Latinx Alumni Association Newsletter Fall 2020

President’s Message

Andrew Torres, President, Latinx Alumni Association

By far, my fondest memories of my time at CWRU are of those moments I spent student-organizing with my friends. Through La Alianza, the Latinx undergraduate student group, we organized to create campus traditions like Noche Latina, an all-Latinx music nightlife event, and La Fiesta, a cultural performing arts show featuring students and community organizations like the Julia De Burgos Cultural Arts Center and HOLA Ohio Ballet Folklorico group. We also organized to fight against negative stereotypes about Latinxs perpetuated by campus restaurants and greek letter organizations. Then during my senior year, we organized the CWRU Latinx Graduation ceremony so that we could celebrate our achievements with our families in a meaningful way. I am also proud to say that after my graduation, those same friends I organized with went on to organize the entire campus in protests against the Trump administration’s proposal to rescind DACA in 2017. It is with that history, and in our community’s tradition of organizing, that I joined multiple generations of alumni to form our CWRU Latinx Alumni Association in 2017. The common theme among these experiences was that in the difficult moments and in the moments of celebration, we have always sought to create a more just, inclusive and equitable campus community. 

Unquestionably, we created the Latinx Alumni Association to provide Latinx alumni support, fellowship and opportunities to remain engaged. However, I also believe that a greater purpose of our association is to create opportunities for justice, inclusion and equity at CWRU that have a meaningful and lasting impact for generations to come. In just the three years since the founding of our association, I believe we have answered this higher call. I believe we answered the call through creating student-centered traditions like Bienvenidos to CWRU and Latinx Graduation. I believe we answered the call by voicing our alumni perspectives as part of the current CWRU Presidential Advisory Search committee and the prior search committee which welcomed our new CWRU Vice President for Inclusion, Diversity and Equal Opportunity,  Robert Solomon. I believe we answered the call resolutely when we stated without equivocation that Black Lives Matter and I believe we will continue to answer that call this Latinx Heritage Month when we host a critical dialogue on Dismantling Anti-Blackness in the Latinx community (see Latinx Heritage Month Events below). 

In just a few weeks, CWRU will host a virtual Homecoming due to the COVID-19 pandemic. While we will miss the ability to come together in-person to celebrate, we look forward to using technology to help us come together virtually to celebrate with even more alumni around the world. Check the Homecoming weekend event listings to see when and where you can connect with the CWRU Latinx familia. 

-- Andrew Torres (CWR ‘16)

Nominations are open

The Latinx Alumni Association will hold elections for our Board of Directors positions during the week of Homecoming 2020. These elected positions include president, vice president, secretary, treasurer and four director-at-large positions. No one may run for more than one position on the ballot. The term of office is two years (January 1, 2021 - December 31, 2022), and officers may serve only two consecutive terms. 

Who's eligible?
Any member of the association is eligible to run for an elected position on the Board of Directors. Any person who has been a student and who has successfully completed at least one year of coursework at CWRU may become a member of the Latinx Alumni Association. (This excludes current undergraduate students).

How can I nominate someone?
Please help us identify future leaders by making nominations. Self-nominations are encouraged! Learn more about what each position entails and submit or make a nomination here. The nomination period closes at 11:59 p.m. EDT on September 26.

Election Timeline at-a-glance
September 14 - September 26 11:59 p.m. EDT: Nominations Open
September 27 - October 2 11:59 p.m. EDT:  Candidate Letters of Intent Accepted
October 4 - October 10 11:59 p.m. EDT: Voting is open online (stay tuned for a future email)
October 11: Election results announced! 

Are there other opportunities to get involved? 
The Latinx Alumni Association has the following standing committees which alumni may serve on: Membership & Outreach, Programs & Events, Student Affairs, Development & Finance, and Governance/Nominating. Learn more about each committee as well as indicate your interest in serving on a committee. 

Any questions can be sent to

¡Bienvenidos to CWRU!

A group of Latinx students meet with members of the Latinx Alumni Association meet via Zoom






On August 28, the Latinx Alumni Association joined La Alianza in hosting our 4th annual, Bienvenidos to CWRU. The Bienvenidos to CWRU event has become a tradition for La Alianza and the Latinx Alumni Association to welcome new Latinx students to our CWRU Latinx familia. Although traditionally hosted in-person, COVID-19 challenged La Alianza and the Latinx Alumni Association to think differently about how to host the event this year. In order to have a safe physically-distanced event, La Alianza members distributed individual meals to students on-campus from local Cleveland restaurant, Ricon Criollo. After all the meals were delivered, students living on-campus joined students who are distance learning this semester, as well as alumni from across the country, over Zoom to get to know each other and begin to build community. Thirty-four returning students and alumni attended to welcome 14 first-year students. Thank you to the alumni who attended and we wish all students the best this academic year. 

A group of Latinx students meet with members of the Latinx Alumni Association meet via Zoom

2020 Latinx Heritage Month Events

In Conversation with... Dr. Marla Pérez-Davis 

Dr. Marla Pérez-Davis

Thursday, October 8, 6 p.m. ET via Zoom 

Join the Latinx Alumni Association for the inaugural event of our new series: In Conversation with… Dr. Marla Pérez-Davis (GRS ‘91, chemical engineering), director, NASA Glenn Research Center, will join us to discuss her leadership journey and offer inspiration to the CWRU Latinx familia, especially students, to continue pursuing their career goals. 

