Monday, August 11, 2014

Guest Blogger: Marie Nubia Feliciano at the First International Latina/o Studies Conference


Guest Blogger: Marie Nubia Feliciano
This week’s special guest blogger Marie Nubia Feliciano shares her story about her recent trip to Chicago to attend the first International Latina/o Studies Conference.  Marie also shares a little about her balancing act of being a doctoral student, partner, mom and employee.  I send this amazing woman positive energy, strength and the courage to persevere and use all support systems available for her to achieve her goals, including completing her doctorate and advancing in her career. Marie, we are all behind you and can’t wait to add you to the Galeria de Doctoras Latinas as the future Doctora Feliciano.  Pa’lante hermana!

 

Marie Nubia Feliciano shares her affirming experience at the International Latina/o Studies Conference.  Please read on:
Marie Nubia Feliciano and Dra. Ylce Irizarry
This July, I attended the first International Latina/o Studies Conference with the theme “Imagining the Past, Present and Future."  The conference ran from July 17 to the 19 and was held in Chicago’s Palmer House Hotel. It was the first time I presented on my dissertation topic, the college going experiences of Afro-Borinque├▒as both stateside and in Puerto Rico. The experience was very good. I received good feedback on the presentation and was able to hand out my recruitment flyer to those who attended the presentation. I also ran into a fellow Facebook friend from the Latinas Completing Doctoral Degrees Facebook group, Doctora Ylce Irizarry. 


During my time there, I was also able to connect with some fabulous women from the National Conference of PuertoRican Women (NACOPRW) in Chicago. I was first treated to a brunch at Nellie’s, a Puerto Rican restaurant. In the afternoon, I got a tour of Paseo Boricua, the cultural hub of the Puerto Rican community in Chicago. 


The hospitality was overwhelming…I hope to be in the position to pay it forward someday soon.


My journey to where I am today has been full of challenges. With two children, a partner, two cats, and a house to attend to, I am well entrenched in my private self. That often leaves little room or time for the development of my public self. As Michel Martin wrote in the recent National Journal (http://www.nationaljournal.com/magazine/when-the-conversation-about-having-it-all-begins-and-ends-with-white-women-20140725), I am part of the “transitional generation,” the one who is benefiting from the work of previous generations of women and men who struggled to get the doors of academia open just enough for us to squeeze through. They are now holding the doors open with their sheer will and grit. They hope that enough of us get through so that they can let go and the door will stay open. I am part of that transitional generation who is now charged with doing the work of keeping the door open.


However, being part of that transitional generation also means that I have to deal with 21st century realities of job insecurity, daycare expenses, and student loans. It means dealing with the microaggressions that have the potential of shortening my life expectancy. It means still having to work twice as hard to be considered half as qualified as a white faculty or graduate student. The struggle continues and I am hopeful. I am hopeful because I am intentional in my engagements with others. 
 

I recently reached out to a faculty person at CSU Pomona to see if we can work together on a project. He said yes and  that this could be a mutually beneficial relationship. I stopped him and said that I am not in the business of trading favors...I'm not big on transactional relationships. I will help him just because I like what he does and want to support a fellow colleague of color advance in the academy. I like to start from an authentic place as often as possible. I put that sense of authenticity out to the world in the hope that it will be returned to me. That is what I lay my hope in. That is what I hope will contribute to the changes that need to happen in academia. I see this as my contribution to keeping the door open for others to follow.