UNCW Centro Hispano Employees Receive Statewide Award for Student Advocacy

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Edel Segovia and Chris Montero are the recipients of the 2017 John L. Sanders Student Advocate Award, the highest honor bestowed by the University of North Carolina Association of Student Governments.

The Sanders Award recognizes individuals who advocate for the best interests of North Carolina’s students and contribute to the quality of their lives. Previous winners include former Governor James B. Hunt and UNC Pembroke Chancellor Robin G. Cummings.

Segovia, director of UNCW Centro Hispano, and Montero, MI CASA program coordinator, were among several nominees across the UNC system. MI CASA (Mentors Initiating Community Action, Support, and Advocacy) is a mentoring program designed to provide access to higher education to Hispanic and Latino high school students in North Carolina.

UNCW Student Body President Dan McCord recommended Segovia and Montero for their work within local Latino and Hispanic communities. Centro Hispano provides mentorship, community engagement, networking, cultural education opportunities and supports the university’s diversity initiatives.

"Edel and Chris have provided the mentorship and support that have empowered hundreds of students to stay at UNCW and graduate,” said McCord. “They are role models for their students, teaching virtues by example. Their success is embodied by the students who go through their center, many of whom have become academically distinguished students and successful alumni." 

Since Segovia’s arrival in 2009, UNCW’s Hispanic student enrollment has more than doubled, and the number of annual awarded degrees has jumped from 79 to 249. More than 65 percent of Hispanic students have a 3.0 or better GPA, according to Centro Hispano’s annual report.

“Over the past seven years, we have created a home away from home not only for Latin students, but for anyone who identifies with the immigrant community and leans on Centro as a resource,” she said.

Montero has a deep passion for his work, which includes increasing the number of Hispanics attending college.

“It’s a great privilege to be in a position where I can make a difference and have a lasting impact in the lives of our students,” he said.

Montero and Segovia have also received national recognition for their work. In 2015, Centro Hispano was the recipient of the “Bright Spots” and “Commitment to Action” awards from the White House Initiative for the Educational Excellence of Hispanics.

Segovia and Montero will be presented with the Sanders Award at North Carolina Central University on April 21.

--Emily S. Pierce and Venita Jenkins


Edel Segovia

Edel Segovia, director of UNCW Centro Hispano

Chris Montero

 Chris Montero, MI CASA program coordinator