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Young Latina Grads Find a Network of Support at Mount

June 15, 2005 – About 35 recent Latina graduates of Mount Saint Mary’s University, Los Angeles, heard from a panel of their peers June 11 about how hard work, persistence, and passion elevated them to new levels in their careers.

The second annual Latina Alumnae Network luncheon, held at the Doheny Mansion on the downtown Mount St. Mary’s campus, featured a keynote address from Val Zavala, a College trustee and vice president of news and public affairs for KCET television, and advice from four Latina women who graduated from the College in the last 15 years.

The College established the network last year to empower Latina students and alumnae by offering networking opportunities. The group sustains the Latina Endowed Scholarship Fund to aid the educations of future Latina graduates.

Panelist Patricia Montes de Oca ’92 told participants that her job teaching blind children in the Castaic Union School District how to use a cane and even how to ride bicycles inspires her every day. Montes de Oca earned her bachelor’s degree in psychology from the College.

The recent graduates also heard from Nohelia Canales ’96, a Mount biology major who is a PhD candidate in UCLA’s Division of Oral Biology and Medicine; Brigette Lizarraras ’00, a gerontology major who is social services coordinator for St. Barnabas Senior Services; and Lucy Castillo ’00, who received her bachelor’s degree in Business Administration and is a manager of international compensation benefits for Walt Disney Company.

The women’s college is 42 percent Hispanic, mirroring the demographics of the city of Los Angeles, where many of its graduates work.

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