Miami, July 24, 2017 – Miami Dade College’s (MDC) North Campus Dean of Faculty, Dr. Jacqueline Peña, has been selected as a 2017 Hispanic Women of Distinction honoree. The award recognizes Latina professionals who are strengthening the social fabric of the country and making strides in the leadership pipeline for an increasingly diverse America.
The 16th Annual Hispanic Women of Distinction Charity Awards Luncheon will be held on Friday, August 25, at Signature Grand in Davie, FL. The luncheon will honor 12 South Florida Latinas nominated by past honorees and community leaders. Proceeds from the luncheon will benefit the Jessica June Children’s Cancer Fund and Pace Center for Girls.
“This year was truly a difficult decision for our judges,” said Elaine Vasquez, event founder and producer. “With more than 50 nominations submitted, selecting 12 became a week-long effort to cast votes for the ‘crème de la crème.’
Dr. Peña joined MDC in 2010. She has since created several programs to help make college accessible to all and support student success. The Free College for a Day program is open learners of all ages who want to sample the college experience by taking two or three free college classes available in a variety of subjects. The program also offers workshops on how to apply for financial aid, grants and scholarships, as well as session on resume writing and interview skills.
Another of Dr. Peña’s innovations, the new Weekend College at the North Campus, gives students the flexibility to complete an entire degree program with weekend-only courses. She has also spearheaded programs to support students in remedial classes.
Dr. Peña has secured several major grant programs to help with student college preparation at select area high schools, technology to improve student success and the creation of student engagement spaces and programming to increase student retention and completion rates among their Hispanic and other minority students.
Born in the Bronx, N.Y., and of Dominican descent, Dr. Peña supports a number of non-profit groups dedicated to supporting and empowering youth, including the “Tour de Esperanza,” a partnership between the Gravelers (gravel-riding bike enthusiasts) and Pedal for Hope. The event raises funds to give out hundreds of school supplies, clothing and toys to children in the Dominican Republic and locally.
About Hispanic Women of Distinction
The annual Hispanic Women of Distinction Charity and Business Expo began in 2001 as part of Hispanic Heritage Month with goal to empower Latinas, to gain insights and to learn from other successful women. Founded by the late Erwin M. Vasquez, M.D, a Venezuelan-born cardiologist, philanthropist and publisher of El Heraldo de Broward, Inc, the first Spanish language newspaper founded in 1974, he believed that Hispanic women were overlooked and underrepresented in the mainstream population.