The Drexel University Libraries celebrates Hispanic Heritage Month in September and October by featuring the stories and accomplishments of “Hispanic American champions who have inspired others to achieve success.” [www.HispanicHeritageMonth.gov]
This resource guide includes information about just a few of the people, research, and creative works with Hispanic connections that have inspired us – and we hope they will inspire you throughout the year!
You may notice this guide also features people working in the areas of sustainability and environmental justice – this is in recognition of Climate Year celebrated by the Academy of Natural Sciences and Drexel University in 2021. This guide also features leaders with intersectional identities such as women, elders, LGBTQIA+ individuals, non-citizens of the United States and others. Featured are (click name to jump to entry): Drexel faculty and administrators including Octavio Borges-Delgado, Ana V. Diez Roux, Celeste Dolores Mann, Ana Martinez-Donate, Rogelio Miñana, Miguel A. Pando; and internationally known names including Jose Andres, Cesar Chavez, Roberto Enrique Clemente Walker, Dolores Clara Fernández Huerta, Christina Figueres, X Gonzalez, Vanessa Gwen Ifill, Jamie Margolin, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Rita Moreno, Ellen Ochoa, Sylvia Rivera, Arturo Alfonso Schomburg, Sonia Sotomayor, and Mamá Tingó.
Be sure to visit the corresponding physical display located on the first floor of the W.W. Hagerty Library!
Each year, Americans observe National Hispanic Heritage Month from September 15 to October 15, by celebrating the histories, cultures and contributions of American citizens whose ancestors came from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean and Central and South America.
The observation started in 1968 as Hispanic Heritage Week under President Lyndon Johnson and was expanded by President Ronald Reagan in 1988 to cover a 30-day period starting on September 15 and ending on October 15. It was enacted into law on August 17, 1988, on the approval of Public Law 100-402.
The day of September 15 is significant because it is the anniversary of independence for Latin American countries Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. In addition, Mexico and Chile celebrate their independence days on September 16 and September18, respectively. Also, Columbus Day or Día de la Raza, which is October 12, falls within this 30-day period.
Ana V. Diez Roux, MD, PHD, MPH, is the Dana and David Dornsife Dean and Distinguished University Professor of Epidemiology at the Dornsife School of Public Health and Director of the Drexel Urban Health Collaborative. Originally trained as a pediatrician in her native Buenos Aires, she completed public health training at the Johns Hopkins University School of Hygiene and Public Health. Before joining Drexel University, she served on the faculties of Columbia University and the University of Michigan, where she was Chair of the Department of Epidemiology and Director of the Center for Social Epidemiology and Population Health.
Dr. Diez Roux is internationally known for her research on the social determinants of population health and the study of how neighborhoods affect health. Her work on neighborhood health effects has been highly influential in the policy debate on population health and its determinants. Her research areas include social epidemiology and health disparities, environmental health effects, urban health, psychosocial factors, cardiovascular disease epidemiology, social environment-gene interactions, and the use of multilevel methods and complex systems approaches in population health. She has led large NIH and foundation funded research and training programs in the United States and in collaboration with various institutions in Latin America and is currently Principal Investigator of the Wellcome Trust funded SALURBAL (Salud Urbana en América Latina) study.
Rogelio Miñana, Vice Provost for Global Engagement, is also a professor of Spanish and the Head of the Department of Global Studies and Modern Languages in the College of Arts and Sciences. His appointment is seen an integral step in developing a comprehensive global engagement strategy across Drexel University.
By uniting global studies and global engagement, Dr. Miñana works in collaboration with Drexel’s many globally focused academic and administrative units to strengthen Drexel’s international profile and expand opportunities for meaningful global experiences. These efforts will be critical to enhancing Drexel’s recruitment and retention efforts, as well as the ability to serve society through global outreach. Ultimately, the dual roles will support Drexel’s strategic goals of fostering civically engaged, globally competent citizens who can thrive and lead in complex cultural, economic and political conditions.
