Congratulations to the 2024 Somos Professional Development Recipients!

The Chican@ & Latin@ Studies Program is delighted to announce that Danitza Rodríguez-Jiménez and Mariela Sida have won the 2024 Somos Student Professional Development Awards, while advisor Rachelle Eilers has won the 2024 Somos Faculty and Staff Professional Development Award.

Danitza Rodriguez-Jimenez HeadshotDanitza is a senior majoring in International Studies and Chican@ & Latin@ Studies. She will use the award to cover costs for summer study abroad in Cuba. Passionate about art, international relations, and cultural studies, Danitza hopes to pursue a career in international relations. Mariela plans to graduate in 2025 with a triple major inMariela Sida Headshot Education Studies, Latin American, Caribbean, and Iberian Studies, and Chican@ & Latin@ Studies. She will use Somos funds to cover costs for an independent research project about the UnidosUS “Avanzando Through College” Program at Centro Hispano in Madison.

Rachelle Eilers is originally from Racine, WI. She graduated from Washington Park High School with high honors. After being accepted to Marquette University and UW-Madison, she decided to attend UW-Parkside, the university nearest home, for economical reasons. At UW-Parkside she majored in Chemistry before transferring to UW-Madison her sophomore year, going on to graduate in four years. At UW-Madison, she was active in Lambda Theta Alpha, Latin Sorority Inc. and ran a Girl Scout Troop at the Boys and Girls Club. She also served as the  Chican@/Latin@ Representative for the Multicultural Student Center, interned at Governor Jim Doyle’s Office, and worked for the Rachelle Eilers HeadshotPEOPLE Program while majoring in Political Science (Pre-Law) with certificates (minors) in Chican@ & Latin@ Studies and African Studies. She has worked in higher education ever since graduating and is currently the Academic Advising Manager for the CLS Program. She is also a co-founder of the Latinx Academic Staff Association and a proud member of the UW-Madison Latinx Alumni Affinity Group.

The Chican@ & Latin@ Studies Program takes applications for the Somos Professional Development and Student Awards every Spring.  The awards are supported by the generosity of Dr. Andrea-Teresa Arenas with proceeds from the sale of her book Somos Latinas, and by her husband, former Chancellor John Wiley. The awards  support professional, academic, or artistic initiatives.