The 2nd Annual Sul Ross State University Women’s Conference is scheduled for Friday, March 31, on the campus in Alpine.
All students, including from area high schools, SRSU staff and faculty, and community members are invited to attend.
The online registration link can be found at https://srinfo.sulross.edu/womens-conference/. Registration closes March 24.
The Keynote Speaker is Olga E. Custodio, the first Latina to complete U.S. Air Force Undergraduate Pilot Training and graduate in the top 5 percent of her class (of 48) with a fighter qualification to fly the T-38 as an instructor pilot. She points to three principles that have helped her become successful in a profession dominated by men: overcoming self-doubt, staying open to possibilities, and seeing herself as an equal.
The path to her dream, however, has not been a walk in the park. Custodio never gave up hope, and she went on to fulfill her dream of becoming a commissioned military officer — and then some. A female military aviation pioneer, she served for 24 years in the U.S. Air Force, retiring as a Lieutenant Colonel. As an instructor pilot, she received an Aviation Safety Award for superior airmanship for her handling of an engine failure in-flight emergency. After transitioning to the U.S. Air Force Reserves, she became the first American Airlines Latina commercial airline pilot and later upgraded to Captain.
The Luncheon Speaker, Guadalupe Garcia McCall, was born in Piedras Negras, Coahuila, Mexico and raised in Eagle Pass.
She is the award-winning author of several young adult novels, some short stories for adults, and many children’s poems. Garcia McCall has received the Prestigious Pura Belpre Award, a Westchester Young Adult Fiction Award, the Tomás Rivera Mexican-American Children’s Book Award, and was a finalist for the William C. Morris Award and the Andre Norton Award for Young Adult Science Fiction and Fantasy, among many other accolades.
Fluent in both English and Spanish, she is a compelling speaker who has visited many middle schools, high schools, universities, festivals, conferences, and organizations all over the country. In 2016, she was invited to give a writing workshop and a keynote address at the Sirens Women in Fantasy Conference. In the spring of 2017, she was selected as the Inaugural Artist in Residence by the Arne Nixon Center where she visited local high schools and taught courses at California State University Fresno. Also in 2017, she gave the keynote for the National Latino Children’s Literature Conference in San Antonio. In 2018, she gave the keynote at the Texas Council of Teachers of English Language Arts Conference in Galveston. In 2021, Garcia McCall had the honor of moderating the panel “Hispanic Heritage Month Authors Series: Celebrating Latino Experience, History, People and Cultures,” in the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of English Language Acquisition in Washington, D.C.
McCall said her proudest distinction came when her alma mater, Sul Ross State University, selected to feature her image and biography on their “Living the Dream II – Cultural Pride” on the campus mural outside of the Gallego Center.
Between the keynote and luncheon addresses, 10 engaging panel discussions will be held with over 25 women addressing topics including Women and Change, Women and the Glass Ceiling, Women in a Male-Dominated Field, Women and Emotional Labor and Women and Violence. Attendees will rotate through the panels.
Academic departments will provide displays of their programs and work in the Bryan Wildenthal Memorial Library and several non-profit organizations dedicated to women’s issues have been invited to provide information throughout the day. High school students will be given a tour of the campus.
For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org.