Welcome the newest US Citizen!

Congratulations to our sister, Beatriz “Kamilae” Gutierrez AZ/Z Summer 2006, on taking the oath and officially becoming a United States Citizen. What a beautiful day at the Irving Immigration Center.

The Women of Chi Upsilon Sigma are so very proud to have you as a sister!



Meet our newest member! Elyana Ramirez, is the President of the TCU’s Student Veterans Alliance. A Veteran of the U.S. Navy, she was constantly at sea, away from family and loved ones. When her service was up, she had no job leads or school prospects lined up.  Eventually she found TCU. In May, Elyana will graduate with a Strategic Communications major, Business minor. She hopes to pursue a lifelong dream of working for Disney in marketing and communications or continue her new-found passion of helping veterans achieve academic success.


A Gift of Encouragement

If you have read our post, Reflections from National Convention, you are familiar with the great opportunities our sisters experienced in Houston. On Saturday, June 21, 2014, Dr. Debra Joy Perez was the featured keynote speaker at the Power Lunch. While she is most known across the nation for her research in health disparities and diversity, we know Dr. Perez as our beloved sister. Dr. Perez joined our sisterhood in 1981, only one year after our organization was founded at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, New Jersey.

Debra’s words during the luncheon are worth sharing, although we know this post will not do them justice. Her heart felt remarks talked of the power a simple gift can have on a person. In Debra’s case, her life was changed when a guidance counselor handed her a college application. Debra returned the application because she and her family did not have $25 to pay for it. The guidance counselor handed her a check for $25 and encouraged her to apply. A simple gift of encouragement and a $25 check changed Debra’s life and the lives of eight siblings who have watched her evolve into the woman she is today. As we heard such moving story, we along with our beloved soror Haydee and Debra’s biological sister, sat tearfully in awe.

Pérez went on to college and graduated from Douglass College with a BA in communication. She received an MA in social science and women’s studies from the University of Kent in Canterbury, England. She received the National Urban and Rural Fellows award leading to her MPA from Baruch College, City University of New York, where she graduated with honors. Dr. Pérez completed her interfaculty doctoral program at Harvard University, receiving a PhD in health policy. While at Harvard, Pérez chaired the first and second university-wide symposium on racial and ethnic disparities in health and health care.

Dr. Pérez was named a 2010 Latino Trendsetter by Latino Trends magazine. She was the 2009 recipient of the Women of Excellence Award from the New Jersey Woman and AIDS Network as well as the 2009 Douglass Distinguished Alumnae Award from Douglass College in New Jersey. In 2010, Dr. Pérez was awarded the Opening Doors Award by the Institute of Wonderful Working Women, a non-profit based in her hometown, Trenton, N.J., which supports low-income African American women pursuing nursing careers. Debra is part of the inaugural class of the Council on Foundations Career Pathways Program, a leadership pipeline expansion program to prepare diverse candidates for executive leadership positions in philanthropy. Pérez was also named the 2011 Woman of Industry by the YWCA in Princeton, N.J. She is a Trustee of the Princeton Area Community Foundation where she is also a donor advisor for the “Twenty-five dollar fund” a fund to support high school students applying for college.

Dr. Perez is now the Vice President for Knowledge Support at the Annie E. Casey Foundation, which is devoted to strengthen families, building communities and ensuring access to opportunity so children can succeed. You can view her recent TEDx Talk in Jacksonville here.

We could not be more proud of Dr. Debra Joy Perez and all she has accomplished as a result of a simple gift of encouragement. Who can you encourage today?

Reflections from National Convention

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This past weekend, we had an opportunity to troop it Houston for the CUS National Women’s Leadership Convention. Convention is one of the most exciting events in our sorority. We had a chance to meet and greet with sisters near and far. We take pride in being one of the few national organizations who truly maintains ongoing relationships with sisters beyond our current state lines. When we come together, it really is just a big family reunion. We know each other, have interacted by phone, email, text, Facebook, Skype and we finally get to see each other in person (if we haven’t already).

Convention is a place to rekindle our passion for CUS and to advance our individual development. We attended incredible workshops, received wisdom and insight from great speakers, visited with sisters and connected with exhibitors. This year’s speakers included:

  • Mrs. Ellen Torbert, Vice President for Diversity and Inclusion at Southwest
  • Texas Senator Sylvania R. Garcia (District 6)
  • Mr. Robert. E. Bard, President and CEO of Latina Style Magazine
  • Mrs. Ivette Mayo, CEO of Yo Soy I Am, LLC
  • Dr. Debra Joy Perez, Vice President of Research, Evaluation and Learning at the Annie E. Casey Foundation
  • Ms. Ann Marquez, President of the National Hispana Leadership Institute
  • Dr. Sylvia Mazzula, Director of the Latina Researchers Network
  • Ms. Kristi Jackson, CEO and Founder of the Women CEO Project
  • Ms. Schrendria Robinson, Author, Speaker and Consultant
  • Dr. Josephine Serrata, Assistant Director of Research for the National Latin@ Network
  • Mr. Laurence Pay, President of the Educational Excellence Resource Group and talk show host on Public Radio 90.1 FM KPFT

Additionally, we hit a new normal, which truly embodied our purpose: to educate, elevate and empower women. The Convention was opened to non-members and featured a couple networking receptions. We learned a lot about our partners, the work they do in their communities and the opportunities available within their companies or organizations. We were also connected with women who are not members, and are also doing incredible work within themselves and in their communities.

On the last day of Convention, we celebrated the accomplishments of our sisters and chapters. The celebration honored the legacy created by seven women, our Founding Mothers, who we are eternally grateful for.

We look forward to the CUS National Banquet in 2015 and National Women’s Convention in 2016 and hope you consider joining us.

National Women’s Leadership Convention

ImageThe time has finally come! It’s our National Convention where sisters come together from all over the country to develop their leadership. This year’s theme is “A Pathway to Leadership: Educating, Elevating and Empowering Women”. The most exciting part? It’s being held in Houston, Texas!! If you want to learn more about the convention check out our page http://events.justbecus.org/

If you want to keep up with our sisters there follow us at #CUSConvention14