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Center for Latino Studies

Congratulations to the 2020 Teaching Fellows in Latino Studies

Dr. Angelica Roncancio

Dr. Roncancio is developing UHD’s first Latino-focused health and behavioral sciences course, called “Latino Health in the United States”. This course will introduce students to Latino health, health disparities, and health promotion efforts currently underway in the United States. The goal is to highlight the unique health-related challenges and needs of Latinos and to encourage students to become engaged in ongoing efforts in the community to improve the health of Latinos. Students will have the opportunity to display their work in a course-sponsored exhibit. By the end of the course, students will have developed a knowledge base related to Latino health and health promotion in the US and their local community.

Dr. Dietrich von Biedenfeld
Dr. von Biedenfeld is developing the UHD’s first Latino-focused Business course, called “Commerce, Law and Ethics in Latin America”. This course introduces topics related to 1) international contracts, 2) trade laws, 3) culturally-specific negotiation principles, 4) existing and developing industries, 5) endangered businesses, 6) geographic- and culturally-dependent trends in supply cycle, and 7) governmental, historical, linguistic, and political influencers in the region. Systematically building on the rich history and culture of the Western Hemisphere’s nations, and highlighting Houston’s preeminence in energy-related careers and our state’s proximity to Mexico, coupled with recent trade developments, this course ensures that UHD graduates will have the knowledge to meaningfully add value in their careers. The content and lessons of this course support UHD and the Center’s respective values and missions.

Dr. Joseph Westfall
Dr. Westfall is developing UHD’s first Latino-focused Philosophy course, called “Latin American Philosophy”. This course would serve as an upper-level introduction to the history of philosophical thought in, from, and about Latin America, including as it occurs within the United States. Latin American philosophy has been understood by some to go back as far as Aztec thought, and of course is represented by numerous engaging thinkers today. The course would make some effort to give students a representative view, although given the scope of the history of Latin America. The course will be organized around a selection of primary source readings by Latin American and Latinx philosophers (rather than textbook descriptions of those thinkers’ views). Dr. Westfall plans to organize a mini-conference on Latin American thought/philosophy, highlighting the work of those students.

STEM Teaching Fellows in Latino Studies
(Made possible by generous support from the College of Science and Technology, HHMI, and Howard Hughes Medical Institute)

Dr. Adriana Visbal
Dr. Visbal is developing UHD’s first Latino-focused natural sciences course, by redesigning one section the Biology Seminar Course (BIOL 4311) into a seminar course using a health disparities and scientific racism lens to understand cancer biology. The course will focus on two broad areas. The first will include cancer health disparities, with emphasis in those affecting the Latino population. Currently, Latina women have the highest rate of cervical cancer, with the worst progression, and high mortality rate compared to other populations. Students will explore the interplay of socioeconomic factors, culture, diet, stress, the environment, and biology that can account for the disparities. The second half of the course, and the topic for the students second presentation, will be genomic science and precision cancer medicine. Rather than only focus on the science exclusively, students will be asked to reflect on several key points: Is there a lack of sampling diversity in genomic science? What implications can this lack of sampling diversity have on the development of effective targeted therapies for cancer? Discuss the problems of using social constructed categories of race versus genetic ancestry for genomic studies, how can this cloud the biological data? Similar to the first presentation, students will read additional literature and generate an annotated bibliography. They will incorporate their thoughts on the above questions, on their presentation of the research article to their peers.

Dr. Jorge Tito-Izquierdo
Dr. Tito-Izquierdo is developing UHD’s first Latino-focused engineering course, called “Ancient Peruvian Construction”. The course will expose students to construction engineering developed in Peruvian territory by different pre-Incas and Inca cultures. The peoples of ancient Peru had challenges imposed by the particularities of the area, which were effectively solved over time with ingenuity, allowing large populations on the arid coast, the Andes, and the jungle. In fact, several of these projects and techniques are still in use, and students shall realize that were planned and developed by native cultures, creating a sense of Latin American pride. The course will emphasize engineering techniques developed by Pre-Inca and Inca cultures to allow the construction of large projects, some of them were used during the time of the Spanish colony and are still in use at this time.

Public Service Teaching Fellows in Latino Studies
(Made possible by generous support from the College of Public Service)

Dr. Christal Burnett-Sánchez
Dr. Burnett-Sánchez is developing a new urban education course called “Latinx Family, Community, and School Partnerships”. The course will use a critical lens to identify, understand and develop ways of developing family and community engagement as well as home-school partnerships among the Latinx community. There will also be a focus on analyzing the individual and diverse characteristics of the population as oftentimes the group is perceived to be one monolithic group although there is a wide range of diversity in ethnicity, race, histories, language, socioeconomic status, and other components. Recognizing the importance of and using culturally relevant practices and pedagogy when working with Latinx communities and families will be at the foundation of our approach to the service learning project. The course contains a community engagement component that will pair students with a school or community center to deliver a family involvement event.

Last updated 12/1/2020 3:23 AM