Hispanic women tout professional success

Four successful Hispanic women spoke about female and cultural empowerment to a 25-person crowd in the Marvin Center Wednesday night as part of the third annual “Hispanic women of excellence” event.

Wendy Pena, president of Lambda Pi Chi, which co-sponsored the event, said the panelists were meant to encourage Hispanic women to excel academically.

“The event was geared to promote higher education among Latin women,” Pena said.

Cecelia Espinosa spoke of the years of struggle and hard work that earned her a position at the Department of Justice. Such positions, she said, are rarely given to minorities.

Espinosa also spoke about the difficulty of managing a family while maintaining a demanding career.

Elizabeth Gonzalez, a former president management intern at NASA, also spoke about the challenges of raising a healthy family and working to further a career at the same time.

Many people underestimated her because she was young and inexperienced, she said. Gonzalez said her fellow employees would ask themselves, “Does she really know what she is doing?” But she managed to overcome their skepticism anyway.

Psychology professor Alicia Torres also spoke at Wednesday’s event. She said young Latin women should attempt to involve themselves in higher education as much as possible. Less than 4 percent of doctorate degrees are granted to Hispanic women, Torres said.

Georgetown graduate Cassandra Oshinnaiye, project manager of MANA, an organization for Hispanic heritage, was the last to speak at the event. Members of the organization work to reduce substance abuse and the risks involved with it.

Oshinnaiye said students should utilize the connections they make in college to the best of their abilities.

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