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Two Drew Theological School Students Share Benefits of Hispanic Summer Program

“There is no other space where one can be immersed with a predominantly Latinx community of faculty and students”

October 2022 – The Hispanic Summer Program (HSP) Summer Session, sponsored in part by Drew Theological School, provides an annual two-week summer intensive for students across the country to take accredited, graduate-level courses with many leading Latinx faculty in the nation. 

Students earn three graduate credits in an environment that centers on Latinx methods, pedagogies, and stories.

We spoke with two Theological School students regarding their experiences within the program, and how the program impacted their trajectory at Drew.

Kenia Vanessa Rodriguez T’26
PhD in Christian Social Ethics

Which course did you take while participating in the HSP Summer Program? Why was it impactful?
I took a Border Theory and Migration in Theology and Philosophy course during the summer of 2019.

It was impactful to be in a space with predominantly Latinx students and faculty from across the U.S., which is not possible in any one seminary. The qualitative reading and assignments led to rich conversations beyond the surface of lectures to praxis. The exchange of ideas and experiences made the classroom a space of affirmation and empowerment.  

Why did you choose the HSP Summer Program?
There is no other space where one can be immersed with a predominantly Latinx community of faculty and students.

How did your experience at HSP guide your education goals at Drew?
I assisted the HSP program as a Master of Divinity student. It was during that time that I first developed the notion of applying to a PhD program. The program, the faculty, and the students provide the space and environment to be affirmed in whatever academic pursuits one might have. That led me to apply to PhD programs and how I am now at Drew University pursuing a PhD in Christian Social Ethics. I would have never thought it possible to be in a PhD program without HSP. 

Now that I am at Drew, I can apply what I have learned at HSP regarding how we inhibit space and space inhibits us and the constructed borders we form as it is interdisciplinary theology and philosophy. 

Adrian Mendoza T’23
Master of Divinity 

Which course did you take while participating in the HSP Summer Program? Why was it impactful?
I am grateful that Drew sponsored me to HSP where I took Theology Anthropology, Race, and Negotiating Identity course. It was a great and refreshing experience learning with students from different universities and with Dr. José Francisco Morales Torres from Chicago Theological Seminary. I received valuable feedback on my participation in the class that affirms my strengths and encouragement on my growing edges.

Why did you choose the HSP Summer Program?
I have always been enthusiastic about learning more about the Latinx community to maximize the learning opportunities that are out there. It is great to know that Drew and HSP make it possible for us to take courses beyond our regular curriculum. The class that I took was very relevant to help me better understand my experience and journey as a Filipino-Asian non-immigrant student here in the U.S., particularly in navigating my foreign identity as a strong black and white racial binary.

How did your experience at HSP guide your education goals at Drew?
The HSP class has been helpful in my discernment to explore doctoral studies after my Master of Divinity program. It inspired and challenged me to pursue a study on racism and decolonization in the context of Filipinos in the U.S. It has also been beneficial in expanding my network and community.

HSP is accepting applications for the Summer Session now through December 1, 2022.

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