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Winners of Eastern's Latin American Service Award

Written by Jack Meltzer

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Winners of the 2010 Latin American Distinguished Service Awards, left to right, are Migdalia Salas, Jeanette Rivera, Eastern President Elsa Núñez, and Amelinda Vasquez.

Willimantic, CT -  An Eastern Connecticut State University student, a cultural worker and leader of the Latino community in New London and a member of the Eastern administration were named recipients of the University's 2010 Latin-American Distinguished Service Awards.  The award ceremony took place on April 21 in the Paul E. Johnson Sr. Community Conference Room of the J. Eugene Smith Library. Honorees included community member Migdalia Salas of New London; Eastern student Amelinda Vazquez of East Hartford; and Jeanette Rivera of Windsor assistant to the director housing and residence life.

Vazquez, a senior from East Hartford majoring in business administration, was honored for demonstrating her commitment to service through her ongoing involvement in campus and community activities.  Vasquez is vice president of the Entrepreneurs Pursuing Business Excellence student club and the Organization of Latin Americans Students (OLAS). She is also an active member of the Omicron Delta Kappa Leadership Program (ODK).

Migdalia Salas, an Eastern alumnus, has dedicated her life to promoting numerous significant arts and educational initiatives throughout the state of Connecticut. For more than 15 years, Salas has provided organizational and fundraising leadership for many Latino social and cultural institutions and initiatives throughout Southeastern Connecticut.

Salas is currently working on Ajiaco: Stirrings of the Cuban Soul, an art exhibit curating by Eastern Professor of Art History Gail Gelburd. The exhibition had a very successful run in New London and is now being presented across America.

Salas also served on the founding board of directors of the Latin Network for the Visual Arts (LNVA) and works closely with the Hispanic Alliance of Southeastern Connecticut on fundraising and cultural programs. As director of development for the Interdistrict School for Arts and Communication (ISAAC), she develops culturally based programs, raising funds and talking to legislators to bring high quality education to not only Latino middle-school students, but to all students of New London County.

            Jeanette Rivera has been a leader in residential and housing life at Eastern since 2005.  She works with contractors to set up and implement new facilities and improvements in various common areas in Noble Hall and implement new multipurpose rooms in Mead Hall. 

Rivera has served on more than 10 campus committees including institutional advancement, minority alumni and excellence in service to the University. Rivera served as co-chair at the Seventh Annual New England Latino Student Leadership Conference. The conference is designed to encourage connections between Latino student college leaders within the New England region.  Rivera also participated in implementing Eastern's Strategic Plan, where she worked with a team of university officials to examine how campus activities and programs are presented at Eastern.


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