Spotlight on Humanities Alumni: Cecil Hernandez

Name: Cecil Hernandez ’07

Education (UR and additional): BA (African & African American Studies/History), University of Rochester, 2007;MA, University of Michigan, 2008; PhD, Florida State University in progress

Current city/state of residence: Sanford FL

Job Title: English as a second language teacher

Employer: Linyi New Concept English

Why did you choose to attend the University of Rochester? 

Of all of the colleges I was accepted to only one called.  It was Mr. Crews from the HEOP Office and he was inviting me to the ECO program.  This is when I decided I would attend.

When and how did you choose your major?

I choose my major when I decided I was going to study abroad.  Initially I wanted to be a math major but I could not declare it as a major because I did not have enough classes.   African American Studies or Anthropology was the only two I could declare and African American Studies sounded more interesting.

What activities were you involved in as a student and what did you gain from them?

I worked with the admission office and with Mr Boone. I did some college fairs and high school programming which made me feel like I was giving back to the community.  I did the McNair Program, which introduced me to graduate school and research.  And I studied abroad which opened me up to other cultures.

What resources did you use on campus that you recommend current students use?

Study abroad office, the library, the OMSA office,

Who were your mentors while you were on campus? Have you continued those relationships? 

Daryl Boone, John Barker, Professor Mandela, Jackie Mendez.  Sadly I have lost touch with all of these people.

What did you do immediately after graduation? How did you decide to take that path?

I decided to go to graduate school to get a masters degree. I had a scholarship that would pay for my masters.

What do you do now and why did you choose this career?

I am now teaching English in China, while I continue to pursue my doctoral degree.

What skills, tools, or knowledge from your major have been most useful to you since graduation?

In my major I learned a lot about History and how what happened in the past affects us today.  The most useful skill that I have taken from my major was how to make a strong argument and argue my points.  In my current job what has benefited me the most is the cultural understanding that I gained from studying abroad.  My major allowed me to study abroad several times.

How do you balance your work and personal life?

I make time for everything that is important to me.

Where would you like to be in five years?

I would like to be at the University of Rochester.

How are you still connected with the University?

I answer these surveys whenever I get them and I read a newsletter.



What advice do you have for current students?

Do Take Five, if you’re in the social sciences; study, and get a teaching degree to use it with.  Study abroad because it will change your life, and try to take advantage of all of the resources on campus and be as active on campus as you can.