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.


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


See El Centro, Instagram or website for latest updates, added virtual events links, and other types of engagement such as recruitment on and off-campus.

Click on plus button at the bottom of this Accordion BLOCK (not accordion tab) to create a new tab. Select Accordion TAB block to edit tab headline. Select nested blocks within accordion tab to edit content.
  • January

    • El Centro Hub is open, Humanities and Performing Arts Center (HPAC 227). Students in any major and from all cultures, ask us about El Centro Public Scholars Program. Get credit for attending events, volunteering, presenting & publishing with El Centro Scholar Commons, and get recognized at graduation!
    • Call for Proposals due by Jan. 31 here. Southeastern Immigration Studies Association Annual Conference (SEISA), April 19-20, 2024, Wofford College. Theme: “Movement, Disruptions & Opportunities: Stories of Migration.” Register here.


    • 2024 Education Community of Practice Convening, UnidosUS /Avanzando, February 4-5, 2024, Arizona State University.
    • El Centro Advisory Council Meeting, Monday, February 12, 3:30 pm – 5:00 pm, Zoom.
    • Global Feminism Panel, Monday, February 19, 5:30 pm – 7:00 pm, Rutland Institute for Ethics, Clemson University.


    • Las Profesoras y Tú, Facebook Live Sessions demystifying the college experience for Spanish-speaking families from Charleston to the Upstate. Topic on Valuing the Public Humanities in all majors. March 1, 3 p.m., link to be posted here
    • GSA Women of Influence, El Centro’s director is one of the honorees. March 13, 11:30 a.m., Hyatt Regency Greenville. Purchase tickets here.
    • Uplifting Your Story with Cassie Tanks (Northeastern U) & Jasmin Elizalde (LASO President), Interactive, Hands-On Digital Public Humanities Black Paris & El Centro Public Scholars Workshop, Thursday, March 14, 5:30-6:45 p.m., Campus Life Center (CLC) Ballroom.
    • Second Annual Anderson School District One, Your Future is Bright Fest, A Day Devoted to Shine a Light on Our Multilingual Students’ Future, Saturday, March 16, 8 a.m.-1 p.m., Palmetto Middle School Gym, 140 Middle School Rd, Williamston, SC, 29697
    • Check out El Centro @ USC Upstate Career Fair, March 19, 11 a.m.-1 p.m. CLC Ballroom.
    • El Centro engages families at Fairforest Elementary School’s STEAM night, March 19, 5-6:30 p.m.
    • El Centro engages high school students at the World Cultures Day, March 22, URC.
    • Sharing our Stories as Women of Color Full Professors, (Drs. Carmen V. Harris, Esther Liu Godfrey and Araceli Hernández-Laroche), Moderator: Gabrielle Drake, LLC Assistant Chair, World Language Coordinator, Women’s History Month, March 26, 12:30-1:30 PM, Location HEC 2023. Light Refreshments served.
    • Columbia College Voter Registration Ed Panel, Multicultural Affairs & Community Resources, March 26, 6-7:30 p.m.
    • 9th Annual Translation & Interpreting Conference, Wednesday, March 27, 3-4:15 p.m. This is a hybrid event. Attend in-person at the Campus Life Center (CLC) Ballroom. Join virtually here.


    • McMahon Lecture on El Centro & Importance of Languages at Awards Ceremony, April 3-4, East Carolina University, NC.
    • El Centro’s Tentacularity: Extending the Importance of Language Learning Beyond the Boundaries of the Language Program, April 11, 3:30-4:30 p.m., Vista Higher Learning Webinar. Register for the webinar here.
    • CUMU panel for the Swarthmore College Annual Engaged Scholarship Symposium, April 17, 12-1:30 p.m. EST (Virtual) “Making our Work Public.” Storytelling, Celebrating and Elevating Our Campus and Community Partners Through South Carolina Centro Latino. Presenters: Araceli Hernández-Laroche & Maria Francisco-Montesó with El Centro Marketing Student Interns, Danna Lopez, Zaray Lopez, and Dalexander Zegarra
    • (Story) Mapping El Sur Latinx with Dr. Tim Monreal, University at Buffalo, The State University of New York, April 18, 5-6:15 p.m., HPAC 234.
    • Southeastern Immigration Studies Association Annual Conference (SEISA), April 19-20, 2024, Wofford College. Theme: “Movement, Disruptions & Opportunities: Stories of Migration.” Register here.
    • El Centro engages new families at Admitted Students Day, April 26, 9-10 a.m., G.B. Hodge Center.
    • El Centro engages the business community at Power Up Spartanburg’s 1-Year Celebration, April 29, 5-7 p.m., Fr8 Yard, Downtown Spartanburg.


    • Las Profesoras y Tú, Facebook Live Sessions demystifying the college experience for Spanish-speaking families, monthly dates and topics TBD and posted here.
    • Avanzando Through College, 5:30-7:30 pm, LIB 238 by RSVP, Jan. 25, Feb. 8 & 22, March 14 & 28, April 11 (See March 14 event above as it is open to the public).
  • June and July

    • Alicante, Spain Study Abroad, June 1-29, 2024
    • Certificate Course on Professional Spanish Interpreting in Schools Settings, July 2024


Click on plus button at the bottom of this Accordion BLOCK (not accordion tab) to create a new tab. Select Accordion TAB block to edit tab headline. Select nested blocks within accordion tab to edit content.
  • Araceli Hernández-Laroche, PhD
    Director, South Carolina Centro Latino
    864-503-5221 | |  @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 presentShe 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.

Click on plus button at the bottom of this Accordion BLOCK (not accordion tab) to create a new tab. Select Accordion TAB block to edit tab headline. Select nested blocks within accordion tab to edit content.
  • Maria Francisco-Montesó
    Assistant Director, South Carolina Centro Latino
    864-503-5203 |

    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.

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.