South Carolina Centro Latino

About "El Centro"

The South Carolina Centro Latino or "El Centro," bridges cultures statewide through linguistic awareness and accessibility. Our three pillars create institutional space for belonging, civility, wellness and equity: Latinx Interdisciplinary Studies, the Public Humanities, and Translation and Community Interpreting. The SCCL also studies the Spartanburg Racial Equity Index findings on monumental challenges facing Hispanics and Latinos/as. 

"Race and place determine largely whether people have the opportunity to thrive. Rising income inequality and persistent gaps in health, wealth, income, employment, education, and opportunity prevent low-income people and people of color from realizing their full potential, and in places where inequities are ignored and perpetuated, quality of life is limited for all residents... Inequities do not exist in isolation but are part of a reciprocal and complex web of problems associated with inequality on multiple fronts."

– Spartanburg Racial Equity Index

Social Media

If you would like to stay up-to-date on all things related to South Carolina El Centro, please follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

Facebook icon@SouthCarolinaCentroLatino  @SouthCarolinaCentroLatinoTwitter icon @SCCentroLatino


The SCCL brings visibility to Latinx Interdisciplinary Studies, thought leadership on authentic community outreach and inclusion by strengthening Latinx recruitment, increasing mentoring, promoting civic leadership, engaging bilingual and Spanish-speaking community members in the public humanities and expanding translation and community interpreting studies and certifications for students and bilingual professionals to further equip the Latinx workforce locally and globally.

Vision Statement

SCCL is nationally and internationally recognized for its collaborative, community-based, cultural and linguistic approach to increasing the visibility of Latinx Interdisciplinary Studies, the Public Humanities, Translation and Community Interpreting and talent in all spheres of higher education and civic life.

South Carolina Centro Latino Initiatives

  • Organizing Latina/o Interdisciplinary Studies and Talks on Civic Leadership and Mentoring
  • Hosting a “Latinas in Higher Ed Summit”
  • Hosting research forums on local and global impacts of migration
  • Expanding a Global Studies minor and certificate
  • Increasing interdisciplinary and multilingual public humanities scholarship
  • Sponsoring podcasts, interactive lectures and other public-facing work in other languages
  • Expanding the Alicante Study Abroad Program
  • Expanding a Service Learning in Translation and Interpreting Studies Minor
  • Training state professionals for Translation and Interpreting in School Settings
  • Offering Translation and Interpreting courses for school districts in South Carolina
  • Developing Translation and Interpreting certificate courses for law enforcement
  • Hosting an annual international Translation and Interpreting Conference
  • Supporting Scholarship in Translation and Interpreting Studies.
  • Building on the legacy of UnidosUS Líderes Avanzando through College Program
  • Providing services to parents in English, Spanish and other languages
  • Supporting a Latino/a Employee Resource Group

El Centro Programas

Latinx Interdisciplinary Studies

El Centro hosts a number of multilingual public humanities events to highlight the talent of early career scholars, interdisciplinary academics, civic leaders, mentors, and more. Events are open to the public and may be offered in person, online, or hybrid in English, Spanish, or bilingual. For upcoming events and an archive of past activities, please see “Events” tab.

Contact us for interactive workshops at schools, community centers, nonprofits, and other higher education institutions for topics that include:

  1. Co-Creating Initiatives for More Latino Engagement and Retention
  2. A Brief Survey of Latinx Interdisciplinary Studies & Accessing Digital Resources
  3. Amplifying Latina Voices & Leadership
  4. Hispanic and Latino Wellness, Outreach, and Language Inclusion
  5. Bridging Cultures in the Multilingual Caribbean

Sample presentations related to El Centro given by director and/ or assistant director:

