WALLA WALLA, Wash.--  Jazmin López, a Whitman junior majoring in Spanish, will represent the college on the national scene for at least the next two years. She has been elected undergraduate representative for Mujeres Activas, en Letras y Cambio Social (MALCS) — a national academic organization for Chicana studies — at its Summer Institute Conference earlier this month at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City. 

            The undergraduate representative serves a two-year term; López will serve as representative-elect for 2008-2009 and before assuming the duties of the representative in 2009-2010. Through the offices of the president, the provost and the dean of students, Whitman will fund López's travel to the organization's conferences and support her in meeting the responsibilities of her new position, said Nohemy Solórzano-Thompson, assistant professor of Spanish and her adviser.

            “Jazmin’s emerging leadership in Chicana studies at the national professional level is evidence of her determination and scholarly promise in the field,” added Solórzano-Thompson. “She is one of the brightest students I have ever had the pleasure of working with. I predict she will be one of the intellectual leaders in the field of Chicana/o studies in the near future.”           

         López is one of three daughters of Walla Walla residents Ema and Macabeo López, originally from Oaxaca, Mexico. All three were born in Walla Walla, where Ema works full-time for Whitman College, and Macabeo works in the construction industry. Jazmin is the first member in her immediate family to attend college, but she will not be the last. Her mother has been adament about her daughters attending college since their births. “When they were born and I first held them, I told the nurses, ‘This baby will go to college.’”

              “My daughters are my life,” Ema said. “I was so happy and proud when I heard about this honor for Jazmin, and so thankful to President Bridges and the whole Whitman staff for being supportive of my daughter.” Although she said she feels she can never repay all the kindness and support she has received at Whitman, Ema said that she expects Jazmin — as well as her two sisters — to someday help others.

             The proud mother is also quick to praise Solórzano-Thompson, who has been “like Jazmin’s second mother,” always there to help. “She is a very helpful person and a very hard worker,” said Ema.

 CONTACT: Lenel Parish, Whitman News Service, (509) 527-5156