The Afro-Latino Alumni and Alumnae Association of Hobart and William Smith Colleges supports chemistry research this summer
(July 10, 2003) GENEVA, N.Y.—Hobart sophomore Gilberto Arbelaez and William Smith junior Hilda Castillo are working this summer in the Colleges chemistry lab with major funding from several national foundations. Final backing, however, comes from the Colleges’ alumni network.
The two science majors are studying the electronic structure and molecular behavior of promising new anticancer drugs, research led by Carol Parish, associate professor of chemistry. Parish said that when funds to keep Arbelaez and Castillo working on their project fell slightly short, she called upon the Afro-Latino Alumni and Alumnae Association (ALAA), which immediately came through with $1,500 in additional support.
Formed in the winter of 1999, ALAA connects alumnae and alumni of color and promotes events and programs for current students.
Chevanne DeVaney, a 1995 William Smith graduate, is an ALAA board member and assistant director of annual giving at HWS. She said this is the first time the fledgling group has been called upon to provide financial support for an academic program, and she is impressed with the results.
“Alums who have never given before were inspired by Gilberto and Hilda’s research and wanted to be involved,” said DeVaney. “ALAA is all about being there to help students of color do more.”
Arbelaez, chemistry major, was born in Neiva, Huila, a small city in Colombia. He is the son of Nancy Arias and Gilbert Arbelaez, who now reside in Stamford, Conn. Castillo, of New York, N.Y., is a biochemistry major. She is the daughter of Alex and Felix Castillo.