Dr. Miñana’s latest book, Living Quixote: Performative Activism in Contemporary Brazil and the Americas: Vol. Book 2. Vanderbilt University Press (2020) shows how youth nonprofits all over the Americas adapt the 1605 Spanish masterpiece Don Quixote as an instrument for individual and social betterment through theater and the arts. Dr. Miñana works with the Kid Quixotes, who performed their (unfinished) adaptation of Don Quixote at Drexel in 2019. Their work is ongoing and I hope to bring them back when they finish their play. There was also a wonderful 2005 stage adaptation of Don Quixote for social justice purposes in Bethlehem, PA.
Associate Professor Miguel A. Pando has over 16 years of experience as a tenure-track/tenured faculty in geotechnical engineering. His research involves soil-structure interaction, mitigation of natural hazards, and sustainable geomaterials. Since 2010, he was an associate professor in the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. Prior to coming to Drexel, Dr. Pando was a faculty member in the Civil Engineering Department at the University of Puerto Rico at Mayaguez. Dr. Pando earned a PhD in Civil Engineering (Geotechnical Engineering) at Virginia Tech, an MSCE in Civil Engineering (Geotechnical Engineering) at the University of Alberta, Canada and a BSCE in Civil Engineering at Javeriana University, Bogota, Colombia. He also studied civil enginering at the National University of Asuncion, Paraguay.
Received the 2018 José Tola Pasquel Visiting Professor Award, PUCP, Lima, Perú, Award, competitive campus wide.
Award for Best Undergraduate Thesis, Civil Engineering Class of 1991, Javeriana University, Bogota, Colombia.
Courtesy Wikimedia Commons
Cesar Chavez was a Mexican-American labor leader and civil rights activist in the United StatesChavez was prominently known for his commitment to improving working conditions for American farm workers, helping them perform strikes and unionizeIn 1962, Chavez spent his time traveling around the San Joaquin Valley speaking with farm workers, cultivating a movement, which ultimate resulted in the formation of the National Farm Workers AssociationWith this organization and the support of its members, the NFWA was able to lead a successful strike, earning workers increased wages, and marking a win for farm workers and unions
Chavez went on to continue his work for farmers rights, combining the NFWA with the Agricultural Workers Organizing Committee after another successful strike, and created the United Farm Workers of AmericaChavez’s efforts were continually successful, and he was able to improve the lives and working conditions for many farm workers in the United States, and all the methods he used were consistently nonviolentSeveral states changed laws thanks to Chavez and the UFWA, and the rewards of his work are noticeable in current agricultural labor laws.
Courtesy Wikimedia Commons
Christina Figueres is a well-known global diplomat from Costa Rica, who has made great strides in the fight for climate change and has worked on related topics such as sustainable development, energy, and land use. Figueres studied at Swarthmore College in her undergraduate years and received a masters degree in Anthropology from the London School of Economics, as well as several honorary degrees from universities all over the world. She served as the Executive Secretary for the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and was responsible for the negotiations of a new climate agreement. Figueres’ work as secretary, along with the cooperation of others at the United Nations, resulted in the 2015 Paris Agreement, a historic moment for climate change activists around the world.
After her work for the United Nations, Figueres has continued to act on the board of several climate and sustainability focused organizations. She even co-founded Global Optimism, an activist organization, and co-hosts their podcast ‘Outrage! Optimism. Figueres is also a published author with the release of her book “The Future We Choose: Surviving the Climate Crisis”. Her work has been instrumental in making global progress towards addressing climate change and promoting sustainable development as a way to move forward.
Courtesy US Department of Education via Flickr.com CC BY 2.0
Vanessa is an Emmy Award-winning Journalist and correspondent for Noticias Telemundo, a Spanish speaking news source. is known for reporting on culture, politics, and natural disasters, and often travels to the areas in which these events occur to report directly on site. She has been an valuable resource for the Spanish-speaking community in the United States, providing important information in Spanish, and refusing to shy away from controversial topics such as climate change. has since started a new segment on Telemundo called “ Verde” (“Green Alert”), to draw attention to these issues.
work has also been noticed by other notable environmentalists, such as Al Gore, and she continues to work with others to advocate for the environment. She is also the co-founder of “” (“Mother Jungle”), a nonprofit organization that focuses on educating the Latino community in issues related to climate change and living sustainably. has made great achievements and continues to be a source of information and education on climate change for the Latino community, making the movement more inclusive of non-English speakers and addressing issues specific to Latinos.
