Instructor of Mathematics – Black Hawk College
Rock Island, IL
The Quad Cities between Iowa and Illinois is not precisely the place to find many Latin@s, although, as everywhere else in the USA, this is rapidly changing. There is a new influx of Hispanics due to both immigration and second and third generation Hispanics moving up in the economic ladder. However, it is always difficult for those moving to new places to find the resources to adapt to their new environments. This is why we need all the help that we can get from those who are already established and who are willing to extend their hands in solidarity.
Today’s Everyday Hispanic Heritage hero moved to the American heartland over ten years ago to attend the University of Iowa in Iowa City, IA. Christian Roldán Santos graduated with honors with a degree in Mathematics from the University of Puerto Rico in Mayagüez and immediately moved to Iowa City to pursue a graduate degree. Currently, Mr. Roldán is pursuing a PhD in Higher Education at Illinois State University, Normal, Il. He fell in love with the area and decided to make of the Midwest his home.
Mr. Roldán is originally from Juana Diaz, Puerto Rico. As a gay, Puerto Rican, Latino immigrant he has found that his life is always in limbo. He states that he is “too Puerto Rican and Latino for the United States, too American for Puerto Rico, and too gay for either place.” Perhaps this is what has brought him to be deeply involved in working for justice for Latin@ immigrants as well as for the LGBT communities.
There are many fields in which Latin@s are underrepresented, and Mathematics is one of them. However, Christian has a passion for this field and through his actions has shown the upcoming Latin@ generation that it is possible to pursue a career in Math and Sciences. Mr. Roldán is currently a professor of Mathematics at Black Hawk College in Moline, IL. At Black Hawk he is the advisor to two organizations, the Association of Latin-American Students (ALAS) and Phi Theta Kappa; he also serves as the vice-president of the school’s Senate, coordinator for the school’s International Festival, and volunteers during orientation session to help with international students.
Christian is also very involved in his local community. He regularly visits local schools to give talks and presentations on college life, leadership, success, and diversity awareness. More recently, he is schedule to be a presenter at the Latino Youth Summit at Black Hawk in October. Mr. Roldán also volunteers with the newly created LGBT Metro, an organization that supports gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender individuals in the Quad Cities area.
Certainly, Hispanics and Latin@s moving to the heartland of the USA will find inspiration and a supporting presence in Christian Roldán Santos. For all that he does for his community in the middle of the Iowa-Illinois border, Christian is today’s Everyday Hispanic Heritage hero!