Through film, academics, and outstanding alumni, Dyson is expanding knowledge and deepening understanding of Latin America and the Latina/o/x community.

From students documenting the devastation left by Hurricane Maria and faculty launching a new major devoted to the study of the Latinx community, to an alumnus dedicated to digital strategy, Dyson College is creating new opportunities to study and share the stories of Latin America and today’s Latina/o/x community.

Student crew member filming on location in Puerto Rico.

On Camera

Puerto Rico: Hope in the Dark, which tells the story of the faith, strength, and hope that has sustained the people of Puerto Rico in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria, is the most recent production out of the Media, Communications, and Visual Arts (MCVA) travel documentary course led by MCVA Professor Maria Luskay. Eighteen students and two faculty mentors, Luskay and Aime Rodriguez ’14, traveled to Puerto Rico over spring break to capture the physical and emotional wreckage left in Hurricane Maria’s path.

The documentary generated media buzz on local news outlets including FiOS 1 and News 12, and prior to the premiere, Luskay and student filmmaker Gabriel Rivera ’18 were interviewed live on ABC 7’s morning talk show Tiempo, with Joe Torres, to recount their emotional experiences in Puerto Rico.

Pace President Marvin Krislov arranged for the film to be screened on both Pace campuses, and after a sold-out premiere at the Jacob Burns Film Center in Pleasantville on May 1, 2018, Hope in the Dark became the first-ever MCVA student-produced documentary to have an encore screening at the Schimmel Center in New York City on May 7, 2018.

Since then, the documentary has garnered more than 6,000 views on the MCVA YouTube channel and generated conversations about the recovery efforts in Puerto Rico.

In the Classroom

Dyson College now offers Latina/o Studies, an innovative new program focused on the largest ethno-racial group in the United States, and the larger cultural and societal transformations. Established as both a major and a minor, Latina/o Studies includes specialized study of the culture, history, language, literature, and politics of the Latina/o/x community. It is housed in the New York City Political Science department and directed by Assistant Professor Aileen Cardona-Arroyo.

Around the World

As a multilingual digital strategist, market researcher, and journalist, Matteo Ceurvels ’13 (l), Latin American Studies, Spanish, is educating others on news and media trends in Latin America and Spain. He is currently a senior researcher and contributing writer at eMarketer, a New York-based company that provides data and analysis on a wide range of topics across industries. He speaks nine languages and continues to be engaged with Modern Languages and Cultures department faculty, whom he credits for being his role models and teaching him the importance of the study of languages in expanding horizons and overcoming conflicts in society.

An interview with Matteo was originally posted as a featured story in Spring 2018. Visit the Dyson College website to view the complete article.