Second Annual Latina Conference

March 01, 2018 - 1 minute read

2017 Latina Leadership Conference Banner and crowd outside Grimm Hall

CUI held its second annual Latina Leadership Conference in October 2017, with panels of professionals addressing subjects like “Paying for College,” as well as breakout sessions on educational pathways in biology, nursing, fine arts and business. “The speakers this year were phenomenal,” says Dan Waite, executive director of intercultural affairs at CUI. “Most were first-generation Latinos telling their stories of how they navigated college to enter the workplace.” Marcie Perez, acting marketing director for the United Way of Greater Los Angeles, who participated in the “Where I Started” panel, says she “wanted to come and speak to my younger self.” Another panelist, Marcella Olave, CUI assistant professor of biology, shared her story as a first-generation college student, born in Colombia and “raised in a traditional Latino home,” she says. “I shared how my parents had no idea how the education system in the United States worked, and how mentors are so important,” Olave says. “It’s encouraging to hear that you can do it, that there will be obstacles but that’s how life is. It’s part of learning and an opportunity to grow.”

Other panelists and speakers included professionals in the music industry, editing and publishing, and higher education. Daisy Cardiel ’05, assistant director of the New York Passport Agency, U.S. Department of State, was keynote speaker. Like last year, there was high demand to participate, and more than 325 people from nineteen local high schools attended. Particularly popular was the STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) breakout session. Afterwards, students attended an information fair. Cox Communications, AT&T, and Thrivent Financial helped sponsor the event. The Latina Leadership Conference is part of a larger initiative for CUI to become a Hispanic Serving Institution and a Minority Serving Institution, Waite says. “We want to work closely to make sure we’re preparing all students for college. It’s a lot of fun to see parents stepping on campus with their child for the first time.”

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