UMass Boston Students Selected for Latino Leadership Initiative

Office of Communications | June 23, 2011
UMass Boston Students Selected for  Latino Leadership Initiative

Four University of Massachusetts Boston students have been selected to participate in the second annual Latino Leadership Initiative at Harvard University Law School.

The Latino Leadership Initiative (LLI) starts June 25 on the Harvard Law School campus in Cambridge. During the weeklong program, the students will take classes on topics such as negotiation, organizing, and public speaking. Participants will also have the chance to build relationships with Latino mentors.

The students will work with LLI graduate student mentors to develop a community service project that they will have to plan and finish before graduation.  The project for last year’s team from UMass Boston was to revitalize a community park that had been the site of a lot of gun violence.

The 2011 UMass Boston team consists of:

  • Channel Baez, a performing arts major from Sudbury planning to graduate in June 2012
  • Wellington Palma, a management major from Chelsea planning to graduate in June 2013
  • Dan Santa, a criminal justice major from Revere planning to graduate in June 2014
  • Angel Cosme, a psychology major from Brockton planning to graduate in December 2011

Baez is a single mother, full-time social worker, and full-time student who commutes from Sudbury to Boston to finish her undergraduate studies and to provide a better life for her daughter.

“Being selected for this program means that not only will I have an opportunity to change the course of my life for myself and my family, but also that I will be able to give back to my community by being an example for what determination, motivation, and education can accomplish,” Baez said.

Reyes Coll-Tellechea, an associate professor of Hispanic Studies, nominated Baez for the program.

“Channel Baez is, without any doubt, an outstanding young Latina,” Reyes said. “She possesses endless energy, an intense intellectual curiosity, and a solid grasp of what it takes to survive and to succeed in our society. She has excellent social skills, is not afraid of public speaking, and, with the help of the Latino Leadership Program, will surely become a force of change in our community.”

Susan Irvings, director of the critical and creative thinking program, wrote a letter of recommendation for Wellington Palma. Palma, who served in the U.S. Marine Corps and co-owned a hair salon in Lowell, currently serves as a peer mentor at the University of Massachusetts Boston.

“Wellington has shown his leadership skills throughout his tenure as a peer mentor for a first-year seminar,” Irvings said. “He has taken the responsibilities of being a mentor beyond my expectations and assumed a proactive role in guiding students and building community.”

“The Latino Leadership Initiative gives me a chance to meet other people in the spectrum that I’m in, as far as helping the community,” Palma said.

Santa, who lives in Revere, said the Latino Initiative Program will give him an opportunity to learn how to be a leader in the criminal justice field.

“It means a door of opportunities for my future through which I will enrich my potential with the help of staff members,” Santa said.

Cosme said he is looking forward to the opportunity to network with Latino leaders, scholars, and fellow students.

“I hope to achieve a greater understanding of my leadership style and to develop ways to use these skills to serve my community,” he said.

Cosme, his wife Tinishia, and their 8-year-old son Josiah live in Brockton.

The UMass Boston students will join 38 other students from Loyola Marymount University (Los Angeles); University of California, Merced; Texas A&M International University; the University of Houston; the University of Texas–Pan American; and Miami Dade College.

About UMass Boston
With a growing reputation for innovative research addressing complex issues, the University of Massachusetts Boston, metropolitan Boston’s only public university, offers its diverse student population both an intimate learning environment and the rich experience of a great American city. UMass Boston’s eight colleges and graduate schools serve more than 15,000 students while engaging local, national, and international constituents through academic programs, research centers, and public service activities. To learn more about UMass Boston, visit

Tags: cla , cm , community , leadership , management

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