Fifth Annual Spring Girls Academy Features Speaker From Latino Think Tank

On Thursday, April 6, the University of Houston-Victoria will host 75 girls from seven counties as they participate in this year’s annual spring Girls Academy. The daylong event, which includes addresses from local female community leaders, will feature special keynote speaker Dr. Estela Zarate, senior research associate at the Tomas Rivera Policy Institute, a leading Latino research organization.

A Texas native, Zarate received her bachelor’s degree in mathematical economic analysis from Rice University before going on to earn a doctorate at UCLA. Her areas of expertise include the educational trajectory of Latino students; language issues faced by immigrant students; and gender differences in schooling experience.

The Girls Academy, presented by the UHV Letting Education Achieve Dreams initiative, is designed to encourage eighth-grade girls in the development of leadership skills, education goal-setting and positive self-esteem. Students from Aransas, Bee, Colorado, Gonzales, Karnes, Matagorda and Wharton counties are invited to participate based on their academic achievements and leadership potential.

In addition to Zarate’s address, the Girls Academy will include a panel discussion moderated by Dr. Margaret H. Rice, executive director of Student Services and Regional Outreach at UHV. An interpersonal skill-building activity titled “True Colors” and a presentation by Gerianne Newman, executive director of the Adult Literacy Council, will be featured in the afternoon.

“The students who participate in Girls Academy aren’t always aware of all the opportunities education makes possible or that those opportunities are, in very real ways, available to them,” said Rachel Trevino-Garcia, director of student development. “When they meet someone like Dr. Zarate, it’s like a light goes on. They see what they can achieve.”

The spring Girls Academy is funded through a grant from the Alcoa Foundation. To learn more about this bi-annual event or keynote speaker Dr. Estela Zarate, contact Rachel Trevino-Garcia in the UHV LEAD Office at (361) 570-4146.

The University of Houston-Victoria, located in the heart of the Coastal Bend region since 1973 in Victoria, Texas, offers courses leading to more than 80 academic programs in the schools of Arts & Sciences; Business Administration; and Education, Health Professions & Human Development. UHV provides face-to-face classes at its Victoria campus, as well as an instructional site in Katy, Texas, and online classes that students can take from anywhere. UHV supports the American Association of State Colleges and Universities Opportunities for All initiative to increase awareness about state colleges and universities and the important role they have in providing a high-quality and accessible education to an increasingly diverse student population, as well as contributing to regional and state economic development.