Cassandra Florentino: Post-Colonial African Studies

Florentino 1Cassandra Florentino
Post-Colonial African Studies
B.A. anticipated June 2014, cum Laude
Home College: Hunter
Mentors: Profs. Carolyn Somerville, Political Science, Hunter and David Johnson, History, City
Thomas W. Smith Academic Fellowship
CUNY BA-Memorial Scholarship
Dina Arjani Scholarship

“How can the arts be utilized to enhance confidence, empowerment and mediation? As a Post-Colonial African Studies major, I intend to combine my knowledge about contemporary Africa, theatre and visual arts to work with children, adolescents and women in post-conflict zones in Sub-Saharan Africa. I believe theater and art workshops can offer alternative forms of therapy to communities that have undergone trauma from violent conflicts and this will facilitate peace building.”

In preparation for this career, Cassandra Florentino has devoted herself to working with disadvantaged youth in NYC as a mentor/tutor to at-risk students at the Harlem Renaissance School; as an intern teaching art skills to young adults with limited exposure to art through the therapeutic program Mindful Art; as an early childhood education intern with Jumpstart, the organization that trains college students to teach literacy and language skills to preschoolers living in low income neighborhoods; and as an intern with Peer Health Exchange, a national nonprofit that trains college students to teach health education in high schools. She volunteered as a mentor to teens at Bailey House, a residence for people living with HIV or AIDS, and she was a volunteer teaching assistant in a middle school in Paris, France during her study abroad in 2010 while also conducting research on French minorities and the inequalities in the French school system. In summer 2011, she interned with the Program for Survivors of Torture in NY and she later interned at the United Nations Development Corporation.

Florentino designed her degree with courses from Hunter and City. In her last semester she is working on an independent study with Hunter film Professor Isabel Pinedo: “I am writing a paper on trauma and catharsis in post-9/11 action films. I’m analyzing Children of Men and District 9 and how these allegorical films explore themes of national security, fear and anxiety that have come to characterize the post-9/11 world.” She hopes to attend the European Graduate School in Switzerland for their Masters in Creative Arts Expression through Conflict Transformation and Peace Building. She is an alternate for the U.S. Fulbright English Teaching Assistant program in South Africa for 2015.