Arizona Latina Trailblazers

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The Raul H. Castro Institute of Phoenix College is honoring four women at the seventh annual Arizona Latina Trailblazers event. We’ll talk to one of the honorees, Dr. Nancy A. Gonzales, ASU Foundation Professor of Psychology and director of the ASU Prevention Center, and Trino Sandoval, director for the Raul H. Castro Institute of Phoenix College, about the event.

José Cárdenas: Next month, four women will be honored at the seventh annual Arizona Latina Trailblazers event presented by the Raul H. Castro Institute of Phoenix College. Joining me to talk about the event is Trino Sandoval, executive director for the Raul H. Castro Institute at Phoenix College, and Dr. Nancy Gonzales who is one of the honorees. Welcome to both of you. You've been on the show before for some of the work that you're being honored for at this event but before we talk about that, give us a quick thumbnail sketch of the institute itself, and then let's talk about this event, which is in its seventh year.

Trino Sandoval: It was established in 2006 at the request of then-governor Janet Napolitano to honor governor Castro and so we can develop research in the areas of leadership and health and human services.

José Cárdenas: For those who may not remember or know, governor Castro was the first elected Hispanic governor of the state of Arizona.

Trino Sandoval: Yes,and the only one so far since 1974 I believe to 1976.

José Cárdenas: Let's talk about the Latina trailblazers event. It is in its seventh year. What was its genesis and what are we going to see this year?

Trino Sandoval: What we want to do is we want to publicly recognize the contributions that these four women have made to their professions and we want to make sure that we document and that we preserve their life stories by creating a video documentary of their work and provide videos to people electronically and also in print. Another component that's very important for the reason we do this is we create curriculum that we provide to school teachers so they can use the DVDs and the biographies in the classrooms, as well.

José Cárdenas: Dr. Gonzalez, how did you find out you were going to be honored and what's your reaction to that?

Dr. Nancy Gonzales: I had not known that I was nominated so when I received a phone call about the award, I was first shocked, but just completely humbled and honored to be among women who have come before me and been selected for this award. It's quite kind of overwhelming to have this kind of recognition.

José Cárdenas: And what do you think is the significance of this kind of recognition, not only for yourself but for others in the community?

Dr. Nancy Gonzales: Well, it's interesting to hear how they try to use the material. I think the significance is to recognize the very different and important ways that Latinas have made a contribution to our culture, to our community. And what's very impressive about the award is the wide range of professions that they pull in, in giving this recognition.

José Cárdenas: And let's talk about the other recipients actually of the award just briefly.

Trino Sandoval: We have selected four women, as you know, Dr. Gonzalez is one of them. We have also selected Patricia, and other trailblazers and we have also selected representative Rebecca Rios, who is currently the highest ranking Latina in elected office.

José Cárdenas: And remind me, when is the event?

Trino Sandoval: The event is on Wednesday, April 29th from 5:30 to 7:30 at the Phoenix art museum. The event is open and free to the public and we have a capacity to receive up to 500 people there.

José Cárdenas: Dr. Gonzalez, we should say a little bit about the work that you've been doing, which is one of the reasons that you're being honored. We talked about it on the show, just give us a summary.

Dr. Nancy Gonzales: Well, you know, I'm a clinical psychologist. I'm a research scientist and I'm very interested in understanding what contributes to the positive development of families and youth. And it's been very important to me in that work to make sure that the strengths of our culture are represented in how we think about why youth do well, what are factors that we can strengthen in order to prevent them from developing problems. So I've had a combination of research that is broad community-based research as well as intervention research and last time I was here, I was talking about some of the intervention work but I've also been working with a large group of wonderful collaborators at ASU, trying to study families in our community for more than 15, 20 years, we've had some ongoing studies trying to better understand how we can better help our community.

José Cárdenas: And last question, I take it events like this which provide positive role models are one of those things we can do to improve the situation.

Dr. Nancy Gonzales: Exactly, probably the strongest message that we've learned from our research is that opportunities to strengthen a sense of pride and culture are very, very important for youth. So this is another way that we can do it, as well as the arts, strengthening culture of family and in our schools, etc. So yes, this is a prime example of how we can do that.

José Cárdenas: Dr. Gonzalez, congratulations on your award. Trino, congratulations on what looks to be another great event. Thank you both.

Trino Sandoval: Thank you.

Dr. Nancy A. Gonzales:ASU Foundation Professor of Psychology and Director, Prevention Center at Arizona State University; Trino Sandoval:Director, Raul H. Castro Institute of Phoenix College;

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