(continued from Penny)

     Penny says she is very thankful to the Latina League for granting scholarships to all students, whether born or not in this country. “I decided to go to the University of Colorado for my parents who have always taught me the importance of education and for all the teachers who have believed in me and supported me. I always thought it would be difficult to go to a university as big as C.U. in Boulder but I succeeded, thanks to the many people who supported me and the many programs in the schools and community that supported my goal. I wish that C.U. had more people of color, and that the opportunities to come to this school would be more extensive.

I thank C.U. for the support programs they offer and hope students and parents learn about these programs. Thank you very much to all the donors and members of the Latina League because this scholarship not only helps me but also many students who, like me, want to get ahead and have a profession that helps the community. I am studying to be an Elementary school teacher. I also participate in many programs inside and outside the university. Because that’s what it’s about, my community helps me and I help my community

(Continued from Teresa Hernandez)

     Growing up in a close family with multiple generations gave me the roots I needed to succeed at what I set my mind to. My father used to say: "There is nothing that you cannot do.” He believed that with enough hard work, education (via financial aid and student loans, which were necessary in my family) and focus, my brothers and I could be anything we wanted to be. His belief in me helped me believe in myself and helped me to be braver than I thought I could be. He also always said, “Family first”. This taught me the value of my family and knowing who I am and where I come from. Family, however you define it for yourself, are the roots that provide the structure on which you will build and craft your life. 

     Although I have been in Colorado for almost 28 years, there is still something inside of me that feels “home” in El Paso and the desert. Family is also “home” for me. 

     At CU Boulder, I am a faculty member in Psychology and Neuroscience and a researcher in the area of traumatic brain injury and concussion. Currently, I am also the Associate Dean for Research. A favorite part of this job is to help students find and spend time doing what they love. Outside of the classroom, this usually falls under Research, Scholarship or Creative Works within the College of Arts and Sciences. This means the student might be working with a faculty member to study language development, how the brain works when it is injured, rap, artistic creations and/or theater productions. Not only does my job let me interact with students at CU, but also students in high school who are thinking about College and maybe even attending CU.

     One of the best things that I can recommend to do while you are in College, whether at CU or elsewhere is this: Get to know your professors. Go to their office hours (not just once, go more than once) and get to know them. Ask if they would mind telling you how they got to where they are——when you hear about the paths that professors have taken to get to where they are, you will see how it is different for each person, and maybe even more flexible than you might think. It may give you some ideas about how to get to where you want to be.



(continued from Tips)

     Tip # 1- Set realistic goals and keep them at the top of your mind. College is not easy. If it were, everyone would have a degree. It is simple to keep working hard when you have something to work toward. Remind yourself and others why you are attending college in the first place, and your plans for after you earn the degree you desire. Take time to think about the steps that are needed to achieve your goals, as well as the barriers that might be standing in your way.

     Tips # 2- Make school a priority. There will always be something you would rather be doing than attending class or studying. Connect with people on campus that have similar goals as you. The more support you have, the better. When I returned to college as an adult, I promised myself that no matter what happened in my life that I would not quit college, and that I would go to college until I earned the degree I desired. Eleven years later and many nights of hard work I earned my Master of Arts in Higher Education Administration Leadership from Adams State University in Alamosa Colorado.

     Tip #3- Schedule time for school work. For every one credit hour, students should expect to study up to three hours outside of class. Most students study for two hours and use one hour to complete the work. Create a schedule that will accommodate your studying needs. Be sure to let your family and friends know when you plan on studying, so they will not interrupt your study time.

     Tip #4- Get involved on campus. Whether you hold a work-study job on campus, form a regular study group, or join a club/organization, get involved! Research shows that the more students are involved on campus, the more likely they are to stay in college and earn a degree. When I began college, I was expecting my first child, so I knew that I needed to earn a wage while attending. I appreciated that the college had positions available on campus to help me obtain my goals. I also met other work-study students on campus, which made attending college fun and memorable. Today, I am still friends with the peers that I met throughout my college journey.

     Tip #5- Take advantage of resources. Colleges have many types of support services. As an example, Front Range Community College offers TRiO programming, financial aid advising, tutoring, an academic support center, disability services, mental health support, veteran services, and much more. A good place to start would be your Student Life office, Department of Admissions and Outreach, or Academic Advising. Don’t forget you also have instructors and faculty that can be excellent resources as well. All staff, faculty, and instructors have office hours available to meet with students as needed.

What are you doing to make sure that your first year college experience is an awesome one?


Melanie Rocha

Front Range Community College

Student Involvement Coordinator



(continued from Ester)

From the beginning she was and continues to be involved in her community as a volunteer working with a variety of organizations. Some of these organizations include the Elementary Spanish Program that provided Spanish lessons to elementary school children, Cub Scout leader, homeowners association board, league of women voters and much later on the boards of Community Foundation, Kiwanis Club, Impact on Education, Share-a-Gift among others. She had her own radio show for 11 years at the Radio Reading Service of the Rockies where she read children’s stories to the blind. For fun Ester and Bob were presidents of the University Dinner Dance Club (ballroom dancing) for 24 years. For the last 20 years, she’s been heading up a group of theater goers that enjoys going to Boulder Dinner Theater.

     In 1989, then single, Ester and Bob met on a blind date and were married in 1991. In 1998, she remembers sitting with her professional Latina friends and discovered that they all shared similar biases an discrimination throughout their lives. It was time to level the playing field. So she quit her job and together with Shirley Betancourt-Conley, they created Boulder County Latina Women’s League.         

Their goal was to help provide educational opportunities for Latino students in Boulder County. Scholarships were initially awarded only to girls but a few years later boys were included and the name shortened to Boulder County Latina League. We had no idea how fulfilling this was to become for us. There was so much happiness on the part of the students and pride from their families as students came forward to receive their award certificate. It was an emotion-laden event which continues to this day.

     Husband Bob also became involved from the very beginning and graciously accepted the job of computer guru and continues to this

day. He did all the computer work on invitations to fundraisers, League brochures, award certificates, programs, printing, etc. He even designed the League logo.

     Ester is passionate about education and believes that it is the road out of poverty for her fellow Hispanics. Ester is very proud to be working with a board (of women) that counters entrenched biases around race and gender and affirms and empowers the precious value of every person. She lives in Boulder with her husband Bob. They have 2 sons and 4 grandchildren living in Oregon and Massachusetts.

Day of the Dead 
October 31st to November 2nd