Jamie Margolin is a queer, Jewish, Latinx activist who focuses on youth climate action. She co-founded the climate action organization ‘Zero Hour’, with other young activists after witnessing the devastating effects of hurricane Maria. Other climate events such as the 2017 Washington wildfires also shaped her experience and motivated her continued pursuit in addressing climate change. In 2018, she gained notoriety for suing the state of Washington for a lack of action regarding climate change, claiming that a stable climate is a human right.
Margolin has also spoken in front of the United States House of Representatives during the “Voices Leading the Next Generation on the Global Climate Crisis”, with Greta Thunberg. She continues to address lawmakers, both in the court room and in government panels, to advocate for a climate stable future to support future generations.
Courtesy Gage Skidmore via flickr.com CC BY-SA 2.0
Lin-Manuel Miranda is an actor, singer, songwriter, rapper, producer, and playwright. Miranda created and starred in In the Heights and in Hamilton. The earliest draft of In the Heights was written in 1999, his sophomore year of college at Wesleyan University. Miranda interviewed with Disney in 2013, which began a series of collaborations with the company. Films Miranda was involved with include Moana, Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Duck Tales, Mary Poppins Returns and Star Wars: The Rise of Sky Walker.
Activism plays a large role in Miranda’s life, in 2016 Miranda joined U.S. Senators and Democratic lawmakers to call for congressional action to allow Puerto Rico to declare bankruptcy, easing its $70 billion government-debt burden. Miranda uses revenue from Hamilton to support Graham Windham, a nonprofit adoption agency. Miranda has won a Pulitzer Prize, 3 Tony Awards, 3 Grammys, an Emmy, and was a recipient of a MacArthur Genius Grant. Honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2018, Miranda also in 2018 received the Kennedy Center Honors for creating Hamilton.
Dr. Ellen Ochoa is a veteran astronaut, the 11th director of the Johnson Space Center, its first Hispanic director and second female director. Ochoa joined NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration) in 1988 as a research engineer, moving to Johnson Space Center in 1990 when she was selected as an astronaut. Ochoa is a specialist in the development of optical systems. She became the first Hispanic woman to go in space in 1993 and has flown in space 4 times. Ochoa has been awarded NASA’s highest award, the Distinguished Service Medal, as well as the Presidential Distinguished Rank Award for senior executives in the federal government. An animated version of Ochoa’s life was featured in the 2019 episode “Astronaut Ellen Ochoa” on the children’s program Ready Jet Go. Ochoa was recognized in Hispanic Executive’s 2017 Best of the Boardroom issue for her work at the Johnson Space Center. She was inducted into the International Air and Space Hall of Fame in 2018. Ochoa is a fellow of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics and the National Academy of Inventors.
A classically trained flutist, Ochoa thought she would pursue a career in music. While studying for her doctorate in electrical engineering, Ochoa received the student soloist award from the Stanford Symphony Orchestra. She has spent a total of in space aboard four different missions
NASA is celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month by recognizing the countless contributions of Hispanic/Latinx employees--get to know some of them!
Octavio Borges-Delgado earned his PhD in Hispanic Cultural Studies from Michigan State University. He is an Assistant Teaching Professor of Spanish in the Department of Global Studies and Modern Languages at Drexel University. His research and teaching examine contemporary narrative representations of Hispanic Caribbean migrations to the United States. An important part of his research focuses on transnational issues of race, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, and national identity concerning migration and postcolonialism in literature and popular (sub) cultures. He has taught courses on Spanish as a second language, Hispanic/Latinx identities, Latin American migrations to the United States, and Hispanic Caribbean literature and cultures.