  • Making Change Happen through El Centro,” Modern Languages Association (MLA) MAPS Leadership Institute, JUN 2022
  • Collaborative Structures for the Study of Languages, Literatures, and Cultures as a Critical Moment through El Centro,” ADE / ADFL Summer Seminar East, Penn State U, JUN 2022
  • Supporting Hispanic & Latinx Students,” The Teaching and Learning Tuesdays, SC Technical College System, NOV 2021
  • Co-Facilitating More Accessible Research for the Hispanic/Latino/Latinx Population in South Carolina, Partnership Among South Carolina Academic Libraries (PASCAL), OCT 2021
  • Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Best Practices in the Language Classroom,” Mountain Interstate Foreign Language Association, hosted by Furman University, OCT 2021
  • Collaborating Locally & Statewide for More Higher Ed Inclusion: Exploring South Carolina Centro Latino’s Key Pillars, OCT 2021, Marshall University, WV
  • "An Opportunity to Have a Voice: UnidosUS Líderes Avanzando Through College at USC Upstate," Southeast Immigration Studies Association, hosted by the College of Charleston, SEPT 2021; Co-panelists, Dr. Susannah Waldrop (Student Success), Avanzando students Destiny Roman and Gregory Castillo, and Griffin Thompson, Yale U
  • Building Community Trust and Impact with Language Justice,” NonProfit Alliance and Greenville Partnership for Philanthropy, SEPT 2021
  • Guest Visits to Dr. Lizabeth Zack’s Research Methods Sociology (SOCY 302) class conducting a Needs Assessment for Latinx USC Upstate students, Fall 2021 & Spring 2022
  • New Faculty Orientation on Community-Based Learning, Wofford College, AUG 2021
  • "Being a Bridge for First-Generation Latinx Students: The Roles of Student Success & Faculty Mentors," Innovations in Teaching and Learning Conference, JUL 2021, Coastal Carolina University, co-panelist, Dr. Susannah Waldrop (Student Success)
  • Viernes en Vivo: South Carolina Centro Latino,” PASOs Facebook Live in Spanish, May 2021, co-presented with Provost

¡Clase de Avanzando con familiares / acompañantes!
(Avanzando class with family / companions!)

6 p.m. on Thursday, February 24, 2022, Health Education Complex 

Check out an Avanzando class at USC Upstate! Bilingual event! Open to all families/parents who would like to know more about USC Upstate.

Meet Susannah Waldrop, director of student success, Gabrielle Drake, assistant chair of LLC, Donette Stewart, vice chancellor of enrollment services, her wonderful team, El Centro faculty, student interns, and Avanzando students.

Learn about Avanzando through these recent stories:

Public Humanities

One of El Centro’s key pillars is the multilingual public humanities.

Check out El Centro as a publicly engaged humanities practice in the Humanities for All webinar recording, “Starting Points: Higher Ed Perspectives on how to begin a Publicly Engaged Humanities Practice.”

El Centro’s director serves on the Modern Language Association (MLA) Ad Hoc Committee on Valuing the Public Humanities. The committee’s report will be posted here once it is available. In addition, forthcoming public humanities publications will be referenced here.

Please see the article on public-facing teaching by Hernández-Laroche & Francisco Montesó, “A Classroom without Borders: Languages and Literatures Need Translation and Interpreting Studies and Cross-Divisional Partners,” in the peer-reviewed ADFL Bulletin, Vol. 45, No. 1 (2018) on Globalization and Literary Studies.

El Cento’s Multilingual Public Humanities events are inspired by Humanities for All goals as defined by Daniel Fischer in his essay, “Goals of the Publicly Engaged Humanities.”

  1. Inform contemporary debates on Latinx Studies.
  2. Amplify Hispanic and Latinx community voices and histories.
  3. Help individuals and communities navigate difficult experiences of US Latinos.
  4. Expand educational access for communities underrepresented in higher education.
  5. Preserve culture in times of crises and change, such as navigating the inequities exposed in the pandemic. For upcoming public humanities events and an archive of past activities, please see “Events” tab.

Sample presentations related to the Public Humanities and El Centro given by director and/ or assistant director:

  • South Carolina Centro Latino’s Public Humanities Pillar,” U of Texas El Paso (UTEP) and El Paso Community College (EPCC) Public Humanities Conference, OCT 2022
  • Institutional Change & South Carolina Centro Latino,” U of New Hampshire Summer Institute in Public Humanities, JUN 2022
  • The Multilingualism of the Public Humanities,” Modern Languages Association 2022 Annual convention, JAN 2022
Spanish Translation/Interpreting Minor

Students pursuing the minor in Spanish Translation and Community Interpreting learn theories of translation and interpreting, study ethical guidelines for working as a translator or interpreter and apply their skills in service learning projects for area non-profit organizations. More than forty nonprofits locally and around the state have engaged our minors in service learning and internship opportunities in an effort to do outreach to the growing Spanish-speaking community in South Carolina, the Southeast and beyond. Students gain valuable interdisciplinary experience, career-readiness skills and academic and industry mentors while working with certified translators and interpreters. Students majoring in other disciplines (such business, healthcare, legal professions, or education and more) can prepare to be a bridge for communication in multilingual communities near and far.

