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Latino community advocate receives graduate scholarship

Diana Hernandez-Benton

Serving as a missionary for almost two years, Diana Hernandez-Benton realized there was a great need for representation, education and assistance in the Latino communities.

It’s a role that Hernandez-Benton continues to excel at today in her professional career and also as a volunteer in the Latino community.

In recognition of her leadership qualities and community involvement, the Sacramento Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, in partnership with Drexel University, announced today that it has named Hernandez-Benton as the recipient of the Hispanic Leadership Master’s Grant. Hernandez-Benton will receive a $20,000 scholarship for her studies at Drexel’s Center for Graduate Studies in Sacramento. This scholarship is given annually to an up-and-coming leader from the Hispanic community.

Drexel and the chamber established the Hispanic Leadership Master’s Grant in fall 2008. Two of the three award winners are currently pursuing graduate degrees at Drexel. The first, Wells Fargo manager Gloria Mirazo, graduated from Drexel with her MBA last December.

Hernandez-Benton is currently serving as a senior case manager at Kaiser Permanente. She received a bachelor’s of science degree in physiology from UC Davis.

“I am truly honored to be the recipient of this scholarship,” Hernandez-Benton said. “This scholarship will get me closer to obtaining my master’s in public health, which will allow me to better serve the Hispanic community in addressing important issues in the public health sector.”

Hernandez-Benton, who lives in Sacramento, is currently enrolled in Drexel’s Executive Master of Public Health (MPH) program.

“It is a great opportunity to partner and have the support of Drexel University in preparing our leaders of tomorrow,” chamber president Steve Gándola said. “We’re very proud to support this scholarship opportunity for young working professionals like Diana who will make a great impact in our Hispanic community.”

The Hispanic Leadership Master’s Grant is awarded through a competitive process to a student whom the Hispanic Chamber’s selection committee believes holds excellent promise for future leadership in Sacramento’s Hispanic community. It is expected, and a condition of the award, that the winners will continue to be active in the chamber and give back to their communities as they pursue their graduate degrees.

A panel of leading Hispanic business and community leaders reviewed grant applications, met with finalists and awarded the grant. This year’s selection committee was chaired by Norma Andrade of Wells Fargo. Other committee members included Lydia Ramirez of Union Bank, Victoria Rosario of Los Rios Community College and Gándola.

“Drexel is proud to partner once again with the Sacramento Hispanic Chamber to promote the development of the next generation of leaders in the Latino community,” graduate studies recruitment director Nancy Thompson said. “We share a passion to the community, diversity and excellence of the professionals in our region. Our innovative and dynamic programs meet the needs of working professionals, helping them achieve success in their careers, personal lives and communities.”

The Graduate Center, which opened in January 2009, offers programs focused on the heart of Sacramento’s growth and economic development initiatives, including business, human resource development, higher education and public health. Classes fit with the schedules of working professionals and are a blend of in-class and online pedagogies.

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