As Assistant Dean for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion for the Honors College at the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, Xochitl Delgado Solorzano (’17) develops and implements the Honors College’s vision for diversity, equity and inclusion to build a college community that embraces and uplifts the widest variety of experiences and insights.
Delgado Solorzano works with the Honors College team to address all aspects of operations, from creating content for honors seminars and forums to diversifying the college’s faculty, staff, student body and community partners. She previously served as Director of the college’s Path Program, which prepares exceptional high school students from underrepresented populations to excel at the University of Arkansas.
As a Clinton School student, Delgado Solorzano’s field service experiences included projects with Goodwill Industries of Arkansas, Junior Achievement in Africa, and the Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation.
She was part of a team of first-year students who compiled best-practices research for service engagement with the Latino community in Arkansas. The findings were utilized to develop a comprehensive action plan for Goodwill Industries of Arkansas to better serve and engage the Latino community in central Arkansas.
For her International Public Service Project, she traveled to Accra, Ghana, where she led the implementation of a financial literacy program at two schools in the Greater Accra region.
Working with the Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation for her Capstone project, Delgado Solorzano delivered research focused on Latino students’ perception of their access to higher education in Arkansas.
Delgado Solorzano was the 2017 recipient of the Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award, awarded to the graduating student who best serves others. In addition to earning her Master of Public Service from the Clinton School, Delgado Solorzano earned undergraduate and master’s degrees in Spanish from Hendrix College and the University of Kansas, respectively.
What do you most enjoy about your role at the UA Honors College?
What I enjoy most about my role at the Honors College is being part of a team that is dedicated to supporting students as they reach their academic goals. I started my career at the Honors College by working with students from underrepresented populations and encouraging them to take advantage of honors opportunities. Now as assistant dean for DEI, my job is ensuring that all who interact with the Honors College feel welcomed and included. While the scope of my work has grown, the outcomes remain the same: ensuring that students are supported and have the resources they need to succeed in honors and at the UA.
What does public service mean to you?
To me, public service means working collaboratively to improve outcomes for others. A great thing about the Clinton School was interacting with a cohort from such diverse professional and academic backgrounds, all trying to solve similar or related issues but approaching it from a different angle. Being part of a diverse cohort was helpful in looking at an issue from different perspectives and coming up with a solution together. I have chosen to focus my public service work in making access to higher education more equitable.
Working at the University of Arkansas, I’ve had the opportunity to meet students from across the state as they explore their post-high-school opportunities. Among the students I’ve met, there are those who feel like they are not able to further their education either because the cost seems too high, they don’t feel prepared to attend a four-year institution, or other perceived barriers. Supporting these students takes collaboration with units across campus to ensure that their needs are being met and they feel prepared to succeed.
What is one thing that most people don’t know about you?
This is not really a little-known fact about me: I love the outdoors and exploring the Natural State. I have a goal of visiting all 52 state parks in Arkansas; so far, I’ve been to 26. If I had to choose a favorite park, I’d say Devil’s Den State Park. That was the first state park I visited after moving to Arkansas and it’s where I learned to connect with nature and appreciate the beauty of Arkansas.
What was your favorite class in your time as a Clinton School student?
My favorite class would have to be Capstone. It was a great opportunity to delve deeper into my area of interest and apply the skills we learned in the other classes. For my Capstone project, I researched barriers and opportunities for Latinx students in pursuing higher education. The project also prepared me for my job at the University of Arkansas.
What skills did you learn at the Clinton School that you still put to use in your job or life today?
A skill that I learned at the Clinton School that I still use today was facilitating conversations. Whether it’s a 1:1 conversation with a student, leading class discussion or a team workshop, I find myself drawing on the different techniques I learned from several Clinton School classes. Knowing what you want to get out of a discussion, how to craft the “right” questions, and how cultivate an inclusive space where all feel like they can participate makes such a difference.