Who We Are

We are a group of writers and researchers convened by the Mellon Humanities Collaborative. Led by El Paso Community College faculty fellow Honora Spicer, our group includes research fellows Rebekah Patnode and Tatiana Rodriguez. Masters student Adam Heywood joins us in an advisory position.

In Fall 2021, we are collaborating with a group of six University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP) undergraduate students in Professor Naomi Fertman's Women and Gender Studies Class, who are pursuing a Community Engaged Scholarship project with us to host the Tumblewords community writing workshops.

We are also collaborating with nine UTEP students in the Bilingual MFA in Creative Writing, through Professor Rosa Alcalá's Poetry Lab.

Rebekah Patnode

Rebekah Patnode is an Undergraduate Research Assistant with the Humanities Collaborative at El Paso Community College. She is a Psychology Science major in her second year. Her interests include questions that relate to systems of power and the various rhetorical tactics used by institutional, state, and organizational bodies to promulgate a social and cultural understanding of groups of people and the earth and objects and resources rather than as subjects with intrinsic value. She is planning to continue her undergraduate studies with a focus on Philosophy. She lived in El Paso, Texas for most of one of her decades. While she was there, she sought to be of service to her community through her work as a union organizer and various forms of political advocacy. Rebekah worked with various coalitions and organizations on multiple community organizing initiatives, including the passage of the Wage Theft ordinance in the City of El Paso, fundraising for striking workers in Juarez, and organizing against poisoning water supplies in the surrounding area with fracking runoff. In 2016, she represented El Paso at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia as an alternate delegate for then-candidate Bernie Sanders. As such, she was heartened to see the Texas Democratic Party platform include more expansive reforms that better reflected that candidate’s platform. Subsequently, however, Rebekah decided that she was less interested in politics than in movement building. Rebekah was raised in the Northeast US and, outside of that region, has lived in California, Ohio, Texas, and Florida. She is committed to movement building that seeks to lateralize rather than empower, a word she strongly dislikes. She does not seek to be centered. Her work and her love of the outdoors are both sacred to her. She considers her time in academia to be a privilege, and is committed to return in some capacity to the more tactile work that she has spent her life doing, with the enhanced perspective that formal education affords.

Tatiana Rodriguez

Tatiana Rodriguez is an Undergraduate Research Assistant with the Humanities Collaborative at El Paso Community College. She is an English major in her second year and is currently interested in the histories of the transport of immigrants by steamboat and the bracero program in El Paso. Her interests are in creative writing, which is a focus in her career plan. This work complements her interests since it has helped her improve her skills in research, critical thinking, and presenting spoken word poetry.

Adam Heywood

Adam Heywood is an educator and graduate student in history at the University of Texas in El Paso. He serves in an unofficial advisory position for the Mellon Humanities Collaborative. His research focuses on the criminalization of immigrants in El Paso. His lived experiences engaging immigration processes and incarceration provide insight for his research topics. He also calls upon his academic training in education from Harvard University (MA in Education, 2020) as well as his history training at Columbia College (BA in History, 2018). Interactions with the War in Iraq in 2003 and the LA Race Riots in 1992 provided him with insight into violence, racism, and whiteness. However, it is as a father of two mixed race children that he draws his inspiration and passion for uncovering the silences that have been erased from historical accounts.

Honora Spicer

Honora Spicer (honoraspicer.com) is a Mellon Humanities Collaborative faculty fellow at El Paso Community College, and an experiential educator, writer and translator. She has designed and led expeditionary learning programs, teaching college-accredited courses in literature, history, and Spanish language while biking, mountaineering, and paddling. Questioning the historical circumstances of right of passage over settled land, she is interested in pedagogies of teaching social justice through the moving body, and experiential education approaches to histories of constriction of movement in the US settler-state. Her ancestors are English-Irish colonial settlers on Wampanoag, Narragansett, Massachusett and Munsee Lenape land in the northeast of what is now the US, and she grew up in Cambridge, Massachusetts and southwest England. She holds an MA in History from Harvard University (2015) and a BA in History and English Literature from Oxford University (2013). She lived in El Paso, TX in January 2019-July 2020, volunteering with humanitarian and abolitionist organizations in migrant shelters and immigration detention centers. She teaches history at El Paso Community College, alongside open enrollment courses in Place-based US History centered on orienting to the question: ‘How do we know where we are and when we are, in relation to US History?’ Her literary translations from Spanish have appeared in the Academy of American Poets' Poem-a-day, Asymptote, and Latin American Literature Today.