National Hispana Leadership Institute - Celebrating 20 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 2014


Karla Andrade  

Karla Andrade
Portland State University

Klamath Falls, OR

Karla was born on May 31, 1992 to two hard working immigrant parents in search of the American Dream. She grew up seeing her parents do back breaking work to support the family. When she was 13 her dad gave her a lecture about how hard life can be, and she realized she Ineeded to do more for her parents and that she had to work as hard for them, as they did for her. In highschool she developed a love for public speaking and was excited to know that she had information others were waiting to hear. It was then that she knew she wanted to do reporting para su gente, in Spanish. Karla was one of the few Latinas that went to a University after graduating high school with honors. Since then, she has gone on to be a member of the organization Las Mujeres at PSU, became the only Latina singer of the University Choir, and has volunteered countless hours to Causa—a Latino immigrant rights organization in the Pacific Northwest and has been given the chance to be a volunteer reporter for Cita Con Nelly, a local Latino television show that airs on Univision KUNP. She feels blessed to be able to serve as an example and persevere even when times get challenging. Her motto has always been: para mi gente, por mi gente, y de mi gente. Everything she does, she does with love in name of the Latino culture, people and her family.


     
Karla Carreno  

Karla Carreno
The University of Georgia
Jefferson, Georgia

Karla Carreno is a 3rd year studying Mathematics at the University of Georgia. She is the President and founder of the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers at the University of Georgia and will be the Vice-President of the Hispanic Student Association next year. She plans on getting her PhD in Mathematics and becoming a professor and researcher as well as being an advocate for STEM scholars in the Hispanic community.

     
Faride Cuevas  

Faride Cuevas
University of Washington Bothell
Bow, Washington

Faride Cuevas lives in Seattle, Washington and is a junior at the University of Washington Bothell School of Business. She is pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration with a focus in Marketing. Faride is currently the lead intern for Power to Define Leadership Consulting Firm and the communications intern at the Latino Leadership Institute. She has been an active advocate for the passage of the Washington DREAM Act and the Real Hope Act. She also serves in the committee board of the Beyond HB 1079 Conference and is the co-organizer of the Adelante! Program, a high school program that helps undocumented students strive for higher education. Faride has co-facilitated leadership conferences for Latino middle and high school students all over Washington State serving more than 2000 students state wide. She hopes to obtain her Masters in Education Policy to make a greater impact in the current education system. Faride prides herself on being a Latina woman and one of the first in her family to achieve post-secondary education.

     
Judith Flores  

Judith Flores
College of Du Page
Elmhurst, Illinois

Judith Flores is a student at the College of Du Page in Glen Ellyn, Illinois who is working towards majoring in Biology and a minoring in Chemistry. From there, she hopes to transfer to the University of Illinois in Chicago and be accepted into the Hispanic Center of Excellence program to become an Orthopedic Surgeon. Judith works at a dental office as a dental assistant and receptionist. When Judith is not at school or working, she volunteers her time to help others. Judith has spent many hours volunteering at the Elmhurst Memorial Hospital and in Team Elmhurst Soccer Club. She attended York Community High School where she was a leader of the Latina Dreamers Club, Varsity Soccer Player, and Varsity Football Manager.

     
Mayra Franco  

Mayra Franco
Moraine Valley Community College
Chicago, IL

Mayra Franco is a student of Moraine Valley Community Collage planning to transfer to Governor's state university to get her bachelor’s degree in business Administration. She has been working for seven years for a steel company in Chicago as a data entry specialist and office clerk. Mayra is an alumni of the Mujer Avanvanzando program and Mujeres Empresarias del Futuro from the non-profit organization El Progreso Latino and Mujeres Latinas en Accion. She is a volunteer at the Resurecion project, a non-profit organization. Mayra enjoys teaching finances and informing her community on how they can become home owners.

 

     
Giselle Garcia  

Giselle Garcia
Miami Dade College
Miami, FL

Giselle Garcia is currently attending the Miami Dade Honors College as an accounting major and is also seeking a minor in education. She is currently the Vice-President of Internal Operations in the student organization Phi Beta Lambda, where she actively competes and takes part in various community service events. Giselle came to the U.S at the age of 12 and has been very academically successful since them. She graduated top 5% percent of her high school class as a Silver Knight Nominee in World Languages, as well as taking home the Legion of Honor award at the school wide awards ceremony. She won second place at states in business financial plan her senior year of high school, and this year took home first place in Small Business Management at states qualifying her to compete at nationals one more time, this time at the college level. Giselle hopes that one day she can inspire other women to be successful no matter how challenging it might be.

