Latinas in Leadership Speakers
Margarita Benítez’s lifelong involvement with higher education began at the University of Puerto Rico (UPR), where she was born and raised. At UPR, she was a professor of Spanish Literature and Humanities, as well as Chancellor of UPR’s Cayey Campus, and Acting Chancellor of UPR’s Humacao Campus. After moving to Washington, DC in 1997, she held a number of senior positions in higher education organizations, such as the Office of Postsecondary Education in the U.S. Dept. of Education, the Institute for Higher Education Policy, Excelencia in Education, The Education Trust, and the American Council on Education. In 2013, Dr. Benítez was one of four educators in the United States selected by Lumina Foundation for Education as a Lumina Fellow, in recognition of her work for access and success for underrepresented students. In September 2018, Benítez returned to Puerto Rico to serve as executive director of the Puerto Rico Endowment for the Humanities.
Dr. Benítez holds an undergraduate degree in philosophy, and graduate degrees in Hispanic Studies from Vassar College (BA), Middlebury College (MA), and Columbia University (PhD).
She is the author of many publications in areas of multicultural education, Latin feminist theology, academic spirituality, and education for justice. Elizabeth was the first director of the Latin American Ministries Program Orlando E. Costas at Andover Newton Theological Seminary. She has developed leadership training programs for pastors, lay leaders and youth. She holds a Ph.D. in theology and religious education from Boston University, and a master’s degree in Divinity from the Eastern Baptist Theological Seminary.
Dr. Martell is a licensed doctor in veterinary medicine as well as an ordained minister in the American Baptist Churches/ USA. She is a bi-coastal Puerto Rican who has taught in various institutions of higher learning including Gordon Conwell’s Center for Urban Ministerial Education in Boston and the University of Puerto Rico’s College of Allied Health Professionals. She pastored in New York City for 15 years, and served as President of the Board of American Baptist Churches/ New York City from 1994–1996.
Dr. Martell pioneered the study of evángelica theology. She has published articles on various topics related to evangélica theology, including soteriology, Trinitarian theology, eschatology, and globalization. The findings of her research on Taíno religiosity and its link to current evangélica spirituality were published in “My GPS Doesn’t Work in Puerto Rico” (2010). She co-edited Teología en Conjunto: A Collaborative Hispanic Protestant Theology (1997), and co-authored the well-received Latina Evangélicas: A Theological Survey from the Margins (2013)
She is a member of the American Veterinary Medical Association, the American Academy of Religion, and the Society for Biblical Literature. Dr. Martell served as President of La Comunidad of Hispanic Scholars of Religion from 2016–2019. She represents the ABC/ USA on the National Council of Churches Convening Table for Theological Studies and Matters of Faith and Reason and on the NCC Racial Advisory Committee. The American Baptist Home Missions Societies awarded her the 2015 Richard Hoiland Christian Education Award, its highest recognition for “faithful and effective leadership in Christian education,” for her long-standing work in nurturing culturally and racially diverse classrooms and for exceptional leadership.
Latinas in Leadership Participants
Assistant Professor of Religious Studies, California State University, Northridge
Associate Dean of Students, Graduate Theological Union
Ruth Aimée Belonni-Rosario Govens
Executive Vice President, Presbyterian Pan American School
Rebecca Berru Davis
Assistant Professor in Theology, St. Catherine University
María M. Carrión
Professor of Religion and Comparative Literature. Chair, Department of Religion, Emory University
Chief Education Officer, Becoming Mujeres: Translating Cultural Expectations into Opportunities
Cristian De La Rosa
Assistant Professor of Contextual Theology and Practice, Boston University School of Theology
Neomi De Anda
Associate Professor of Religious Studies, University of Dayton
Professor and Department Chairperson of Theology and Ethics, Iona College
Interim Director, Baptist Peace Fellowship of North America
Professor of Latinx Studies and Religion, Associate Dean for Institutional Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, Williams College
BUA Professor of Theological Studies / CLLI Executive Director, Baptist University of the Américas / Christian Latina Ledership Institute
Assistant Professor of Religious Studies and Director of Graduate Religious Studies, Mount Saint Mary's University
Ahida Calderon Pilarski
Professor of Old Testament/Hebrew Bible and Chair of the Theology Department, Saint Anselm College
Andrew W. Mellon Professor of Religion and Latinx Studies, Harvard University
Carla Roland Guzmán
Rector (Senior Pastor)/ Affiliate Faculty in Church History, Church of St Matthew & St Timothy / General Theological Seminary
Jennie Lee Salas
Associate Director of Field Education, Princeton Theological Seminary
Associate Professor of Latinx and Latin American Studies and Sociology, University of Missouri-Kansas City
Leadership Development of Leaders of Color, PC(USA)