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February 19, 2010
By Claudene Wharton
Nevada Professor Emma Sepulveda Pulvirenti was one of two people honored Feb. 18 at the National Conference of the United States Hispanic Leadership Institute in Chicago, where she received the Willie Velasquez Volunteer of the Year Award.
Sepulveda has dedicated much of her work to educating non-Latino communities about the strengths and values of Latinos and immigrants who live in the United States. In 1995, she founded Latinos for Political Education, a nonprofit organization devoted to empowering Latinos through voter registration, voter education and get-out-the-vote programs.
Sepulveda’s work is exemplary of the national Institute’s mission, which is to fulfill the promises and principles of democracy by empowering minorities and similarly disenfranchised groups and by maximizing civic awareness and participation in the electoral process.
Sepulveda was born in Argentina, migrated to Chile, and then moved to the United States in 1974. She was the first Latina to become full professor at the University of Nevada, Reno, of which she is also an alumna. She has authored or co-authored 22 books and is director of the University’s Latino Research Center.
With support from the Center, the Office of the Provost and fellow University students (ASUN), eight members of the University’s Latino Student Advisory Board are also attending the Institute’s national three-day conference. The students are sharing experiences with 6,000 other students and leaders from around the country, while learning skills to become leaders themselves.