Celebrating Hispanic Heritage
Kenyon embraces Hispanic heritage through thoughtful discourse, literature, and music.
Immigration-reform activist Marco Saavedra ’11 is the keynote speaker for the annual series of events.
Ivonne García, associate professor of English, is a passionate teacher and outspoken advocate for Latino/Hispanic students and other minorities. "I feel strongly that my role here is mentoring, advising, and serving as a role model, and I don't separate that from teaching," she said.
Early in her Kenyon career, while a recipient of the Marilyn Yarbrough Dissertation/Teaching Fellowship in 2007-2008, Kenyon's Latino students asked her to serve as faculty advisor for their club, ADELANTE.
Since then, García's activities beyond the classroom have included helping to expand the Martin Luther King Jr. Day commemoration; participating in the summer transitional Kenyon Educational Enrichment Program for underrepresented students; and facilitating student-discussion dinners and the Living La Vida Loca film series.
García's specialization in 19th-century American and post-colonial literature inspires her expansive view of teaching. "I venture to say that what I teach in class is nothing more than a way of looking at life because literature is a blueprint for living," she said.
Her mult-iethnic approach to literature addresses the rapid globalization of society, helps fight racism, and develops well-rounded students.
Reared in Puerto Rico, García earned both a B.A. in history and literature of Latin America and an M.Ed in educational policy from Harvard University before embarking on a 10-year career as a journalist in Puerto Rico. A stint in a high school reawakened her passion for hands-on teaching, motivating a mid-life career change. With her husband's transfer to a position in central Ohio, she enrolled in graduate studies in English literature at the Ohio State University, earning her doctorate there.
García marvels that "a little Puerto Rican girl from public school" has come this far and she wants her students to take notice. "I'm a Latina with an unusual success story, an American literature teacher from a different culture, who came late to grad school. If I can make it, they can too."