     
Marlene Garzona  

Marlene Garzona
Rutgers University,
Jersey City, NJ

Marlene Garzona is a rising senior double majoring in Psychology/Communication with a minor in Spanish at Rutgers University. She is a first generation college student who is determined to make a difference in the world. On campus she is actively involved in various honor societies, extracurricular activities, and research. One of her greatest passions is helping others. She is a shift supervisor for a student run peer counseling crisis and referral hotline. She also volunteers as a teacher’s aide in a local elementary school that is home to predominately Hispanic learners. Her passion for the written word is shared in the various blogs she writes and edits for, among them the Smart Girls Group. She does her best to mentor young women through the Association for Women in Communication that she helps run. In the past she has interned in New York City and studied abroad in Spain. Most recently, Marlene has gotten involved in both psychological research as well as research focused on bilingualism. Whether through clubs or friends, she tries her best to inspire others. In the future she plans to attend graduate school and strives to one day work as a school psychologist with a specialization in the Latino population.

 

     
Myrtha Magail Genes  

Myrtha Magali Genes
Wiley College
Marshall, Texas

Myrtha Magali Genes is currently a Computer Information System major at Wiley College. She arrived at WC with the Presidential Scholarship through the Opportunity Funds Program from an Education USA office in her country, Paraguay. She works as a Spanish assistant, helps plan events for the Debate Club and the National Society of Collegiate Scholars. Myrtha likes to give the best of herself creating exemplary work and takes pride on her ability to adapt her voice to any situations, people, work or projects she is carrying out. While Business is her passion her main desire is to be proactive in her community.

     
Ericka Gutierrez  

Ericka Gutierrez
The University of New Mexico
Albuquerque, NM

Ericka Gutierrez is a first generation college student born and raised in Las Cruces, New Mexico. She attends the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque and is currently a junior pursuing a double major in Criminology and Psychology. She has been involved in the Associated Students of The University of New Mexico (ASUNM) under a program called “Emerging Lobo Leaders”. She has also done volunteer work with her church youth group since high school. Ericka works 30 hours a week at the Office of Vice President for Research at UNM. In 2013, she was a finalist Student Employee of the Year. Upon graduation she plans on applying to the UNM School of Law. Her goal is to work as a prosecutor for the United States Attorney’s Office and then eventually become the U.S. Attorney for the District of New Mexico.

     
Faviola Guzman  

Faviola Guzman
Queens College
Brooklyn, New York

Faviola Guzman was born in Brooklyn, New York to parents of the Dominican Republic. Currently Faviola is a mathematics major at Queens College. She hopes to share her passion for math with underrepresented students and help them fulfill their dreams by supporting their social-emotional needs. In order to achieve this goal, she works as a college coach for the Cypress Hills Local Development Corporations’ College Persistence Program where she aids students in earning their bachelors degree. During her spare time she is an active member of her church’s youth group.

     
Rosalia Hernandez  

Rosalia Hernandez
Barrett Honors College
Mesa, AZ

Rosalia Hernandez is a sophomore in the Barrett Honors College and School of Life Sciences at Arizona State University (ASU). She is the first in her family to graduate from high school and will be the first to graduate from college. She is involved with Changemaker Central and Young Democrats at ASU. She volunteers her time at Maricopa Medical Center and with AGUILA. She was an active participant in the 2014 Clinton Global Initiative University where she started a commitment named “Mentoring Arizona’s Youth in STEM Education.” During her free time she spends time with her family, playing soccer, or integrating herself into ASU’s culture. Rosalia’s goal is to earn a doctoral degree and use her education to bridge the gaps in education and medical attention to underrepresented groups.

