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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Latinas Learning to Lead
Class of 2012

Brenda Monique Aguilar  

Brenda Monique Aguilar was born in Los Angeles, California on December 5, 1988. She is currently studying Public Health at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Community service is a passion of hers. When not at school, work, sorority events, or doing service, she enjoys spending time with her family and friends. Aguilar loves listening to music or watching a movie, especially those that are cultural and social. She is passionate about learning more about the issues that need advocates.

JoAnn Brea  

JoAnn Brea is currently a rising junior at The College of New Jersey. She is majoring in Criminology and double minoring in Women and Gender Studies and Philosophy with a concentration in Law and Ethics. She is a very passionate individual which she is convinced stems from her Dominican background because she believes that Latinos are very affectionate people. Brea tutors at a prison and volunteers at a youth probation house. She is also an active member of Voices for Planned Parenthood (VOX) at TCNJ. She is on the salsa team and a member of Union Latina.

Nikole Cabrera  

Nikole Cabrera has had a love affair with art since childhood. When she learned exactly what architecture entailed, she knew she had found her dharma. Cabrera is currently attending The Honors College at Miami Dade and hopes to transfer into an upper division university in New York to continue her education. Through her talent, she aspires to contribute to the world affected by poverty and social injustice. Her greatest ambition is to establish a philanthropic firm focused on building homes and schools for families and communities in need, both in the United States and developing countries.

Pamela Capos-Palma  

Pamela Campos-Palma, a sophomore at Portland State University, was born and raised in Boston, MA. She is bilingual and has lived in Tegucigalpa, Honduras. After high school, she joined the U.S. Air Force. She has traveled to Europe, Kyrgyzstan, Iraq, and Afghanistan. After her Active Duty tour, she reenlisted in the Reserves and moved from Boston to Portland, OR.  She is majoring in International Relations (Middle East), minoring in Arabic. She plans on attaining her Masters in Intelligence Studies/Conflict Resolution. She aspires to work for a federal intelligence agency. Campos-Palma enjoys missionary work, art, and is an avid soccer player.

Janae Castellanos  

Janae Castellanos is a second year student at Santa Monica College. She is a Global Studies major minoring in Spanish Community and Culture or Nonprofits. She is a musician at heart and enjoys song-writing, singing and playing guitar. Above all, her ultimate passion is being an active advocate for a better society. She is committed to this dream through her dedication in achieving a Master’s degree and starting a minority-based nonprofit dedicated to helping transform inner-city youth. Children are her passion and Castellanos believes that it is in them that we can see our future.

 Adriana Darris  

Adriana Darris is passionate about the success of youth. She has been in leadership positions since she was a Daisy Girl Scout and her commitment to the community has been evident in her leadership. She received the Presidential Volunteer Service Award in 2011 for more than 225 hours of community service and has worked hands on to increase student relations, student confidence and success in school. Now a freshman at Bowling Green State University, she is majoring in Pre-Med with a minor in Spanish. She is involved with various on-campus organizations including Latino Student Union, Cross Cultural Connections and Student Recruitment Team.

Cynthia Florentino  

Cynthia Florentino is a sophomore at the University of Central Florida where is majoring in Political Science with a minor in Urban and Regional Planning. On campus, she is involved with the Student Government Association and the Multicultural Student Center. She actively promotes civic engagement among young adults due to her passion in public policy. She is captivated by the areas of international development and urban politics. Her hobbies include reading and keeping up with current events.



Emily Gonzales  

Emily Gonzales is a rising senior at Brown University, concentrating in Education Studies in the Human Development track, from New York City. This past year, Emily was involved in Brown’s Minority Peer Counselor Program as Co-Coordinator, a counseling program for all incoming first-years with a special focus on discussions and resources regarding issues of identity. She has served as Chair of the Brown Federation of Puerto Students Group, Publicity Chair for El Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano de Aztlán, and will serve as Latino Student Initiative Programmer this upcoming year. Apart from working at Brown's Writing Center, she also mentors/teaches local elementary school students visual arts classes through the Brown Arts Mentoring Program, where she is a member of its Curriculum Development Committee. A first generation college student upon graduation, she hopes to continue to working towards empowering youth through education.



Rosalyn Jimenez  

Rosalyn Jimenez will be attending the University of Las Vegas, NV in order to continue her studies as a Communications major. Her passion has always been directed towards helping others, especially children and youth. It is important to her to work towards building and shaping a better community where enriching leadership programs, educational resources, and civic engagement opportunities are readily available. She enjoys spending her time motivating and encouraging others to harness their skills and talents towards achieving personal and professional goals in order to pave a path towards a successful future.


Angelica Samantha Lopez  

Angelica Samantha Lopez is a 21 year old born in Anaheim, California but raised in Utah and Jalisco, Mexico. She is the youngest of five but currently living on her own. Due to the recession, her family moved to Mexico. She attends the University of Utah and is majoring in Sociology and Criminology. Her passions are education, community, sorority, and family. She is a part of the first Latina sorority of Utah: Kappa Delta Chi. It is a service-based sorority dedicated to making a difference in the community as well as achieving great academic success. She is also involved in the Hispanic Business Student Association.

