ALUMNI BIOS & TESTIMONIES

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Jorge Arteaga (2016) is Director of Operations at Hollaback!, a gender justice non-profit organization. Previously, he served as Operations Manager at Color Of Change, the country's largest online racial justice organization.


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Brian Funes (2013) is Senior Trainer (Vice President) at Citibank, N.A. He works directly for the Learning and Development team under the Human Resources Dept. Of the program, Brian writes “it has equipped me with the right tool to become an independent and a mature scholar within the 21st century.”


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Sherley Jean-Pierre (2015) is a Ph.D. student in the Cultural Studies Department at the Claremont Graduate College. She is also working on a historical novel set in the Caribbean. She writes “The MA in the Study of the Americas has been a gift to my writing. I would recommend the program to fiction and non-fiction writers who wish to write about the Caribbean and Latin America from a different perspective.”


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Hesley Keenan (2016) teaches special education, as well as Global and U.S. History at Validus Preparatory Academy in the Bronx, where he also spearheads a number of initiatives, including mentorship of boys and girls groups called the “Talented Tenth” based on W.E.B Dubois’ ideology of uplift, and piloting an after-school program where students gain experience in post-production in the television industry. At work, Hess aims to expand the curriculum to inspire and promote literacy and skills transferable to a life after high school. His goal is “to push our students toward action civics. Students need to be able to tell their stories to provide an accurate depiction of their lives and the things that matter to them as people of color. This idea was supported by Professor Marlene Clark in our Research Methods class, a class I have since adapted to the high school level. While in the program, I wrote a thesis: “From Tulsa to Ferguson: Redefining Race Riots and Racialized Violence,” a process that allowed me to explore my potential in academia. It is my goal to attain state certification for teaching as well as apply to a Ph.D program in Black Studies or American Studies. These accomplishments could not have been possible without my experiences in the MA in the Study of the Americas, which were transformative and allowed me to imagine a different, more expansive future for myself. The program is an amazing place to begin your career and discover your true potential.”


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Roberto Perez (2016) is founder and CEO of ClockinClockout, Inc, a company that works with Home Care Agencies. He also teaches courses on computing and healthcare in the Department of Continuing Education at Kingsborough Community College‎. He writes: "I encourage any student, regardless of academic background to consider the MA in Study of the Americas. Obtaining this degree truly changed my life; it provided a well-needed understanding of the political, civic, economic and cultural diversity of the Americas. The professors are very dedicated—is a blessing to have been part of this program.”


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Lara Rodriguez Delgado (2013) is currently completing her Ph.D. in anthropology at George Washington University. For more on her research, see: https://anthropology.columbian.gwu.edu/lara-rodriguez-delgado


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Nelson Santana (2013) is assistant professor and collection development librarian at Bronx Community College of the City University of New York. Prior to his arrival at BCC, Nelson worked several years at the CUNY Dominican Studies Institute. Nelson is the recipient of several awards. He was awarded a Dean’s fellowship at Drexel University, was a Diversity Scholar (2013-2015) for the Association of Research Libraries (ARL), earned a Seminar on the Acquisition of Latin American Library Materials (SALALM) Scholarship in 2014, and was recently awarded a Spring 2018 LACUNY Travel Grant. After completing the MA in the Study of the Americas, Nelson earned a Master of Science in Library and Information Science with a concentration in Archival Studies from Drexel University. His research interests include the intellectual, social, and cultural history of Dominican migration in the United States; the role of libraries and archives in under-served communities; and cultural production that looks at the link between social movements and music in the Caribbean. For his full list of publications, see: https://bcc-cuny.academia.edu/NelsonSantana.


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Maarja Sau (2017), a native of Estonia, graduated from the program in 2017. Maarja was active in the college community, organizing a human rights club and a toy drive during the holidays in December. In addition, she worked as a career advisor in Kingsborough Community College and was involved with the work of the Center For International Human Rights at John Jay College. She is currently working as an analyst for a business consulting company in Estonia and also with the Estonian Institute of Human Rights and hopes to move further in the field of human rights by applying for a PhD program in the nearest future.

Maarja writes: "The Study of the Americas MA program triggered a deeper interest in human rights for me and gave me extensive theoretical and practical information and experience to formulate my interests. The program has incredible professors and there are many opportunities for people who are proactive and take initiative. I loved the informal atmosphere at CWE—everyone, including the dean, are very approachable and helpful. I still love to stay in touch with the CWE community, and recently participated at the human rights conference organized there.


Christine Wilson Green (2013) works as an ESL educator at BMCC. She writes that “the MA program has given me a clearer educational direction and desire to continue studying. The teachers at the program were some of the most helpful and dedicated individuals I have come in contact with.”


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Jing Zhao (2015) is currently a graduate student at the CUNY Graduate Center studying digital humanities and pedagogy, and a Chinese language instructor at Hunter College. He is involved in a digital humanities project called “Interrogating Marxism” (https://dhmarx.commons.gc.cuny.edu/) and presented it at the CUNY Graduate Center Digital Showcase. He is doing another digital humanities project on Chinese language instruction in higher education in the US and is planning to apply for the PhD program in Urban Education in the fall. He has also been a freelance Chinese-English translator and interpreter.