NVCC President Daisy Cocco De Filippis, Ph.D. presented Dr. Marianela Medrano a Presidential Medal of Honor at the October 9 Confluencia. Held twice a semester, Confluencia is a confluence celebrating a wide variety of voices and, last night, it celebrated ten years of NVCC students, faculty and staff, community members, and award-winning writers gathering and sharing the experiences of different cultures via the written word.
The evening kicked off with refreshments and a live performance featuring the College’s a cappella group, "Fermata the Valley." Cast members from the College’s upcoming production, Little Shop of Horrors then performed two songs from the 1986 cult classic. Both groups were led by NVCC Music Director, Dr. Gilad Harel. The evening continued with the presentation of the Presidential Medal of Honor to Dr. Medrano.
Born and raised in the Dominican Republic, Medrano has been residing in Connecticut since 1989. Her work first emerged as part of a group of women writers (Segundo Círculo de Mujeres Escritoras) in the Dominican Republic in the 1980s. Her first two collections of poems Oficio de vivir (The Task of Living, 1986) and Los alegres ojos de la tristeza (Sadness Joyous Eyes, 1987) were published during this period in the Dominican Republic where her poetry was soon recognized for its capacity to build daring images designed to redefine woman and her role in Dominican society. She has published six poetry books including her two most recent works Prietica (2013) and Rooting (2018).
Medrano, who has been instrumental in the implementation and success of NVCC’s Confluencia series, has served as the moderator for the past 10 years and has coordinated Confluencia's guest poets who have enriched NVCC and the greater community by making nearly 40 nights of poetry possible. In addition to her writing, Medrano is a licensed professional counselor with a Ph.D. in psychology. She offers workshops and readings in Connecticut and around the country.
The evening’s moderator was NVCC Professor of English and award-winning author Steve Parlato, who conducted the festivities with grace, generosity and humor.
“I am happy to be here with you this evening to thank Dr. Marianela Medrano, on this, the 10th anniversary of Confluencia, for her generous contributions to the fabric of life at NVCC and our students, and to honor her work,” said President De Filippis.
The presentation of the award was followed by welcoming remarks by Student Government Association Vice President Tabitha Cruz and continued with an “open mic” featuring NVCC students who offered readings of original works as well as poetry and prose by noted writers. The readings included translations in Spanish and Portuguese with the original and translated pieces read to create a truly multilingual experience.
Following the open mic, attendees enjoyed a performance combining mixed poetry and martial arts by poet laureate emeritus of Northampton, MA, and Pushcart Prize nominee Janet E. Aalfs. Following Aalf’s performance, Sobeira Latorre, Associate Professor of Spanish and Director of the Interdisciplinary Studies Program at Southern Connecticut State University, presented an analysis of Medrano’s work with a focus on her contribution to Dominican Studies to round out the celebration.
The next Confluencia will be held on Monday, November 26. Learn more at nv.edu/confluencia.