Wednesday, May 18, 2011 (New York) – Rocio Rayo, a Hostos Community College honors student, will receive a CUNY award for Excellence in Women’s and Gender Studies for superior research and activism. She will present her essay about reproductive freedom during the recognition event today at 7 PM at Hunter College.
Hostos English Professor Jerilyn Fisher, who is also coordinator of Hostos’ women’s and gender studies program, said Rayo’s research paper, “The Fight for Reproductive Freedom: Then and N.O.W,” integrates the ideas of activists Margaret Sanger and Emma Goldman with Rocio’s own activist work for NOW-NYC (National Organization for Women), conducted this semester with her classmates.
Highlighting Sanger’s call to action in the early 20th century: “No woman can call herself free if she does not own and control her body,” Rayo explores complex repercussions of policies and attitudes that, still today, deny women basic freedoms.
“Her intellectual achievement and her commitment to social change will be recognized with this award,” said Professor Fisher. “The award identifies Rocio Rayo as one who exemplifies the true scholar-activist — a woman as impassioned when she “walks the walk” as she is articulate when she “talks the talk.”
Rayo will be graduating from Hostos next month with an Associate in Liberal Arts degree. A former ballet dancer, she made her acting debut in the theatrical production of “boom” last semester. She represented Hostos at the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival in Massachusetts. Rayo balances five classes, work and being a mom.
She will transfer to City College in September to pursue a degree in International and Public Affairs. Her motto is: “Never accept what is wrong because it is the way it is; if we aren't part of the solution we are part of the problem.”
“We are very proud of Rocio’s achievement and the award she is receiving for her research,” said Dr. Carmen Coballes-Vega, Hostos Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs. “She is a very talented young woman whose future achievements know no boundaries.”
About Hostos Community College
Eugenio María de Hostos Community College, part of the City University of New York system, was founded in 1968. Located in the South Bronx, the college currently serves more than 6,000 students. In addition to associate degree programs that facilitate easy transfer to CUNY’s four-year colleges or baccalaureate studies at other institutions, Hostos also has an award-winning Continuing Education and Professional Studies Department that offers courses for professional development and certificate-bearing workforce training programs. In four decades, Hostos has grown from a class of 623 in the fall of 1970 to the spring 2010 enrollment of over 6,000 students. The college also serves an additional 10,000 students through its Continuing Education and Professional Studies Department. For more news and stories about Hostos Community College visit www.hostos.cuny.edu.
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