Ross School - Senior Project 2008-09

Student: Kenneth Pinillos

Mentor: Carrie Clark

Title: Our Presence Makes A Difference


My project is about recognizing the accomplishments of Latinos and changing the perception of the stereotypical Latino. I chose my project because I was brought up with a family who holds their beliefs and their culture close to them, and believes that we as Latinos should be role models and help enhance the community around us. I gained knowledge on how to interview people, learned how to publish a book, and I now understand that there is more than one class of an ethnic group.


Immigration Summary


Interviews (Esperanza, Arturo, Carlos, Elsy, Gladys, Isabel, Teresa)

Photos (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7)


I started my presentation on my ideas for senior project. I talked about my first idea, which was global warming. I changed the idea of global warming because I didnÕt have a pre-requisite class for film and could not make film. So I choose Latinos because my mom told me to find a topic that was personal to me. At first I choose to focus on Latinos who can vote in my community for the election, but my idea was to late for election registration and I choose to perceive Latinos in a different light then how they are perceived on the East End. Then I talked about why I did this project. The reason I did this project was because both my parents are Colombian and have told me from a young age that your ethnicity is something you should be proud of and hold on to dearly. Also from a young age I didnÕt care much about my Latino ethnicity but now that I have traveled to Colombia several times I noticed that your ethnicity is something you should be proud of and treasure. Also I took French for a couple of years and am taking Chinese at the moment so I know that being exposed to different cultures has enriched my life. Then I gave an elaborate description of my project and what I was trying to convey. My book profiled the stories of Latinos who are considered successful and successfully integrate themselves in this country economically, professionally, and socially. My project is to go past the stereotypes of Latinos on the East End and really give people in inside look to the Latino group you donÕt see everyday. The HamptonÕs is considered a resort place in the summer but the whole year in the HamptonÕs is full of Latinos who have been immigrating to Long Island during the last decade. Their presence has created a negative image about the Latino community such as they are all illegal, uneducated, and harmful to society. My next slide was on the process of my book and the end product. Then the next couple of slides were photos of the inside of my book and my interview questions. The purpose of my interview was to find their views on how Latinos can become successful in todayÕs world. I gained this information by focusing on their accomplishments how they did it and how they see themselves. I also focused on how they see themselves in relevance to Latino community. First I had to research immigration history through, which I was able to recognize the importance of immigration since immigrants built the U.S. After I acquired this information I focused on the fairly recent immigration of Latinos. After this part was done. Mrs. Booth gave me websites that taught people how to conduct interviews. Without out these articles I would not have been able to come up with appropriate questions for my interview After I was done drafting the questions I had to research the people I wanted to interview and that fit my criteria. My criteria was to find successful Latinos in different professions so that I could get different perspectives on becoming successful in the Latino community. Luckily Mrs. Sepulveda was able to assist me and provide me with contacts. After I was done with my Interviews I had to transcribe my interviews and this was the most annoying process of my project. Transcribing is making a full written or typewritten copy of something and in my case I transcribed tapes.  After many drafts I now have 10 copies of my book. My book has a page on why I choose this project, immigration history in the U.S., Immigration on Latinos in the U.S. and Essay on the interviewees. If you have time you can check my book upstairs in the Library. The next slide was on my interview process. My interviews were a big challenge in the beginning but I have to say that this was a great learning experience. While going to interview people I had to be prepared with all my questions. I had to be on time, which was pretty hard considering IÕve always been late to every class if you ask my teachers. By doing interviews with different people I learned that appearance is key in making a first impression. While doing interviews I would ask follow-up questions because Mrs. Booth and many sites advised me that follow-up questions lead to examples, which was key in my essays and interviewing. Once I was done with my interviews I sent thank you cards and will send my book to my interviewees as well. Then I talked about my goals for my project. At first I had no goal of becoming a better writer but Mrs. Booth my outside consultant said there was not a lot of detailed books about Latinos. So my goal was to make a book. Another goal was to become a successful writer.  I wanted my book to be about personal experiences of successful Latinos. So I interviewed many people. At first my goal was to interview 10 subjects but I only got 7 interviewees. While doing interviews I wanted to achieve how to conduct interview. I also wanted to communicate a positive message of ethnicity and learn about the history of immigration. The last goal I wanted to accomplish was to talk in front of an audience like I am doing today. The next slide was on the problems and challenges I had to overcome. As I said earlier I was not the greatest writer. So writing was a big challenge especially with revising one paper 5 times just to make it perfect. I kept writing everyday just to become a successful writer. Another challenge I had was calling my interviewees and getting appointments because some of my interviewees lived in Patchogue but luckily my mother would make time for me to drive me to these places. Also I had to be persistent to get in contact with my interviewees. Transcribing was a big challenge because I would have to rewind the tapes many times just to get am important phrase or important fact that I needed for my essays. I couldnÕt come up with any other ways to transcribe faster so I just had to be patient and listen to every word. As I said earlier the idea of my Senior Project was 2 weeks late so I had to play catch-up with all the other seniors which meant I would stay home on weekends and miss school a couple of days to get interviews. At the end of my project I had to print my book but my SIM card for my camera was not showing the pictures on my computer so I could not get the final photos on blurb. Blurb is a site that shows you the layout for your book and prints it.  I pretty much prayed for a day or 2 that the SIM card would work another day.  It ended up not working so I had to go back to some of the interviewees and get pictures. The slide on challenges then lead me to the slide of how I achieved my goals. During my whole senior project I gained the ability to print a book-using blurb but I would advise future seniors not to use blurb because I did not get the layout I wanted for my book, the program was very slow, and the program kept shutting off at random times. By interviewing I gained the confidence to talk to people I had never met. With this new confidence every interview became easier and for the last interview I didnÕt bring the questions and memorized them by heart. The first interview took around 2 hours and the last interview was 45 minutes and I gained about the same information. I gained the ability to transcribe and by writing about 40-to 50 drafts for all my papers. I gained a better ability to write essays.  Two big components to succeed for senior project would be Organization and Time management. To my surprise these 2 components I did not posses. Mrs. Clark my mentor would set up deadlines every meeting, which helped my organizational skills. At one point since I was running out of time, I had to leave drafts of essays in my mailbox and Mrs. Clark would correct them and send them back. In my Senior Project I had to be persistent with my interviewees so that I could set up a time. I gained a skill of communicating with others by doing this.  Also by the nagging of my mother I gained the skill of figuring out the proper attire I had to wear for the different interviewees. I learned that you gain respect by the way you look and interact with others. Research was a big skill I gained. Mrs. Clark told me to understand immigration in general and immigration to Latinos so that I could understand the historical context of immigration. My final slide was how this project has affected me with future decisions. With my book I hope to demonstrate that education is really important for the betterment of an individual in any society. For the purpose of my project the Latinos who have been willing to work hard, pursue education, and obtain proficiency in the English language have proofed that they can function productively at any level in this society. This project has changed me in seeing that there are many ways of helping your community. But at the moment I have not made a clear choice in what field I will become a professional in because there is so many ways of helping people in todayÕs society you just have to take every opportunity that comes your way. I am also more appreciative of different cultures and take notice the pros of all ethnic groups. Throughout my interviews with the various successful Latinos One belief theyÕve all expressed was that being bilingual helps in todayÕs world. At the moment I am studying Chinese and will be taking a gap-year to do half a year in China. At first I was kind of hesitant about this idea but now that I did this project it made me realize that the more cultural diversities IÕm exposed to the more I can enrich my life and my options for career path in the future. Finally at the end of this project I realized that the responsibility of change and betterment of our community lies within ourselves by working for my own future I will automatically be benefiting the Latino community to which I belong.

