Alumni Spotlights – Recognized Alumni
#AlumniSpotlight: Please join us in recognizing Jenny Willier Murphy (CLAS ‘89) for her dedication spending over 20 years working on rule of law, citizen justice and security reform programming, and issues with the U.S. State Department, USAID (US Agency of International Development), and other organizations/companies. She has special expertise in the Americas and has been serving for the past few years as a member of the Board of Directors for the Justice Studies Center of the Americas (JSCA) aka Centro de Estudios de Justicia de las Américas (CEJA). Her nominee notes her extensive experience writing that “it would take several pages just to summarize her career!” In addition to her professional achievements, Jenny has been an active alumna of the University of Virginia. She served on the Board of Directors of The Bolivar Network from approximately 2007 to 2011. During that time, among other projects, she helped to initiate the creation of the BN First Year Scholarship–of which she was one of the founding donors. She has also served several times on the Fundraising Committee for her class as part of Reunions Weekends. While at UVA, Jenny majored in Spanish & Foreign Affairs.
#AlumniSpotlight: Join us in congratulating Tyler Miller-Jones (CLAS ‘19), on his acceptance to the University of Miami School of Law! Tyler is Nicaraguan and Trinidadian, born and raised in Florida. He also lived part of his childhood in the Cayman Islands. While at UVA, he majored in Government and Philosophy, where he also was involved in Housing and Residence Life, Club Soccer, Beta Theta Pi, the Peer Mentoring Program, the Afro-Latinx Student Organization, and the IMP Society.
#Alumnispotlight: Join us in congratulating Fernando Mercado Violand (CLAS ‘14) on his acceptance to the University of Virginia School of Law where he plans to attend in the Fall of 2021! Fernando immigrated to the U.S. from Bolivia as a child. Currently, he works as the Biden presidential campaign’s Deputy State and Political Director for Virginia. Before that, he served as the Latinx Outreach Coordinator and Community Engagement Specialist for the Office of Governor Ralph Northam. His nominee writes that “[Fernando] has helped pave the way for many other UVA Latinx alumni to get involved with Virginia state government and politics.” While at UVa, Fernando majored in History and Government, and was part of LSA and the IMP Society.
#AlumniSpotlight: Please join us in congratulating Natalia Chavez (CLAS ‘19) for starting her first year of graduate school at the Virginia Commonwealth University School of Dentistry. This marks the start of her dream career! As a first-generation grad student, she has also started an Instagram (@chavez_dentaldds) to help others pursuing this field. Natalia was born in Brazil to Bolivian parents and moved to the United States when she was 11. While at UVA, she majored in Biology. As a bilingual Cavalier Daily staff member, she was the section editor for the Spanish translation section which was reestablished when she got involved with the organization. There, she translated articles that mainly pertained to the Latinx community, but not limited to. Additionally, she was involved with the Transfer Student Advising Program, the Transfer Advisory Board, and Hoos First.
#AlumniSpotlight: Please join us in congratulating Patrick Riccards (CLAS ‘95) on the launch of the Driving Force Institute for Public Engagement (DFI). The DFI is a national effort designed to improve the teaching and learning of history, using short, provocative videos to make history more interesting and relevant to today’s learners. The centerpiece of this work is his “Untold History” series, where they are developing videos about the people, events, and movements that are important to our nation’s development, but often aren’t included in history books. As part of this, Pat is committed to telling the stories of Latinos, particularly those who have been neglected in the textbooks. The video series can be found at https://untoldhistory.org
His nominee writes that “[Pat] is committed to ensuring that kids like his see themselves in their classrooms and in their instruction.” Since leaving UVA, Pat has spent his career focused on educational improvement, working to improve literacy, STEM, teacher education, and now history instruction.