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Serving with Excelencia Library Exhibit Wall September 2022


LEAD Scholars Academy 
LEAD is a selective two-year academic leadership development program inclusive of several high-impact practices such as: a cohort-based first-year seminar, a living-learning community, service-learning classes, and a capstone course. As an academic contribution to UCF’s HSI identity, LEAD launched a Latinx Leadership track (U-LEAD) for upperclassmen students (60+ credit hours) in summer 2020. These classes provide students with the opportunity to learn a new leadership framework, complete research on Latinx topics, and commit to service-learning opportunities in the Latinx community. Strong course popularity led to LEAD also launching a section of Latinx Leadership for first- and second-year students in spring 2021. In this section, students learn a Latinx leadership framework, write their own leadership philosophy in alignment with Latinx leadership principles, and become knowledgeable of Latinx current events. Program retention rates suggest that Latino students engaged in high-impact practice programs and culturally responsive curricula are more likely to be retained.

Student: Thalia Plasencio
Quote: “LatinX was hands-down my absolute favorite part of my entire undergraduate career! As a mixed Chicana, I got the opportunity to learn more about my roots, and be in a supportive and caring community. I had the freedom to discover and then research issues that I was, and still am, incredibly passionate about. This class led me to see my heritage in a whole new way, and really helped me to find a community and voice.” 

                                                                                                       Thalia Plasencio

CREAR Futuros Peer-Mentoring Program 
A third program that supports UCF’s progress in intentionally SERVING Latino students is the CREAR Futuros Peer Mentoring Program. CREAR (College REadiness, Achievement and Retention) Futuros is a national initiative funded by the Hispanic Federation, Inc., designed to improve Latino student success. Creyentes (proteges) are typically first-year freshmen who are paired with knowledgeable and highly trained upper-classman UCF Peer-Mentors that introduce them to campus resources and offer insight on how to make the most out of their UCF experience. In addition to peer-mentorship on campus resources, participating students are also provided with the opportunity to hear from Latino professionals from the local external community. These guest speakers share their stories of struggle and success and offer advice on how to achieve academic and career goals. Latino cultural pride is woven into all discussions and activities in the program to affirm identities and empower Latino students to tap into that strength.  
Students: Aleyssa Arroyo Corchado (Mentor) and Malia Andujar (Creyente/Mentee)

“CREAR has been a very important part in my journey as a UCF knight. I was a mentee in my freshman and sophomore's years and know I am a mentor. I knew that this organization could offer the students guidance, support, resources, and other necessary services for those who are new to college. As a mentor, I have discovered that students want someone to talk to about their struggles and their victories. It is a real honor for me to be representing la isla del encanto, Puerto Rico, in CREAR and UCF.” – Aleyssa Arroyo Corchado 

“CREAR Futuros is not only a mentorship program but to me it is a family. CREAR has allowed me to be a part of such a wonderful family where I have relationships with amazing people with a similar Hispanic background. I am fortunate enough to have a brilliant mentor who has helped me navigate my first year and has helped me grow as not only a student but also an individual.” - Malia Andujar

CREAR Futuros Mentor Aleyssa and Mentee Malia