Hostos’ Spring 2021 Honors Program course presentations took place Thursday, April 8. Held via Zoom and moderated by History Professor Ernest Ialongo, the virtual gathering provided a forum for students and faculty to discuss their individual and collective experiences in VPA 181H-Acting I, HIS 211H-United States History: Reconstruction to the Present, and ENG 237H-Reading Film.
The event was kicked off with greetings from Interim President Daisy Cocco De Filippis, who expressed pride in the achievements made by both the faculty and students in their respective honors courses, particularly during such a challenging academic year.
Theater Professor Ángel Morales, joined by students Kristina González, Mustafa Ahmed, and Folu Adeoti, discussed his VPA-181H-Acting I course, noting it was among the select few courses conducted in-person, on campus at Hostos during the Spring 2021 semester. Classes were held in the College’s Black Box Theater, with all participants adhering to strict COVID-safe protocols. “It’s been great to have that in-person connection with my students,” shared Morales.
González, Adeoti, and Ahmed performed monologues during the presentation and reflected on how, although the class size was small, the course’s impact on them was great, with students not only learning how to master scene work, but how to also make a performance their own through the use of journaling.  “The main objective of the journals was to make us good observers,” Adeoti said. “It encouraged us to be mindful participants in the classes.”
History Professor Kristopher Burrell was joined by students Helen Román, Leaghton Ozoria, Barbara Dzakwei, and Brittany Cutler to discuss HIS 211H-United States History: Reconstruction to the Present. A standard spring semester offering, the course offers a coherent narrative of modern U.S. history, with topics spanning from the end of the Civil War to present day, and encourages students to engage with and interrogate essential questions of citizenship and power in the context of the United States. “Learning about the past should help you understand the present, and help you envision a better future,” Burrell explained.
With seven students enrolled this semester, the course’s purposefully small class size—typically capped at 18 students—allows for individualized student attention, thoughtful historical and topical discussions, and meaningful engagement with guest speakers. As the semester comes to an end, students are invited to contribute and expand upon one of their assigned papers to the class journal, which is edited by Burrell.
Cutler shared how she appreciated that the course provided opportunities to dive deeper into topical discussions and access supplemental resources, which she said helped increase her confidence as a student and writer. And Ozoria said the course helped him better understand social divisions and he reflected on how learning more about the emergence of Jim Crow segregation has inspired him to rethink conceptions of freedom.
English Professor Jason Buchanan, joined by students Justine-Juliette Grindley and Brandon Smith, discussed ENG 237H-Reading Film, which approached film as a text or form of storytelling, comparing it to the storytelling mediums that came before it. Course assignments included critical reviews, narrative outlines, a research project on the interrelationship between texts, and storyboarding to use and understand Mise-en-scène. Grindley shared she enjoyed learning how to dissect and critique film as an art form and way of storytelling. This was Buchanan’s first time teaching Reading Film as an honors course at Hostos and he found it was nicely suited for a digital learning format.
Hostos’ Honors Program provides students with an enhanced academic and cultural experience, offering students an educational environment that encourages critical thinking, analytical writing, and research competency skills. Learn more about the Honors Program here.