National Hispana Leadership Institute - Celebrating 27 Years of Latina Leadership  

Latinas Learning to Lead Program

Sponsored by:


The Ford Motor Company

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Graduates of the Program

Latinas Learning to Lead Class of 2001

Crystal Alba attends the University of North Texas where she is a Business/Finance major. In her community she volunteers at the Community Center and mentors elementary school children. She helps incoming minority students adjust to campus life in the University’s Freshman Outreach program.

Stephanie Castro of Garyville, Louisiana, is currently studying Chemical Engineering at Louisiana State University. She organized a food drive for Second Harvest Food Bank and serves as an officer in the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers. She also volunteers at the University Terrace Grammar School.

Jocelyn Cortez is an English major at the University of Nevada. She is the president and active contributor for the Latino Youth Leadership Conference and Alumni in Las Vegas.

Aurora Dominguez has volunteered for many events in her community of Laredo, Texas. She has participated in health fairs, hazardous waste collection days, the Pediatric Night Clinic, Habitat for Humanity as well as tutoring high school students in the evenings. While attending Texas A&M International University, she is involved in the Student Government Association, the Environmental Protection Society, the Health Professions Society and the History Club. She is seeking a degree in Biology.

Raquel Fernandez volunteers at the Child Life Program at the UCI Medical Center. She is a Biology major at the University of California at Irvine and currently is working on an ongoing research project with Dr. Arthur Evans. Her other volunteer activities include work with Chicanos for Creative Medicine and the California Alliance for Minority Participation (CAMP).

Lisa Marie Gomez is studying Criminology at the University of New Mexico. Through the Corazones Unidas program, this Santa Fe resident works with children and families affected and infected with HIV/AIDS. She also volunteers her time at the St. ElizabethÍs Homeless Shelter, the Santa Fe Rape Crisis Center - Project G.L.Y.P.H., St. VincentÍs Hospital and the La Residencia Nursing Home.

Mabel Mariela Gudiel has overcome many obstacles to achieve her dream of studying in the United States. She is a Mechanical Engineering major at the University of California at Berkeley. She has led several seminars in the ñExpand Your Horizonsî conference. The conference focuses its efforts to expose young girls to math and science.

Brenda Hernandez has worked with the Eloy Junior High School Tutoring Project in Arizona, the Manzanita Hall Food and Clothing Drive, and the annual Manzanita Trick or Treat Project. She is studying Computer Engineering at Arizona State University where she also volunteers in the UniversityÍs Career Fair.

Perla Lucero has shown her commitment to the Hispanic community through her participation in MEChA (Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano de Aztlan) at the University of Wyoming where she is studying Business Administration. As the co-chair, she helps coordinate and organize fundraisers, speakers and community events that in turn benefit, educate and entertain the community. She is also active in the UniversityÍs Office of Multicultural Affairs where she helps in event planning and minority recruitment.

Veronica Magaøa is studying Information Systems at the University of Washington in Seattle. An Upward Bound Alumni, she has volunteered at the Washington State Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and Cancer Lifeline. She also tutors under the auspices of the Pipeline program.

Natalia Ornelas has worked collaboratively with multicultural student organizations and is a prime organizer of the 7th Annual La Mujer Latina Conference in Madison, Wisconsin. She is a Communications major at the University of Wisconsin.

Anilda Peøa volunteers at the Hasbro ChildrenÍs Hospital in Providence, Rhode Island. She participates in local health fairs with the National Association of Hispanic Nurses. A nursing major at the University of Rhode Island, she is conducting research on preoperative anxiety in children.

Ruth Ramos is the Vice President of the Student Government Association at Cleveland State University where she is a Psychology/Spanish major. She is also a member of the Board of Trustees, and Vice President of the Psi Chi fraternity. Ruth assists with a music program at an inner city multicultural church and has helped in the ñCoats for Kidsî program. Her other volunteer activities include raising awareness of the different types of cancer to the Cleveland State community and volunteering at St. John West Shore Hospital.

Maritza Rodriguez plays an active role in her community and school organizations. She has helped organize voter registration drives and student leadership symposiums. She volunteered at the 2000 Democratic National Convention and worked on public policy issues at the Committee for Hispanic Children and Families in New York City. She is studying Comparative Literature at Rutgers State University in New Jersey.

Yaneris Rosa is a Tradition Fellow at Cornell University where she is studying Policy Analysis Management. She is the president of Quisqueya (Cornell University Dominican Students Association) and the Association for Students of Color. She also serves as a Spanish interpreter for the Ithaca communityÍs Language Expansion Program.

Pamela Maria Rovello is a member of the Phi Theta Kappa honor society at the College of DuPage in Illinois. She is studying Political Science. A former Miss Ecuador of Chicago, she is one of the organizers of the 2001 contest. Pamela has volunteered at the Westtown Spanish Center, was a member of ñA Better Youî program and contributed to Children International.


Juanita Salas is pursuing a degree in Liberal Studies at San Diego State University in California. She is the vice president of the San Diego State Association of Chicana Activists. She is a representative and president pro tempore of the Associated Students College of Education as well as works on their Facilities Board and Rules Committee. Juanita has done volunteer work at the Casa de La Mujer and the Orfanatorio La Gloria in Tijuana, Mexico.

Norma Trejo studies Government and Politics at the University of Maryland at College Park. Her political activism is evident in her work with Amnesty International, the Young Democrats and the Terry Lierman Congressional Campaign. She is the founder of the nonprofit organization Shining Star Project that is designed to motivate, mentor, tutor and monitor at risk students. Her other volunteer activities include work at the American Cancer Society, the Randolph Hills Nursing Home, Read Across America Day and the Latin Student Union.

Vanessa Villacorta is a pre-med student at the University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana campus. Her volunteer efforts reflect her interest in the medical field. At the university, she is the President of the Health Oriented Latino Association (HOLA). She is the coordinator of the ESCUCHA Student Network that recruits Hispanics to pursue medical careers. Vanessa also volunteers in the emergency room at the Gottlieb Memorial Hospital.

Maricela Villalpando is pursuing her bachelorÍs of fine arts in Multimedia Studies at the University of Colorado in Denver. She volunteers at DenverÍs Annual Hispanic Salute and has given time to distribution centers in Denver that provide food for the community.