CWU takes pride in Hispanic Leadership Conference attendees

Mykah Koke-Filimaua, Staff Reporter

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  • Alexa Silva, photo courtesy of Alexa Silva

  • Miguel Gomez, Photo courtesy of Miguel Gomez

  • Luis Reyes, Photo courtesy of Luis Reyes

  • Melissa Lopez-Barbosa, Photo courtesy of Melissa Lopez-Barbosa

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After recently attending the Hispanic Leadership Conference in Chicago, Illinois, a few of CWU’s Hispanic students returned with new knowledge and are prepared to take the next step by putting what they’ve learned into action, not only in the present at CWU, but carrying into their future. 

Miguel Gomez

Miguel Gomez, a junior in accounting, recently returned from the Hispanic Leadership Conference and said he was eager to attend and learn from industry leaders and peers. 

At the conference, Gomez said he learned a lot from attending workshops, however some of the most important learning points came from listening to executives and networking with them. 

“Many learning points were taken, but some of the most important were from networking with the professionals, colleagues, etc.,” Gomez said.

Gomez also talked about being resourceful and facing peril to accomplish his vision of being the best he can be for his community.

“Exploring opportunities and taking risks translates to having confidence and fighting for your dreams,” Gomez said. “We have started to speak and join clubs like MEChA, LatinX and other clubs about our experience at USHLI…every organization has mentioned that they would like to have a multicultrual center.”

In addition, Gomez mentioned his business competition that he founded, Cat Tank, getting involved as well. 

“Cat Tank has encouraged my fellow students of color to join the competition, because this allows them to turn their passion into a real business,” Gomez said. 

Alexa Silva

First year Economics major, Alexa Silva, also had the opportunity to attend the Hispanic Leadership Conference. Silva talked about what she gained from attending the conference to become an efficient figurehead for her community.

“I gathered practical knowledge on how to become a more adequate advocate for the Hispanic community by implementing effective networking strategies and communication skills,” Silva said. 

Silva shared one of her most important takeaways from the conference was being a competent leader focused on inclusion.

“One of the most significant takeaways for me was the importance of endorsing and nurturing diversity and inclusivity in leadership positions,” Silva said. 

Additionally, Silva discussed the skills she’s learned at the conference in order to enhance her leadership abilities. 

“This involves establishing stronger connections with individuals who share similar goals and aspirations and creating a supportive campus environment that celebrates diversity,” Silva said. 

Silva said she has plans to use what she learned in her future after CWU. 

“As for my future pursuits, I aspire to leverage the knowledge and insights I gained to become an effective advocate and leader for the Hispanic community in my chosen profession,” Silva said. 

Melissa Lopez-Barbosa 

Melissa Lopez-Barbosa is a junior double majoring in Information Technology and Administrative Management, specializing in cybersecurity. She also had the opportunity to attend the Hispanic Leadership Conference. Lopez-Barbosa mentioned the importance of having different grade levels attend the conference. 

“Having students of different grade levels attend was significant because we could speak with each other and form connections…no matter the grade level, we were there to celebrate our Latino progress and know that there is still much we must and can do for our community,” Lopez-Barbosa said. 

Lopez-Barbosa said she learned about accomplishments of the Hispanic community and that one of the most important takeaways for her was a quote that came from Ernie G. at the conference: “Have the courage to be you. It enables others to be themselves and we all have something unique to share.” 

Lopez-Barbosa said she is ecstatic to be more involved around campus and Kittitas County to help the local community develop advocates for the Hispanic community for the years to come. 

“Now I will be more involved with our local Computer Science/STEM Kittitas County School District Advisory Board to help our local community advance and develop our future leaders,” Lopez-Barbosa said. 

Lopez-Barbosa discussed representing her community and how she plans on doing that through her education. 

“After I graduate with my bachelor’s degree, I’m going to pursue my master’s,” Lopez-Barbosa said. “I want to represent my community…I strive to become a Mexican American leader in cybersecurity.”

Luis Reyes

Luis Reyes was another senior majoring in Business Administration that was selected to attend the Hispanic Leadership Conference. Reyes is also ASCWU’s president and talked about what he heard from many of the keynote speakers that impacted him. 

“Many speakers spoke about the importance of student leadership and how important it is to be passionate about the work you do…now I try to be more passionate about a lot of the leadership work I do as the ASCWU president”, Reyes said. 

According to Reyes, his plan for putting his learning points into action is centered around leadership and passion. 

“One of my biggest focuses upon returning to CWU was to elevate the roles of my peers and in a sense mentor them to be the next generation of leaders after I graduate”, Reyes said. 

Reyes also mentioned how he plans to help lead others to be great leaders and their success so far.  

“Simply by providing them with opportunities to lead and showcase their strengths,  many of them have developed as individuals and have risen up to the task”, Reyes said. 

Finally, as ASCWU president, Reyes talked about his main goal before graduating. 

“Lastly, my main goal overall is to empower others and allow them to shine”, Reyes said. 

Katya Soto

Senior Katya Soto had an amazing experience at the Hispanic Leadership Conference. She talked about the stories she heard and how she needs to take initiative to do something for her community. 

“We heard so many stories of people doing great things in this nation and all of them faced so many challenging things…but they did it and once again it’s like, no one’s going to do something for my people unless I do it,” Soto said.

Soto said she already has her plan after CWU to ensure she does her part to contribute to the Hispanic community. 

“I’m majoring in elementary education…so I decided for my student teaching to do it at a title one school in Yakima and it’s a dual language school…that means I’ll be working with a lot of English language learners in a school setting where Spanish, our language, people and culture is appreciated and hopefully I can also motivate students and encourage them to do something like that”, Soto said.