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UC Merced students to attend national Latino Leadership program
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Six students from the University of California, Merced, will be part of the Latino Leadership Initiative (LLI), a new collaboration between the university and Harvard University's Center for Public Leadership in the John F. Kennedy School of Government.


The program is meant to help develop the rising generation of Latino leaders, as they're expected to make up 30 percent of the United States' population by 2050.

The six UC Merced students were chosen to take part in the program after a highly selective application process. The students are:

  • Dulcemaria Anaya, a junior from Merced.
  • Jesse Anaya, a junior from Modesto.
  • Ismael Lara, a junior from Stockton.
  • Rafael Maravilla, a junior from Planada.
  • Jacqueline Miramontes, a junior from Merced.
  • Maira Pulido, a junior from Le Grand.

They will be joined by 22 other seniors from Loyola Marymount University, Texas A&M International, the University of Houston and the University of Massachusetts, Boston. UC Merced is the only University of California campus to be part of the collaboration.

The inaugural LLI class will convene June 12 in Cambridge, Mass., for a weeklong program that will include classes on decision making, negotiation and public narrative — taught by leading professors from Harvard, Georgetown and Stanford — as well as sessions designed to help students develop greater self-awareness and knowledge of their own strengths and weaknesses as leaders. LLI participants will also have opportunities to build relationships with respected Latino mentors from the government, nonprofit and business sectors.

Dario E. Collado, the initiative's program manager, said Harvard was so impressed by UC Merced's applicants that they expanded the number of students accepted from five to six.

"This will be a game-changing experience for the participants," Collado said.

Regular teleconferences hosted by the Center for Public Leadership will enable the LLI participants to continue their leadership development over the ensuing academic year. In addition, the students from each of the five participating universities will work as a team to design a community service project that will be implemented in collaboration with faculty and/or administration from their home university.

"UC Merced is honored to be partnering with Harvard on the Latino Leadership Initiative, which will give our students a great opportunity to learn from many of the leading scholars in the United States, network with students from across the country and further develop their leadership skills," said Jane Fiori Lawrence, UC Merced's vice chancellor for student affairs. "Having six students involved is a testament to the quality of our student body. We look forward to working with the Center for Public Leadership for years to come."

The collaboration with Harvard comes just after UC Merced was designated as a Hispanic-Serving Institution by the U.S. Department of Education. The university joins UC Riverside as the only two University of California campuses to receive the HSI designation.

The designation makes UC Merced eligible for a host of funding and grants from the U.S. departments of Education, Agriculture, and Housing and Urban Development. That funding would support research efforts as well as provide increases in financial aid available to students.