Haydil Henriquez '14 Honored for Excellence in Latin American Studies
Henriquez, a Latin American studies minor from Bronx, N.Y. and the student speaker at this year's Last Collection, was honored at last month's annual Pan American Day luncheon attended by Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter and Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett. The Janice Bond Awards are presented by the association to graduating seniors of college and universities in the Philadelphia region for excellence in general courses related to Latin American Studies. Other criteria include participation in extra-curricular activities related to Latin America as well as study and serving Latin countries.
As a junior, Henriquez studied in Brazil, where she learned Portuguese and took several classes on South American social movements. She has also been a board member, teacher, and program director for Taller de Paz, an organization that works with displaced families in Bogotá, Colombia, for the past four years.
"Throughout my years at Swarthmore, I have tried to expand my academic focus to cover many of the interdisciplinary conversations around Latin America," says Henriquez, who is majoring in psychology and educational studies. "I have felt that my work around Latinos in the U.S. needed to be contextualized with an understanding of the politics, economy, social movements, and history of Latin American countries in order to understand the climate in which Latinos live in today."
According to Assistant Professor and Coordinator of Latin American Studies Milton Machuca-Galvez, Heriquez has a positive effect on both the Latin American community and the Swarthmore community at large. "Haydil represents a creative way to pursue Latin American studies at Swarthmore while maintaining other academic interests," he says.
For the past two summers, Henriquez has interned at the DreamYard Project, a nonprofit providing art programming in pubic schools in the Bronx, and the Children's Aid Society, a nonprofit providing summer programming for the middle school division across New York City. She has also helped found and establish the first spoken word collective at Swarthmore College, Our Art Spoken In Soul (OASIS), where students compete in a spoken word slam against universities from all over the U.S. Additionally, she has been a board member of ENLACE, the Latino student organization at Swarthmore, helping organize the 2011 Latino Heritage Month.
"My work here is not done," Henriquez says, "and if this award has done anything, it's encourage me to continue investigating with curiosity and receptivity."