National Hispana Leadership Institute - Celebrating 27 Years of Latina Leadership  

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Latinas Learning to Lead Program

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The Ford Motor Company

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Graduates of the Program

Latinas Learning to Lead Class of 2002


Katiria Adorno attends the University of Massachusetts in Boston, where she is a junior currently majoring in Political Science. Some of her community service activities that she takes part in are running a workshop for Madison Park High School, working in the College of Management at UMass-Boston and being a peer counselor. She is also a member of the Beacon Leadership Project, in which a group of students are selected and given the opportunity to implement a project in the community. Her project title is “Understanding Youth and Their Feelings About College."



Vanessa Alvarado is a senior attending Texas A&M University, originally from Hidalgo, Texas. Her major is Sociology. Vanessa was selected because of her extensive community service record, which includes volunteering at the free clinic Health For All located in Bryan, Texas where she translates for Spanish-speaking patients; Alternative Spring Break, where she volunteered at the Cherokee Nation’s Head Start Program in Tahlequah, Oklahoma; and serving as a lector and eucharistic minister at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in College Station, Texas.



Melanie Acuña, originally from New Jersey, is attending Regis College in Massachusetts. She is a junior majoring in Communications. She has an extensive community service record, which includes tutoring and mentoring young children in grammar school and mentoring high-school students to encourage them to attend college. She is also the President of the Resident Hall Association at Regis College, Secretary of the Student Government Association and a member of the Dean of Student’s Advisory Board.



Leticia Caudillo attends Iowa State University and is a junior majoring in both Marketing and International Business. Her community service activities include mentoring incoming freshmen at ISU, volunteering at the First Annual Latino Festival in Des Moines, Iowa and volunteering to make dinners at the Ronald McDonald House. She is also the Treasurer of the Sigma Lambda Gamma Sorority and assists Mexican immigrants learn English.



Paula DeAnda, from Chicago, Illinois, attends the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign where she is currently a sophomore majoring in Speech Communication and Mathematics. Paula is involved in her community, tutoring students in math and serving as an advocate against smoking for Teens Against Tobacco Usage. She educates students in her community on the negative effects of smoking on health and moral values.



Alondra Espejel, who lives in Minnesota, attends the University of Minnesota and is a junior majoring in Human Resources and Industrial Relations. She was selected because of her community service record, which includes organizing and leading cultural programs at the University of Minnesota through her general membership with the La Raza Student Cultural Center and she is also the Intercambio Coordinator on the Center’s Board of Directors. Paula also has helped to revive the organization Latinas Unidas Avanzando (LUNA), tutors young children in St. Paul and works with the Oficina Legal as a volunteer Legal Advisor.



Alma Espinosa, who lives in French Camp, California, will be attending California State University, Sacramento, majoring in International Business. Alma is involved in her community, tutoring students in ESL classes and serving as a leader for Catholic teens. She encourages teenager of her own age in her community to talk of their life experiences and to learn from them.


Ashley Falcón is a senior from Miami, Florida, attending Duke University in North Carolina where she is majoring in Psychology. As President of Mi Gente, the Latin Student Organization at Duke, she collaborates with campus organizations, faculty and administration to organize educational, cultural, social and political events that raise awareness of issues in the Latin community. As a certified peer health educator, Ashley also sits on the Women’s Issues Task Force and volunteers her time to student health services, health fairs and facilitating health forums at Duke University.



Marivel Gomez, of Stockton, California is a Sociology major at California State University, Sacramento. Marivel is currently a junior and is very active in her community. Marivel interned in North Carolina and volunteered over 400 community service hours advocating and increasing access to quality health care services for farm workers. Upon her return to San Joaquin County in California, she replicated and implemented a wonderful comprehensive health outreach program for farm workers via Concilio’s Salud Primero.



Janett Hermosillo is currently attending the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA) and is a junior majoring in International Development Studies and Spanish. She was selected because of her community service record, which includes Youthvote 2000, being a member of the Chi Omega Philanthropy Committee and serving as a Residential Advisor as part of the MSUB Upward Bound Program. Janett also mentors Latino students at South Gate Middle School in Los Angeles and is part of LASA Unity Through Community and was the Committee Chair of the Salvadorian Earthquake Relief Drive.



