May 22, 2013
Tallahassee, Fla. –
Gianina Marquez Olivera came to Florida A&M University (FAMU) as a transfer student from Lima, Peru with a volleyball scholarship and a determination to succeed. Motivated by the limited educational opportunities available in her home country, she learned English in three months to pursue a degree in public relations in the United States. Today, after becoming the first woman from the San de Lurigancho district to graduate from an American university with honors, she is preparing for her next journey to the Coro Center for Civic Leadership in Pittsburgh as one of 66 individuals who have been accepted into the 2013-2014 Coro Fellows Program in Public Affairs.
“Gianina is destined for greatness!” exclaimed LaRae Donnellan, a public relations professor in the School of Journalism & Graphic Communication (SJGC) who taught Marquez Olivera and recommended her for the fellowship. “Her determination to succeed as a student and her ability to persevere through personal challenges are inspiring and will serve her well as she pursues her career goals.”
The Coro Fellowship Program is a nine-month leadership training program that prepares diverse and talented individuals for effective and ethical careers in public affairs. Each fellow participates in a series of full-time placements across a variety of sectors to offer a practical understanding of complex public issues. Marquez Olivera hopes the program will provide the tools she needs to pursue her passion, which she describes as three complimentary ideals: women empowerment, innovation in education, social and economic inclusion.
“If you want to give power to women, you have to educate them; if you want to educate them, you have to include them into the system,” said Marquez Olivera, the only daughter of four children. “In my country, for every 10 people who can not write or read, eight are women and 73 percent of the population is poor. That explains everything about my passion.”
Before attending FAMU, Marquez Olivera worked as a social responsibility promoter for the largest commercial bank in Peru. At age 18, she was responsible for training teachers and monitoring the development of educational programs sponsored by the bank.
Today, while awaiting the start of the Coro Fellows Program in August, Marquez Olivera works in the Tallahassee office of the marketing and communication agency Salter Mitchell--her first American job. She assists Heidi Otway, the agency’s director of public relations and social media, with research and message development for Hispanic target audiences.
“Several graduates from the School of Journalism and Graphic Communication are pursuing rewarding careers in public affairs to help resolve policy issues impacting communities today,” said Ann Wead Kimbrough, SJGC dean. “Our faculty and academic programs prepare talented individuals like Gianina to be socially responsible citizens who are determined to make a difference for the public good. We salute her.”
Upon completing the fellowship, Marquez Olivera hopes to earn a scholarship to attend Carnegie Mellon University through a program partnership for an accelerated, one-year master’s degree program in public policy and management. Eventually, she wants to work for UN Women, the United Nations entity for gender equity and empowerment.
Marquez Olivera said her “…ultimate goal in life is to apply all of the knowledge I have gained at Florida A&M University and through other life experiences to my future work and commitment to making a difference in the world.”