Organizers of the 2019 McDonald’s Hispanos Triunfadores announced that three employees from The University of Texas at El Paso will be among the honorees at this year’s event.
Adriana Dominguez, Ph.D., assistant professor of theater and director of audience development; Azuri L. Gonzalez, lecturer and director of the Center for Community Engagement; and Guillermina R. Solis, Ph.D., assistant professor of nursing, are among the six award winners. Dominguez, Gonzalez and Solis will earn the awards in the categories of Arts & Entertainment, Community Service, and Education, respectively.
“These three engaged leaders represent the best of UTEP to our community,” said John Wiebe, Ph.D., interim provost and vice president for academic affairs. “Their career accomplishments, combined with their selfless service to others, provide an outstanding example to young people of the region. We are pleased that this award recognizes and amplifies that example.”
Dominguez, an El Paso native, earned her bachelor’s degree in theatre arts from UTEP in 2003 and has worked at the University since 2005. The National Endowment for the Arts has awarded her several grants for its Big Read program that combines reading and theater.
“I am honored to be included with such a fantastic group of individuals who do so much for our community,” Dominguez said. “It is a great privilege to work in and for El Paso in a field that allows me to promote diversity and inclusivity.”
The Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival Region 6 Executive Committee recently appointed Dominguez as co-chair for Representation, Equity and Diversity. Region 6 represents academic institutions in Texas, Arkansas, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Louisiana. She belongs to the National Association for Chicano and Chicana Studies, Mujeres Activas en Letras y Cambio Social, Texas Theater Adjudicators and the Texas Education Theatre Association.
UTEP’s Cristina Goletti, associate professor and chair of the Department of Theatre and Dance, nominated Dominguez, who she described as a positive leader, collaborator and an exceptional theater director and scholar who is passionate about community engagement, diversity, inclusion, equality and representation. She is an advocate who supports the use of arts to empower young voices.
“Personally, I can’t think of a better example of excellence and perseverance than Adriana,” Goletti said.
Gonzalez has been a lead organizer of the University’s community engagement efforts for more than 17 years. During that time, local and national organizations have recognized how UTEP students, faculty and staff have used community service and service learning to influence the region. For example, the Carnegie Foundation designated the University in 2010 as a Community Engaged Institution.
“I am incredibly honored to be among such amazing honorees,” Gonzalez said. “I am also especially humbled and appreciative to receive this recognition for community service, which is an area I am deeply passionate about.”
The UTEP administrator earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in political science in 2002 and 2011, respectively. She balances her job with doctoral studies in the Educational Leadership and Administration program, work as a women’s studies and political science lecturer, and service on numerous community boards such as the Metropolitan Universities Journal Editorial Board, and leadership positions with the YWCA El Paso Foundation and the Executive Forum.
Organizations such as The University of Texas System Board of Regents’ have recognized Gonzalez. The board included her among its inaugural Outstanding Employee Award recipients in 2018. That same year, she co-edited “Community Engagement and High Impact Practices in Higher Education,” a guide to how UTEP and community partners have combined civic needs with academic interests.
People involved in community service have likened Gonzalez’s work to the ripple effect of a pebble in a pond. They note how her passion, research, advocacy and writing inspires countless UTEP students and others to give back to and engage in their communities in ways large and small.
Solis is a native of Zacatecas, Mexico, who immigrated to the United States in 1975. She started her career as an intensive care nurse in 1981 at what is now Memorial Medical Center in Las Cruces, New Mexico. She began to work at El Paso hospitals in 1982 and enrolled at UTEP, where she earned her bachelor’s degree in nursing in 1986 and her doctoral degree in interdisciplinary health sciences 24 years later. Through the years, Solis has taken on many roles and responsibilities in the region’s health care and health education fields. Solis joined the UTEP nursing faculty in 2008 and today teaches in the school’s online graduate program and coordinates its Family Nurse Practitioner program.
Outside the classroom, Solis is a member of numerous local and national professional organizations and is a past president of the El Paso chapter of the National Association of Hispanic Nurses. She also finds ways to share her expertise with communities in West Texas and Northern Mexico.
“I am honored to receive such a prestigious award,” Solis said. “The acknowledgement of my life’s work as an educator is not just my success but rather the success and the contribution that many people made in my life. I am privileged to share my passion for learning and my love for humanity with others through my teachings and service.”
“(Solis) is an exceptional individual,” said Cristina Dominguez De Quezada, a nursing instructor at El Paso Community College (EPCC). “She inspires women like me to continue working toward the growth of Hispanic professionals in health care and serving our communities.”
While not a UTEP employee, Alvarez is a UTEP alumna who earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in biological sciences in 1976 and 1979, respectively. She is a professor and coordinator of the biology and chemistry programs at EPCC’s Transmountain Campus, and the director of the college’s RISE to the Challenge Bridge Program, a STEM initiative funded by the National Institutes of Health.
The event, organized by the El Paso Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, recognizes local individuals who are outstanding role models who inspire youth. Local McDonald’s owner/operators as well as local community and business organizations sponsor the annual celebration that coincides with national Hispanic Heritage Month.
Other recipients and their categories are Yolanda Arriola, Business; Carlos Leon, Government Service; and Maria E. Alvarez, Ph.D., STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics)
This year’s awards are scheduled for 11 a.m. Friday, Sept. 20, 2019, in the El Paso Community College Administrative Services Center auditorium, 9050 Viscount.