Interpreting in Education Settings Certificate

The Interpreting in Educational Settings for bilingual professionals is offered every summer.

Next Course Offering is July 3 - July 31, 2023

Program Details and Registration

Study Abroad Program in Spain

Take your higher education experience to another level! Learn and immerse yourself in the culture and language, connect, make memories, enhance your career opportunities, and expand your global competencies.

In the picture you can see the last trip to Alicante in May 2022, it was a success!

Contact the faculty member leading the trip Maria Francisco-Monteso: francis4@uscupstate.edu

Get more information below about Faculty-led Study Abroad and how to register, dates, and the info session recording.

Annual Conference on Translation and Interpreting

The Annual Conference on Translation and Community Interpreting: "The Bridging Cultures through Communication" is held every March to celebrate Upstate International Month.

Thusday, March 16, 2023

Time: 3:30 pm

Location: CLC Ballroom Map-Pin.png

Attend Virtually

8th Annual Translation and Interpreting Conference
Download Brochure

Recent news about the Conference:

Recruiting Events

Avanzando class with family/companions!
¡Clase de Avanzando con familiares/acompañantes!

Join Us!

Thursday, February 24, 2022

6:00 p.m.

Health Education Complex 


Avanzando class flyer PDF Document

Premier Fair

Sophomore Summit


Please check this page regularly for updates and new events.

Students, faculty, staff, and community members are most welcome to public humanities events organized in person, online, or hybrid that are bilingual, in English, or Spanish.

Students, we invite you to use these cultural events for reflection on leadership development, cultivating diverse networks of support and mentorship, language inclusion, translation & community interpreting, civic engagement, diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging. Contact El Centro for more information and assistance.

Follow us on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook for more announcements, including internship and scholarship opportunities.

January 2023

6-8 Jan, San Francisco. Modern Language Association (MLA) Convention presentations on El Centro, advocacy and social media, cultivating diverse leadership, and cocreating DEI initiatives to retain students.

19 Jan, 12 p.m., virtual on Blackboard here. No registration needed. Telephone Access. (571) 392-7650. PIN: 429 148 9253. Graduate School Is Within Your Reach. Let's talk about grad school and how to prepare for it at any stage. Cristina Gonzalez, 2022 graduate from the first Avanzando cohort in 2019, will share her successful journey applying and interviewing for doctoral programs. Colleagues in the Provost Diversity Centers, Career Services, Admissions, and Student Success will share how they support students and what led them to pursue graduate school. Instagram post here.

20 Jan, 3 p.m., virtual here. Las Profesoras y Tú, Facebook Live in Spanish, on the topics of wellness and mental health. Gia Quiñones, special guest, is a bilingual Mental Health Counselor at the Spartanburg Area Mental Health Center. Las Profesoras y Tú demystifies the college experience for Spanish-speaking families across the state and beyond. Nov. 18, 2022 recording is here on tips for finishing the semester strong and 2022 reflections. Instagram post here.

26 Jan, 4 p.m., Gambrell Hall Room 429, USC Columbia. Engaging Locally & Transnationally with SC Centro Latino Through the Multilingual Public Humanities, presentation by Dr. Hernández-Laroche. Invited by USC Office of Diversity and Inclusion and Dr. Jorge Camacho, Professor of Spanish, Comparative Literature, Latin American & US Latinx Studies & Director of Latin American, Caribbean, and US Latinx Studies for the Walker Institute at the University of South Carolina. Instagram post here.

30 Jan, 2:30 p.m., in-person (HEC 2039) & virtual. Improving Healthcare Outcomes for the Hispanic/ Latino Community. Organized by Dr. Kristi Miller, chair of Mary Black College of Nursing (MBCON) Diversity, Equity, and Civility Council. This presentation and discussion are designed for current and future healthcare workers or anyone who seeks to understand how to create and inclusive environment that promotes optimal health outcomes for the Hispanic/ Latino population. Please contact Dr. Miller for more information (kmiller2@uscupstate.edu). Instagram post here.

