City, Jasmine Rodríguez majored in Liberal Arts and Sciences at Hostos, and graduated with honors and a 4.0 grade point average. She plans to enroll at The City College of New York where she’ll study Psychology. Her dream is to work in the medical field as a psychiatrist.

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Magdalena Díaz ’17 Magdalena Díaz returned to school after 33 years away from school and 18 years in the workforce. After being laid-off, she knew she had to start again in order to acquire the skills she needed to succeed. Thanks to the COPE program, Magdalena is now on her way to earning her degree and pursuing new opportunities. Magdalena’s daughters are her inspiration. In fact, one of her daughters suggested she enroll at Hostos. Magdalena is proud of what she has accomplished and tells her young colleagues to follow the path of college.

Evelyn T. Capellán ’17 Salutatorian Evelyn Capellán was born and raised in Santiago de Los Caballeros in the Dominican Republic, before immigrating to the United States in 2001. After enrolling at Hostos, Ms. Capellán studied Business and was a member of the Phi Theta Kappa Honor’s Society. After graduation, she plans to pursue her Bachelor’s degree from The CUNY School of Professional Studies while continuing to integrate leadership and promote economic development in minority and immigrant communities.

Oluwafemi Ligan ’17 Oluwafemi will pursue her Bachelor’s Degree in Chemical Engineering and hopes to work in the oil or pharmaceutical industry as a bio-tech engineer. While at Hostos she was a member of the Student Leadership Academy. She participated in and won two Hostos Science Olympiad Competitions in Chemistry and graduated with a 3.79 GPA.


Hostos50•Oral History Collective

On April 18 , the th

Hostos Center for the Arts and Culture was swinging and swaying, thanks to the first-ever, multi-day retrospective of the life and work of the legendary Tito Puente, “the King of Latin Music.”

Former Puente musical director José Madera. For this event, Madera transcribed and arranged material from the six different instrumental iterations of the Orchestra, some of which had not been heard in over 50 years.

Concerts, workshops, dance recitals, panels and film screenings examined Puente’s career and his lasting influence on the musical scene. Puente (1923-2000) was a longtime friend and supporter of Hostos. He performed here many times, and his vast archive of photos, posters, recordings and musical instruments are housed at the college. In addition, for the past five years Hostos has offered a continuing education course focused on the Latin Jazz master which has featured many former Puente band members and musical associates as guest speakers.


Frankie Vázquez, el “Sonero del Barrio.”

This historic event was covered by Billboard and The New York Times, which wrote: “This kind of celebration is rarely given to the city’s Latin music tradition, though it runs nearly as deep in the New York soil as jazz…If [Puente’s] influence abides, it will be thanks to initiatives like the one at Hostos, giving children and aficionados the opportunity to learn the basics, commune with elders and experience his music as a catalyst for something else.”

but not the power of a good story. The men and women who helped make Hostos a reality and those who keep the dream alive today have a wealth of stories to tell. The Hostos Oral Collective currently features the testimony of more than 100 people, reflecting the experiences of alumni, community members, faculty, former College presidents, friends, staff and students from the past halfcentury. Hear history in the making!

Visit and re-live the history of Hostos.

Bronx native Carlos Henríquez, who performed with Puente as a teenager, lead a 12-piece ensemble comprised of some of New York’s top young jazz musicians including Iván Renta, Mike and Robert Rodríguez, Camilo Molina, among others, for a fresh perspective on Puente’s music from 1967 to 2000, the Latin Jazz era.




On May 5 , the Hostos th

Community College Foundation’s 2017 Scholarship Benefit was held on campus.

Students María Roa and Dale D’Amico shared their stories of success and were recognized for their perseverance and resilience.

President Gómez with Hostos students.

The annual event raises money for the Hostos Scholarship Fund and celebrates the diverse achievements of its students.

“The Philanthropic Impact Award” was presented to the Stavros Niarchos Foundation (SNF). One of the world’s leading private international philanthropic organizations, the Foundation provides grants in the areas of arts and culture, education, health and sports, and social welfare. It also funds organizations and projects that strive to make a lasting and positive impact on society at large, and exhibit strong leadership and sound management.

Above from left to right: Hostos Foundation board members: Rafael Rivera-Viruet, José A. Sánchez-Kinghorn, Chairperson, Carolyn McLaughlin, Elba Cabrera, President David Gómez and José Dios. Circle: Hostos Foundation board member M. Salomé Galib.

President Gómez with honorees Mr.Vasili Tsamis, Group Chief Operating Officer and Mr. Stelios Vasilakis, Director of Programs and Initiatives.

Dr. Daisy Cocco De Filippis, current President of Naugatuck Valley Community College (NVCC), received “The Educator of the Year Award.” De Filippis, former Hostos Provost and Senior Vice President of Academic Affairs, played a crucial role in the development of key Hostos academic programs such as Women’s Studies, Dual Degree Engineering, and Media Design during her tenure.

Mistress of Ceremonies, Ms. Cristina Navarrete, news reporter, Noticiero Telemundo 47.



Hostos Alumna Andre Veloz ’08 performing for the night.


Mariachis served as the evening’s entertainment to celebrate Cinco de Mayo.

President Gómez with honoree Daisy Cocco de Filippis and her granddaughters.

Mariela Olivier, Sarah Brennan, Silvia Reyes with President Gómez.

Senior VP Esther RodríguezChardavoyne and Provost and VP Christine Mangino.

