National Hispana Leadership Institute - Celebrating 27 Years of Latina Leadership  
 
 
 
 

LLL Class of 2009 with NHLI President Cristina Lopez



Latinas Learning to Lead Program


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Latinas Learning to Lead
Class of 2013

Isabel Argoti  

Isabel Argoti
University of Virginia
Silver Spring, MD

Isabel Argoti is an incoming sophomore at the University of Virginia pursuing a major in Architecture. She is the first in her family to leave home for college. On grounds, she is a founder of the Alpha Rho Chapter of Sigma Lambda Upsilon/Señoritas Latinas Unidas Sorority Incorporated which continues to expand the Latina professional network and success nationally.  Ms. Argoti will also serve as a mentor in the Hispanic Peer Mentoring Program. She has danced with the Latin Dance team on grounds, Fuego. Ms. Argoti is excited to finish the rest of her years at the University and hopes to continue to attract more Latinas on grounds before her graduation.

     
Alana Ascanio  

Alana Ascanio
Miami Dade College
Miami, FL

Alana Ascanio was a student of The Honors College at Miami Dade College, majoring in accounting. In May 2013, she received her Associate in Arts degree and was recognized for having a 4.0 grade-point average. Alana will be transferring to the University of Florida in the fall. During 2012-2013, Ms. Ascanio served as President of the college's largest business club, Phi Beta Lambda, and led the chapter to win the most awards in the state at the 2013 State Leadership Conference. She placed 1st in all 3 events in which she competed. She co-founded the organization Association of Latino Professionals in Finance and Accounting and served as the chapter's Secretary. Ms. Ascanio volunteered for the substance-abuse treatment center Better Way of Miami and helped raise funds for and awareness of the center by organizing a comedy show at school. Her favorite hobby is salsa dancing, which she has been doing professionally for 6 years.


     
Raquel Ballesteros  

Raquel Ballesteros
University of Texas at Brownsville
Harlingen, TX

Raquel Ballesteros was born and raised in Harlingen, Texas. In Spring 2011, Ms. Ballesteros became the first in her family to earn a college degree. She attained an Associate of Applied Science degree from Texas State Technical College - Harlingen. Currently, she is attending the University of Texas at Brownsville in order to complete the Bachelor of Applied Arts and Science degree. She is taking courses in psychology, sociology and education in order to complete the concentrations of the degree. Her overall educational goal is to attain a doctoral degree in education. She takes pleasure in volunteering for her community. Ms. Ballestero’s most recent community service was during the Week of the Young Child in April. She read to children at the Día del Niño community park event

     
Margot Bernal  

Margot Bernal
Arizona State College
Phoenix, AZ

Margot Bernal is a junior at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism at Arizona State University. She is the oldest of 3 and the first one to attend college in her family. She is a proud sister of Kappa Delta Chi Sorortiy Inc, a member of Mujer Inc, E-board for The National Association of Hispanic Journalists, a Student Orientation Leader, and forms part of other several other organizations that focus on promoting higher education for Latinos and helping the community. Ms. Bernal has had the opportunity to go abroad to China and Brazil. She has also had the opportunity of interning with Univision 33 and Canal 44/CNN Latino. Margot hopes to continue her education and obtain a doctorates degree. She hopes to become a famous entertainment reporter, owning a resource center for people with autism, and a non-profit organization for immigrants. She hopes to one day change the world. Ms. Bernal enjoys singing, dancing, reading and anything that will make of her a better person.
     
Jessica Casas  

Jessica Casas
Oregon State University
Corvallis, Oregon

Jessica Casas was born in Mexico City and currently attends Oregon State University located in Corvallis, Oregon seeking a degree in Public Policy. She immigrated to the United States at age ten. Although Ms. Casas had many disadvantages imposed upon her from the moment she set foot in the United States, her perseverance and determination have allowed her to achieve her goals. She enjoys spending time with Latino parents and encourages them to take advantage of the resources available to reach a college education. Besides volunteering in high schools, she also enjoys being part of the 4-H Latino Summer Camps during summers. In the future, she hopes to expand the opportunities available for Latina students to reach higher education and to empower their leadership. One of Ms. Casas' other goals in life is to create an organization that creates schools in South America.

