National Hispana Leadership Institute - Celebrating 27 Years of Latina Leadership  

LLL Class of 2009 with NHLI President Cristina Lopez

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 2010

Ana Aguayo  

Springdale, AR
A first generation college student, Ana Claudia Aguayo is a junior at the University of Arkansas completing a double major in Journalism/International Relations and minor in International Business. Born in Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico, and raised in Springdale, Arkansas, Ana is co-founder of Spanish News, the first Spanish-language news program for UATV. She has held leadership positions in the League of United Latin American Citizens while also volunteering for the Hispanic Women’s Organization, Peace at Home Shelter, and the Susan G. Komen Foundation. Her greatest aspiration is to become an international law attorney and help bridge the broken immigration system.

Miriam Armijo  

Dallas, TX
Miriam Armijo is an Economics student at Texas Christian University. She is the community service chair woman for her sorority and personally enjoys helping out the community through agencies such as the Boys & Girls Club of Greater Fort Worth, Sister-to-Sister Summit, and Hispanic Women's Network. She is also a Tutor for the AVID program where she helps students advance their education and realize the importance of a college degree. In her free time she enjoys travelling and spending time with her family.

Diandra Calderin  

Miami, FL
Diandra E. Calderin holds an Associates of Arts in Psychology from The Honors College at Miami Dade College and will attend Florida State University in Fall 2010 to double major in Psychology and Criminology, with special interest in forensic psychology. As Vice President of Competition in Phi Beta Lambda (PBL) business fraternity, she has placed 1st in the 2009 State Competitions and 4th in the 2010 National Competitions. Diandra has also been active in the community as an art instructor and tutor and through PBL, promoting entrepreneurship among the younger generation.

Gabrielle Carbone  

Tobyhanna, PA
Gabrielle Carbone is a sophomore at King’s College and an Elementary and Special Education major. In addition to being President of the King’s College Book Club, she has dedicated herself to performing different services throughout the city of Wilkes Barre that include teaching ESL classes, tutoring elementary students, and facilitating a program for middle school students. Gabrielle is also very involved in different service trips that take place all over the country. She wants to be an advocate for children, particularly Latino children

Columba Contrera  

Santa Ana, CA
Columba Contreras holds an Associates of Arts degree from Santa Ana Community College and will transfer to the University of California Santa Barbara to major in Business Economics. She is planning to ultimately apply for graduate school and become a Corporate Economics Advisor. While being one of the main contributors of income for her family, Columba has always made sure to give back to her community. For the past two years, she has been a volunteer at Willard Intermediate, mentoring and tutoring math to 6th and 7th graders.

Maria Corona  

Bellevue, WA 
A sophomore at Western Washington University Bellingham, Maria Corona intends to double major in Law, Diversity, and Justice Concentration and in Spanish with a minor in Higher Education. She founded and is currently president of the Student Coalition for Immigrant Rights, an Associated Student Social Issue Club that brings attention to the struggles of U.S. immigrants with the goal of increasing access to higher education and community involvement.  She is also active in other campus groups including Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano de Aztlan (M.E.Ch.A), the Latino Team Action, and the Teaching and Learning Academy. She plans to become an immigration lawyer in the future.

Jessica Fuentes  

Hayward, CA
Jessica Fuentes is a second year Social Welfare student at University of California Berkeley with a minor in Public Policy. Coming from an immigrant background has motivated Jessica to become an activist for the undocumented immigrant student community. As Secretary and member of Logistics & Planning Committee of the student-led Rising Immigrant Scholars through Education (RISE), she has brought awareness to and supported the needs of undocumented students seeking higher education through educational workshops. She has also been a mentor and tutor to middle school students in the community and social media intern for the Diabetes Hands Foundation.

