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SLLC PROFESSOR ANA PATRICIA RODRÍGUEZ RECEIVES SERVICE-LEARNING AWARD

Congratulations to Ana Patricia Rodríguez, associate professor in the School of Languages, Literatures, and Cultures at the University of Maryland (UMD), for receiving the 2015-2016 Alan G. Penczek Service-Learning Faculty Award from the Maryland-District of Columbia Campus Contact (MDCCC).

The Alan G. Penczek Award recognizes professionals in higher education who have successfully integrated community service in their pedagogy and class curricula.

“The high quality of Dr. Rodríguez’s professional leadership and achievements truly set her apart from the strong pool of nominees,” said Karin Abma, MDCCC’s partnerships and development Coordinator.

As part of Rodríguez’s courses, her students have tutored students at Northwestern High School and collaborated with local Latina/o artists, such as poet Quique Avilés and Frida Larios, a Salvadoran typographic artist.

Rodríguez and Larios organized a workshop for UMD students called “Imagining Homeland and Belonging,” where students from her course, “Home, Homeland and Be/longings in U.S. Latina/o Texts,” constructed stories based on their idea of homeland using Larios’ redesign of ancient Mayan glyphs.

Rodríguez’s work with her students is facilitated by partnerships with public schools, nonprofits and government organizations, including the Central American Resource Center (CARECEN), the National Park Service, the Smithsonian, Prince George’s County Public Schools, the Maryland Immigrant Rights Coalition and Hola Cultura (Online Media), among others.

Rodriguez’s Spring 2016 course, “Latina/o Communities and Language Struggles,” examines Latina/o communities and their linguistic, cultural and political struggles in the United States. UMD students partnered with the Academic Soccer Achievement Program to provide tutoring to students from Edward M. Felegy Elementary School in preparation for PARCC testing.

Students from Rodriguez’s class also provided computer assistance to Spanish-speaking parents. They helped them create email accounts and assisted them in the use of the Prince Georges County Public School’s online grade database SchoolMax to keep track of their children’s grades.

One of Rodriguez’s goals is to develop a pedagogy where the university works with the community to create partnerships, and students can become producers of knowledge. For her 2015 Foxworth course, “Latina/o Transmigration and Transnationalism,” Rodriguez’s students worked alongside CARECEN to build a digital archive of Salvadoran migration and civil war experiences. The collection forms part of a larger archive in San Francisco, Washington, D.C. and El Salvador.

In her course, “U.S. Latina/o Studies I: An Historical Overview to the 1960’s,” Rodríguez’s students developed a Latino/a themed tour of Washington, D.C. in collaboration with the National Park Service. As part of the project, the students wrote narratives about selected sites, collaborated to produce a marketing plan for the tour package, and conducted a narrated bus tour across Washington, D.C.

“What inspired me to engage in these projects is my belief in collaborative learning and hands-on learning,” Rodríguez said. “Students, by doing and creating, are able to put into practice what they are learning in my classes.”