Works Cited

Cala, Carlos. Our Presence Makes a Difference. Kenneth Pinillos. 6 Dec. 2008.

Alverenga,Elsy. Our Presence Makes a Difference. Kenneth Pinillos. 11 Dec. 2008.

Fry, Richard. "Latinos Account for Half of U.S. Population Grown Since 2000." Pew Research Center Publications. 23 Oct. 2008: 1.

Goleas, Janet. "Illuminating Latin American Art." The East Hampton Star. 30 Sept. 2008: 1.

Hicks, Jonathan P. "Candidates Use Conference to Court the Hispanic Vote." The New York Times. 23 Mar. 1998: 1-2.

"immigration." American History. 2008. ABC-CLIO. Viewed 17 Dec. 2008 <>.

Katz, Carissa. Latinos Transform the Hamptons. June 2003. Viewed 12 Nov. 2008. <

Leon, Esperanza. Our Presence Makes a Difference. Kenneth Pinillos. 23 Nov. 2008.

Maestre, Teresa. Our Presence Makes a Difference. Kenneth Pinillos. 9 Dec. 2008.

Marcus, Dave. "Study: Immigrants add $10.6 billion a year to LI economy ." The New York Times. 19 Oct. 2008: 1-2.

Mead, Julia C. "In Island's Wealthiest Area, Backlash Against the Poorest." The New York Times. 23 Sept. 2003: 1-5.

Semple, Kirk. "A Somali Influx Unsettles Latino Meatpackers ." The New York Times. 16 Oct. 2008: 1-5.

Sepulveda, Isabel. Our Presence Makes a Difference. Kenneth Pinillos. 20 Nov. 2008.

Serrano, Gladys. Our Presence Makes a Difference. Kenneth Pinillos. 11 Dec. 2008

Spiegel, Meryl. "Hispanic Population Making Inroads on the South Fork." The New York Time. 25 Feb. 1996: 1-4.

Strugatch, Warren. "L.I. @ Work; The Changing Face of the Island's Labor Force The New York Times. 14 Nov. 2004: 1-2.

Community Member (Details)

Sally Booth- Anthropologist