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News Release


Richard Zagrzecki
Communications Coordinator

A&F Division Represented at Chicano Group's State Conference

Texas Association of Chicanos in Higher Education's 43rd annual state conference

Houston, March 9, 2018 - Administration and Finance's Esmeralda Valdez and Maria Honey were among a team of University of Houston representatives who presented at the Texas Association of Chicanos in Higher Education's 43rd annual state conference, which took place Feb. 28-March 3 in Dallas.

Valdez, the executive director of University Services, and Honey, the assistant director of marketing and communications for the Office of Administration, were part of a group that gave an overview of the Las Comadres Latina College Mentor Program at UH and the research being conducted in association with it. The team also included Hope Pacheco, Justin Bryant, Dr. Raven Jones and Dr. Ruth Lopez.

Las Comadres focuses on supporting first generation Latina college students at UH. Faculty and staff involved in the program are using their personal experiences and expertise to provide guidance and encouragement to the participating students - who currently number around 20 - and help them succeed.

"As a first generation college graduate, being part of Las Comadres mentoring group is very personal and rewarding," Valdez said. "I am able to relate to the various experiences of our Latina students and feel that through those connections I am able to provide them with some support that fosters a welcoming environment."

The research team studying the mentoring program is in the first year of a five-year effort to follow some of the students through their college career and afterward. Through interviews, the team wants to identify the common themes and obstacles facing this particular group of students, so that the mentoring program can provide them the resources they need to succeed.

"Being a part of the Las Comadres program has been an incredibly fulfilling experience for me. As a mentor I get to interact with students on a personal level and witness how our efforts can quickly make a positive impact in their lives," Honey said. "As a researcher, I am getting valuable, hands-on training on a legitimate research project. I am fortunate for the opportunity Las Comadres has given me to contribute to this long-term study of the mentoring program."

In addition to the Las Comadres presentation, Honey also helped organize and lead a panel discussion at the conference that focused on the limited number of Latinos in executive leadership positions in higher education. She and Gil Lizalde, business administrator for Student Affairs Business Services, Student Life & Dean of Students at UH, spearheaded that effort.

"We received tons of great feedback from attendees about our session and feel that the subject merits continued discussion," Honey said.

About the University of Houston

The University of Houston is a Carnegie-designated Tier One public research university recognized by The Princeton Review as one of the nation's best colleges for undergraduate education. UH serves the globally competitive Houston and Gulf Coast Region by providing world-class faculty, experiential learning and strategic industry partnerships. Located in the nation's fourth-largest city, UH serves nearly 45,300 students in the most ethnically and culturally diverse region in the country.