     
Giovanna Casas-Reyes  

Giovanna Casas-Reyes
Willamette University
Salem, OR

Giovanna Casas-Reyes moved to Oregon when she was nine years old from Mexico City with her four brothers and parents. She struggled to learn English; however her parents always motivated her to do her best in school. Ms. Casas-Reyes is close to her family and it was difficult for her to leave them behind for college. However, this did not stop her from acquiring her goals. She was accepted into Willamette University in 2012. Her primary academic interests are in Politics and Spanish. Ms. Casas-Reyes plays soccer for Willamette University's soccer club. She has been a part of the Willamette Academy Program where she served as a Senior Leader for younger students. Ms. Casas-Reyes wants youth to recognize that no matter what background or circumstances one may have, anything is possible.

     
Luisa Cruz-Vasquez  

Luisa Cruz-Vasquez
Clark Community College
Vancouver, WA            

Luisa J. Cruz-Vazquez is twenty years old, a sophomore in college, and soon to graduate from Clark Community College. She will then transfer to Washington State University of Vancouver, if accepted, and major in Political Science with a minor in English and Spanish. Her passion is helping others. Ms. Cruz-Vasquez currently volunteers with the YWCA of Clark County in Vancouver Washington where she received a training in the Sexual Assault Program. She also volunteers for the Latino/a Educational Achievement Program as an ambassador to help increase high school graduation rates. Her dream is to be a good lawyer some day and fight for human rights, mainly to help introduce stricter laws against human trafficking, exploitation, and youth prostitution.

     
Andrea de la Torre  

Andrea de la Torre
University of California Davis
Davis, CA

Andrea de la Torre is a senior at the University of California, Davis pursuing a Bachelor’s of Arts in Organizational Studies with a minor in Professional Writing. Since 2008, she has worked at St. John’s Shelter Program for Women and Children. Ms. de la Torre is a former delegate to the United Nations Commission of the Status of Women, 2009. Since then, her interest and passion has been sparked to strive for social justice and working towards building a better local and global community. She is currently an intern at the Office of Community Renewal at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development in Washington, DC. Later this summer, Ms. de la Torre will travel to Panama with Human Rights Brigade to provide workshops on property law. She aspires to start law school in Fall 2014. Ms. de la Torre believes her calling is to advocate, be a voice for justice, and a voice for other people’s causes.

     
Leny Diaz-Martinez  

Leny Diaz-Martinez
San Diego Community College
San Diego, CA

Leny Diaz-Martinez is a nursing major at San Diego City College. She would like to attain a Masters in nursing because she aspires to be a nurse practitioner. One of her passions has always been to help people. Her main goal is to provide medical attention to people of low income. She would also like to visit different thirds world countries as a missionary. Ms. Diaz-Martinez currently volunteers at the San Diego Food Bank. She also volunteers at the Mid-City Community Clinic Pediatrics. She is part of the MESA program and the Price Scholarship program. Ms. Diaz-Martinez is also a part of the FYE program, Honors program, Vice-president and one of the founders of the American Medical Student Association (AMSA.) In addition to her campus involvement, she works part-time with an immigration lawyer.

     
Alejandra Guerreroz  

Alejandra Guerreroz
Western Oregon University
Salem, OR

Alejandra Guerrero is the oldest of three and a first generation student. She is currently a junior at Western Oregon University located in Monmouth, OR and loves to work with young children. Because of this, she is working on a double Bachelors of Art degree in Psychology and Spanish with a minor in Humanities. During her free time she helps with the community action head start program in her hometown. She assists the teachers and works with the families in the program so that they may receive assistance from other federal programs they may need.  Ms. Guerrero is a part of MeCHa and the Multicultural Student Union. Through these club meetings, she is able to talk and work with friends to help out community or help better Western Oregon University’s campus. Ms. Guerrero has found a passion for the current Latino political movement.

     
Angela Hernandez-Veloza  

Angela Hernandez-Veloza
University of Alabama
Munford, Alabama

Angela Hernandez-Veloza attends the University of Alabama and plans to major in Communications and minor in International Relations. She moved to Alabama from Colombia when she was twelve, leaving her siblings behind. It was a difficult transition but she became involved socially, academically, and personally, becoming the first Hispanic to be class valedictorian at her high school. She is devoted to making a difference. She loves music, traveling, and meeting people from other cultures and backgrounds.

