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2021 ILACHE Awards & Scholarships

2021 LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD - Dr. Frances Aparicio

The Lifetime Achievement Award honors a career of dedicated service and accomplishment that has contributed to the empowerment of the Latinx community. This award recognizes those who through their work have transformed lives while providing education opportunities and inspiration to the Latinx community and society.

Frances R. Aparicio is Professor Emerita at Northwestern University, where she taught in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese and served as Director of the Latina and Latino Studies Program for eight years. She has previously taught at Stanford University, University of Arizona, University of Michigan, and University of Illinois at Chicago.  Her research interests include Latina and Latino literary and cultural studies, the cultural politics of U.S. Latino/a languages, Latino/a popular music and dance, literary and cultural translation, cultural hybridity, transnationalism, Latinidad, and mixed Latino/a identities.  She is author of the award-winning Listening to Salsa:  Gender, Latin Popular Music and Puerto Rican Cultures (Wesleyan 1998) and more recently, in 2019, of Negotiating Latinidad: Intralatina/o Lives in Chicago (University of Illinois Press).  She has co-edited various critical anthologies, including Tropicalizations:  Transcultural Representations of Latinidad (University of New England Press, 1997), Musical Migrations (Palgrave, 2003), Hibridismos culturales (Revista Iberoamericana, 2006), and the Routledge Companion to Latino/a Literature (2013).   A founding editor of the Latino Studies Journal, she also initiated the Latinos in Chicago and the Midwest Book Series at the University of Illinois Press, to foster book publications and new research on Latinx in the Midwest.  She is currently writing a book about Marc Anthony’s most canonical songs as sites for critical reflections on identity, colonialism, race, and global solidarities.  


The Arias Scholarship Award for Writing is made possible through the sponsorship of Dr. Berta Arias, the founding president of the Illinois Latino Council on Higher Education. The award recognizes the academic and writing accomplishments of Latinx students and encourages them to continue to integrate written communication as a central component of their professional and creative development.  In addition to a $1,000, monetary award the scholarship provides an opportunity to benefit from the mentorship of an experienced writer.

Martha Julia Ramirez

Martha Julia Ramirez is a current Senior at National Louis University, vigorously working towards obtaining a bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice with a Minor in Human Services and Concentration in Leadership. As a first-generation student and with her own proper experiences, Martha Julia intends to use her degree as a way of providing legal counsel for individuals seeking citizenship within the United States. Currently working for the American Association of Neurology- Neurological Surgeons, Martha Julia’s versatility and yearning for knowledge in various career fields, allows her to understand disparities that effect minorities while also allowing her to find a better approach to her aspirations within legal counsel assistance. When not at work or school, Martha Julia volunteers at her High School, Cristo Rey Saint Martin College Prep, as a mentor for both incoming freshman and junior/seniors with their college applications while also assisting with the major transition.

2021 EMERGING LEADER AWARD - Mizraim Zabdiel Hernández Gavilan

The Emerging Leader Award is presented to a student that has demonstrated exemplary leadership and service in the areas of education and social justice while promoting the advancement of the Latinx community.

Mizraim Zabdiel Hernández Gavilan, also known as Miz, is a Waukegan resident that is currently attending Lake Forest College as a Junior majoring in International Relations and minoring in Business. Miz has been avidly involved within the Lake County community ever since attending the College of Lake County. During his time at CLC, he not only became President of the Student Government Association but also a board member of the Inter

national Honors Society Phi Theta Kappa, in addition to joining the CLC Scholars Program. While at CLC he worked with Mano a Mano, a non-profit that helps immigrant families in Lake County, the Illinois Child Care Bureau, and CLC’s Adult Educational Department. During his first year studying at Lake Forest College, he became Co-President of the Undocumented Student Empowerment Group and a board member in Juntos. Miz also serves as a Legislative Aide for State Senator Adriane Johnson of the 30th Legislative District. He hopes to continue his work on improving the living conditions amongst everyone. As a DACA recipient, Miz knows first-hand how good policies can change people’s lives and he is determined to making sure that everyone gets treated with dignity and respect.


Each year, ILACHE is pleased to offer two $1,000 scholarships to Latinx students in Illinois who exhibit outstanding commitment to learning, community service and leadership.

Kevin Anthony Serrano

Kevin Serrano is a senior at William Jones College Prep where he will graduate this spring and enroll at Depaul University in the fall of 2021. He is a first-generation Latino student and a child of Mexican immigrants living on the southwest side of Chicago, Illinois. He is proud to be the first in his family alongside his older brother to pursue a college education. Kevin will major in Economics and Finance at Depaul and is interested in pursuing a law degree to become a corporate lawyer in Chicago. Throughout his high school career, Kevin has supported his community through volunteer and leadership engagement. After watching the economic disparities across Chicago, he knew a career in corporate law and business, will help lessen those inequalities and support underserved populations. Kevin also hopes to serve as inspiration to those deriving from less fortunate backgrounds and lead by example for what can be achieved regardless of circumstance or upbringing.

Alberto Briones

Alberto Briones is a student at Northern Illinois University, majoring in Operations and Information Management. Alberto is part of the Honors Program. He is involved in a myriad of student organizations: he serves as a Senator-at- Large in the Student Government Association, the social media coordinator of DREAM Action NIU, an Honors Ambassador for the Honors Program, an active member of Adela de la Torre Latino Honor Society and a member of Business Administration Student Association.  Alberto works full-time as an I.T. Technician. When he is not working or studying, he volunteers 2 hours a week at CREO DuPage, a non-profit, virtual mentoring program that helps motivated Latino high school students achieve their goals. As a coach lead, his job is to greet everyone, provide announcements for the session, assist the coaches and students during their coaching sessions, and answer any questions.

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