Three from UAlbany Chosen as 2022 Hispanic Leadership Institute Fellows

New HLI fellows, left to right, Elizabeth Vásquez, Carmen Serrano and Giza Lopes.
New HLI fellows, left to right, Elizabeth Vásquez, Carmen Serrano and Giza Lopes.

ALBANY, N.Y. (Nov. 4, 2021) — Two UAlbany faculty members and an executive director of an institute dedicated to improving youth justice practices will join seven other SUNY faculty and staff from six campuses as newly named 2022 fellows in SUNY's Hispanic Leadership Institute (HLI).

Elizabeth Vásquez, associate professor and chair of Epidemiology & Biostatistics and associate professor in Latin American, Caribbean & U.S. Latino Studies; Carmen Serrano, associate professor in Languages, Literatures and Cultures and affiliated with Latin American, Caribbean & U.S. Latino Studies; and Giza Lopes, executive director of the New York State Youth Justice Institute, will be taking part in six-month leadership development programs for HLI’s Emerging Hispanic/Latinx Leaders.

HLI is charged with developing and supporting the next generation of Hispanic/Latinx leaders across the SUNY system in order to forge a more diverse university system. It has graduated 41 SUNY leaders to date in is five years of existence.

“The Hispanic Leadership Institute mission echoes my own aspirations, and I was honored to have been nominated for the Fellowship,” said Serrano, who is also director of Spanish Graduate and Undergraduate Studies. “Since receiving tenure in 2020, I have questions about leadership, advancing in the academy and learning the best practices in management and administration. I also would like to learn how other colleagues balance administrative roles, research and publications.

“As I assume more leadership roles at the University, HLI could provide a support system for me to continue to succeed in the academy. Overall, my goal is to continue to enrich a climate in which equity and mutual respect are paramount at UAlbany, in my department, in the community and in my profession.” Serrano looks to a time when UAlbany will achieve Hispanic-serving institution status, with at least 25 percent undergraduate Hispanic or Latino full-time equivalent student enrollment.

"I view this as a significant opportunity to become a recognized leader and mentor in the field of higher education.," said Vásquez. "As a Dominican immigrant, my strong ethnic heritage has enlightened my educational training and stimulated my research focus. Over the past 10 years at the University, I have developed a solid academic, research, teaching and service portfolio. HLI will augment existing skills, providing me with an academic and practical voice to address educational gaps and policy-related barriers to health and public health among Latino and underserved populations."

This HLI intensive six-month experience provides an opportunity for future SUNY leaders of Hispanic descent to focus on higher education leadership skills and competencies required in today’s ever changing academic and administrative environment. Fellows will use personal assessment tools, participate in training sessions and webinars, and engage in conversation with national and state Hispanic leaders.

"The Hispanic Leadership Institute is a profound example of the pure talent comprising SUNY’s faculty and staff,” Chancellor Malatras said in announcing the newest fellows. "The Hispanic Leadership Institute grows stronger with each year’s class, as participants share their experience, knowledge, and motivation to do more."

Malatras gave thanks to HLI’s executive director, UAlbany President Havidán Rodríguez. “President Rodríguez continues to amplify Hispanic voices everywhere, while inspiring and motivating future generations of HLI with his passion and vision,” said Malatras.

Rodríguez said, "I could not be more enthusiastic about the Hispanic Leadership Institute’s success and progress since its inception — and this new cohort of HLI fellows will only add to those achievements. I am greatly looking forward to working closely with these rising stars from across SUNY as we support their growth and development as emerging leaders.”