Cruz Olivia Gallegos  

Parma, ID
A student at the University of Idaho, Cruz Olivia Gallegos is currently working on a double major in Justice Studies and Spanish, and a double minor in Sociology and Political Science. She enjoys traveling and will be studying abroad in Spain and Australia this coming year. Cruz spends a lot of her time volunteering and working for the improvement of her community through Migrant Seasonal Head Start, Lambda Theta Alpha Latin Sorority, and Organizacion de Estudiantes Latino Americanos (OELA). She strives to be a motivating role model for others in her community.

Karla Gomez  

Napa, CA
Karla Gomez is currently finishing her second year of general education and major pre-requisites at the Napa Valley Junior College and will transfer to a California State University to pursue a major in Political Science and a minor in Art. Dedicated to immigrant rights and comprehensive reform, she is currently a youth organizer for the Reform Immigration for America campaign and was a youth founder of the first community based college and career center in Napa, CA. Karla has also volunteered to work with children through Big Brothers, Big Sisters and Take A Break and is a member of the Napa County Hispanic Network and Phi Theta Kappa Boards. One day, she will pursue a law or a maste'rs degree

Alexis Ariana Hermosillo  

El Mirage, AZ
Alexis Ariana Hermosillo attends Arizona State University where she is majoring in Interdisciplinary Arts & Performance, with a minor in Spanish. Alexis is the President of the Hispanic Honor Society and Vice President of the Body & Self-Esteem club on campus. Through these groups, she volunteers and serves her community by hosting charity drives for a children's home in Mexico, feeding families at the Ronald McDonald House in Phoenix, and providing events for her peers. In her spare time, she enjoys dancing with Fiesta Mexican Dance Company, spending time with her family, playing violin, and modeling.

Marisa Mendoza  

Ontario, CA
A rising junior at Scripps College, Marisa Mendoza is pursuing a History major and Hispanic Studies minor. She is the former secretary and current Treasurer of Cafe con Leche, a student run organization that fosters a supportive community among the Latinas on campus. She currently tutors and mentors high schools in the surrounding area and is also a Chicano Latino Sponsor for incoming Latina freshmen to Scripps. After graduating in May 2012, she plans to dedicate her time to a career in education, and especially focus on history.

Anna Victoria Muñoz  

Mission, TX
Anna Victoria Muñoz is the first of her migrant family to graduate from high school and enroll in a university. She is currently a junior in the University of Texas Pan American, where she is pursuing a major in Mexican American Studies and a Spanish minor. She hopes to continue her education in San Jose University State as a student of Chicano Studies with an emphasis in education. At this time, she is a part of the Cosecha Voices project which advocates for and encourages migrant students to get an education. Her favorite pastime is having cookouts and going to the beach with her family and closest friends.

Sandra Nanita  

Fair Lawn, NJ
Sandra Nanita is currently studying Management and Latin American Studies at Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey. Passionate about women empowerment and Latino unity, she has held multiple leadership positions including Treasurer, Community Service Chair and Public Relations Chair for organizations such as the Latin American Student Organization. She has also volunteered in different parts of the world from New Jersey to New Orleans, LA to Cusco, Peru. She aspires to manage a not-for-profit in the near future and/or work in government, as long as making a difference is in the agenda.

Candis Nikolic  

Plano, IL
Candis Nikolic will graduate from Northern Illinois University with a Bachelor's of Science in Family, Consumer, and Nutrition Sciences with an emphasis on Family Social Services in May 2011. She will also graduate with a minor in Women's Studies. She aspires to receive her doctoral degree and conduct research on the impact of immigration status on the educational attainment rates of Latinos in the U.S. and the acts of recidivism by criminal offenders. Her most current project, the Latino Parent University Program, works with the Latino parents and families of high school freshmen on how to successfully complete the college process.

