Joseph Figueroa went to hurricane-devastated Puerto Rico over the summer, knowing the work would be hard. But what he didn’t realize was that the experience would evoke emotions he’ll never forget.
“Puerto Rico didn’t need me as much as I needed Puerto Rico,” said the Hunter College Health Psychology major, who hopes to become a nurse practitioner. “Our labor focused on rebuilding and repairing homes, but I realized we were also restoring faith, hope and happiness in the midst of the chaos some of our homeowners had dealt with since that day of the storm.”
Figueroa, who has paternal roots in Puerto Rico, was among 195 CUNY students and three members of the University’s Board of Trustees who went to the island to rebuild homes still seriously damaged from Hurricane Maria in September 2017. Students described the work, in sweltering heat, as grueling but also said it was the most rewarding experience of their young lives. They spoke of the gratitude – and also the many meals – they received from people who had lost almost everything. One example: A man who didn’t have a kitchen cooked for students in a neighbor’s house.
From a pioneering exploration of Dominican music in the United States to academic and cultural exchanges with Mexican universities, to ongoing research on the wave of Puerto Ricans emigrating to the U.S. following the island’s devastation by Hurricane Maria, CUNY’s three Hispanic-focused institutes are embarking on exciting and groundbreaking scholarship and projects.
CUNY Awarded Federal Grant to Study ‘Leaky Pipeline’ Between Community College and Bachelor’s Degrees
KAREN STERN, an associate professor of history at Brooklyn College, has spent the past several years exploring writings and drawings that have been found on the walls of ancient sites in Israel and other places in the Mideast, Europe and North Africa. Her new book, Writing on the Wall: Graffiti and the Forgotten Jews of Antiquity, reveals new clues about the lives of ordinary Jews nearly 2,000 years ago.
Professor Reginald Blake says his recent visit to Washington, D.C., where he was honored at the White House with a Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics and Engineering Mentoring, was “like a dream,” but he didn’t sit back and savor it for long.
From Cancer Education for Immigrant Women to Recreating a Model of Hurricane Maria