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Spring 2022 Hilda López-Arce Scholarship Heading link


Hilda was born in Guayama, Puerto Rico on August 28, 1955 and moved to Philadelphia when she was three years old. She remained in Philadelphia until she decided to continue her education at the University of Illinois at Chicago and earned a Master of Education degree. Hilda had a generous spirit and dedicated her life to serving the Latino community. In Pennsylvania she worked as the Community Liaison for the Philadelphia Coalition on Domestic Violence and the Displaced Women’s Coordinator for the Lutheran Settlement House. In 1980, she accepted a position at UIC where she worked as a counselor, assistant to the Vice Chancellor and Staff Associate.

Hilda’s many civic contributions include her service as president of the Illinois Association of Hispanic State Employees (IAHSE) was board member of the Illinois Association Committee on the Higher Education (ILACHE). She devoted many hours of her personal time to improving the environment for Latino students, faculty and staff at UIC where she served on the chaired the Latino Committee on University Affairs (LCUA) and the Chancellor’s Committee on the Status of Latinos (CCSL).

Latinx Undergraduate Students at UIC

Each year the Hilda López-Arce Scholarship Selection Committee awards a $500 scholarship to a Latinx student who exhibits leadership qualities and who has made contributions to the Latinx community.

Eligibility Requirements:
❖ Must be a UIC undergraduate Latin@ student enrolled in the Fall 2021 and Spring 2022 semesters
❖ Must be in good academic standing (GPA min 3.00) with a minimum of 12 credit hours earned
❖ Must demonstrate active involvement in the Latino community on or off the UIC campus
❖ This scholarship is open to UIC undocumented students (with or without DACA)

Application and complete instructions can be found at UIC SnAP:

For fullest consideration, applications must be submitted online via the UIC SnAP site. Refer to the link below:

Application deadline: November 1, 2021 by 11:59 p.m.

Any applications missing any supporting documents will not be considered. Questions can be directed to the Co-Chairs of the Latina Network Jocelyn Munguía Chávez or Diana Soriano at

Past Recipients Heading link

Past recipients of the Hilda López-Arce Scholarship by year.


Monica Padilla
Monica is a dedicated advocate and aspiring public health professional currently pursuing a dual degree in Biology and Public Health with a minor in Chinese on the Pre-med track within the honors college at UIC. Her commitment to the Latinx community is evident throughout her academic and professional journey. At the University of Illinois at Chicago, Monica founded the Chinese Club and Taekwondo Club, creating spaces that celebrate cultural diversity and foster a sense of belonging. Concurrently, as the Vice-President of Mujeres in Medicina, she is dedicated to empowering Latina women pursuing careers in healthcare, fostering mentorship, and creating a supportive network.

Professionally, Monica serves as a Molina Lab Research Assistant at the University of Illinois Chicago Comprehensive Cancer Center. Her research focuses on exploring the impact of breast health knowledge on the decision to obtain a mammogram among participants, with a particular interest in understanding how this relationship varies based on different intervention approaches, specifically empowerment versus education. Monica aims to contribute valuable insights to our understanding of preventive healthcare initiatives, shedding light on the effectiveness of distinct strategies in promoting breast health awareness and encouraging proactive screening behaviors. Monica's role as a Spanish Medical Interpreter at a community health clinic in Chicago underscores her commitment to language access. Volunteering for at least 10 hours per month, she facilitates effective communication between healthcare providers and Spanish-speaking patients, ensuring accurate information exchange and supporting the healthcare needs of the Latinx community.

During her tenure as a Chicago EYES on Cancer Research Assistant Intern at the University of Chicago, Monica focused on understanding and overcoming the barriers faced by Latina individuals in enrolling in breast cancer clinical trials. She translated materials into Spanish, conducted church interventions, and significantly increased Latina diversity in her PI's breast cancer clinical trial by 550%. Monica actively presents at conferences like SACNAS and AACR, dedicated to promoting diversity and representation in cancer research, particularly benefiting the Latinx community.

