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Spanish Club Hosts Panel on Latinx and Hispanic Experiences in Academia

This week, a panel of students and faculty at Beloit College discussed their experiences as Hispanic and Latinx people navigating the world of higher education and academia. The panel, called “The Living Book: My Journey through Academia in the U.S. as a Hispanic or Latinx”, was hosted by Spanish Club, and included Professor of Environmental Studies and International Relations Pablo Toral, Professor of Spanish Modern Languages and Literatures Sylvia Lopez, Assistant Professor of Education and Youth Studies David Segura, and students Frances Donnis’23, and Ericka Corral’22. It took place in the brand new Weissberg Auditorium in the Powerhouse on the afternoon of Tuesday, Feb. 25. Food and beverages were provided by Bon Appetit.

The panel started by answering questions about their personal journeys through academia. The flyer for the event described it as “a panel with Beloit College professors and students on their higher education experiences.” As the description suggests, the panel discussed some of the challenges they have faced as Latinx or Hispanic people, and also specifically what their experiences have been like at Beloit College. Common themes included both overt discrimination and less overt, institutional barriers to them achieving their goals in higher education as well as professionally. The panelists also shared personal anecdotes of times they had faced barriers from achieving as highly in educational spaces due to the discrimination of their peers, college professors, or grade school teachers. However, panelists also talked about the pride that came from being a trailblazer for more Latinx and Hispanic students in higher education in the future.

After answering the planned questions, the panel opened up for questions from the audience. Some questions included how best to change Beloit College, as well as how the panelists balanced speaking up and advocating for themselves without being tokenized. In this section, the panelists went out of their way to emphasize how important it is for people from all around Beloit College to attend events such as the panel, in order to educate themselves.

This panel was also a good illustration of one of the many ways student organizations are learning to utilize the many spaces in the Powerhouse. The Weissberg Auditorium is available to reserve for any student groups on campus, whether it is to watch a movie, host a guest speaker, or put on a panel. As time goes on, the college is hoping to see more events like these crop up in the Powerhouse. If you are interested in hosting your own event in the Weissberg Auditorium, ask at the Powerhouse front desk.

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