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 5 - August 2, 2022

Program Details and Registration

Study Abroad Program in Spain

The Spain Study Abroad program with Professor Maria Francisco Montesó occurs every May summer session.

*Program is currently suspended due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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.

WEDNESDAY, March 26, 2022

Time: 3:00 pm

Location: CLC Ballroom Map-Pin.png

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.

August 2022

Improving Language Access in South Carolina” at the SC Immigrant Victim Coalition Against Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault (SCIVC) Summer Statewide Meeting. August 25, 2022, 10am, Columbia, SC. Register here. Panelists: Araceli Hernández-Laroche & Maria Francisco Montesó (USC Upstate, El Centro), Josue Rodriguez (SC Departments of Social Services), Karama B.

Herrington (Court Services Judicial Branch), Sheriff Kristin Graziano (Charleston County Sherriff’s Office), Vanessa Gongora (Norsan Media), and Ivan Segura (SC Commission for Minority Affairs)

Las Profesoras y Tú Facebook Live in Spanish on higher ed perspectives from faculty in Spartanburg and in dialogue with community leaders at Charleston, aquí estamos. 26 AUG 2022, 3 p.m.

El Centro Advisory Council Meeting. 29 AUG 3 p.m.

September 2022

USC Upstate Art Gallery Talk with Artist Yehimi Cambrón.” 1 SEPT 2022, see Upstate Gallery for more details. El Centro is a proud co-sponsor.

Current Scams: Protect Yourself & Your Finances” / “Estafas más recientes: Protégete a ti mismo y a tus finanzas.” Bilingual Financial Stability lecture series with Yanett Regalado, Branch Manager of Carolina Foothill Federal Credit Union. 8 SEPT 2022, 12pm in English & 12:30 p.m. in Spanish. Click on Blackboard Link or dial in + 1-571-392-7650. PIN: 134 751 6404.

Entrevista con Marco Ríos,” Hispanic Business Consultant at SC Small Business Development Centers. 13 SEPT 2022, 12pm. Click on Blackboard Link or dial in + 1-571-392-7650. PIN: 374 312 4739. En español.

Dr. Carlos E. Lavín (Assistant Professor in Special Education, College of Charleston), “When Students Lead, We Should Follow,” Hispanic Heritage Month Keynote. 28 SEPT 2022, 4 p.m., CLC Ballroom.

Las Profesoras y Tú Facebook Live in Spanish on higher ed perspectives from faculty in Spartanburg and in dialogue with community leaders at Charleston, aquí estamos. 30 SEPT 2022, 3 p.m.

October 2022

Indigenous Peoples Day. 10 OCT 2022

Public Humanities Project Workshop Phase I by Kathya Landeros (Assistant Professor of Humanities & Art, Wellesley College). 11 OCT 2022, 6:30 p.m. - 7:15 p.m., CAB 117. “Representing Youth through Photographic Portraits.” In collaboration with PASOs Spartanburg & Palmetto Luna Arts. See Public Humanities Workshop. All welcome.

El Centro faculty, Gabrielle Drake, and Wofford professors, Begoña Caballero-García & Alyssa Handelsman, co-present at the Public Humanities in Community Colleges and Research Universities Conference. 13-15 OCT 2022, U of TX El Paso (UTEP).

Las Profesoras y Tú Facebook Live in Spanish on higher ed perspectives from faculty in Spartanburg and in dialogue with community leaders at Charleston, aquí estamos. 28 OCT 2022, 3 p.m.

November 2022

Public Humanties Project Workshop Phase II by Kathya Landeros (Assistant Professor of Humanities & Art, Wellesley College). 29 NOV 2022. More details closer to date.

December 2022

El Centro Advisory Council Meeting. 5 DEC 3 p.m.

January 2023

Modern Language Association (MLA) Convention presentations on El Centro, San Francisco.

February 2023

Black History Month Event. Guest Speaker Dr. Patrick Dicks on “The Future of Work.” 7 FEB 2023, 12pm, Virtual. More details closer to date.

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

March 2023

8 de marzo / International Women’s Day. More details closer to date.

8th Annual Translation & Interpretation Conference: Bridging Cultures Through Communication. Contact chair & founder: Maria Francisco-Montesó.

April 2023

Southeastern Immigration Studies Association (SEISA) conference tentatively planned and co-hosted by USC Upstate & Wofford College. 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). Call For Papers posted by October. More details closer to date.

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.