Creating Opportunities

Elaine Townsend Utin and Ricky Hurtado

Inspired by their own experiences as students from rural North Carolina, Elaine Townsend Utin ’12 and Ricky Hurtado ’11 have returned to Chapel Hill with the goal of helping Latinx students find their ways to higher education and, ultimately, uplifting future generations of Latinx leaders in North Carolina.

Despite having the sixth-fastest growing Latinx population in the United States, less than 4% of public university students in North Carolina identify as Latinx. In an effort to change this, Hurtado and Utin founded LatinxEd, a non-profit with the goal of fostering a new generation of change-makers in North Carolina — starting in schools.

In 2019, LatinxEd partnered with the UNC School of Education to begin serving and transforming the Carolina community.

“Dean [of the UNC School of Education] Fouad Abd-El-Khalick saw opportunities for partnership and synergy,” Hurtado said. “And we saw a shared vision for this to become a statewide initiative acting as a thought leader and advocate for Latino students and families as we think about what it means to grow an education system in North Carolina that truly serves everyone in North Carolina.”

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