Hispanic Studies Advisory Board

Hispanic Studies Advisory Board By-Laws

Advisory Board Members


Louis Richard Doelling, Chair

Mr. Doelling is a graduate of The Citadel where he earned his B.A. in Spanish. During his undergraduate career, he participated in a summer study abroad program sponsored by The Citadel in Sucre, Bolivia and a semester study abroad program sponsored by the University of Virginia in Valencia, Spain. He also was the recipient of The Citadel's 2008 Star of the West scholarship, which assisted his travel to Mérida, Venezuela to study Chávez-era literature, culture and politics. While at The Citadel, he served as the student body representative to the International Studies Committee. After graduating from The Citadel, Mr. Doelling was granted a fellowship at the University of Colorado at Boulder to teach introductory/intermediate level Spanish classes at the university while obtaining an M.A. in Spanish literature. The primary areas of concentration of his master’s degree are 19th century Spanish literature and 20th century Latin American literature. Currently he is an attorney, working as General Counsel of a hotel management and development company.


Sarah Lee Copeland Beck, Chair-elect

Mrs. Beck earned her B.A. in Spanish from the College of Charleston, and she studied abroad in both Spain and Switzerland, where she also focused on language studies.  She fondly remembers her professors at the College of Charleston as fun, knowledgeable and supportive of students.  After graduation, she managed to use her language skills in both her professional career--former Import Export Specialist for Ciba-Geigy Corporation and broker at BecMen Trading, among other roles--and personal travels, and she is honored to give back to the College of Charleston as an inaugural member of the Hispanic Studies Advisory Board.


Diana Saillant, Treasurer

Diana Saillant is the Founder & CEO of Saillant Language Consulting, a company that connects private organizations, social service agencies, schools, and government agencies to Hispanic businesses and the community at large. Helping increase awareness, understanding, and communication is her goal and passion. As President of the Hispanic Business Association, she assists Hispanic entrepreneurs and business owners in creating, stabilizing, and expanding their businesses.

Ms. Saillant is currently an Advisory Board Member of the South Carolina Commission for Minority Affairs at the Governor’s Office. Diana is a Charleston YWCA Board Member and serves on the MUSC Diversity and Inclusion Advisory Council, providing advice and insight to the Board of Trustees and President on matters related to cultural outreach. She serves on the Diversity Advisory Board of The Citadel and on committees supporting Trident United Way, TEDxCharleston and the African American Leadership Council (AALC).

She is a CCHI Certified Healthcare Interpreter™ and holds a Bachelor of Management Arts degree and a Master of Business Administration from Charleston Southern University.


Adelaida Uribe Bennett, LCWA Advisory Board Liaison

Mrs. Bennett is a former art consultant and community volunteer whose parents came to the U.S. from Colombia. Maintaining her heritage while raising a family in the United States has been very important to her, and supporting Hispanic Studies at CofC is a way she sees as helping others do the same thing.


Virgil Alfaro

Dr. Virgil Alfaro, founder of Retina Consultants of Charleston, graduated from The Citadel, the Military College of South Carolina, and earned his medical degree from Cornell University Medical College.  He served in the United States Air Force Medical Corps, and during his active duty he was posted as a full-time faculty member of the Uniformed Services University, the military medical school of the Department of Defense.

Dedicated to academic pursuits in retina and macular disease, Dr. Alfaro has edited and published four textbooks: Vitreoretinal Surgery of the Injured Eye (1996), Macular Surgery (1999), Diabetic Retinopathy (2002), Age-Related Macular Degeneration (2007). A second edition of Macular Surgery was published in 2011.  He has also published numerous peer-reviewed scientific articles that have appeared in the Journal of the American Medical Medicine, the British Journal of Ophthalmology, the American Journal of Ophthalmology, the Archives of Ophthalmology, and the journal Retina. He lectures internationally in Europe, Latin America, and the USA.


Celina P. Anthony

Celina Anthony, a native of Peru, earned her Masters in Secondary School Administration at The Citadel, The Military College of South Carolina, and her South Carolina Teaching Certificate in Spanish, and South Carolina English as a Second Language teaching certificate through the College of Charleston. Mrs. Anthony has been working for the Charleston County School District (CCSD) since 1997.  She also worked as the ESOL bilingual coordinator for five years and currently works for the CCSD Department of Federal Programs as the Title I bilingual coordinator, where she continues to assist English language learners and families.  

Mrs. Anthony coordinates Abrazos, a family literacy program for Hispanic mothers; CCSD Migrant Education program; after school English classes for parents and enrichment classes for children; and Spanish for Educators, a professional development course for teacher re-certification credit. She also works with select Title I school principals to ensure compliance with federal guidelines. She has presented at different professional conferences about educating English language learners and the role parents play in their children’s education.  Her bi-cultural background and focus on community collaboration has led Mrs. Anthony to play an important role in the Hispanic community in the Lowcountry through various organizations: president of the Círculo Hispanoamericano de Charleston; board member of Young Women Christian Association (YWCA), board member of the Eastern Girl Scouts of South Carolina, member of the MUSC Healthy Families America Advisory Board, and currently the Policy Council chair of the Charleston County First Steps Early Head Start-Child Care Partnership.