As the Founder of Charla De Salud, an initiative under the American Cancer Society, Monica develops visually captivating educational materials in Spanish on health topics such as nutrition, cancer awareness, and preventive care. She leads inclusive group discussions, creating safe spaces for health dialogues that resonate with diverse Latinx communities.

Monica's position as an American Cancer Society Legislative Ambassador allows her to advocate for cancer-related policies that directly impact the Latinx community. Engaging with elected officials, conducting research on legislative proposals, and actively participating in events, Monica educates stakeholders about the importance of these policies for cancer patients and their families.
Paulina Sequeda Malave
Paulina is a student in the College of Engineering, majoring in Biomedical Engineering with a concentration on Neural Engineering.

Born in Venezuela, Paulina spent her initial 18 years in her home country before embarking on a journey to Argentina to pursue her dream of becoming a biomedical engineer. This pursuit continued when she arrived in the United States. Currently a junior at the University of Illinois Chicago, Paulina earned her Associate in Engineering Science (AES) at Elgin Community College. During her time there, she discovered a passion for community service through participation in the Phi Theta Kappa Honors in Action program and serving as a Co-Marketing Officer for the Organization of Latin American Students.

Actively volunteering to support Venezuelan migrant communities and advocating for education, Paulina extends her dedication to the Hispanic community. Her focus on assistive technologies reflects her dream of pursuing rehabilitation engineering in graduate school, showcasing a commitment to helping people, especially those in underrepresented communities.


Eva Cancino
Eva Cancino is a senior entering her final semester of nursing school. Over the course of her college education she has been involved with the Latinx community. She first started volunteering at the University of Illinois Hospital in 2019, where she helped with checking patients in for their appointments within the short stay unit. In this unit, patients would be admitted for small procedures or tests. This was the first volunteer experience where she was able to practice speaking Spanish to patients who did not understand English. This allowed her to become more confident in her bilingual skills. During COVID, she volunteered at her local soup kitchen where she helped bag groceries for immigrant families. More recently she was able to assist with teaching a physical education class to special education students of the Cesar Chavez Multicultural Academic Center. Being involved with local businesses and community leaders has provided her with the opportunity to serve her community, the Latinx community, and allowed her to further develop empathy and leadership skills.
Daniela Guerrero
Daniela Guerrero is a Junior pursuing a triple major in Public Policy, Political Science and Sociology with minors in International Studies and Sustainable Cities. As a Latina who immigrated from Colombia to the United States, she has dedicated herself to supporting other Latinos in and out of campus. This academic year, she had the honor to be part of the Urban Public Policy Fellowship. As a fellow, she is developing a research project that studies how the methods of data collection negatively impact the Latinx Community. Also, she is currently interning for the office of Cook County Commissioner Alma Anaya. As part of the policy team, she is able to propose policies that address the social inequality that Latinx communities face in the county.
Melissa Lopez
Melissa Lopez is a first-generation college student majoring in Bioengineering with big plans in pursuing graduate school. Having struggled in STEM subjects as a child due to a lack of guidance and encouragement by her mentors, she is actively involved in outreach programs that promote STEM subjects to underrepresented minorities. As a member of the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE), she volunteers her time in planning and leading workshops through the SHPEjr program which provides elementary-high school students with opportunities to participate in hands-on STEM activities. She also helps execute the Noche De Ciencia (NDC) events hosted by UIC's SHPE chapter, which is an engaging event filled with panels and workshops to inspire youths and their parents to pursue STEM careers. Melissa is also involved in the Expanding Your Horizons (EYH), a two-day conference for middle school girls to engage in exciting STEM experiences. She helps EYH by planning the parent program that is filled with panels and local speakers that provide resources and tips to parents in order to better support their young girl's path into a STEM career. Melissa aims to become a research scientist specializing in cellular and tissue regeneration and hopes to inspire more Hispanics to pursue STEM careers.


