June 28, 2012

Two major SMU Hispanic Alumni initiatives support student achievement while strengthening the Mustang bond.

The group’s latest effort – a mentorship program – will partner Hispanic alumni with current SMU students for networking, socializing and career-related workshops. The Black Alumni of SMU’s successful Developing Dynamic Leaders student-mentor partnerships served as a template, according to Jake Torres ’11, chair of SMU Hispanic Alumni.

Angela Martinez, shown with sidekick Baby Martinez, graduated in May with degrees in Spanish and psychology. She will be a graduate student in education at SMU in the fall.

Because preparing tomorrow’s graduates for their careers is a key focus, participants will utilize SMU’s Hegi Family Career Development Center resources. Workshops on such topics as résumé building and job interviewing techniques are planned.

While helping undergraduates set a trajectory for future success, the program also is designed to build a sense of community among the University’s Hispanic students and alumni, explains Torres.

For more information about this SMU Hispanic Alumni volunteer opportunity, contact Natalia Vargas, program chair, at nvargasgc@gmail.com.

The alumni group also assists students through its three-year-old scholarship fund. During the 2011-12 academic year, more than 200 donors provided over $22,000 in scholarships split evenly between recipients Angela Martinez ’12 and Pamela Varela.

Martinez graduated in May with a double major in psychology and Spanish. In the fall she will pursue a Master of Education in Educational Leadership – Higher Education at SMU’s Annette Caldwell Simmons School of Education and Human Development.

Senior Pamela Verala is a student representative on the SMU Sustainability Committee and has organized campus efforts for the annual Recyclemania college recycling competition.

“I’m especially appreciative for the SMU Hispanic Alumni scholarship because the scholarship options for graduate students are limited,” Martinez says.

Her long-term plans include law school, with a specialization in immigration law.

“My career choices are motivated by my passion for education, human rights and making our world a better place,” she says.

Varela, a senior majoring in environmental engineering, serves as a resident assistant at Boaz Hall and student representative on the SMU Sustainability Committee. As a lab assistant in the SMU Environmental Engineering Lab, she has worked on a variety of experiments related to the safety of drinking water. Varela says that experience provided a solid foundation for her current internship with Halff Associates engineering and technology firm.

In addition to offering welcome financial relief, the scholarship “is proof that hard work really does pay off,” Varela says.

Click here to donate now to the scholarship fund.