     
Laura Henriquez  

Laura Henriquez
Worcester State University
Lawrence, MA

Laura Henriquez attends Worcester State University in Worcester, MA.  She is a rising senior majoring in Sociology and Spanish with a concentration in Professions. She is very passionate about giving back to the community and helping out in as many events as possible.  The last event in which Ms. Henriquez volunteered was the Fair Housing Act Celebration Conference where she was an interpreter.   While doing this, she felt that she was helping those Latino homeowners and tenants feel  a part of the conversation. Ms. Henriquez’s main interest is to become an activist in her community and be an asset and a helping hand to those that need her. Her dream is to become a lawyer, and with the shortage of Latino lawyers in the country, she feels that she can really make a change and inspire others to follow in her footsteps and become leaders.
     
Lorena Mayorga  

Lorena Mayorga
Oklahoma State University
Hinton, OK

Lorena Mayorga is an upcoming sophomore at Oklahoma State University in Stillwater, Oklahoma studying  Communication Sciences & Disorders. She enjoys serving in the community by volunteering at blood drives, the Special Olympics, lake cleanups, and many other events. She served as the Mistress of Ceremony for the 2013 Miss Hispanic/Latina OSU Scholarship Pageant. During her sophomore year, she will serve as the Hispanic Student Association Community Service Chair and as the Reading Buddies Chair for Pencils of Promise at OSU. Lorena is also an active member of the Honors College and participated in the Retention Initiative for Student Excellence program that promotes the success of diverse freshmen. When not volunteering, she enjoys listening to music, playing her clarinet, and teaching Spanish to her roommate. She is passionate about promoting education and plans on learning more about the issues affecting Latinas in order to better change society.

     
Kalisa Mora  

Kalisa Mora
University of Central Oklahoma
Edmond, OK

Kalisa Mora recently finished her second year at the University of Central Oklahoma. She is majoring in Business Administration-Legal Studies with a minor in Pre-Law. Her interests and hobbies can be seen in her extracurricular activities. She is a charter member of the Theta Xi chapter of Alpha Delta Pi sorority where she currently serves as Guard and Membership Education Vice-President. Ms. Mora was also selected for a servant leadership organization/scholarship, Leaders of Tomorrow. She has participated in several organizations on campus such as Big Pink, to raise money to fight breast cancer, Freshmen Follies, as well as G.I.V.E., to raise money and awareness of global issues around the world. She is passionate and committed to serving others. This can be shown through her organization: Dancers for Change.

     
Maria Moscoso  

Maria Moscoso
Smith College
Miami, FL

Maria Moscoso graduated from the Honors College of Miami Dade and transferred to Smith College where she will double major in Business Administration and Political Science.  During her time in MDC, she expanded her knowledge in business by becoming the treasurer of Phi Beta Lambda Organization and a founding officer for the Association of Latino Professionals in Finance and Accounting. She also participated in national campaigns, rallies, and press conferences calling for action in immigration reform with Students Working for Equal Rights (SWER). Ms. Moscoso earned the Presidential Volunteer Service Award for her extensive community service work with VACC Camp, a ventilated-assisted children’s camp where she has volunteered for the past four years. She also holds the title of Miss Simpatia 2012-2013 from her participation in the Ecuadorian beauty pageant where she was given the opportunity to fly to Ecuador to deliver over 3,000 toys to children living in poverty.

 

     
Daniela Natal  

Daniela Natal
Georgia State University
Marietta, GA

Daniela Natal attends Georgia State University and is pursuing a Bachelor's in Business Administration in Marketing and a minor in Finance. Her professional objective is to attend law school and practice law in the state of Georgia. Ms. Natal’s goal is to open her own law firm and provide different services for middle and low income-level citizens. One of her passions is to make an impact around her community through educational programs, community development projects, and voicing her opinion. Immigration is a  constant topic in the media and academic world. Since her campus is in the middle of downtown Atlanta and walking distance from the state capital, Ms. Natal finds herself attending rallies for HB-87 and even Troy Davis. She has also built a close relationship with Safehouse Outreach which a Christian-based nonprofit organization.This organization is one of her passions because it has made great connections with the attendees.

