LatinasAchieve Mentor Spotlight
Latinas Achieve! [LA]:
What is your current Professional Title/Position?
Michelle Tovar [MT]: Associate Director of Education- Latino Initiatives
Tell us about your Educational Background
MT: I earned a BA in Philosophy from UHD and I obtained my Alternative Teacher Certification as Bilingual Generalist EC-6th Grade from UHD. Then, I earned an MLA in History from the University of St. Thomas. I obtained my Ed.D in Professional Leadership, Curriculum and Instruction Social Education from the University of Houston.
What has been your most memorable/rewarding experience as a Latinas Achieve mentor so far?
MT: One of the most memorable experiences is inviting the Latinas Achieve cohort to meet the civil rights icon, Dolores Huerta, at Holocaust Museum Houston and knowing that these students would always have this experience in their memories.
What professional accomplishment(s) are you most proud of?
MT: This year I was awarded the American Alliance of Museums EdCom Award of Excellence in Practice for my work at HMH. This award recognizes an individual who demonstrates exemplary service to the public through the practice of education in a museum. I am proud to represent Latinas in museum education, a space that rarely includes women of color.
How have you sought to help your community through your work?
MT: I am responsible for building bridges between the Latino community and the Holocaust Museum Houston. My initiatives include outreach to bilingual/dual language school programs; creating educational workshops and events for teachers, parents, and community leaders; and working with local and national organizations dedicated to serving Latinos. It is my responsibility to highlight Latinx history/connections, but also to provide a platform for other communities' narratives. Being in this role, I am opening up the opportunity for our histories to be recognized and acknowledged. Houston has many important institutions and people that are doing incredible work to highlight our experiences, so I'm glad that I can contribute some space for our community's stories.
What would you like to see change in your profession/community in the future?
MT: I would like to see more BIPOC and LGBTQ+ representation in museum leadership roles, not only in Houston, but throughout the United States. Our experiences are incredibly important in making leading decisions in this field. Museums have been seen as elitist institutions that are not safe spaces for marginalized communities, but by including representation in museum leadership roles we can create spaces that embody our narratives and community needs.
Are there currently any opportunities available in your profession for students?
MT: We offer internships during the summer for students who are interested in museum education and fundraising. There are also volunteer opportunities year-round for students interested in gaining experience in a museum setting. For more info on these opportunities, please visit www.hmh.org/volunteer/