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QCC Celebrates Hispanic Heritage Month with Award-Winning Journalist Mariana Atencio

Contact: Karen Hutner
Office of Institutional Communications
khutner [at]

Release Date: 

WORCESTER, MA— October 17, 2023 — In recognition of Hispanic Heritage Month, Quinsigamond Community College will host award-winning journalist Mariana Atencio on Thursday, October 19 at 9:00 a.m. at the Athletic Center on the main campus at 670 West Boylston Street, Worcester.

Atencio, a former anchor and reporter for Univision and NBC News, gave a viral TEDx talk, “What makes YOU special?” in 2017 and wrote an Amazon best seller “Perfectly You: Embracing the Power of Being Real.”

"At QCC, we tell our students to 'own their stories’ and be proud of who they are, where they come from and where they are headed. Renowned journalist, author, motivational speaker and trailblazer, Mariana Atencio will share her story and journey as a Latina journalist that is sure to inspire our entire community. We are excited to welcome Mariana to QCC and the City of Worcester. This is a wonderful way to culminate Hispanic Heritage Month,” said QCC President Dr. Luis Pedraja.

Atencio is featured in the award-winning HBO series "Habla Now" as one of the leaders defining the Latinx Experience in the U.S. Her work has been honored with a Peabody, a Gracie Award, Columbia University’s First Decade Award and the National Association of Hispanic Journalists Presidential Award. She is a spokesperson for the American Latino Museum in Washington, D.C., and a 2020 fellow at the Aspen Institute.

Her latest project, an investigative podcast called “Lost in Panama” about two women who went missing on a trail, covers femicide in Latin America and was among Apple's top 10 podcasts during the week of release.

“At QCC, we deeply value the concept of intersectionality within our community. This appreciation reflects the rich tapestry of diverse cultures, lived experiences, identities and historical backgrounds that make up our community. As we honor and celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month, we take pride in featuring Mariana Atencio, an award-winning journalist, as our keynote speaker,” said QCC Executive Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Kevin Lovaincy. “It is critical that our students find representation within their educational journey and within our community. Witnessing individuals who share their backgrounds succeeding in spaces that may often lack such representation serves as a powerful source of motivation.”

The Oct. 19th event will also include a panel discussion including Latinx leaders Germán Chiriboga, program director of Health Equity and Story Telling at UMass Medical School, Elena Quiroz-Livanis, chief of staff and assistant commissioner of Academic Policy and Student Success at Massachusetts Department of Higher Education and Dr. Lorna Rivera, director of the Mauricio Gastón Institute for Latino Community Development & Public Policy at UMass Boston.

Registration is encouraged and can be submitted at

Quinsigamond Community College is the most affordable higher education in Worcester County. As a regional leader in education and workforce development, QCC serves the diverse educational needs of Central Massachusetts by providing affordable, accessible, and high quality programming leading to transfer, career, and lifelong learning.