Celeste Dolores Mann has taught Spanish and Portuguese for years, at various universities. Before coming to Drexel, she taught at Villanova University. Celeste has an extensive background in opera and theater, and integrates the performing and visual arts in her language teaching whenever possible. Celeste has taught computer education and enjoys using technology to enhance the learning of languages. In her language teaching she hopes to inspire students to excel in their ability to speak, read, understand and write Spanish and Portuguese, and to appreciate the beauty, enchantment and diversity of the many Latin American and Iberian cultures.
Ana Martinez-Donate is a professor of Community Health and Prevention in the Dornsife School of Public Health at Drexel University. Previously, she was a tenured faculty in the Department of Population Health Sciences, University of Wisconsin–Madison. She was trained in Health Psychology and received her PhD from Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, Spain. She completed post-graduate studies in Epidemiology at the National School of Public Health, Spain, and received post-doctoral training at San Diego State University, focusing on health promotion, behavioral epidemiology, and community health.
Dr. Martinez-Donate's research work has focused primarily on Latino populations in the U.S. and Mexico. She applies a social ecological framework to the analysis of behavioral and social determinants of population health and the development and evaluation of community-based interventions for disease prevention and health promotion.
She has been continuously funded by the National Institutes of Health since 2007. She is the lead investigator of a long-standing binational program of research on HIV risk and access to health services among Mexican migrants. At Drexel University, she leads the Migration, Ethnicity, Race and Health Working Group (MERHG), a group of faculty, fellows, and students interested in the intersection of these social determinants of health. She is also the founder of the Latino Health Collective, a coalition of Latino-serving organizations, city representatives, and advocates who work together to promote the health and well-being of Latino communities in Philadelphia.
Dsouza N,* Hassrick-McGuee E, Giordano K, Friedman C, Yamasaki Y, Perez C, Martinez O, Carroll-Scott A, Martinez-Donate AP+. Analysis of Network Characteristics to Assess Community Capacity of Latino-Serving Organizations in Philadelphia. J Urban Health 2021 Mar 15;1-11. doi: 10.1007/s11524-021-00535-0. Online ahead of print.
Giordano KR, Dsouza N, McGhee-Hassrick E, Martinez-Donate AP. Provider Perspectives on Latino Immigrants’ Access To Resources for Syndemic Health Issues. Hispanic Health Care International 2021 Jan 13; 1540415320985590. doi: 10.1177/1540415320985590 Online ahead of print.
Martinez-Donate AP, Verdecias N, Zhang X, Gonzalez-Fagoaga E, Asadi-Gonzalez A, Guendelman S, Amuedo-Dorantes C, Rangel MG. Examining the Health Profile and Healthcare Access of Mexican Migrants Traversing the Northern Mexican Border. Medical Care, 2020 Feb 5. doi: 10.1097/MLR.0000000000001300. [Epub ahead of print].
Tellez Lieberman J, Lobban K, Flores Z, Giordano K, Nolasco-Barrientos E, Yamasaki Y, Martinez-Donate AP. “We All Have Strengths”: A Retrospective Qualitative Evaluation of a Resilience Training for Latino Immigrants in Philadelphia, PA. Health Equity, 2019;3(1), Published Online: 30 Oct 2019 https://doi.org/10.1089/heq.2019.0070
Langellier BA, Martínez-Donate AP, Gonzalez-Fagoaga JP, Rangel MG. Educational gradients in health care access and use among Mexicans, Mexican Americans, and U.S.-Mexico migrants. J Immigr Minor Health. 2019 May 24. doi: 10.1007/s10903-019-00902-9. [Epub ahead of print].
Many thanks to Bienvenidos officers and members for their book recommendations (see column to right) and their engagement with the DUL National Hispanic Heritage Month displays!
"Through membership in Bienvenidos Hispanic/Latino Faculty & Professional Staff Association, Latino, Latin American, and other employees sharing our interests, will have the opportunity to connect, share experiences and expertise, and promote cultural awareness and professional development. will carry out our mission through various programs and events, contributing significantly to Drexel University's diversity efforts."
Visit the Bienvenidos website to access their latest newsletter, learn about their vision, and see their list of officers.
