The WAA: Latinx Affinity Group strives to be an advocate for the Latinx alumni community and activate spaces for us to be together. We stand by the Wisconsin Idea: what we do here at the university should enhance the lives of every person in the state of Wisconsin, as well as around the nation and world. We are thrilled to welcome you to our group! Bienvenidxs!
Meet the Board
MollyJo Bautch, she/hers
Alumna: Bachelors ‘16, Masters ‘18
Current position: FASTrack and BANNER Financial Aid Advisor
Why I’m in LAG: “I feel it’s sometimes hard to feel connected to UW and consider ourselves Badgers so I wanted to establish a community for our alumni to feel empowered and so that we can use our position as alumni to invoke change at the UW to support current scholars of color.”
Marianna Rivera, she/ hers
Alumna: Bachelors ‘15
Current position: Bilingual Speech-Language Pathologist
Why I’m in LAG: “We have such a diverse group of Latinx alumni who, I feel, want to remain connected to the UW and to each other in their professional endeavors so I wanted to help facilitate that.”
Rachelle Eilers, she/hers
Alumna: Bachelors ‘09, Masters ‘11
Current position: Senior Advisor at UW in the Chican@ & Latin@ Studies Program
Why I’m in LAG: “We have so many great Latinx alumni that graduate from the CLS program. I was hoping to use LAG as a way to connect with them. I hope to enhance the alumni experience for others.”
SantaLucia Hernandez, she/ hers
Alumna: Bachelors ‘13
Current position: Head Coach at Silicon Valley Urban Debate League
Why I’m in LAG: “I wanted to meet with other alumni and build a space to make us proud to be Badgers and continue to help current students!”
Joselyn Diaz- Valdes, she/ hers
Alumna: Bachelors ‘04, Masters ‘20
Current position: FASTrack & BANNER Manager for the UW-Madison Office of Student Financial Aid
Why I’m in LAG: “I wanted to be in a space with other Latinx alumni who are doing phenominal things across the state and nation”.
Andrea Zorbas, she/ hers
Alumna: Bachelors ‘04
Current position: Research Manager in the department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at UW-Madison
Why I’m in LAG: “I wanted to join LAG to connect with other like- minded Latinx alumni, to network, and to have social opportunities in this crazy pandemic."
Robin Kraidich, she/hers
Alumna: Bachelors '14, Masters 17
Current position: Project Manager at Fujifilm Cellular Dynamics Inc.
Why I'm in LAG: "I want to meet and support other Latinx alumni who are improving their communities across the nation."
In 1991, the President of the Wisconsin Alumni Association, Paula Bonner, approached Andrea ‘Tess’ Arenas and Yolanda Garza to establish the Hispanic Latino Alumni Association (HLAA). During that time, many of the other ethnic affinity groups were also forming. Arenas and Garza recruited Ana Aquino-Perez to help them with building the infrastructure to move the group forward.
These three trailblazing UW Latina alumna, made it their charge through the affinity group to enhance Hispanic/Latino alumnus’ impressions of UW. While they didn’t necessarily have the best experience at UW, they made it their mission to change that for future Hispanic/Latino students at UW. The women used this charge to guide the group during their formative first few years. They supported this goal by serving as role models to Latino UW students and fundraising to provide scholarships for Latino students while creating a welcoming and social space for alumni to get together. The group had information tables at events across Milwaukee and notably at the Mexican Fiesta in Milwaukee. They were available at UW Homecoming games to connect and network while facilitating initiatives for fundraising purposes. HLAA was able to raise scholarship funds for six awards for Latino UW students.
The re-named Latinx Affinity Group (LAG), was reestablished in spring 2020. Our goal is very similar to the HLAA's goal: to create an inclusive environment for Latinx UW Alumni.