Today @ Colorado State has been replaced by SOURCE. This site exists as an archive of Today @ Colorado State stories between January 1, 2009 and September 8, 2014.


Passion for social justice

January 7, 2009

Tania Valdez is an inspiration. While an undergraduate, she found her passion and her future in seeking social justice. Valdez believes that, while her academic performance greatly contributed to her development, other aspects of her college experience also were crucial.

Mentoring others enriched education

“One lifechanging experience has been mentoring 56 first-year undergraduate students over the past 2½ years,” she explains. “Through building relationships with these students, I found my voice and began to recognize that education greatly enhances one’s ability to  positively influence the lives of others.”

Another experience that was central to Valdez’s leadership development was the Alternative Spring Break trip she helped plan and organize. A delegation of 10 students and two faculty  members traveled to Juarez, Mexico, to learn about the femicide of more than 500 young women living and working in factories on the Mexican border. Valdez assisted a Mexican women’s organization that supports families of femicide victims.

Activie, engaged undergraduate

The list of Valdez’s activities is extraordinary. Among them, she was a founding member of INCITE! Women of Color against Violence; a volunteer for Crossroads Safehouse, Hope Lives! Breast Cancer Support Center, and the Core Center; and an active member of the Key Service Community and University Honors Program. She also tutored Spanish students, played violin in Colorado State’s symphony orchestra, and worked two campus jobs.

While engaged in all these activities, Valdez maintained a stellar 3.94 grade-point average. In May, she graduated with a bachelor’s degree in sociology, a minor in Spanish, and interdisciplinary studies certificates in Chicana/o Studies and Women’s Studies.

Academic star attending law school

She is one of 240 applicants from a pool of 7,000 who was accepted to law school at the University of California at Berkeley. “Having a legal background will help me connect people to resources previously inaccessible, and therefore, I will be able to effectively advocate for and empower others,” Valdez says.

Valdez’s leadership, academic achievement, community service, and commitment to excellence were recognized this year by the Alumni Association with the Albert C. Yates Student Leadership Award.

Passion, energy fueled by total Colorado State experience

As she ponders her just-completed undergraduate education, Valdez reflects on the opportunities that higher education creates, “not only for careers, but also for learning about who we are as people and solidifying how we want to move in the world.  I have changed radically in the past 4½ years – not only because of the material I have learned in classes, but also because of the projects, service, and other campus and community activities.”

Valdez’s passion and energy undoubtedly will effect social change, and by her graceful example, she will give hope to others.

Originally published in the College of Liberal Arts Newsletter, Fall 2008.