UC Merced

6 UC Merced students to attend Harvard program to develop Latino leaders

UC Merced said six of its students 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 university said in a news release.

The six UC Merced students: Dulcemaria Anaya, a junior from Merced majoring in world history; Jesse Anaya, a junior from Modesto majoring in environmental engineering; Ismael Lara, a junior from Stockton majoring in literatures and cultures; Rafael Maravilla, a junior from Planada double majoring in sociology and political science; Jacqueline Miramontes, a junior from Merced majoring in psychology; Maira Pulido, a junior from Le Grand majoring in history.

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 UC campus to be part of the collaboration.

The inaugural LLI class will convene June 12 in Cambridge, Mass., for a week-long program that will include classes on decision making, negotiation and public narrative, taught by leading professors from Harvard, Georgetown and Stanford.

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 to six from five.

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.

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.

Said David R. Gergen, professor of public service at Harvard Kennedy School and director of the Center for Public Leadership, who will be a member of the LLI's teaching team: “Instead of stealing the students from their communities, our goal is to equip them to have a deeper impact on those communities once they return — and to stay connected with them long enough to ensure that the learning sticks."

Gergen added, "For this vision, and also for the seed money that has enabled us to launch, we are profoundly grateful to Walter Ulloa, chairman and CEO of Entravision Communications."