     
Sandy Hernandez  

Sandy Hernandez
Roanoke College
Manassas, VA

Sandy is from Manassas, VA and was born in El Salvador. She arrived in the U.S when she was eight years old. Striving for academic excellence has been one of her goals since high school. Currently, she is in her second year at Roanoke College double majoring in Biology and Spanish with a minor in Chemistry. She is a member of the Honors program, the foreign language honor society and a Hispanic College Fund scholar. Sandy has held an internship at the Consulate of El Salvador and is currently working as a student assistant. Her future goal is to continue her higher education and earn a PhD or MD and be able to work for the Hispanic community

     
Wendy Hernandez  

Wendy Hernandez
University of California, Berkeley
Los Angeles, CA

Wendy Hernandez is a Los Angeles native studying Education, Policy and Society at the University of California, Berkeley. She is passionate about mending educational inequalities in low-income communities and their correlation with the criminal justice system. She sought to study the education and criminal justice fields thoroughly to provide California with proper education and prison policies that will alleviate the negative consequences these public institutions can create for people of color. However, a recent service trip to Arizona has sparked in her a drive to work in the “show me your papers state” which has banned ethnic studies. Though her heart is in California, she is leaning towards working in Arizona where there is dire need for Latinos/as to work at the intersection of educational, criminal and immigration policy. Her time at UC Berkeley has been dedicated to balancing a full-time workload, multiple jobs and student activism. Hernandez' interest in the education and criminal systems led her to her first research project "The Intersection of Higher Education and Incarceration in Latino/a Households" as a 2013 SURF Fellow (publication forthcoming). She plans on expanding her research topic in Summer 2014 by looking at African-American households as a Ronald E. McNair scholar.

 

     
Diana Lira  

Diana Lira
Southern Methodist University
Dallas, TX

Diana Lira is a first-generation college student at Southern Methodist University. She is in her second year at SMU and is majoring in Markets & Culture and Spanish. She is very proud of her heritage and loves working toward the empowerment of Latinos in her community through education. Diana enjoys volunteering at smaller non-profits all over the Dallas metroplex and is currently working to increase parental involvement in schools, particularly for minority students, through an organization called Parents Step Ahead. She is always delighted to make herself accessible to families and students seeking help with the college admission process. She aspires to one day work in the business sector and figure out ways to better engage the Latino community, but more importantly to help promote social investment in our Hispanic community.

     
Regina Anne Monge  

Regina Anne Monge
American University
Miami, Florida

Regina Anne Monge is a freshman at American University, and is double-majoring in International Studies with a focus on Latin America, and Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies. On campus, she is involved in American University’s Students for Choice executive board, playing a key role in the planning of advocacy-raising events. Also on campus, she serves as a circle moderator as part of Lean In, and works to promote dialogue and safe spaces for ambitious women on campus. On Saturdays, Regina volunteers as a tutor for the Latino Student Fund. As a part of the Women’s Information Network, a professional network for women in DC, she served as a co-chair for the development team of the Young Women of Achievement Awards and will now begin working on the development team for the next signature event, Women Opening Doors for Women. In addition, Regina is a Girl’s Program and Family Institute intern at Community Bridges, a non-profit in Silver Springs, Maryland that aims at promoting pride in identity, servant leadership, safer relationships, effective career-mapping, and commitment to cycle-breaking in a group of girls from diverse backgrounds.

 

     
Jessica Rubio Rincon  

Jessica Rubio Rincon
Grand Canyon University
Phoenix, AZ

Jessica is 21 years old and was born and raised in Queretaro, Mexico. She came to the United States in 2006 at the age of 14. In highschool she was part of the ACE Program and started taking college classes until her senior year. She graduated from high school in 2010 with a GPA of 3.927 and is currently attending Grand Canyon University. Jessica is a senior double majoring in Secondary Education with an emphases in Math and Business Administration. In 2011 her brother was deported and she was moved to volunteer and become a member of Team Awesome in 2011. She could not understand why her family was separated so she became a member of this group of students that were ready to make an impact in the community, inform people about their rights, and also demonstrate that the Latino vote matters in Arizona and that they have the power to decide who represents them.


     
Jasmin Rivera  

Jasmin Rivera
Towson University
Silver Spring, MD

Jasmin Rivera is a student at Towson University who is currently majoring in Political Science and Mass Communications with a track in Public Relations. She is also a graduate of the International Baccaleaute Academy from Einstein High School. She is currently interning for the William and Lanaea C. Featherstone Foundation in Baltimore, MD.


