In commemoration of the Hispanic Heritage Month, Hostos’ Professional Development and Study Abroad Program held its last reunion and closing ceremony on September 14.

For 30 years, this self-sustaining exchange — a collaboration between Universidad Autonóma de Santo Domingo (UASD) and the Ministry of Education of the Dominican Republic— has been expanding the knowledge of teachers, administrators and students through curriculum building, peer review and other activities that reflect the growing Dominican population in New York City public learning institutions.

The program’s longtime coordinator and Hostos Associate Dean for Community Relations Ana García Reyes was joined by Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs Christine Mangino to recognize the 20 teachers and administrators from across New York City who completed the program. The training included two weeks of instruction at the College and 10 days in the Dominican Republic.

Dean García Reyes said interest in the program grew from nine students in 2017 to 20 in 2018. Another highlight saw Hostos Assistant Professor Dr. Ana Ozuna of the Humanities Department and NYC DOE foreign languages teacher Catia Contreras receive the Meritorious Teacher Awards conferred by two Ministers of the Dominican Republic: the Hon. Alejandrina Germán, Minister of Higher Education, Science and Technology and the Hon. Minister of Education (K-12) Andrés Navarto García. All the participants earned certificates presented by Dean García Reyes and Vice Consul of the Consulate General of the Dominican Republic in New York, Nelson Pimentel.

The 2018 cohort included: Janice Alejandro, Marie Almonor, Erika Barger, Michael Bordwell, Desiree Calamari, Catia Contreras, Arlette Crosland, Jesus González, Evelyn Nuñez-Guillermo, Rebecca Cadell-Hornbuckle, Veronica Kourany, Gabriela Mucilli, Emanuel Palatulan, Arlene Pearson, Malika Ramírez, Difre Reyes, Juan Villar, Ana Ozuna, Daihana Saldana and Aurora Soto-Vélez. Rafael Torres from Hostos’ Legal Affairs Office served as the official translator.

Nuñez-Guillermo said the program exceeded expectations. “It was great to learn about diverse cultures and the history of Dominicans from the academia perspective. The program was so inspiring that it reenergized me with new ideas to develop activities in the classroom with my students. I will definitely use this experience to create lesson plans and curriculum to teach my students. I recommend the program to my fellow teachers.”