The #HTIEnConjunto Giving Campaign is Live!! This year we want to raise $10,000 to support the HTI Summer Workshop and the Latinx Scholars First Position Program. Read #HTIimpact stories from HTI graduates below. Click “give” to support the mission and vision of the Hispanic Theological Initiative.

Let’s start off strong, together!

Xochitl's Story







Dr. Xochitl Alvizo, Assistant Professor, California State University, Northridge

“I always knew I wanted to be in the classroom. I loved learning and being exposed to ideas that changed my way of thinking – sometimes permanently. I joked that I had two choices, I could either pay to be a student in someone else’s classroom for the rest of my life or get paid as a professor to learn with others in my own classroom. I chose both, as a professor, I got to be a “forever” student who spent her time teaching and learning in community with others. For this, I knew I needed the Ph.D.”

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Gilberto's Story

Dr. Gilberto A. Ruiz, Assistant Professor of Theology, Saint Anselm College

“Anxiety and self-doubt have always been part of my life. Can I accomplish what I am supposed to do? These feelings would often surface in my years as a little leaguer. Thoughts of dropping the next ball, or striking out at a key at-bat, plagued me. These feelings took a different form during graduate school. Other doctoral students just seemed to know the “game” of academic discourse, while I felt like an “imposter.” Could I do what I signed up for when I applied to get a PhD?”

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Ann's Story

Dr. Ann Hidalgo, Acquisitions Librarian, Claremont School of Theology

““Say something in Spanish.” They were the words I hated most. As a kindergartner walking to school in a gaggle of kids, I cringed as my next-door neighbor and best friend announced to the group that my family spoke Spanish. In suburban Cleveland, Ohio, this was unheard of – at least to my elementary schoolmates. “Say something in Spanish,” they demanded. What were my options? I could trot out my best Sesame Street voice and count to five, but that would only meet with “No, no, talk a lot – talk fast.” I could take the sarcastic route and reply “algo” – literally “something.” Either way, this wouldn’t end well.”

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Peter's Story



Dr. Peter A. Mena, Assistant Professor of Theology and Religious Studies, University of San Diego

“It seems to be common knowledge that the first couple of years in a tenure-track position can be the most difficult for an academic lucky enough to obtain such a position. This certainly was the case for me. I thought that what I had been working toward for so very long had been achieved when I obtained my first tenure-track position. I also felt extremely grateful. I knew, then, as I do now, that so many smart, creative, and brilliant people who worked hard and deserved to be teaching and doing research, were still working hard to obtain a position that afforded them the ability to do this important work. It was this attitude of gratefulness (coupled with being new in a tenure-track position) that kept me from being able to know the difference between the difficulties of being an early-career scholar, and the untenable situation, for me, of being at an institution where you simply don’t fit. I exhausted myself not just with the labor of teaching, research, and institutional commitments, but also with the emotional and psychological work I had to do in order to convince myself that all was as it should be, and what I was experiencing was just the difficulties of being on the tenure-track for the first few years. I was at the end of my rope and beginning to think that if what I was going through was the status quo for early career scholars, that I may not be cut out for doing this work.”

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Mati's Story

Dr. Matilde K. Moros, Assistant Professor of Gender, Sexuality and Women’s Studies, Virginia Commonwealth University

“Although, I am wholeheartedly devoted to the academy, the world of ideas, critical reflection, writing, and teaching, I equally love being a mother of three and I thrive on connecting to my family and friends in various parts of the world. When I began my doctoral work, I did not realize how challenging it would be to maintain all the relationships that feed me. While small things were concerns to me—like trying keep the frijoles cooking and arepas on the grill while I write a dissertation—life was a bit more complicated. I had family in various parts of the world, children in early stages of elementary school, and financial commitments well beyond the typical need of graduate students. My mother was near death twice during my program, my son had an emergency with an asthma crisis, my eldest child broke and then dislocated an arm, and my health took a toll to the point of my pre-cancerous six months in which I had many medical close calls. I struggled to navigate a life that seemed to be quickly crumbling and shattering.”

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Melissa's Story

Dr. Melissa Pagán, Assistant Professor, Graduate Program Director, Mount Saint Mary’s University

I am a first-generation college student. Needless to say I was excited when I began my doctoral studies at Emory University; however, the uncertainties abounded. While I knew that I wanted to complete my Ph.D. I had no idea what I was actually doing at this institution and, at that time, I did not have sufficient resources to figure it out. Grace presented itself when I was given the opportunity to become an HTI scholar. The overwhelming confusion and isolation so typical for doctoral students was tempered for me through the work of the Hispanic Theological Initiative. At each stage of my doctoral program they were intent and consistent in providing the resources and support—mentoring, writing workshops, exams and dissertation workshops, editorial support—that was necessary to keep me moving forward.

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