Tessa Otero  

Phoenix, AZ
Tessa Otero is a first year Honors student at Loras College in Dubuque, Iowa and will major in Political Science and Media Studies with two minors in Spanish and International Studies. She is from Phoenix, Arizona and continues to be an active alumna in Aguila Youth Leadership, a program that prepares Latino/as for college. She also serves as a Freshman Senator in the Student Senate on-campus and is a reporter for her college's TV news station, LCTV13.  She aspires to one day be a politician and bring change to her community.

Carolina Andrea Palacios  

Miami, FL
Carolina Andrea Palacios recently obtained an Associates of Arts from Miami Dade Honors College, graduating with highest honors. She is pursuing a degree in Political Science and Business Administration at Florida State University in the fall with hopes of one day becoming a lawyer and obtaining an MBA. She was Vice President of Fundraising of her college chapter of the national business organization, Phi Beta Lambda, winning various awards in state and national competitions and promoting entrepreneurship among youth through social networking sites. She also volunteers for the Marketing Campaign for Arts and Letters.

Sara Pena  

Fort Collins, CO
Sara Peña is currently pursuing a major in Psychology and a double minor in English and Sociology at the University of Northern Colorado. She is a passionate individual committed to community and school involvement in her college town of Greeley, Colorado. She currently volunteers for Mentors and Friends, a non-profit organization that aims to build healthy relationships and provide positive role models for the youth of Weld County. Sara’s own role models are her mother, father, and Nino, and without them, she would not be where she is today.

Christina Perez-Camarillo  

Woodburn, OR
A first-year pre-nursing student at Linfield College, Christina Perez-Camarillo was a successful student of the International Baccalaureate Language Arts program in high school. Currently, she helps support the Latino community through Linfield College Latinos Adelante, which fundraises in order to educate others about Latino culture. During her college career, Christina has also participated and refereed for intramural soccer and softball as well as working for the U.S. Census Bureau as an enumerator who informs community members of the importance of being counted.

Stephanie Nicole Rivera  

Elizabeth, NJ
The first person in her family to attend college, Stephanie Nicole Rivera is currently a 2nd year Sociology major at the University of Chicago. She fulfills her passions through extracurricular activities while still excelling as a student. As the Financial Director of the Puerto Rican Student Association (PRSA), a member of the selective Chicago Careers in Business (CCIB) program, and a mentor through Women & Youth Supporting Each Other (WYSE), she is busy harboring the skills and knowledge to help finance and educate underprivileged minority youth. Her home is Elizabeth, New Jersey.

Jasmine Rosa  

Port Charlotte, FL
Jasmine Rosa is currently a senior majoring in Business Administration with a minor in Non-Profit Management at the University of Central Florida. She has volunteered with numerous community organizations including The American Cancer Society and the Susan G Komen Foundation, and is also very active on campus, currently serving as president of her multicultural sorority, Sigma Lambda Gamma. Her career goal is to be executive director of a non-profit organization committed to helping disadvantaged inner city youth become successful through college/career preparation and an introduction to the performing arts.

Mirella Moreno Saldana  

Falls Church, VA
Born and raised in Lima, Peru until the age of ten, Mirella Saldaña-Moreno is a first year Global Affairs and Spanish student at George Mason University.  She is President of United for Social Justice, a student group that provides leadership workshop for low-income youth. She is also a tutor and mentor to middle and high school students in the Early Identification Program (EIP) and served as a mentor in the Heritage Language Literacy Club at Bailey’s Elementary. Her ultimate goal is to be in a profession that encourages learning and empowerment among youth, such as being a school principal.

Lorena Tule  

Dallas, TX
Lorena Tule is a third-year Government major at the University of Texas at Austin with a minor in Hispanic Studies. Committed to the immigrant community, she founded Cambiando Tu Futuro, an organization dedicated to facilitating the college admission process for undocumented and first generation students. A first generation college student, Lorena also serves as the Vice President for Longhorn LULAC Council #4799, as a legislative aide for the LULAC Trust Coalition, and as a affidavit department assistant, interpreter, and legal assistant in the Law Office of Domingo Garcia.