 

     
Ashley Romero  

Ashley Romero
University of Georgia
Lilburn, GA

Ashley Romero is a rising senior attending the University of Georgia pursuing  dual degrees in History and Spanish.  She chose to be a History major because she has always had a natural curiosity about learning how and why civilizations came to rise and fall. Ms. Romero also loves to read and write and these passions were the perfect combination for pursuing History. Her Spanish roots are very important to her and by studying the history of her ancestors Ms. Romero feels she is able to have a better understanding of her future.  In addition to her work within the Office of Admissions, as President of the Hispanic Student Association,Ms. Romero works very closely with the Multicultural Cultural Service and Programs Office and the Office of Student Affairs to make sure that the Hispanic population has a voice on campus.

 

     
Sabrina Roybal  

Sabrina Roybal
University of Nevada
North Las Vegas, NV

Sabrina Roybal is 22 years old and a proud Latina. She attended the College of Southern Nevada in Las Vegas for 2 years. She also took a few courses at Nevada State College. Now Ms. Roybal attends the beautiful University of Nevada, Reno (UNR). She is  just 3 semesters away from receiving her first Bachelor’s degree in Business Management. She has been playing sports, especially soccer, since she was 4. On the Women Varsity Soccer Team, Ms. Roybal was Athlete of the Month. She feels that each leadership position has taught her something new. Her passion has always been helping people in any way she can. This is why Ms. Roybal and her sister co-founded the Southern Nevada Hispanic Employment Program (SNHEP) Youth Council. She enjoys participating in leadership programs that benefit her development for the future.

 

 

     
Rachel Salinas  

Rachel Salinas
University of California Berkeley
Santa Ana, CA

Rachel Salinas is a rising senior at UC Berkeley with a major in Social Welfare and a minor in Disability Studies. Ms. Salinas began interning for “Inside the Living Room” at the East Bay Sanctuary Covenant in Berkeley, CA whom provide legal and social services to immigrants and refugees from all around the world. Since she felt very passionate about helping the immigrant community, she joined the executive board. She has taught citizenship exam classes, completed political asylum cases, assisted DREAMers with their DACA applications, and much more. Besides school and work, she has dedicated a substantial amount of time to this program by organizing and making sure the thirty interns work on their tasks.

 

     
Marla Vargas  

Maria Vargas
Western Oregon University
Independence, OR

Maria Vargas is a sophomore at Western Oregon University studying Social Science with an emphasis on Criminal Justice, Spanish, and a Public Policy minor. She is a strong and perserverant Latina with big dreams. Her ultimate goal in life is to make a difference in the life of others.She believes it is never to early to start achieving your dreams.Ms. Vargas is dedicated to her community and family. She works with youth by mentoring them to attend higher education. She also volunteers at a farmworking community. Her family is a strong motivator.  She has a family of 8. With her parents being farm workers, they only have enough to live month to month, but through out the difficult financial situations, they manage to support each other. Her bucket list includes traveling to different places and helping out where needed. She enjoys spending time with family and friends, hiking, running, and cooking.

     
Tatiana Vera  

Tatiana Vera
Barnard College of Columbia University
Chestnut Ridge, NY

Tatiana Vera is currently studying at Barnard College of Columbia University. She is a Psychology Major and double minoring in Athena Leadership Studies and Spanish. Her passions include helping her Latina community by being a leader instead of a statistic. She enjoys reading articles from psychology and social health journals that pertain to the current research she is conducting on other Latinas (grades 7-12).  This is currently a great passion of hers because it covers topics in education, leadership, career, self-esteem/confidence, and college/career paths and has a psycho-clinical focus by the pre- and post- research she will be conducting on each woman.  She also enjoys spending time with her family, friends, and loved ones.

 

     
Jacqueline Veristigui  

Jacqueline Verastigui
Texas A&M University
Laredo, TX

Jacqueline Verastigui is a senior at Texas A&M International University majoring in Political Science with a minor in English. On Campus, Ms. Verastigui has actively involved herself with her University’s Political Science and English Honor Societies. She has also represented students as Senator-at-Large in the Student Government Association. In her spare time, Ms. Verastigui volunteers with community non-profit organizations. She plans to pursue public service that addresses issues that impact Latinos such as immigration, community underdevelopment, and border relations. Ultimately, Ms. Verastigui hopes these accomplishments will allow her to become a mentor for other south Texas women to achieve success.