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OSU-Tulsa hosts college informational event for Hispanic community

Amairani Perez Chamu, left, moderated a student panel with Omar Lopez, Marisol Pimentel, Bessy Valera and Elber Arroyo at OSU-Tulsa's "Ir a la universidad - ¡Sí Se Puede!" conference on Oct. 3.

Conference offered access to variety of distinguished college graduate professionals and tips about services, assistance and financial support available to students

More than 60 participants attended a bilingual informational event for Hispanic families interested learning about college at Oklahoma State University-Tulsa on Oct. 3.

At “Ir a la universidad - ¡Sí Se Puede!” attendees heard inspiring stories from recent Hispanic college graduates and young Hispanic professionals, learn about the services and assistance available to help them succeed in college and receive information about how to pay for college. All panelists were Spanish speakers, and the event was conducted primarily in Spanish.

“OSU continues to see a significant increase in Latino and Hispanic enrollment,” said Claudia Maldonado-Otto, event committee member and clinical assistant professor of teaching, learning and educational sciences. “But this is about more than us. It’s about seeing a community need and helping Tulsa families learn about opportunities for post-secondary education.”

A panel of Hispanic professionals shared how college prepared them for successful careers. Panelists included Christina da Silva, Deputy Chief of Staff, City of Tulsa; Moises Echeverria, President and CEO, Oklahoma Center for Community Justice; Jessica Lozano, Latino Community Outreach Specialist, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Oklahoma; James Sanchez, Director of Hispanic Banking & Business Banking Specialist, Regent Bank; and Jania Wester, Managing Director, Communities In Schools Mid-America. Maldonado-Otto served as panel moderator.

Another panel featured Hispanic students who shared how they found community and opportunity at college, moderated by Amairani Perez Chamu, director of Hispanic outreach for Tulsa City County Library and OSU-Tulsa alumna.

"The biggest influence in deciding to attend college is based on opportunity and on family," said Perez Chamu. "When it comes to the Hispanic community there is so much linked to how much our family influences our goals and desires."

Community partners including Tulsa City County Library, Tulsa Community College, Oklahoma Money Matters, TRIO Educational Opportunity Center and the OSU-Tulsa based Unidos Se Puede program also provided resources for attendees.

“This is much more than an aspirational event,” OSU-Tulsa President Dr. Pamela Fry said. “We aim to connect Hispanic families who are curious about college with students and professionals who have successfully navigated college and achieved lucrative, meaningful careers. Friends, neighbors and colleagues are excellent resources for give guidance and counsel, and we are thankful to our panelists and partners for volunteering their time for this event.”

Dr. Claudia Maldonado Otto, not pictured, moderated a panel with Jania Wester, Christina Da Silva, Moises Echeverria, Jessica Lozano and James Sanchez
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Media Contact: Jamie Edford | 918-594-8024 | jamie.m.edford@okstate.edu