LUBBOCK, Texas — According to the National Center for Education statistics, only 11% of Hispanic women hold master’s degrees and 8% hold doctoral degrees. Two women in Lubbock are working to not only change that but provide opportunities for all students to earn their education, the same way they did. 

Dr. Elizabeth Trejos-Castillo is the Vice Provost of International Affairs at Texas Tech University, she also serves as a doctoral professor in the Human sciences college. Working in International Affairs, her graduate students come from all over the world looking for her guidance for their graduate research and studies.

Born in Costa Rica, Dr. Trejos-Castillo said she was a hard worker from the beginning.

“By the time I was 16 years old, I was graduating with not only my high school, but also an associate degree in theater and associate degree in creative writing,” Dr. Trejos-Castillo said.

Dr. Trejos-Castillo’s love for learning never stopped, earning her multiple degrees from many universities, including her PhD from TTU in Human development and family sciences. She entered the university at just 17-years-old. With many of her students coming from all different backgrounds, some never had the opportunity to work in a community and with people. She said that is her favorite part of the job.

“We joke that we have a mini–United Nations in the lab because we have students from Iran, from Palestine,

I have had students from India, Colombia, we also have a student from Nigeria,” Dr. Trejos-Castillo said. Dr. Trejos-Castillo also said she loves the opportunity to give her students hands-on experience in the community to develop skills they never knew they had. 

“I think in my way, I always want to think, how do I give back, how can I elevate the voices, bring the voices to the table of females that are out there that may not be represented, but also being able to educate people about the importance of supporting others,” Dr Trejos-Castillo said.

Lucinda Holt has been offering support to her students for years as an assistant professor through the college of media and communication at Tech. She said she loves to speak publicly not just at school but also in the community and help her students any way she can.

“That’s what I’m here for, you use me, I love it,” Holt said. “I wish there were certain times in my life where I wish I would have had more, so I could be that support for someone I would truly, truly love to do it.”

Holt helps promoting a better understanding of Hispanic-related and international media communication through research, teaching, and community outreach.

While conducting research with the Knight foundation, a non-profit foundation that provides grants for journalism, communities, and the arts, she can provide paid research opportunities to college students helping with the research.

“I genuinely love what I do because I feel like I get to connect with not just the community, but with so many different walks of life, especially here with the Harris Institute, because it’s, again, Hispanic and international communication and so I feel like the possibilities are endless,” Holt said.

Both women said having success does not come easy, from being a part of a low statistic of women to reach higher education, to being the first in their family to graduate. 

“Nothing in life is easy, and there may be tears of sadness, fear, happiness, maybe even anger, disappointment, but in the end, it’s all worth it,” Holt said.

But both also said it doesn’t define them and taking risks is what got them to where they are today.

“The big dreams, I always tell them [Trejos-Castillo’s students], if your dreams don’t scare you, they’re not big enough,” Dr. Trejos- Castillo said.

Both women wanted to share their contact information with the community and are happy to mentor, speak or help in anyway. You can find their university websites below. 

Dr. Elizabeth Trejos-Castillo: Elizabeth Trejos-Castillo, Ph.D. | Human Development and Family Sciences | Human Sciences | TTU

Lucinda Holt: Lucinda Holt | Our People | CoMC | TTU