     
Edlyn Ruiz  

Edlyn Ruiz
Arizona State University
Mesa, AZ

Edlyn C. Ruiz is a rising senior at the W.P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University – home of the Arizona Sun Devils. She plans to graduate with a Bachelor of Science in Business Finance and Marketing with a certificate in Knowledge Entrepreneurship and Innovation. She is currently an intern with Arizona Public Service Co. where she will continue through the academic school year. Edlyn also enjoys spending time with the Hispanic Business Student Association, a student led organization that focuses on preparing future leaders through educational experiences and leadership opportunities. She has served as the organization’s homecoming tailgate chair and outreach coordinator. Edlyn is a strong advocate of Hispanic issues and stresses the importance of civic engagement, academic excellence and professional development in the Hispanic community. In the future, Edlyn plans to start a non-profit organization that educates families on becoming financially secure.

     
Dulce Sanchez  

Dulce Sanchez
The College of Idaho
Caldwell, ID

Dulce is a 21 year old Latina originally from Huejúcar, Jalisco México. She currently attends the College of Idaho where she is a double major in International Political Economy and Spanish, and double minor in Bilingual Education and Natural Sciences. Dulce has been elected to multiple leadership positions which include: class presidency for three consecutive years, president of the Leo Club, Church Youth group secretary and Escaramuza captain. She has been involved in the Future Hispanic Leaders of America and was a volunteer for a study skills class. Currently, Dulce serves as public relations/historian for the Association of Latin American Students. She also volunteers at her local church, at the Idaho Hispanic Cultural Center and in local campaigns. She shares her traditions as an instructor for the Federación Mexicana de Charrería in Idaho and works part-time as a bilingual assistant for an insurance agent.

     
Angelina Sierra-Sandoval  

Angelina Sierra-Sandoval
University of Colorado-Denver
Denver, CO

Angelina Sierra-Sandoval is a senior at the University of Colorado-Denver majoring in Political Science and Public Policy and minoring in Law Studies. She became involved in politics and grassroots civic engagement when she was fifteen years old. Angelina has also worked for the Colorado State Senate for two years and was a Capitol Hill intern in Senator Michael Bennett’s Washington D.C. office in 2012. Since then she has worked on a Colorado Senate Campaign that elected Latino legislator Jessie Ulibarri. Angelina is currently a board member for a reproductive rights organization in Denver called, Colorado Organization for Latina Opportunity and Reproductive Rights (COLOR). She is also currently a fellow for Denver City Council and a member of the Phi Kappa Alpha Honors Society. Angelina is the oldest of four children and her biggest and most important role of all is being the best big sister she can be. She says her siblings are her life and biggest inspiration.

     
Kristen Silva  

Kristen Silva
Pomona College
Santa Cruz, CA

Kristen Silva is an indigenous Zapotec Oaxacan. Her mother comes from the rural village of Santiago Laxopa and her father from the small village of Las Majadas; both from Oaxaca, Mexico. She is currently a sophomore at Pomona College studying mathematics. She has long had a passion for math and has been named a Pomona College Scholar for three semesters. In addition, she has dedicated the majority of her time to the folkloric dance group Centeotl Grupo de Danza y Baile, which she and her family founded in 2001. It is a group that not only focuses on cultural enrichment, but has also led to many other events that motivate and support the youth of the community. Community and culture are the values that have shaped her life and she continually strives to impart her knowledge and experience to the youth of today.

     
Mariela Urbina  

Mariela Urbina
Modesto Junior College
Patterson, CA

Mariela was born in Mexico City and moved to Northern California ten years ago, where her and her family still reside. Her father’s history of domestic violence led to her family’s move from Mexico, in order to save their lives. Adapting to an entirely new culture, a new language, and a new world was a challenge of its own. She has had the advantage of obtaining a higher education because she is the youngest of four children. She lives knowing that her family wants me her to succeed. Despite the challenges of discrimination as an undocumented student, Mariela has become a stronger individual. She wants to pursue a Bachelor’s degree in Biochemistry/Astronomy because she has realized how small and little humans are relative to the rest of the universe. She would like to minor in Human Rights because she believes everyone should be treated equally. She belongs to the Latino community, but also realizes there is an international community. Mariela works for the International Student Program and participates with the International Club events at Modesto Junior College. Mariela knows she will experience challenges in life, but she welcomes them because she knows they will make her stronger.