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2019 in Pictures

Attendees say

I loved networking with new people. Each session provided information to utilize back at my organization to ensure we are correctly helping the students.

As an instructor, I always look forward to better serve my students, and Prepárate was a great way to help me with fresh ideas.

Opening Plenary

El Sueño/The Dream

Tuesday, April 9, 2019
8:45-9:45 a.m.

Julissa Arce, a native of San Antonio, will share her experiences of navigating through her secondary and postsecondary education to achieve her American Dream. Her personal journey, drive, and the opportunities for achieving her dream allowed her to demonstrate that anything is possible. Join us as we gain an insight into the inspiring story of a first-generation Latina immigrant who worked hard to discover her leadership skills to become an executive at Goldman Sachs. She continues to be an advocate for Latino students.

Julissa Arce

Writer, co-founder of the Ascend Educational Fund

Julissa Arce is a writer, immigrant rights and education advocate, CNBC contributor, and co-founder and chairman of the Ascend Educational Fund. Julissa immigrated to America from Mexico at the age of 11 and was undocumented for almost 15 years, including some of her years rising to prominence on Wall Street. She built a successful career working at Goldman Sachs and Merrill Lynch, and achieved the American Dream, and yet she was not part of what defined American.

In order to help other young people in similar circumstances, Julissa co-founded the Ascend Educational Fund. She was officially sworn in as an American citizen in August of 2014. Julissa has written two books, My (Underground) American Dream and Someone Like Me: How One Undocumented Girl Fought for Her American Dream.

Book signing to follow plenary session.


Empowering Latino Students to Achieve Their Dreams

Tuesday, April 9, 2019
1:30-2:30 p.m.

Join us as we discover how student academic programs are used to empower Latino youth, cultivate their inner leader, and develop their skills so they can own their future. Be inspired and gain new perspectives on how we collectively can help students achieve their educational and career goals.


Dr. Ivonne Díaz-Claisse

President and CEO, Hispanics Inspiring Students’ Performance and Achievement


Dr. Margarita M. Arellano

Associate Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students, Texas State University


Gerardo González

Social Science Teacher, Lane Tech College Prep High School


Emanuel Rivera

College Student, Loras College



Barbara Cronan

Vice President, Membership, College Board


Special Event

El Árbol de la Vida/The Tree of Life

Wednesday, April 10, 2019
1-2:00 p.m.

A third-generation clay artist, Verónica Castillo was born in Izúcar de Matamoros in the Mexican state of Puebla. Castillo's family is known for their creation of Árbol de la Vida (Tree of Life) and candelabra sculptures, an art form that originated in Mexico's Puebla area. Delicate, intricate, and brightly painted, these clay sculptures traditionally depict religious scenes, but Castillo's works also focus and comment on social and contemporary issues.

Verónica Castillo Salas

Ceramicist and Clay Sculptor

Verónica was born in Izúcar de Matamoros, Puebla, México. Verónica, at a very young age, was exposed to the family’s vocation—the popular art form of polychromatic ceramics. Under the tutelage of her parents, Don Alfonso Castillo Orta and Doña Soledad Martha Hernández Báez, she was guided through simple figures. Over time, her artistic expertise would launch her career, and her exhibits have achieved national and international recognition. In 2013, she received the National Endowment for the Arts National Heritage Fellowship Award.

The family has exhibited extensively throughout México and abroad. Their works of art form part of valuable collections in the United States, Munich, and London, and in museums in Chicago, Brazil, and the Spanish Royal Palace of King Juan Carlos I.