February 2023

4 FEB 2023, 8am-2pm, Lower Richland High School. Midlands Student Summit. El Centro will offer two workshops to middle and high school students. “Take steps toward your future by learning more about your college and career options.” Register today

9 Feb, 12pm, Virtual on Blackboard. Click on this link. No registration needed. Telephone Access. (571) 392-7650. PIN: 287 911 4395. Guest Speaker Dr. Patrick Dicks on “The Devastating Impact of Automation & Artificial Intelligence on People & Rural Communities,” Black History Month event co-sponsored with the Center for African American Studies.

10 Feb, 11:30 a.m., URC at 29th Diversity Summit organized by the College of Education, Human Performance, and Health. Register here. Wellness & Cultural Outreach through SC Centro Latino’s Public Humanities Pillar, presentation by Dr. Hernández-Laroche. Community health majors and students in other disciplines can engage in El Centro’s Public Humanities pillar today and gain key skills in effective cultural outreach practices. Explore wellness initiatives, including mental health multilingual awareness campaigns. Discover local and regional resources and professional networks to support your extracurricular learning in community health. Share your interests, shape programming, and connect with others.

27 FEB 2023, 3 p.m. Virtual. El Centro Advisory Council Meeting.

March 2023

8 de marzo / International Women’s Day. Artists will be featured here.

16 March 2023, 3:30-4:30 p.m. In-person and virtual. 8th Annual Translation & Interpretation ConferenceBridging Cultures Through Communication. Contact chair & founder, El Centro’s assistant director Maria Francisco-Montesó (FRANCIS4@uscupstate.edu).

24 March 2023, 11:00 a.m. -1:00 p.m. CLC Ballroom. Sociology, Criminal Justice, and Women’s Studies Career Fair at USC Upstate. Stop by El Centro’s table! Contact Drs. Courtney McDonald & Tracey Woodard for information (MCDONA95@uscupstate.edu).

April 2023

1 April, University of New Hampshire, Center for the Humanities. Roundtable on Communities at Joint Dunfey/ Sidore Conference on “The Ethics of Encounter: Research, Communities, and Repair,” presentation by Dr. Hernández-Laroche.

14-15 April, USC Upstate Greenville Campus (UCG). Southeastern Immigration Studies Association (SEISAConference on “Migrants, Labor, and Activism: Past, Presents, and Futures.” Co-hosted by USC Upstate & Wofford College. Dr. Paul Ortiz (University of Florida) and Dr. Yolanda Chávez Leyva (University of Texas El Paso) will be delivering the conference keynotes. Both are historians and engaged in the public humanities. Co-Chairs Michele Covington (Director of Greenville Programs) & Dr. Araceli Hernández-Laroche (Director of El Centro) and Dr. Ramón Galiñanes Jr. (Director of Wofford Undergraduate Research & Post Graduate Fellowships) & Dr. Begoña Caballero-García (Associate Professor of Spanish Studies & Past Inaugural Dean of Diversity & Inclusion). Register here.

May 2023

Prepare today to study abroad in Alicante, Spain in Maymester 2023 with El Centro’s assistant director Maria Francisco-Montesó (FRANCIS4@uscupstate.edu). Please visit: Alicante, Spain – Prof. Monteso

Supporting Student Leadership

El Centro encourages student engagement in organizations and clubs. Faculty serve as mentors and collaborate with student groups on public humanities events and connecting with civic leaders. Here are some of the student groups that seek to do more outreach through El Centro. Contact sccl@uscupstate.edu to add yours below.

Spartan Latinx Leaders +Allies will be running a student-mentor structure for the 2022-2023 school year. We hope to help entering Latinx students with their journey as new college students. The success of Latinx students is essential to the success of the school and community as a whole. We will help with finding classes, directing you to appropriate offices when an issue arises (Financial Aid), textbook hacks, finding a community on campus (organizations, sports, etc.), registering/dropping/withdrawing from classes, jobs/internships, scholarships, etc. If you are a new or transfer Latino/a/x student, and would like our support and mentorship your first year at USC Upstate, please follow @uscupstate_slla or email em44@email.uscupstate.edu.

The Latin American Student Organization (LASO) changes lives of students by empowering the LatinX/Hispanic community to realize their fullest potential and to impact the world through awareness, acceptance, support, and development amongst the LatinX/Hispanic community. We also strive to create a family where those who identify as LatinX/Hispanic feel welcomed and supported. Please follow @uscupstate_laso or afv@email.uscupstate.edu.