Mrs. Anthony has been collaborating with the Department of Hispanic Studies for many years, particularly with hosting Service Learning student interns in the programs she coordinates at CCSD.


Bert Atkinson, Jr.

Bubba Atkinson is the managing editor of Axios, a news site launched from the founders of Politico, where he oversees audience growth, social media, and video strategy. Prior to Axios, Mr. Atkinson was the founding employee and editor-in-chief of IJReview, a viral news publication with more than 20 million social media followers. He minored in Spanish at the College of Charleston, spent 6 months living in South America, has traveled to Latin America repeatedly, and continues an interest in learning from the Latino culture.

Maria A. Cordova

María Asunción Córdova

Originally from Chile, Dr. Córdova co-founded the Círculo Hispanoamericano de Charleston in 1978, and currently serves as its president since 2015.  A retired dentist in the Charleston area, she has served the local community in numerous leadership capacities to include Lowcountry Cultural Vice President of Partners of the Americas (1980-1993), SC and GA Area Coordinator of Amnesty International USA, board member of the South Carolina Humanities Council (1987-1989) and the Robert Ivey Ballet (1982-2000), and president of YWCA Charleston (2012-2015), among other activities. In 2017 she was recognized for her extensive service record and advocacy for the Hispanic community and culture by her appointment in 2017 as Honorary Consul of Chile, her native country.

Del Mastro

Mark P. Del Mastro

Dr. Mark P. Del Mastro is former chair of the College of Charleston’s Department of Hispanic Studies (2010-19), and since August 5, 2019 he serves as the Associate Provost for Curriculum and Academic Administration.  In 2017 he founded the Hispanic Studies Advisory Board and worked with members to establish the Hispanic Studies Trujillo Scholarship. On August 1, 2019 he was named inaugural “life member” of the Hispanic Studies Advisory Board for his related contributions.

Esther Ferguson

Esther B. Ferguson

Esther B. Ferguson is a native of Hartsville, SC, and a lifelong philanthropist and community leader who holds six honorary doctorate degrees, to include her most recent in 2016 from the College of Charleston.  Ms. Ferguson was the catalyst behind the decision to donate her and her late husband James Ferguson’s historic properties in Trujillo, Spain to the College of Charleston in 1996.  Over two decades later, these generous gifts serve as the hub of the College of Charleston’s vibrant study abroad programs in Trujillo, Spain, where each semester and summer the College’s students and faculty enjoy rich and unforgettable academic and cultural experiences.


Marcela Rabens

In 2002 R. Marcela Rabens came to Charleston, South Carolina.  Like most immigrants, she arrived with the desire to succeed.  Because her English skills were limited, she started by cleaning houses for a living while learning English. Responding to the lack of news for Spanish-speaking Hispanics in the Lowcountry, and three years after her arrival to the Charleston area, she published the first issue of her Spanish newspaper Universal.  Since 2005 she has been serving the Hispanic community by keeping its members informed about a variety of topics, including but not limited to educational, political, economic, and social issues.  Her newspaper not only serves to keep the Hispanic community informed of current issues, but also helps to bridge the American and Hispanic communities.

She has been recognized by different local organizations, such as the Charleston County School District, for her continuous support highlighting the positive achievements of Hispanic students.  In 2009 she was recognized for her contributions by the Trident Urban League.  Her motto: “Our fate depends, to focus our attention where we want to be.”


Teddy Turner

Mr. Robert Edward Turner IV (“Teddy”) has served in numerous business capacities including promotions manager at Turner Home Entertainment, as well as project manager at Turner Broadcasting System, Inc. After spending two years at CNN‘s Moscow bureau as a cameraman and editor, Mr. Turner went on to develop and produce various programs involved in TBS’s Soviet Union relations, including the Goodwill Games, the international athletic competition event created by Ted Turner to ease tensions during the Cold War through friendly sports competition between nations. 

Between June 1989 and June 1993, he was president and skipper of Challenge America, Ltd., a campaign for the Whitbread “Around the World” sailboat race.  He then went on to spend 10 years developing and running Charleston Boatworks, a premiere yacht repair and yacht brokerage in South Carolina. He also taught high school economics at the Charleston Collegiate School in Charleston, South Carolina.

Mr. Turner has served on the boards of the South Carolina Aquarium, the Children’s Museum of the Lowcountry, the Captain Planet foundation, Special Olympics, St John’s Riverkeeper, Charleston Community Sailing, the Nature Conservancy of Northeast Florida, and the Atlanta chapter of the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation. He was also a member of the Board of Trustees of St. Mary’s College of Maryland.

Currently he is on the board of the Jane Smith Turner Foundation, the board of Ted’s Montana Grill, and the board of the School of Business at the Citadel. He also serves as Chairman of the Board of the South Carolina Maritime Foundation

Mr. Turner earned a BS in Business Administration from The Citadel, The Military College of South Carolina, in 1985, and he currently resides in Charleston, South Carolina, with his wife Blair and his three children.

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