¡Bienvenidos! MMC Launches New Spanish-Language Campus Tours for Prospective Students

MMC tour guide Denessa Cazares ’25 overhears a lot of conversations between prospective students and their families who come to see the College. But one last fall stood out to her.

“During a group tour, I noticed that a student kept turning to their parents to translate what was being said into Spanish,” she recalled. “I said, ‘Oh, my gosh, I wish you would have told me—I can do that for you!’” Cazares, a BFA Acting and Theatre Arts major from San Diego and the daughter of Mexican immigrants, is a fluent speaker, and she immediately began to switch between English and Spanish to ensure that the family would feel fully included.

Now, however, MMC visitors who primarily speak Spanish won’t have to hope that they’ll encounter a tour guide like her who knows the language—instead, they’ll be able to request it. Starting in September, the College is rolling out its first-ever Spanish language campus tours, which will take place on set days each month throughout the semester.

Director of Recruitment and Admissions Dan Kuhlman proposed the idea to help families like the one Cazares met on her tour and streamline how information is delivered to students and parents just getting to know MMC. With a student body that is more than 20 percent Hispanic and Latin American, the College had already begun to offer financial aid presentations to prospective families in Spanish.

“It dawned on me that we should be offering campus tours in Spanish, too,” he said. “We want prospective families to know that Marymount Manhattan is an accessible institution and that even if English isn’t their primary language, they’ll be fully informed about the entire admissions process from the application and initial tour all the way through the financial aid process.”

That approach, Kuhlman added, goes hand in hand with the College’s renewed focus on international recruitment, which was scaled back amid global travel restrictions during the COVID pandemic. In recent months, MMC has sent admissions counselors to Puerto Rico for the first time in years.

The College’s Spanish-language tour will include all the same elements as tours conducted in English, including a PowerPoint presentation and a trip through campus. They will be led primarily by Admissions Counselor Emily Taylor-Madrid, who said the new offering would send an important message about the College’s priorities and also take the pressure off visiting students.

“With the tour, we’re saying the onus shouldn’t be on prospective students to translate while they’re also trying to pay attention to the presentation,” Taylor-Madrid said. “And that it’s important for families whose first language may not be English to feel good about the decision they’re making for their student and where they’re sending them off to.”

Taylor-Madrid grew up in a primarily Spanish-speaking household in North Carolina. Her father himself works as a Spanish language legal interpreter and translator at the Mecklenburg County Public Defender’s Office in Charlotte.

Coming from a predominantly white state, however, she longed to see a reflection of herself as she conducted her own college search six years ago. “When I looked at colleges, I definitely paid attention to schools where I felt that my culture was being respected and that I could feel comfortable in the community,” she said.

The same is true for prospective students and families who visit MMC today, she said.

Cazares, who transferred to MMC as a sophomore, agreed. “My mother doesn’t speak English well, and my parents didn’t go on college tours with me,” she said. “But I know it would’ve helped my mom not to be so fearful of letting me go if she knew there was information like this that could be shared in Spanish.”

In the end, Cazares said, the tour highlights an important distinction between diversity and inclusion that institutions should be mindful of. “Diversity is being invited to the party, but inclusion is being asked to dance, you know what I mean?”

 

To RSVP for a Spanish-language tour, email Admissions Counselor Emily Taylor-Madrid at etaylor-madrid@mmm.edu or call 212-517-0443.

Para registrarse a este evento, pueden llamar directamente al numero: 212-517-0443, o envíe un correo electrónico a la consejera de admisiones Emily Taylor-Madrid a etaylor-madrid@mmm.edu.

Published: September 16, 2023