On Tuesday, October 25, the University of Houston-Victoria (UHV) will host 75 girls from seven counties as they participate in this year’s annual fall Girls Academy. The daylong event, which includes addresses from local female community leaders, will feature special keynote speaker Denise Rodriguez-Lopez, deputy director of the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanic Americans.
A lawyer with a bachelor’s degree in business administration, Rodriguez-Lopez boasts an impressive resume. Prior to her appointment by President George W. Bush, Rodriguez-Lopez served as director of government affairs and legislative policy for the Cuban American National Council. She also represented the governor of Puerto Rico at the Office of Puerto Rico Federal Affairs in Washington, D.C.
“We are honored that Ms. Rodriguez-Lopez is joining us for the event. Her visit highlights the innovative work that goes into UHV Letting Education Achieve Dreams (LEAD) initiatives and the type of positive recognition that the program brings to Victoria and the surrounding communities,” said Dr. Deidra Hudson, wife of UHV President Tim Hudson. She will give a welcoming address to the event participants and guests.
Held biannually, Girls Academy is designed to encourage eighth-grade girls in the development of leadership skills, education goal-setting and positive self-esteem. Students from Calhoun, DeWitt, Goliad, Jackson, Lavaca, Refugio and Victoria counties are invited to participate based on their academic achievement and leadership potential.
In addition to Rodriguez-Lopez’s address, the Girls Academy will include a panel discussion moderated by Dr. Margaret H. Rice, executive director of UHV Student Services and Regional Outreach. An interpersonal skill-building activity titled “True Colors” and a presentation by Coastal Bend College science professor Yvette Janacek will round out the afternoon.
“Over the years, I’ve witnessed the positive impact and inspiration gained by Girls Academy participants from interacting with talented, successful community leaders,” said Rachel Trevino-Garcia, event organizer and LEAD director of student development. “It’s exciting to have high-level, high-energy leaders like Ms. Rodriguez-Lopez and Dr. Deidra Hudson supporting this initiative.”
The fall Girls Academy is funded through a grant from the Alcoa Foundation. To learn more about the event, contact the UHV LEAD office at (361) 570-4893.