Dr. Pérez-Davis’ biography with NASA, reads in part: “Pérez-Davis is the recipient of numerous NASA awards including the NASA Outstanding Leadership Medal and the prestigious Presidential Rank Award for Meritorious Executives. She was also the recipient of the 2015 Crain’s Women of Note; the Top 25 Elite Business Women, Hispanic Business Magazine; Women of Color Career Achievement; Distinguished Alumni Award, Alumni Association of University of Puerto Rico Mayaguez; Women in Aerospace Award for Aerospace Awareness; Women of Color Technology Award for Career Achievement; and the Hispanic Engineer National Achievement Santiago Rodriguez Diversity Award. She is also a certified NASA Lean Six Sigma Black Belt.

Pérez-Davis, a native of Puerto Rico, earned her bachelor’s degree from the University of Puerto Rico; a Master of Science degree from the University of Toledo; and a doctoral degree from Case Western Reserve University in chemical engineering. In 2006, she completed NASA’s Senior Executive Service Candidate Development Program and the Office of Personnel Management Program.” (Read the full bio.) 

We are looking forward to hearing from Dr. Pérez-Davis and learning about her journey to leading more than 3,000 scientists, engineers and administrative staff at the NASA Glenn Research Center. 

To register, visit the Homecoming 2020 website.

Dismantling Anti-Blackness in the Latinx Community
Saturday, October 10, 2-4 p.m. ET via Zoom

During this session, CWRU students, faculty, staff and alumni will discuss the entrenched anti-black racism that exists within the Latinx community, how our groups and organizations on campus and in the broader community can help dismantle it, and what actions we can take as individuals to elevate our anti-racist work.
A key objective of this session will be to specify anti-racist actions we can take as leaders within our community to create a more inclusive, equitable and just community.
Informational materials will be provided several weeks prior to the session for registrants to become familiarized with foundational vocabulary and ideas important for anti-racist work. Registrants will be asked to review the material prior to the session, in order for us to build a shared understanding that will facilitate a more meaningful discussion during the session. 
The registration deadline is Sunday, September 27 at 5 p.m. EDT. Individuals interested in attending are asked to register by the deadline in order to have time to review and digest the informational material. Register here or visit the Homecoming 2020 website.

Latinx Alumni Association Membership Meeting 
Sunday, October 11, 2020
4-5:30pm EST 
Join the Latinx Alumni Association as we introduce the newly elected board members! Virtual happy hour to follow!
To register, visit the Homecoming 2020 website.

La Alianza Conference 2020
Saturday, October 3 - Sunday, October 4

La Alianza Virtual Conference 2020, October 3 and 4, 2020

La Alianza, the undergraduate Latinx student organization at CWRU, is launching their first conference event in fall 2020 as part of the Office of the Provost’s North Star Courses and Experiences. This two day conference serves as a platform to provide La Alianza members, CWRU students and community partners with opportunities to develop academically and professionally at any stage of their undergraduate career. This goal will be fulfilled through workshops with on-campus and off-campus partners, as well as with an added focus on cultural awareness and appreciation. Featured workshops include: a graduate and professional school admissions panel, how to locate and acquire research and internship opportunities, resume building, education on immigration and reform, a keynote speech addressing the unspoken history about Afro-Latinx Identity, and more. Students will be eligible to receive certificates or a badge for attending required workshops.

For more information about the conference visit La Alianza's website. For more information or support the conference, contact Eduardo Williams-Medina at


The Latinx Alumni Association is excited to announce our new mentorship initiative: Líderes-Connect! Through this initiative we aim to build a strong network of support across our CWRU Latinx alumni and student communities and leverage our varied experiences and connections, in order to create opportunities for our CWRU familia. 

The vision for this initiative is two-fold:

  • Connect Latinx alumni with peers in their fields for support and professional development opportunities, and
  • Connect Latinx students with Latinx alumni for guidance as they complete their studies at CWRU and kick off their careers

In conceptualizing Líderes-Connect, the Latinx Alumni Association board identified exciting opportunities and a few constraints. The primary opportunity for this mentorship initiative is in the ability to meaningfully connect Latinx alumni with each other and with Latinx students. The primary constraint is that many of us have limited availability as we continue building our careers while balancing personal responsibilities. For that reason, we aim to make participation in Líderes-Connect as accessible as possible.

Sign up here if you are interested in being part of this initiative

Within the form at the above link you will be able to select if you are interested in:

  • Sharing your contact information with fellow alumni and/or current students through limited-access databases accessible only to fellow CWRU alumni/students
  • Connecting with fellow alumni as a part of a matched mentoring program
  • Connecting with current students as part of a matched mentoring program.

Once you have indicated your interest, we will reach out with further details. 

Thank you for your engagement and support as we aim to build broader and stronger mentorship connections within our networks. Please feel free to reach out to Hiram Cortez,, with any questions. 

Student Spotlight

Guillermo Fiallos-Gonzalez

Recently, senior undergraduate and current Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE) chapter president, Guillermo Fiallos-Gonzalez, was featured by the Office of Undergraduate Admissions for his co-op with Cummins Filtration in Cookeville, Tennessee. Guille talked about how he was able to directly make an impact in the fight against COVID-19, stating in part: 

“As COVID-19 spread across the world, my team’s efforts shifted from researching and manufacturing fuel, hydraulic and lube filtration media to personal protective equipment (PPE) media. Cummins used its pre-existing filter technology to address the shortage of face-masks in the United States and the world. I assisted in the development from concept to commercialization of PPE respirators, N95 masks and surgical masks in the fight of COVID-19… It was very satisfying to be part of this project because you could see the direct impact you were having in the world.” 

Read the full article. 

*In this section of the newsletter, the Latinx Alumni Association seeks to highlight Latinx students at CWRU. This includes undergraduate, graduate, first-generation and other students who may not be recognized in other CWRU publications. If you would like to nominate a student to be featured here please email

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