Celebrating Oriana Mejías Martínez

Oriana Mejias Martinez

To honor the achievements and contributions of our Humanities Alliance Fellows, this year we are featuring each fellow on our website, introducing them to our CUNY community and the public, and showcasing their accomplishments as fellows. 

Oriana Mejías Martínez (she/her) was a 2021-2023 fellow based at the LaGuardia Community College while pursuing her Ph.D. in Latin American, Iberian and Latino Cultures at the CUNY Graduate Center. 

At LaGuardia Community College, Oriana has strengthened the pivotal Collaborative Online International Learning (COIL) program by contributing to its multilingual curriculum and experience for students and faculty. COIL was developed at SUNY over fifteen years ago and is now a fundamental initiative at LaGuardia that pairs local faculty with international counterparts to develop shared, virtual modules for students to enhance cross-cultural and cross-linguistic communication. Oriana’s commitment to interactive and reflective pedagogy helped to remedy students’ hesitation through supportive translation while encouraging active student participation in practicing multilingual connections with peers abroad, while at the same time developing her own skills as an organizer, facilitator, and observer. For one of the courses she was involved with in Spring 2022, a final product was an international recipe book created by food anthropology students and their instructors at LaGuardiaCommunity College and the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México. Evaluations to convert it to an Open Educational Resource (OER) are in the works.

Reflecting on the fellowship, Oriana says, “One of the most rewarding experiences was to be able to partner professors from LaGuardia with two professors from Latin America. It was challenging in many aspects but my goal was to prove that decentering English from the classroom was not only possible but also fruitful since the exchange allowed students diverse ways to access knowledge.” 

We celebrate her brilliance and creativity, her tenacity and compassion, and the many ways she has been there for her colleagues during a pandemic and its aftermath. She showed both a willingness to learn and understand the systems and cultures that define these academic spaces and a generosity to contribute her own experiences and interests. 

Thank you, Oriana!