Since arriving on campus as a first-generation student in 2019, Dulce Garcia has advocated for and helped create welcoming, inclusive spaces for all students.
For her many efforts across the University of Nebraska–Lincoln campus, Garcia earned the 2023 Chancellor’s Fulfilling the Dream Award. The award honors the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and recognizes individuals who have contributed to the campus community through exemplary action in promoting the goals and vision of King. Garcia was presented with the award by Chancellor Ronnie Green during the MLK Commemoration Celebration Jan. 25.
As a first-year Honors student, Garcia recalled feeling out of place, and began advocating for some changes. In a Q&A with Nebraska Today, Garcia talked about working with Patrice McMahon, director of the Honors Program, and Shannon Mangram, former coordinator for community engagement, retention and recruitment, to not only launch the Dr. Michael W. Combs Honors Scholars RSO, but also help solidify diversity and inclusion policies within the program.
“I looked around, and I didn’t see a lot of myself in my peers. I was a Hispanic immigrant, first-gen, low-income, undeclared major. I wanted to quit the program, but then I realized quitting wouldn’t do anything to help future students of color who felt the same way I did,” Garcia said in the interview. “Dr. McMahon sat with me, and I told her my vision for a group that could both provide community and support for students but also help foster systematic changes in the program. She gave nothing but support.”
As a senator in ASUN, Garcia served on the organization’s Committee for Campus Life and Safety. In that role, she worked with the university’s Information Technology Services to update the Nebraska app notating entrances with accessible doors, lactation stations, and gender-neutral bathrooms in every building.
Garcia also served as president of Define American, which advocates for immigrant, undocumented and refugee communities, and as a member of the OASIS Student Advisory Board.
She interned for the E.N. Thompson Forum on World Issues during the 2021-22 academic year, and was instrumental in establishing a student panel session for the season’s theme, “Moments of Reckoning: Global Calls for Racial Equity and Action.”
In addition to the Fulfilling the Dream Award, Garcia has been recognized by community businesses and organizations. She was the recipient of the 2022 Bailey Lauerman Fund for Student Opportunity Scholarship, and was a finalist for Lincoln’s 2022 Inspire Young Leader award.