Milka Marcelo from New York, is presently a junior at Columbia University seeking a Bachelor’s Degree in Sociology. Milka was selected because of her community service record, which includes working with Broome County Meals on Wheels and the Boys and Girls Club while she was a student at Binghamton University. She hopes to volunteer with Columbia’s Double Discovery Center, which provides educational programs and services for local inner city students.



Koreeña Montoya is a senior attending the University of Northern Colorado, majoring in both Mathematics and Mexican-American Studies. Koreeña is very active in her community. She mentors and tutors young students, advises undergraduate students, facilitates a self-esteem workshop at a juvenile detention facility and serves as an Upward Bound Tutor/Counselor. Koreeña also directs the Lambda Theta Nu Sorority, Inc. Kappa Chapter’s Latina Youth Leadership Conference, a non-traditional Latina sorority to which she belongs.



Angélica Padrón is currently attending the University of Texas at San Antonio and is a senior majoring in Communications. She has an extensive community service record, which includes the San Antonio Housing Authority, Habitat for Humanity, Project Learn-to-Read, YMCA Camp Flaming Arrow and City Year San Antonio. Angélica is also a Producer and Co-Host of “Culturas” of KENS Radio AM 1160. She hosts cultural shows to expand the mindset of the San Antonio community.



Janey Pearl, who resides in Mesa, Arizona, is currently a senior attending Arizona State University. She is majoring in Organizational Studies and is receiving a certificate in Non-Profit Management. Janey was selected because of her community service, which is a result of her passion for changing lives and educating others about diversity, equality and respect. She is President of ASU’s Allies in Action, Chairs the Tunnel of Oppression Planning Committee and has been a counselor of Camp Anytown for five years. She is also involved with Axe Capoeira Association of Arizona and ASU’s community service program, recently assisting with the planning of the Cesar E. Chavez Day of Service.



Elisa Perez is a sophomore, double majoring in Spanish and Government, at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. She is originally from Los Angeles, California. Elisa is a member of Alpha Phi Omega, the only recognized service fraternity at Georgetown University. Elisa participates in blood drives, helps at rehabilitation centers, women shelters, convalescent homes, and children centers. She also helps to build houses and paint and fix old ones in need of repair. Elisa is also an active member of MEchA, a group that promotes the Chicano community.



Gabriela Rico is a senior attending Stanford University in California majoring in Political Science. Gabriela has been very active in her community for many years. She has served five years as a Promotora Comunitaria, is the former Co-Chair of MEChA (Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano de Aztlan) of Stanford and interns with the California Rural Legal Assistance, Inc. She recently completed an internship at the National Council of La Raza in Washington, D.C. as part of the university’s Stanford in Washington Internship Program.



Tisha Rivera is currently a senior attending Central Washington University majoring in Psychology. She was selected because of her community service record, which includes peer tutoring for Academic Services at CWU, peer mentoring as a teacher’s assistant, peer educator for Teen Counsel of Planned Parenthood and as a peer helper for Teen Links phone crisis line.



Georgina Rubal is a native of Arizona who attends the University of Arizona in Tucson. She is currently a junior and is majoring in Nutritional Science, Pre-Pharmacy. She is very active in her community and tutors at Project Yes, volunteers at Casa de los Niños and local nursing homes. Georgina also volunteers at the Boys and Girls Club, is a member of the Kappa Delta Chi Community Service Fraternity and serves as a mentor for young girls at Utterback Middle School.



Carolina Saenz is a junior attending the George Washington University located in Washington, D.C. and is pursuing a Bachelor’s Degree in International Affairs and Latin American Studies. She was selected because of her community service record, which includes volunteering at St. Anne’s Home for Abused Children, missionary trips to Banica, Dominican Republic to build homes and latrines for the poor and any volunteer efforts the Embassy of Nicaragua might need. She is also involved in the Neighbor’s Project, where she does various volunteer work throughout Washington, D.C. such as tutoring and feeding the homeless.



Jessica Sanchez is a junior majoring in Computer Science at the University of Denver. She is very active in her community and is currently the President of the Undergraduate Women’s Council, member of the University of Denver Women’s Conference Planning Committee, Secretary of the DU Young Democrats and Chair of the DU Student Conduct Review Board. Jessica is also an INROADS Intern and volunteers at Gathering Place, a homeless women’s shelter.