Photo from http://www.thespanishfood.es/2016/09/el-chef-jose-andres-dirigira-un.html blog
Jose Andres was born in Spain and learned to cook from his parents. Jose immigrated to the United States in 1991, living in first New York City and then Washington D.C. Andres identifies as both a Spanish immigrant and as an American citizen. He considers himself both a culinary ambassador and immigrant representing two nations. In 2010 Andres established World Central Kitchen.
World Central Kitchen uses culinary training programs to strengthen and empower communities. Andres was honored by the James Beard Foundation in 2003 as the Mid-Atlantic Best Chef and in 2018 as their Humanitarian of the Year. TIME Magazine named him one of the 100 most influential people of 2012 and 2018.
Roberto Enrique Clemente Walker was a Puerto Rican baseball player, playing 18 seasons in Major League Baseball for the Pittsburgh Pirates. Enjoying a career with a .317-lifetime batting average and achieving an even 3,000 hits, Clemente was one of the first Latin American baseball stars in the United States. In the 1958-59 off-season Clemente enlisted in the United States Marine Corps and served in the off seasons through 1964.
Involved in charity work in the off-season, Clemente delivered baseball equipment and food to those in need. On December 31, 1972, he died in a plane crash at the age of 38, on his way to deliver aid to earthquake victims in Nicaragua. He was honored by the Pittsburgh Pirates who retired his uniform number, 21. Major League Baseball honored him by renaming the annual Commissioner’s Award in his honor. Known now as the Roberto Clemente Award, it is given to the player who “best exemplifies the game of baseball, sportsmanship, community involvement and the individual’s contribution to his team.” Clemente was honored posthumously with three civilian awards. The Congressional Gold Medal and the Presidential Citizens Medal were presented by President Richard Nixon in 1973, and the Presidential Medal of Freedom was presented by President George W. Bush in 2003.
Courtesy of Tom Hilton via flickr.com, CC-BY-2.0
Dolores Clara Fernández Huerta is an American labor leader and civil rights activist. She co-founded of the National Farmworkers Association with Cesar Chavez, which later merged with the Agricultural Workers Organizing Committee to become the United Farm Workers. Dolores served in the leadership of the Stockton Community Service Organization (CSO). She set up voter registration drives and lobbied for barrio improvements. In 1955 CSO founder Fred Ross, Sr. introduced her to César E. Chávez, also with CSO and sharing similar values. Delores and Cesar found that they envisioned empowering farm workers through organizing, an idea in conflict with the CSO’s mission. They resigned from the CSO. The National Farm Workers Association was founded in 1962.
Delores was not unaware of the tremendous impact she was having on women anywhere, not only on farm workers. Joining her voice with other feminists, Dolores consciously began to challenge gender discrimination within the farm workers’ movement.
Art by Michael Drake. Retrieved from flickr.com on September 13, 2021. CC-BY-SA-2.0 license.
X Gonzalez is an American activist and survivor of the Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in Parkland, Florida, February 2018. Gonzalez’s passion and verve for activism is a result of the traumatic experience of surviving a school shooting, but they have persevered and made accomplishments in promoting gun control in the United States. Most notably, Gonzalez was an organizer and speaker for the 2018 March for Our Lives demonstration that had events throughout the country, including Washington D. C.
Gonzalez’s work has resulted in direct action. In 2018, the Florida Legislature passed the ‘Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Act’, which increased the minimum age for purchasing a firearm in the state to 21. The act established waiting periods and background checks for firearm purchases, as well as other safety precautions for protecting schools and limiting who can purchase firearms. Gonzalez continues to be an advocate for gun control and protecting students and is currently working on an education at New College of Florida.
Courtesy of Wikiquotes
Gwen Ifill was an American journalist, television newscaster and author. Ifill’s father was Panamanian of Barbadian descent who emigrated from Panama, and her mother was from Barbados. Ifill hosted a nationally televised U.S. public affairs program, Washington Week in Review, and was the moderator and managing editor, with Judy Woodruff, of the PBS News Hour. A political analyst, Ifill moderated the 2004 and 2008 vice-presidential debates. Ifill died in 2016 of breast and endometrial cancer.
