2013 Gold Nugget Recipient: Susana Navarro
SUSANA NAVARRO, PH.D.
B.A. IN POLITICAL SCIENCE, 1968
COLLEGE OF LIBERAL ARTS
Born and raised in El Paso, Susana Navarro followed her father, uncles, aunts, and great uncle to UTEP, continuing a legacy of higher education that she has in turn worked to help countless families attain.
Navarro earned her bachelor’s degree in Political Science, graduating in 1968. “I was always interested in issues of equity and working in one form or another to try and improve the quality of life for everyone, but particularly for Mexican-American students and their families,” she said. A job as a research analyst for the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights in Washington, D.C., where she worked on a landmark study of Mexican-American education, solidified her career path.
After completing her doctoral degree at Stanford University in educational psychology in 1980, she worked for the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund (MALDEF) as national director of research and policy analysis, then the Achievement Council, a California nonprofit organization that she helped create.
In 1991, she returned to El Paso, where with regional education, business and civic leaders, she founded the El Paso Collaborative for Academic Excellence, a citywide effort to improve academic achievement among all young El Pasoans. The collaborative has become a national model for urban school reform.
Navarro retired from the collaborative in 2011 after 20 years, but she’s not stopping. These days, you can find her consulting on all the issues she’s passionate about and working to ensure all students have access to an opportunity for higher-education success.