Nic Flores is from Olton, Texas – a small town between Lubbock and Amarillo in the state’s panhandle. As he explains it, this is the “Texas” part of Texas, an agri-business community where white farmers employ a predominantly Mexican and migrant workforce. Education brought Flores eastward, when he was accepted to DePauw University, a liberal arts college in Greencastle, Indiana. The Midwestern context awakened Flores’s consciousness, raising specific questions of self-identification and societal perceptions of “whiteness” as practice and privilege.
The study of movement brought Marya Barrios to Columbus and the practice of movement (for the moment) keeps her here. Her father moved from Venezuela to New York in 1993 and then from New York to Ohio to pursue his Master’s in technology and dance through the Ohio State Dance Department. Barrios joined her father shortly after his move to Columbus. At the age of 15, she left behind a Venezuela already exhibiting early symptoms of political and social unrest.
A self identified “Mexican born in the United States,” Rocío Prado grew up immersed in and somewhat torn between two cultures. Though based in Anaheim, California, Prado and her family frequently trekked to Mexico and Tijuana for weekend visits to family and doctors. Her experiences in Mexico and Baja California juxtaposed with those in Orange County private schools, where classmates often noted her ethnic difference, were difficult to navigate.
Yolanda Zepeda advocates for Latino students and other underrepresented groups on campus as the assistant vice provost in Ohio State’s Office of Diversity and Inclusion. With a significant background in higher education, Zepeda has seen a shift in the treatment of diversity in a university setting. Her experiences as a former student and current administrator of color within the university system inspire her to help others struggling to defend their identities and explain their presence on campus.
Even if you haven’t met Luisa Talamás, you’ve surely encountered her work. As art director assistant for ¿Qué Pasa, Ohio State?, Talamás crafts the layout and design of the magazine. She continues to explore connections between art and function as a student of industrial design at Ohio State University. We met in her campus haunt (Hayes Hall) where she spoke of her passion for industrial design and decision to move to Columbus, Ohio from San Marcos, Texas.
For a collective of community members and Ohio State students, dance is the key to cultural preservation. Álvaro Lozano and Maria Patiño are members of Folclor Hispano, a group at the Ohio State University dedicated to performing traditional dances from Spanish-Speaking countries. The organization highlights the uniqueness within Latin America by showcasing dances from Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, the Dominican Republic, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Peru, and Spain.
Dr. Jesus J. Lara works to create spaces that promote general well-being and contentment. As he puts it, he is in the business of “making people happy” by improving their surrounding environment. As an associate professor and Master’s Program Chair in the Knowlton School’s City and Regional Planning Section, Lara focuses his research and teaching practice on sustainable design while minding the relationship between people and space. Part of his studies considers how Latinos revitalize de-industrialized communities – both adapting to and transforming their surrounding environment.
As a land-grant institution, The Ohio State University has a special responsibility to share its scientific-based research with its surrounding communities. To open avenues for community sharing, the university created a system to address local, national, and global needs through research-based educational programming in 1914 – this is the OSU Extension Program. Nora Hesse is one of the many important people who make up the OSU Extension Program Franklin County.