U.S. Latino/a Studies program to celebrate 25 year anniversary with symposium


Courtesy of Lucía Suárez

Lucía Suárez is the current director of U.S. Latino/a Studies program at Iowa State and the coordinator of the program’s 25 Year Anniversary Symposium taking place Saturday.

Susannah Crichton

The U.S. Latino/a Studies program will host its 25 Year Anniversary Symposium at 8 a.m Saturday in the Sun Room of the Memorial Union. The program is free and open to the public and panels will run until 6:45 p.m., followed by performances of student groups Música Andina and Mariachi Los Amigos.

Lucía Suárez is the current director of the U.S Latino/a Studies program and the coordinator of the symposium. She describes it as a celebration of hard work and accomplishments done for and by the Latinx community. She said it also serves to acknowledge the program’s outreach and the growth it has experienced in the last few years.

“We have a lot of people, both on campus and off campus, who are doing work with the extensive and growing Latinx populations in Iowa,” Suárez said.

The program will host a full day of panels and guest speakers, including a keynote speech from the curator of the new “Mextasy” exhibit, William “Memo” Nericcio. There will be a student testimonial panel showcasing a diverse range of Latino/a Studies program students discussing what they’ve learned in Latinx studies, what it means to them and why it matters. Another panel on engaged citizenship will have faculty and students talking about Latino/a Studies programs, courses, internships, study abroad and more learning experiences.

The “Latinx-Allied Voices Across the ISU Campus” panel will present the inclusivity of the program. The panel will discuss their commitment to building knowledge, respect and connection in the larger community. A panel on Latinx in the sciences will discuss the role of Latinx presence in the scientific fields.

The last panel of the day will encompass a much wider reach of Latinx studies, with four speakers from around the Midwest who will talk about the program here at Iowa State in relation to their own programs at different universities. This will demonstrate the importance of Latinx topics and history in the Midwest.

“It’s not something new, it’s not something that’s just politics at the last minute; it’s something that’s really grounded in a very long and complex and plural history,” Suárez said.

Suárez said the idea for the panel on Latinx programming grew from her conversations with several of the speakers at the Latinx Studies Association last year in Washington, D.C.

“A lot of the very vibrant conversations that were had there are reflected in this panel, so it’s bringing nationally discussed issues to our campus,” Suárez said.

A full schedule for the day can be found at the Iowa State Department of World Culture and Languages website.

“Come with an open heart, come with a sense of community, learning and sharing,” Suárez said.