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Inspiring young women


Latina Day, an event that was part of UTRGV’s Hispanic Engineering, Science and Technology Week (HESTEC), featured successful female professionals who shared their personal experiences to motivate and inspire students to pursue their dreams.

This year’s mistress of ceremonies was Tania Leal, a weather anchor for KTML Telemundo 40. Among the invited speakers were Patricia Metcalf, area manager for ExxonMobil; Veronica Gonzales, UTRGV vice president for Governmental and Community Relations; retiring U.S. Rep. Ruben Hinojosa (D-Texas); Rosa Flores, a CNN correspondent; Sara Martinez Tucker, a UT System regent; Maggie Hinojosa, UTRGV vice president for Strategic Enrollment; Monica Regalbuto, assistant secretary of the Office of Environmental Management for the U.S. Energy Department; and Jonah Goldberg, UTRGV associate athletic director for communications.

About 700 mothers and daughters gathered in the UTRGV Fieldhouse to listen to the advice and experiences of the speakers.

“I know that by you being here, the Valley is going to be a better place, Texas is going to be a better place, this world is going to be a better place, and who best than you to get us there,” Flores said.
With a bachelor’s degree in broadcast journalism and a master’s degree in accounting from the University of Texas at Austin, Flores said how at one point she used to sell “queso fresco mexicano” to support her family in difficult times. She said there will always be difficulties, but it is important to follow your dreams and pursue the career you want.

“I think that this is a very special event,” Leal said. “I really enjoy it. I’m proud that UTRGV is having these types of events because getting all the mothers together with their daughters is something great.”

She told The Rider: “Me parece increíble. Me parece perfecto y grandioso que hagan este tipo de eventos porque vuelve otra vez a darle esa importancia a las madres e hijas; el recordarle como el apoyo de las madres es tan escencial para nuestras carreras, para nuestros futuros. Lo digo como, como mujer latina, especialmente porque tenemos esa cultura de siempre ser tan amorosas apoyando a nuestros hijos, a nuestros hermanos, a nuestras madres, siempre estamos ahí en los momentos difíciles, entonces volver a traer esto en este evento como que llena a mucha gente de inspiración y más que nada orgullo de ser latino”.

“I’m here today to tell you that at UTRGV we will take care of you,” Maggie Hinojosa said. “We will answer your questions.”

She told the audience how one can do anything if they put their mind to it and that UTRGV is here to help in the process.

“Latina women are strong; Latina women are smart,” Regalbuto said.

Regalbuto, a native of Monterrey, Nuevo Leon, Mexico, told the audience about her journey to achieve her dreams and become a chemical engineer from the Monterrey Institute of Technology.

Rep. Hinojosa said he was “honored and very happy” to be at the 15th anniversary of HESTEC. He said 15 years ago he proposed to Miguel Nevárez, the president of UT Pan American at the time, a partnership between the university and his congressional staff to develop an initiative called HESTEC.

“It has been absolutely fabulous,” Hinojosa said.

All attendees got together for a group picture at the end of the event. The event concluded with a prize drawing that included two pairs of boots, one for the mother and one for her daughter.

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