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).

In July of 2018, Dr. Conde-Frazier began her work in AETH as the Coordinator of Relations with Entities of Theological Education and she is in charge of the creation and development of a network of Hispanic Bible Institutes. Before coming to AETH, she served as Vice-President of Education and Dean of Esperanza College. With three decades of experience in education, Dr. Conde-Frazier set the vision and strategic direction for Esperanza College, and provides leadership and management for the faculty and staff. Previously, she was a professor of religious education at the Claremont School of Theology and taught Hispanic theology at the Latin American Bible Institute in California.

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.

The Rev. Dr. Loida I. Martell is the 18th Vice President of Academic Affairs/ Dean of Lexington Theological Seminary, where she also serves as Professor of Constructive Theology. Dr. Martell joined the faculty of Lexington Theology Seminary in August of 2017. Prior to that, she was the Professor of Constructive Theology at Palmer Theological Seminary of Eastern University in Pennsylvania.

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

Xochitl Alvizo

Xochitl Alvizo

Assistant Professor of Religious Studies, California State University, Northridge

Wendy Arce

Wendy Arce

Associate Dean of Students, Graduate Theological Union

Ruth Aimée Belonni-Rosario Govens

Ruth Aimée Belonni-Rosario Govens

Executive Vice President, Presbyterian Pan American School

Rebecca Berru Davis

Rebecca Berru Davis

Assistant Professor in Theology, St. Catherine University

María M. Carrión

María M. Carrión

Professor of Religion and Comparative Literature. Chair, Department of Religion, Emory University

Soco Castañeda

Soco Castañeda

Chief Education Officer, Becoming Mujeres: Translating Cultural Expectations into Opportunities

Cristian De La Rosa

Cristian De La Rosa

Assistant Professor of Contextual Theology and Practice, Boston University School of Theology

Neomi De Anda

Neomi De Anda

Associate Professor of Religious Studies, University of Dayton

Teresa Delgado

Teresa Delgado

Professor and Department Chairperson of Theology and Ethics, Iona College

Doris Garcia-Rivera

Doris Garcia-Rivera

Interim Director, Baptist Peace Fellowship of North America

Jacqueline Hidalgo

Jacqueline Hidalgo

Professor of Latinx Studies and Religion, Associate Dean for Institutional Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, Williams College

Nora Lozano

Nora Lozano

BUA Professor of Theological Studies / CLLI Executive Director, Baptist University of the Américas / Christian Latina Ledership Institute

Melissa Pagán

Melissa Pagán

Assistant Professor of Religious Studies and Director of Graduate Religious Studies, Mount Saint Mary's University

Ahida Calderon Pilarski

Ahida Calderon Pilarski

Professor of Old Testament/Hebrew Bible and Chair of the Theology Department, Saint Anselm College

Mayra Rivera

Mayra Rivera

Andrew W. Mellon Professor of Religion and Latinx Studies, Harvard University

Carla Roland Guzmán

Carla Roland Guzmán

Rector (Senior Pastor)/ Affiliate Faculty in Church History, Church of St Matthew & St Timothy / General Theological Seminary

Jennie Lee Salas

Jennie Lee Salas

Associate Director of Field Education, Princeton Theological Seminary

Theresa Torres

Theresa Torres

Associate Professor of Latinx and Latin American Studies and Sociology, University of Missouri-Kansas City

Alexandra Zareth

Alexandra Zareth

Leadership Development of Leaders of Color, PC(USA)