Initiative 9 - New President's Initiatives

In Fall 2023, two new initiatives, the Hostos Student Symposium and Caiman Direct Virtual Student Support, were awarded funding through the Ms. MacKenzie Scott’s Gift Request for Proposals.


Under the leadership of Dean Andrea Fabrizio and the Office of Academic Affairs, the Hostos Student Symposium was held on April 18, 2023, and showcased the incredible work of over 60 students in attendance across multiple disciplines who were mentored by nearly 40 faculty members. The Symposium began with theatrical performances and spoken word poetry; there were two concurrent sessions for student presentations and a STEM poster session in the gym, with about 20 teams of students presenting research completed under the guidance of a faculty mentor. The day concluded with a student concert as part of the Humanities Department’s Music Connects Us initiative. This was a beautiful celebration of our students’ hard work and creativity, and was representative of our community’s love of learning.

Hostos Student Symposium Photo Presentation
The Caiman Direct Virtual Student Support initiative, under the leadership of Ms. Marsha Milan Bethel, Student Development Specialist, hired two students to serve as Student Advocate Interns to provide support to students enrolled in online classes. Student Advocate Interns help students to navigate and access the services they need to support their enrollment and retention at Hostos through the Caiman Direct virtual platform.
(R to L) Marsha Milan Bethel with Student Advocate Interns Jahneilia Curtin and Orlando Soto, Jr.
(R to L) Marsha Milan Bethel with Student Advocate Interns Jahneilia Curtin and Orlando Soto, Jr.


The President’s Student Recognition events invited faculty and staff to submit nominations of students who demonstrated incredible perseverance and resilience while excelling in their studies.  Over 60 nominations were received, and the review committee selected 31 students to receive this special distinction and a $500 stipend at one of two special events.

The President’s Recognition Tea in Honor of Women’s History Month was held on March 21, 2023, and honored 15 students. The President’s Recognition Barbeque Honoring Student Persistence and Resiliency was held on April 4, 2023, and honored 16 students. Both events were memorable as nominators shared why they nominated the student and how they were inspired by the student’s commitment to their education even while overcoming significant obstacles in their lives. Equally moving were the students’ own words as they shared their gratitude for being nominated and highlighted the support and encouragement they received from the nominating faculty/staff members.

Recent News

“Nevertheless She Persisted…”: Inaugural President's Student Recognition Event 2023 Kicks Off With Great Success

The inaugural President's Student Recognition Event in honor of Women’s History Month was held in the format of an afternoon tea at a salon, and its purpose was to recognize 15 students who were nominated by faculty and staff members. Each student awardee received $500, a book, and a certificate. The celebratory afternoon tea and the nomination activity were supported by the generous gift to the College from Ms. MacKenzie Scott. Students were nominated and ultimately chosen because they demonstrated persistence and resiliency by overcoming significant challenges while achieving their academic goals.

Moderating the gathering was Research Programs Director Dr. Sofia Oviedo. President Cocco De Filippis delivered remarks to the students and their nominators, and Dean Althea Sterling delivered an outstanding keynote speech before the awards presentation.

Congratulations to all!

Hasionna Anderson
Nominator: Ms. Catherine Hilyard

Monique Cortez
Nominator: Professor Manuel Livingston

Nataliya Dixon
Nominator: Ms. Marsha Milan Bethel

Tasha Francis
Nominator: Ms. Catherine Hilyard

Yassine Gaye
Nominator: Professor Nieves Angulo

Marjuany Graterol
Nominator: Professor Roderick Jackman

Aisha Ivie
Nominator: Professor William Casari

Marthe Kiemde
Nominator: Professor Helen Chang

Maryury Lainez
Nominator: Ms. Laura Hand

Edita Makolli
Nominator: Mr. Devon Hariprashad

Sashy Pina
Nominator: Mr. Jason Libfeld

Tara Randall
Nominators: Professors Nancy Genova and Amy Ramson

Collette Reynolds
Nominator: Professor Roderick Jackman

Grecia Maria Solano De Vasquez
Nominator: Professor Petal Leu Wai See

Tiffany Wilson
Nominator: Professor Kristopher Burrell

Hostos Professor Honors Student’s Achievements through Poetry

The President’s Recognition Barbeque in Honor of Student Persistence and Resiliency held on April 4 served as a platform to share words of encouragement with students. Each nominator expressed each of their honorees’ strengths and qualities for recognition. Prof. Sherese Mitchell nominated student Kathleen Rodríguez.