La Organización Estudiantil Latinoamericana (LASO, por sus siglas en inglés) cambia la vida de los estudiantes al empoderar a la comunidad latina/hispana para que alcancen su máximo potencial e impacten al mundo a través de la conciencia, la aceptación, el apoyo, y el desarrollo entre la comunidad latina/hispana. También nos esforzamos por crear una familia donde aquellos que se identifiquen como latinos/hispanos se sientan bienvenidos y apoyados. Por favor sigan @uscupstate_laso o afv@email.uscupstate.edu.

The French Club seeks to engage students in celebrating French-speaking cultures around the world, including the Caribbean, and cultivating multilingual bridges and leadership. Please follow @uscufrench or email daquane@email.uscupstate.edu.



Hernandez-Laroche, Araceli.jpg Araceli Hernández-Laroche, PhD
Director, South Carolina Centro Latino
864-503-5221 | hernan49@uscupstate.edu | Twitter-Icon.png  @AraceliHLaroche 

Dr. Araceli Hernández-Laroche is a professor of modern languages and the founding director of South Carolina Centro Latino (El Centro) at USC Upstate. The first tenured Mexican-American professor in USC Upstate history, as well as the first Hispanic to earn full professor, Hernández-Laroche serves on the boards of the Chapman Cultural Center, the Spartanburg Academic Movement, and the ACLU of SC. She also serves on IME Becas through the Mexican Consulate in the Carolinas, Alianza Spartanburg’s Leadership & Steering Committee, the LGBT Advisory Fund, Live Healthy Spartanburg Policy Committee, the Program Committee at the Mary Black Foundation, the Education Council at the United Way of the Piedmont, and the City of Spartanburg Comprehensive Plan Think Tank. Hernández-Laroche was named the 2020 Career Woman of the Year by the Business and Professional Women of South Carolina and the 2020 Inclusion Advocate of the Year by OneSpartanburg. She was selected to participate in the 2020-2021 cohort of the Emerging Leaders Program through the American Association of State Colleges and Universities. Hernández-Laroche received a Bachelor of Arts with a double major in French and Francophone studies and Italian studies from the University of California, Los Angeles. She earned her Master of Arts and Ph.D. in French from the University of California.

She coedited a volume on World War I with Routledge UK in 2021. Her book chapters, articles, and reviews on existentialist French and North African writers and the multilingual public humanities have appeared in publications by Routledge, Palgrave Macmillan, Lexington Books, the French Literature Series with Brill Academic Publishers, The French Review, and the ASAP/Journal, a peer-reviewed journal published by John Hopkins University Press on the study of the arts of the present. She is coauthoring a book in Spanish with Mexican scholars on migration and has work forthcoming on Simone de Beauvoir, as well as essays on the public humanities in the journal of French Politics, Culture, and Society and the joint issue of the ADE and ADFL Bulletins, refereed journals published by the Modern Language Association (MLA). She serves as co-president of the MLA’s Association of Departments of Foreign Languages (ADFL) Executive Committee and the MLA’s Ad Hoc Committee Valuing the Public Humanities. She is a former president of the SC chapter of AATF.

A multilingual professor, she has directed study abroad in Cádiz, Spain, taught Spanish in prison, high school, and as an assistant professor in NJ. Her public scholarship on the growing Latino community in South Carolina is mostly in Spanish or English.

Assistant Director

Monteso, Maria.jpg Maria Francisco-Montesó
Assistant Director, South Carolina Centro Latino
864-503-5203 | francis4@uscupstate.edu

Maria Francisco-Montesó is a senior instructor in Spanish at USC Upstate. Montesó graduated from Universitat Jaume I, Spain, and earned a Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts in translation and interpreting studies in Spanish, Catalan, English, and German. She has more than 10 years of experience teaching Spanish and translation & interpreting courses. Montesó is a Ph.D. candidate. Her research interests center on educational interpreting and pedagogy in translation and interpreting studies. She incorporates in-class pedagogical innovative projects and technology-intensive teaching-learning methodologies as part of the Quality Enhancement Plan and Active Learning cohorts. Montesó creates a service-learning component in her translation and interpreting courses, through which her students provide translation and interpretation services in the South Carolina Upstate in order to support non-profit organizations’ outreach into the area’s Hispanic community. She also created a unique certificate course to train bilinguals in English and Spanish to become professional interpreters in educational settings.