Latino Alumni Society to present 2018 Excelencia Latina Awards During Méritos Latinos

Violeta Lorenzo Feliciano
Photo Submitted

Violeta Lorenzo Feliciano

The Latino Alumni Society of the Arkansas Alumni Association will host its annual Méritos Latinos awards recognition and scholarship annual event at 7 p.m. on May 11 at the Hilton Garden Inn. Kirsten Erickson, Honors Program, director of the J. William Fulbright College of Arts & Sciences is the keynote speaker.

The University of Arkansas Latino Alumni Society supports Latinos within the University of Arkansas community through scholarships, networking, mentoring and providing community support. Méritos Latinos is the society's signature event. Attendees will have to opportunity to donate to the LAS scholarship program. Each year the society distributes four scholarships.

Cecilia Grossberger-Medina, the society president, and the Latino Alumni Society Board recognizes the accomplishments of outstanding individuals and organization's along with their commitment and dedication to the Latino community. 

The 2018 awards and honorees are:

Latino Academics Excellence Award: In recognition of an outstanding Latin American or Latino of the University of Arkansas for her/his commitment to educating and assisting Latin American and Latino students by linking their research, teaching and service activities to the Latino Community.

  • Violeta Lorenzo Feliciano, assistant professor of Spanish, J. William Fulbright College of Arts and Science. Lorenzo Feliciano began working at the University of Arkansas in 2014. She teaches courses on Latin American & US Latinx literatures and cultures in the Department of World Languages, Literatures, & Cultures. Her primary research focus is Hispanic Caribbean cultural and literary production. Other research and teaching interests include coming of age narratives, cultural essays, film, and U.S.-Caribbean politics and cultures. Recently, Lorenzo Feliciano was one of the faculty members behind the project to grant in-state tuition during 2018 for students displaced by Hurricane María. 

Juan Carlos Balda

Kathryn Sloan

Lifetime Achievement Award: Recognizes faculty and staff members with distinguished careers replete with outstanding service to the Latino community.

  • Juan Carlos Balda, University Professor, department head and Twenty-First Century Leadership Chair in Electrical Engineering, University of Arkansas, College of Engineering. Balda joined the University of Arkansas in July 1989. He is currently a University Professor, department head, associate director for applications of the National Center for Reliable Electric Power Transmission and campus director for the NSF IUCRC Grid-connected Advanced Power Electronic Systems. His main research interests are Power Electronics, Electric Power Distribution Systems, Motor Drives and Electric Power Quality. He is a senior member of the IEEE, member of the Power Electronics and Industry Applications Societies, and the honor society Eta Kappa Nu.

Excellence in Advancing LatinosIndividual: Recognizes individuals for their commitment to serving the Latino Community:

  • Kathryn Sloan, associate dean of humanities, J. William Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences. Kathryn Sloan is a Latin Americanist who specializes in the social and gender history of modern Mexico. Sloan recently completed her third book, a social and cultural study of suicide in modern Mexico entitled Death in the City: Suicide and the Social Imaginary in Modern Mexico (University of California Press, 2017).  A core member of the Latin American and Latino Studies and Gender Studies programs, Sloan teaches a variety of undergraduate and graduate courses in the social and cultural history of Latin America. 

Excellence in Advancing LatinosOrganization: Recognizes organizations that are committed to advancing the Latino community and, through their missions, promote the values of the Latino Alumni Society.

  • Consulado de México en Little Rock. The Consulado de México en Little Rock advances the community by serving the community of Mexicans and all Latinos in Arkansas with the educational opportunities, outreach, advocacy, and community protection. From Little Rock and through their traveling consulate services, the Consulado de México reaches families throughout Arkansas, Western Tennessee, and Eastern Oklahoma. Recognizing the significance of the Latino community to Northwest Arkansas, in September 2017, Cónsul Quilantán Arenas celebrated el acto cívico for Mexican Independence Day in Springdale for the first time in Arkansas history. 

Méritos Latinos connects students, alumni, campus and the community in an evening of celebration and excellence. Sponsorship opportunities are still available. For additional information, please contact Angela Mosley Monts at


Angela Mosley Monts, associate director of alumni constituent relations
Alumni Association

Catherine Baltz, assistant director of communications
Arkansas Alumni Association


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