Esperanza Community Services is excited to announce the 2022 honoree of the Bobby Reyes Award: Aixa Alfonso

Dr. Alfonso served on the board of Esperanza for over twenty years, championing the Esperanza art program. The student pieces hanging in her home testify to the love Dr. Alfonso has for the Esperanza family.

Dr. Alfonso, a native Puerto Rican, earned her PhD from the University of Wisconsin Madison in 1986. In 1996, she joined the Department of Biological Sciences at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC). She, along with undergraduate, graduate and postdoctoral students have addressed questions on the structure and function of the nervous system.

Dr. Alfonso is the recipient of a Ford Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowship and has been funded for her research by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the National Science Foundation (NSF). She served the scientific community in the capacity of Program Director in the Division of Integrated Organismal Systems in the Biology Directorate at NSF between 2007 and 2009 and as a Visiting Associate Dean of the Graduate College Diversity office for 2.5 years after returning to UIC.

Throughout her professional career, she has also been committed to access and the success of underrepresented students enrolled in STEM fields. Since 2016, Dr. Alfonso has served as Project Director of L@s GANAS, a HSI-STEM program supported by the US Department of Education designed to promote Latin@ student success in their STEM careers.

Receipt of this grant was instrumental to UIC achieving the federal designation of Hispanic Serving Institution. At UIC, she has been a voice for inclusion of Latino/a/x individuals at all levels of the institution. Her commitment has been and will continue to be to advocate, push for, and find resources for our community, particularly students.

We are so grateful to Aixa’s dedication to Esperanza’s mission. We are looking forward to honoring her at our Gala.

Want to help us celebrate Aixa? Register today for the Esperanza Gala!