Yuri Lopez  

Yuri Lopez is a sophomore at George Mason University. She is majoring in Communications with a concentration in Public Relations and minoring in Tourism and Events Management. Passionate and motived by volunteering in local groups and organizations, she has been a member and counselor for the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Washington for twelve years. Other groups include: Community Service Chair of the Hispanic Student Association (HSA) 2011-2012, Vice President for HAS 2012-2013, and volunteer for Child Help. Moreover, she is the Logistics Director for a nonprofit organization called United for Social Justice where workshops are provided to low-income and at-risk high school students to help them pursue a higher education.



Maria Mendoza   Maria Mendoza is a third year student at UCLA. She is studying sociology and Chicana/o studies. She was raised in the Central Valley in California. She is passionate about family community, education, and social activism. Mendoza is an active student leader on campus and particularly interested in serving valley youth. She is currently developing a new initiative on campus that aims to promote higher education among the Central Valley community. She enjoys spending quality time with her family.
Marlene Manzo   Marlene Manzo is currently a student at the University of Washington Bothell. Her passions are women empowerment, social justice, environmental protection, and education. Her inspirations are Cesar Chavez, Dolores Huerta, Rosa Parks, among others. Her intended major is Global Studies with a Spanish minor. Her work at La Voz de E.L.L.A and her job at the Office of Advancement and External Relations at UW Bothell have helped her become a more professional leader. Her studies have ignited a passion within her heart to pursue higher education and fight for social justice.
Mary Munguia   Mary Munguia is a second year at the University of Georgia majoring in Management Information systems and pursuing a minor in Latin American and Caribbean studies. She strives to be involved in the university, her church, and community. She enjoys participating in mentoring programs that inform young Latino students of the college admissions process. She has an executive position in the Hispanic Student Association and is also a Resident Assistant for 30 first year female students. Mungui loves to paint and spend time with her family as well as cooking and fishing.
Natalia Montelongo   Natalia Montelongo is a sophomore at the University of Oklahoma. Currently, she is working on her Bachelors of Art in Human Relations and Crimonology. Throughout her life, she has had positivie role models that have motivated her to achieve her goals and dreams. One of her goals in life is to give hope to others for a bright future. Montelongo is a part of Sigma Lambda Gamma National Sorority but was very involved on campus even before joining this organization. She loves helping others and whenever she has a chance to help others, does so with great satisfaction.
Chanel Robles   Chanel Robles is majoring in biology at UCSC. This major allows her to take the required pre-med classes in order to study medicine and become a gynecologist. She wants to study this so that she can help her community of underserved Latinas. Robles has found that it is difficult for the Latino community to have access to healthcare because it is not affordable. Not only does she want to give back to her domestic community, but to underdeveloped nations as well. Robles believes that she needs her education to fulfill her life goal in helping women by providing adequate medical care.
Jennifer Romero  

Jennifer Romero attends the University of Maryland, College Park. She is currently a junior majoring in Early Childhood Education with a minor in Teaching English as a Second Language. She hopes to become a teacher and eventually work for a nonprofit organization that mentors Latino youth. She is a Sunday school teacher as well as an afternoon teacher. Romero enjoys volunteering with young children.

Vienet Romero   Vienet Romero is attending the University of Illinois in Champaign and is pursuing a major in Speech and Hearing Science, with a concentration in Audiology and a minor in Spanish. She loves learning new languages and has some proficiency in Spanish, American Sign Language, and German. She loves traveling and helping God’s children in need. She has done both through Alternative Spring Break by volunteering in Kansas and North Carolina, supporting multiple causes during each trip. She has many loves including music, books, and sports. She attends concerts every month and will participate in a gymnastics club next semester.
Camila Maria Silva  

Camila Maria Silva is a rising senior at Tufts University, majoring in International Relations and minoring in Latin American Studies. Prior to Tufts, she attended Miami Dade Honors College and completed an Associate’s in Arts. While at Miami Dade College, she advocated for Comprehensive Immigration Reform and the DREAM Act through S.W.E.R (Students Working for Equal Rights) and actively represented the Student Body as the Parliamentarian of the Student Government Association her first year and was elected Vice President her second year. Politically active in South FL, Camila has participated in two mayoral campaigns and interned at the Joe Garcia for Congress 2010 campaign. At the end of her first semester at Tufts, Silva was elected to the Community Union Judiciary Brach. She has also interned at the Medford Chamber of Commerce and the Tufts’ Alumni Relations department. Passionate about serving and educating her community, she plans to work as an ESL teacher prior to attending law school. Her ultimate career goals include working for UNHCR and UNICEF in developing countries. She enjoys reading, dancing, and learning new languages.



Margarita Valdez   Margarita Valdez began studying at Bergen Community College in 2009. She is majoring in Business Administration. As the semesters passed, she became socially active in community service and began leading fundraisers and food drives for the food pantry on campus. This academic year, as a result of her hard work, she was awarded the first Newman Civic Fellow in New Jersey. In order to continue achieving her goals and making a difference in her community, she is running to be the President of the Student Government Association for the upcoming academic year.