Adriana Antunez
Adriana Antunez is a senior at the University of Illinois at Chicago in pursuit of obtaining a bachelor's degree in Human Development and Learning. She has been assisting at Resilience, formerly known as Rape Victim Advocates, as a Prevention Education intern since the fall of 2019. She is passionate about advocating for marginalized communities, such as survivors of sexual assault, while using art as a tool for healing and social justice. She hopes to soon be pursuing a master's degree related to the arts and/or education.
Adriana Olvera Cabral
Adriana Olvera Cabral comes from Azcapotzalco, Mexico City. She was born and raised in Mexico and moved to the United States in the year 2014. The transition wasn’t easy, but she did well in school while also being involved in multiple other extracurricular activities. She volunteered in a program in high school to help incoming ESL students to learn about the resources and opportunities at the school and prepare for their future after high school. She helped at multiple events as a translator for Hispanic students and parents. In these events, she also presented her story and provided advice for parents and ESL students, who were transitioning to a different country to show them what they could accomplish. She was chosen by Equal Opportunities Schools to represent her school’s AP program and to present as an ESL student taking AP courses. At UIC, she is part of the Women in Engineering Society and the Women in Computer Science. Her goal is to become a computer engineer and the first college graduate in her family.
Jesus Emmanuel Ocampo
Liberal Arts & Sciences
Jesús is a sophomore enrolled in pre-nursing and minoring in psychology. He has volunteered in the hospital, welcoming patients and helping children feel comfortable in the pediatric unit. He is also the volunteer coordinator for CHAMPIONS Network at UIC, a pipeline program working with underrepresented high school students wishing to pursue a healthcare career. He organizes and helps present healthcare workshops and tutors high school students in chemistry, as well as teaches bystander CPR. Jesús plans to become a bilingual, bicultural male nurse.
Martha Garcia
Liberal Arts & Sciences, Honors College
Martha is a pre-med student majoring in neuroscience who has participated in research that focuses on developing a culturally and linguistically adapted e-health intervention for Latina breast cancer survivors. She volunteers her time to efforts that promote health equity. For example, she interprets at CommunityHealth, a clinic that works with a large population of uninsured Latinos. She also participated in programs led by the Hispanic Center of Excellence, such as Medicina Scholars, that focuses on increasing the number of Latinos in the health field so that they can eventually serve the Latino community. She plans to be a culturally competent physician.


Cristian Baez
Cristian Baeza is a Human Development & Learning and minor in sociology, a first generation college student, and the first one to go to a four year university from his entire family. "I’ve had to navigate various new spaces, especially dealing with the transition from high school to a university without much guidance and support. As the son of Mexican parents that could not afford an education or even the luxury to travel to another country other than taking the risk themselves and leaving their country of origin to come to the United States, I am very privileged, but also excited to be given the opportunity to have been accepted to the Amsterdam Study Abroad Program for Summer 2018 and am currently a fellow of the 2018-2019 UPPF program."
Ayen Pacheco
Aylen Pacheco’s passion in life is architecture. When he arrived at college, he diligently worked towards establishing a NOMAS (National Organization of Minority Architects) chapter at the School of Architecture. As the current UIC NOMAS president, he aims to re-energize his peers to become more socially responsible while cultivating professional development, network, and design skills. One of the most rewarding experiences he had as president cames from returning to help his community. Last year, he worked with the professional NOMA chapter and his former elementary school in Little Village to schedule a workshop where they introduced middle school students to the field of architecture. Due to the success of this workshop, they have been able to program more workshops throughout the Latino community. "Receiving the Hilda López-Arce Memorial Scholarship will support me in continuing my education as an undocumented student. Coming from the working class, education can seem surreal, especially when financial aid is not an option. Scholarships like this are what provide hardworking students the opportunity to a higher education."