Instead of just dedicating a few words, Prof. Mitchell composed and read a poem inspired by Ms. Rodríguez’s wonderful qualities. We thank Prof. Mitchel for sharing this inspiring piece with us:

 “Who is She?—Kathleen Rodriguez”
She started the semester at 36 weeks
Proactive student, so she decided to speak
Kathleen informed me
She was with child
I told her this course
Wasn’t for the mild
Writing Intensive
But she was pensive
And did what she had to do
I didn’t offer
Because I knew she wouldn’t accept
Handouts or extensions

As I reflect on her words:
  • “I had some questions”
  • “I’ve learned some lessons”
  • “I’m tired, no excuses….only blessings”
  • “My baby boy is here”
  • “I am back in”
  • “I’m ready to win”
  • “Let’s get this A”
  • “Come what may”
Words of persistence
Words of resilience
Words of Kathleen Rodriguez
Words of no other
Words of a single mother of three
Words of a Hostos student
Sit back and watch
Who she turns out to be!

Fatima Bah
Nominator:  Professor Sarah Hoiland

Mieriekie Blackwood
Nominator: Ms. Christeen Francis

Alexandrea Carrero
Nominators:  Professor Debasish Roy and Ms. Ebony Pulley

Kevin Dillon
Nominator:  Professor Lauren Wolf

Lanasia Drain
Nominator:  Professor Sarah Hoiland

Erika Garcia Fajardo
Nominator: Professor Amina Tajbhai

Suprina Frazier
Nominator:  Mr. Norman Hoyte

Hussein Gharamah
Nominator:  Professor Alexandra Milsom

José González
Nominator: Leaghton Ozoria

Erika Mata
Nominators:  Asst. Dean Johanna Gomez and Professor Sarah Hoiland

Leaghton Ozoria
Nominator:  Exec. Chief of Staff Diana Kreymer

Corin Pérez de Cruz
Nominator: Professor Sarah Hoiland

Velvet Reed
Nominator: Professor Tram Nguyen

Kathleen Rodriguez
Nominator:  Professor Sherese Mitchell

Yaovi Sinhou
Nominator: Dr. Diana Cruz

Jannis Tyson
Nominator:  Professor Christine Choi

Shine Your Light Poetry Celebration Day - Honoring Hostos’ 55th Anniversary

The Shine Your Light Poetry Celebration Day, held on May 16, 2023, was a special event that brought together our Hostos community in celebration of the College’s 55th anniversary. Faculty, students, and staff were invited to read their favorite poem, either an original poem or one written by their favorite poet. The event featured Hostos poets including students, faculty, and staff, whose uplifting and powerful poems were reflective of our diversity and collective human experiences.

Recent News

Instagram: A diverse selection of 16 poets from across Hostos shared their creations at the 55th Anniversary “Shine Your Light” poetry event. As the rhymes flowed, all the attendees were moved by the intimate atmosphere created by the artists’ inspiring and powerful words.

“Poetry teaches you about critical thinking, to look for what’s hidden, and read between the lines,” said Hostos President Daisy Cocco De Filippis, who has long been a researcher of poetry and a poet herself. At the end, she announced that the event was so great, we may have to do one every semester! So, get your poems ready!

The event was sponsored by the Office of the President and Ms. Mackenzie Scott’s Gift: President’s Initiatives. Research Programs Director Dr. Sofía Oviedo served as the moderator and main organizer.

#Hostos55 #Poetry #PoetryReading #SouthBronx

Shine Your Light Poetry Celebration Day Program