Lopez coordinates programs and services for Hispanic/Latino(a) students at the university and was an organizer of this year’s keynote address delivered by poet Richard Blanco. When she learned that he was coming to the university, she envisioned his presentation as an opportunity to bring both Pride Week and Hispanic Heritage Month together for a collaboration and garnered support from the members of the university’s employee resource group called Hispanic/Latin@ Faculty Staff Association.
Her nominator cited her level of commitment to all students at the university and the support she has provided to students and parents. Because of her leadership and advocacy, many programs for Hispanic/Latino(a) students also include LGBT content and learning outcomes. Daily, she provides advice and encouragement to students who are negotiating their Hispanic/Latino(a) identities with the coming out process and gives them a safe space to explore.
“It is an honor to be the recipient of this award. To serve students regardless of their background is an important part of my life, she said. I work with many students who are part of the LGBT community and I always give them my best. However, I often wonder if the fact that I am not LGBT and I have not experienced many of the issues they have to face on a daily basis limits me to provide them with the service/advice they need. Receiving this award has made me realize that what I do is meaningful and helpful for them.”
Student Ana Ruiz was excited to learn that Lopez had won. “It means a lot to me to see Laine win this award because she was my mentor when I came to U of L. She made me feel safe to talk about all my identities, because being Latina and LGBT were never topics I could feel comfortable discussing.”
Past ally award winners include David Wiegman, Nancy Theriot, Julie Onnembo, George Howe, Mordean Taylor-Archer, and University Provost Shirley Willihnganz.