Eddie Cuesta, Omar Suárez from Dominicanos USA with President Gómez

Hostos VP Nat Cruz, Hostos Executive Counsel Eugene Sohn, Esq. Lincoln Hospital Representative Jessica Ramírez.

Jason A. Caraballo, Montefiore Medical Center (Community Sponsor) with Hostos VP Ana Martínez and Idelsa Méndez.

Bronx Lebanon Hospital Board Members (Platinum Sponsor).

Ponce de León Federal Bank (Community Sponsor).

President Gómez (center) with Healthfirst’s Mr. George Hulse and wife Ruth.

Raymond Pérez, Hostos Alumna and Lincoln Hospital representative Jessica Ramírez, Fabián Wander, Rokia Diabi ’17, VP Nat Cruz and SGA President-Elect Thierno Diallo. Visit our Facebook page to enjoy more photos of this event.

Aldrin Bonilla (left) representing the Manhattan Borough President’s Office and guests (Community Sponsor).

WellCare Health Plans (Platinum Sponsor).

John Calderón with family and friends.

Inca Kola (Platinum Sponsor).

The Martínez González Family and guests Dr. Florentino and Family (Community Sponsor).

Dean Félix Cardona and Professor Ernest Ialongo. Senior VP Esther Rodríguez-Chardavoyne, President Daisy Cocco de Filippis, Associate Dean Ana García Reyes and guests.




CLOSE-UP As Hostos turns 50, we asked our students to look to the future and tell us “Where would you

like to see women 50 years from now?”

“I hope to see women’s ideas supported more by men and other women. I think if women are treated more equally, there would be no need for the high competition in their fields.”

—Richard Moses Business Management Class of 2016


” — José García Radiologic Technology Student

Class of 2018l

“I would love to see more women running governments around the world.” —Camille McKinnon Liberal Arts & Science Class of 1991




“I see women in 50 years being respected as the independent successful beings they are.” “I see them as my equal already. But, it would be nice to see women in more power roles in all areas: astronauts, presidents, engineers firefighters and more.”

—Rosa Clander Digital Design and Animation Class of 2017

— Miguel Zorrilla Game Design Class of 2018

“I see women represented more as some of the most intelligent people in the world.” —Lissy González —Liberal Arts & Science Class of 2019

“I would like to see women working in more male-dominated fields.” —Jhoemil Vásquez Liberal Arts & Science

Class of 2019

“I want to see more women receive equal pay as men. Too many of us do the same work as men but receive lower pay. That needs to change!” —Jennifer Hiraldo Liberal Arts & Science Student




Hostos Women Wrap Up Historic Season


ostos was treated to an extra special Women’s History Month in March, after the women’s basketball team wrapped up its historic season, finishing 5th in the nation at the National Junior College Athletic Association Tournament. Winning two of three games from March 16-18 during their first appearance at nationals was just one of many highlights the team enjoyed during the 2016-17 campaign. To get to the big tourney, the Caimans had to beat Borough of Manhattan Community College (BMCC) on March 5th, which was the program’s first regional title ever.




This all came after the Caimans cruised to their first CUNYAC Championship since 2007 on February 17th by, again, beating BMCC. Along the way, guard Destini Green (No. 23) earned Region XV Tournament MVP, as well as Region XV and CUNYAC Player of the Year awards. Fellow guard Corina Coles (No. 1) also received a Region XV All-Tournament Award. Freshman guard Cashmir Fulcher (No. 3) also had a tremendous season, earning CUNYAC Rookie of the Year, CUNYAC Tournament Most Valuable Player, and a Region XV Second Team award. The team’s commitment to excellence was also recognized


The Lady Caimans, minutes after winning the NJCAA XV Women’s Basketball Tournament which was held on March 5, 2017 at Westchester Community College. Photo by Simon Lee

as Head Coach DeVernie Winston won CUNYAC and Region XV Coach of the Year awards. The squad also threw in a 25-game winning streak for good measure. “Playing in the national tournament, and winning two out of three games, was an amazing finish to an already amazing season,” Winston said. “Finishing 31-4, capturing the CUNYAC and Region XV championship, having a conference rookie and player of the year, plus a regional player of the year, and an All-American are amazing accomplishments for our studentathletes. I am extremely proud of our team and look forward

to continue to build on this success. With all of the support from the faculty, staff and rest of the Hostos community, we will continue to represent our college at the highest level possible.” Athletics Director Krishna Dass said it was a thrill watching the team make history. “Placing 5th in the nation is a tremendous feat, especially since we were able to capture two victories against top 10 teams on the national stage,” Dass said. “This lays a solid foundation for the Caimans to build on and we look forward to another national run in 2018.”



BE THE DIFFERENCE FOR OUR STUDENTS AND OUR COMMUNITY HOSTOS CHANGES LIVES To support Hostos, contact the Division of Institutional Advancement at: or by calling 718-518-4341




Attention Hostos Students, Faculty and Staff!!! It’s time to sharpen your writing skills and focus your lenses! Your passion for writing or keen eye for photography is needed. Build your portfolio by volunteering for the recently rebranded Caiman magazine, a quarterly magazine all about the achievements and journey of Hostos students, faculty, staff and supporters.  For more information, email or call 718-518-6579 


Caiman Magazine, V2, N4  

Spring/Summer 2017 Volume 2, No. 4

Caiman Magazine, V2, N4  

Spring/Summer 2017 Volume 2, No. 4