Red carpet star Eva Longoria comes to campus for a cause
Lights, camera, action. That was the mood at the UH Hilton on Saturday night as the Center for Mexican American Studies prepared for its annual banquet and welcomed the keynote speaker for the night, actress and activist Eva Longoria.
“I’m just excited to, in any way, support any Mexican-American studies program, in particular for scholarships for kids who find it hard to have access to financial aid and support to get to college,” Longoria said.
Longoria entered the Hawaiian Room of the Hilton UH, flashing a bright smile.
When asked about her main message to students and why she thought it was important to come to campuses like UH, Longoria spoke about the statistics that show that Latinos have the highest dropout rates nationally among college students and how she wanted to help change that.
“That is one of the main reasons that I went to graduate school. It was during the height of my career, and I was filming ‘Desperate Housewives’ and taking classes at night,” Longoria said. “I wanted to show these Latinas that come up to me, telling me that they can’t do it, that if I could, so can they.”
Longoria earned a master’s degree in Chicano studies from California State University at Northridge. She established the Eva Longoria Foundation to help and support programs that provide resources to help Latinas succeed in college.
For students, being part of the Mexican-American studies program is a life-changing experience in which they develop the skills to make it in a competitive economy under the mentorship of experienced professors and advisers.
“Being a student of the Center for Mexican American Studies has been a blessing for me. I joined the program when I was a senior in high school. I have been part of the program for five years now,” said broadcast journalism senior Brisheyda Martinez.
“They have given me everything I need to succeed in college. It has been a key for my success as a professional, and of course, (Saturday was) is an amazing day to have Eva Longoria here and learn from her. She is someone who gives back to the community and represents Hispanics.”
Martinez got the opportunity to address Longoria during a private reception that was held with students of CMAS. She expressed her gratitude and told the actress what an inspiration she was to young Latinos aspiring to be as successful as she is.
“It has always been the mission of the Center to support students who may be the first in their families to attend college, to support young scholars as they produce important research about the Latino experience and to bring together community leaders for the benefit of both,” said CMAS director and professor Tatcho Mindiola in a press release.
A highlight of the event was when environmental science and energy and sustainability sophomore Brenda Martinez was awarded the Eva Longoria Scholarship.