LONG ISLAND CITY, Queens (PIX11) – College can be a tough time to fit in and feel at home. Two college professors in Queens created a place where thousands of Latino students can find community and support.
LaGuardia Community College currently has more than 8,000 Latino students — representing 31 out of 33 Latin American and Caribbean countries — pursuing associate degrees, out of 16,000 degree-seeking students. Many are first-generation college students. Now, they have a new place to find support.
Alan Cantos, 20, is a biology major at LaGuardia Community College in Long Island City. His family is originally from Ecuador. He moved here three years to pursue his dream of going to college and becoming a doctor.
Cantos got much-needed support at a new resource center that opened up this week on his campus called Casa de las Americas, which means “the home of the Americas.”
La casa’s directors are Dr. Sonia Alejandra Rodriguez and Dr. Ryan Mann-Hamilton. They are both professors and have their own stories of struggling to make it in America. These educators are happy to pay it forward, creating a new space for Latino students to drop in between classes.
Students can get mentorship, tutoring, learn about English classes and find connection to their Hispanic community.
They are hiring several student ambassadors to help with programming. And they are also working with student artists to create a mural for la casa.
Find more information on the LaGuardia Community College website.