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 and Civic Leadership and Mentoring, the Public Humanities and Translation and Community Interpreting. We invite you to explore the El Centro Scholar Commons for a growing archive of articles, presentations, publications and more.

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


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

Vision Statement

El Centro 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

Are you the first person to go to college in your family?

Would you like to join the fifth cohort of first year and transfer students who meet about twelve times a year on select Thursday evenings to get access to extra mentoring on various topics such as financial literacy, mental health, critical study skills, leadership development, cultural empowerment, and other topics? If you have time to commit to six meetings a semester (dinner is included), please consider applying to the Avanzando program at USC Upstate.

Just reach out to Dr. Susannah Waldrop, executive director of student success, or the SC Centro Latino (El Centro) faculty who serve as mentors: Professors Araceli Hernández -Laroche and Maria Francisco Montesó.

You may also follow El Centro on Instagram.

Líderes Avanzando Through College serves cohorts of first-generation college students who are first-year and transfers. Students will meet regularly with staff, faculty and peer mentors to discuss the transition to college while developing strategies, civic leadership skills, anchored in culture, to excel as college students.

Tentative Fall meetings take place on Thursdays from 5:30-7:30 PM, location TBD (Sept. 14, Sept. 28, Oct. 12, Oct. 26, Nov. 9, & Nov. 30). Please contact us for more information.

In addition, please ask us about the El Centro Public Scholars Program that is open to students at anytime in the semester.

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 InstagramTwitter, and Facebook for more announcements, including internship and scholarship opportunities.

August & September

Are you a Pitbull fan? Follow El Centro on Instagram to participate in a social media contest by August 31 for a free ticket to Pitbull’s September 8 concert in Anderson, SC (William A. Floyd Amphitheater). El Centro will be tabling at the concert. Let us know what other Latino artists you would like to see in concert. We have connections! Also, stop by El Centro’s table at the Sophomore Summit (August 29, 3:30-5 p.m., URC), Premier Fair (August 30, 11 a.m.-2 p.m., Smith to the creek), and the College Majors Fair at the Global Career Forum (September 13, URC Atrium, 1-2 pm).

September 14, 2023

Did you know that Greenville County Schools is the largest school district in South Carolina?

Save the date to join us in person or virtually on September 14 at 12:30 p.m. EST. How can we remove barriers to student success and support families? Explore careers that are highly in demand as the Hispanic and Latino populations experience incredible growth.

One of the keynote speakers is a USC Upstate alum, Laura Rodríguez. She majored in Criminal Justice and uses Spanish, one of her superpowers to support students.

No registration required to join us virtually. Simply click on this link: https://us.bbcollab.com/guest/5cc884d0fe304d0281e0ea08e6ab7299

Follow El Centro on Instagram.

Save the Date:

September 21, 2023, 5:30pm

Title of Panel: Voter Education & the Youth

More info soon. See Instagram.

Save the Dates:

Fridays, September 29, October 6, 13, 27 and November 3, 12:00pm, Location: Library Lab 247

Title of Tentative Event: Hispanic Heritage Month Film Festival in collaboration with the USC Upstate Library

More info soon. See Instagram.

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.