Women who lead

Jake Klein, Journalist

The Women’s Issues Committee recognized the contributions of eleven “Women in Leadership” honorees at the annual Women’s History Month program, including Nayeli Govantes Alcantar.

Govantes, a UW-Whitewater junior, is involved in numerous organizations on campus and has made an impact from the moment she arrived at Whitewater. She immediately became involved in her freshman year in the Dream Scholars and Colleagues, a student organization that offers emotional and financial support to undocumented students on campus.   

The organization also has worked creatively and tirelessly to support these undocumented students, who are faced with sometimes overwhelming financial, social, and emotional barriers to achieving their dreams: enrolling in and completing higher education programs in the state of Wisconsin.

“Getting the opportunity to tell my story and to hear other people’s stories makes me feel like I’m making an impact, and I just want to continue helping others and giving back as much as I can, because Whitewater has helped me out more than I ever could have imagined,” said Govantes.

Govantes was immediately given a leadership role during her freshman year with the student organization, and her successes inside and outside of the classroom led to her being recognized as Freshman of the Year in April, 2018. She is now the active president of the DSC and continues to make a tremendous impact. Dr. Anne D’Antonio Stinson, an associate professor here on campus, nominated her for this award. Stinson is also the advisor for the DSC.

“I can assure you that she has been the most effective president in the history of the organization. Her meetings are well run and meaningful to all those in attendance. Also, when partnered with the Whitewater Dream Fund, she led her group to raise more than $19,000 for this academic year, the highest amount raised in a single year to date,” said Stinson.

Govantes is also involved in the Liberal Education & America’s Promise group here on campus. LEAP embraces the value of broad-based liberal education and stresses the importance in preparing students with a variety of well-developed skills that will make today’s students stronger candidates for careers and citizenship. The LEAP initiative began with conversations and national research with faculty members, leaders in higher education, prominent employers, and students themselves, all exploring the value of a well-rounded education that best prepares students for the modern and increasingly interconnected world. Govantes has presented her ideas and experiences to multiple agencies over the course of the last year.

“I’m just trying to do my best to better Dreamers’ futures, and I want to tell them about the importance of higher education, and that there are people out there that want to help you in any way they can,” said Govantes.

Govantes is extremely grateful for all that Dr. Stinson and the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater have done for her.

“Whitewater has helped me more than I ever thought it would and I’m really grateful for that. I just want to continue to help people share their stories and make an impact in any way I can,” said Govantes.