Ifill authored the best-selling book The Breakthrough: Politics and Race in the Age of Obama. Ifill was awarded the Women in Film and Video Award in 2000. In 2004, she received the Gracie Allen Tribute Award from the Foundation for American Women in Radio and Television. She was awarded a Peabody Award in 2008 for her work on Washington Week and in 2009 the First Amendment Award by Ford Hall Forum.
Rita Moreno is a Hispanic actress, singer and dancer whose career has spanned over 70 years. Moreno is one of the few artists to have won all four major entertainment awards: an Emmy, an Oscar, a Grammy, and a Tony. Born in Humacao, Puerto Rico, Moreno and her mother moved to New York City in 1936. Her film career began in the later years of Hollywood’s Golden Age. She acted steadily throughout the 1950s, most notably in films such as Singin' in the Rain and The King and I. Moreno disliked most of her film work during this period, feeling that the roles she was given were stereotypical. The exception to this was her supporting role in Rogers and Hammerstein’s The King and I, where she played In 1961, Moreno landed the role of Anita in the film adaptation of West Side Story, a role that earned her an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress.
Moreno has won numerous additional accolades including the Presidential Medal of Freedom, a Kennedy Center honor for her contributions to American culture, and a Peabody Career Achievement Award. Moreno is also known for her work in children’s television” as a cast member on the series The Electric Company and on Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego (as the voice of Carmen). Moreno continues to act in the Netflix sitcom One Day at a Time (remake of the 1975-1984 Norman Lear sitcom).
Sylvia Rivera was a Puerto Rican and Venezuelan LGBTQ+ rights activist who dedicated her life to fighting for those who were excluded from larger movementsRivera was part of the 1969 Stonewall Inn uprising, in which patrons of the Stonewall Inn (a gay bar in Greenwich Village, NYC) fought back against a police raidShe was close friends with Marsha P. Johnson, another prominent activist who focused on fighting for transgender people of colorRivera was always making a stand for others, joining protests and political demonstrations before Stonewall, such as the Black Liberation movement.
Much of Rivera’s later work focused on the Gay Rights movements, but she continued to focus on disenfranchised groups within the community such as trans women of colorBut Rivera’s path was not so easy, as a transgender woman herself, she was silenced at Gay Rights events, but refused to be put down and consistently speak up for herself and those like her, poignantly reminding the Gay Rights movement that without people like her the movement have gotten the jumpstart that Stonewall providedRivera’s activism made way for changes in the Gay Rights movement inclusion for transgender women of color, and in 2021 New York City is set to reveal a monument to honor Rivera and Johnson, the first monument dedicated to transgender individuals.
Arturo Alfonso Schomburg was born in Puerto Rico with Black and German heritage Schomburg noted that African history was not taught in school. This led to his focus on research and preservation; he was renowned for collecting Black cultural works such as art, literature, and narratives from slaves and other materials from the Black diaspora. Schomburg was an influential force involved in the creation of The New York Public Library, and the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture is named after him.
Mamá Tingó was born Florinda Muñoz Soriano in the Dominican Republic. Mamá Tingó demonstrated how revolutionary activism can create change. She was a farmer and activist for fellow farmers and poor people. She was a defender of small local farmers' rights, and was killed fighting on behalf of the Campesino residents of Hato Viejo in Yamasá, protesting the unjustified dispossession of land by Joaquín Balaguer's government. Mamá Tingó helped more than 300 families get their land back.
Recommendation from Brian Cisneros
Hispanic Stars Rising: The New Face of Power by Claudia Romo Edelman
Recommendation from Tina Lloyd
The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom by Don Miguel Ruiz
Recommendations from Scarleth Artiga:
Cemetery Boys by Aiden Thomas
Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo
The Inheritance of Orquídea Divina by Zoraida Córdova
In the Dream House by Carmen Maria Machado
Woven in Moonlight by Isabel Ibañez
Gods of Jade and Shadow by Silvia Moreno-Garcia