Director of Multicultural Efforts to end Sexual Assault
College of Agriculture
What do you do at Purdue?
I am the director of Multicultural Efforts to end Sexual Assault (MESA) in the Department of Youth Development and Agricultural Education in the College of Agriculture. MESA is a statewide sexual violence prevention program committed to preventing sexual violence in multicultural communities. In my work with MESA, I conduct sexual violence prevention education, outreach and services to underserved communities that include Latina, Native American, immigrant/refugee, migrant farm worker, African-American/Black and other underserved communities on campus and across the state. Currently I am doing a population needs assessment to better understand what it would take to prevent sexual violence in underserved communities and how to better serve them. In addition to my work around the state, I provide training and technical assistance around access/barriers to sexual violence prevention services in underserved communities at the national level.
I also serve as the advisor for Delta Phi Mu, a Latina-based sorority founded at Purdue University.
Which woman has inspired you most? Why?
I have been inspired by several women and could not name one. Of course there are great feminist leaders and writers who have inspired and influenced me. However, I have been most influenced by my late grandmother and my three daughters: Savanah, Kylah and Nicole Koob. I am a survivor of interpersonal and sexual violence. My grandmother inspired me to be strong and to do good for others in the community. My three daughters have inspired me to laugh, to grow, to make friends, to learn and to achieve. They continue to inspire me every day to forgive myself, to forgive others, to be a better person and to work to make the world a better place.
What are your goals and experiences with mentoring or encouraging others?
I love the opportunity to mentor, encourage and empower others to be their personal best, find their own light and achieve their goals. I have had the opportunity to work with students on campus and in the MESA office, survivors, men and families and women who were struggling to find their own voice. I think that it's important to help and support others through the healing process, which can be a lifelong journey. I also believe in helping people find their strengths and identify their own solutions. You can help encourage someone down the path, but you can't find the answers for them. They have to find the answers for themselves. I have a whimsical saying that I wrote that I share with people who feel stuck: "It's not too late. To eat from the plate. To take the time. To make the change. You can still turn it around!" Sometimes people feel that they have made poor choices and itís too late to make the choice that's right for them. It's never too late to make positive changes.