Topeka, Kan. – Two hundred Latina middle and high school students from the Shawnee County area will be on the Washburn University campus March 24 for the 11th annual Hermanitas Conference. MANA de Topeka Hermanitas Conference has been serving upwards of 200 Latina youth in Topeka since 2010. This conference serves to build leadership skills, introduce students to community leaders and mentors and welcome them to a college campus. The value of this program for young students in their formative school years has been to open their eyes to available academic and professional opportunities, giving them the confidence to pursue paths they may not have otherwise known.

“Many of the participants have never been on a college campus before, so the day provides Washburn and MANA with the opportunity to help these young women learn how to dream and to provide them with the tools to fulfill those dreams,” said Dr. Kim Morse, professor of history at Washburn University and conference co-organizer.

Conference Schedule
Events will be in Washburn rooms A and B in the Memorial Union


9 - 9:15 a.m.                  Welcome

9:20 - 10:00 a.m.           Morning Keynote

10:05 – 11:00 a.m.         Jobs and careers?  What are our options?

                                      Speed Chat with Professionals Round 1

11:05 - 11:20 a.m.          Dance Party

11:20 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.  We want to know more! Speed Chat with Professionals Round 2

12:05 - 12:50 p.m.           Lunch with Special Guests

12:50 - 1:50 p.m.             A Girl’s Journey – Game Time

1:55 p.m                          Depart for home school or campus tours


This is the first post-pandemic Hermanitas conference and many of the conversations during the day will focus on perseverance and imagining success after so much difficulty. The keynote speakers, Jessica de la Rosa and Analisa Chavez-Muñoz, will help participants think about these ideas using their own experiences as college students. De la Rosa was an Hermanita from 2013-2016 and graduated from Washburn University in May 2020. She majored in communication studies with a minor in history. She is currently a stay-at-home mother after working as a case manager for The Villages, Inc. Chavez-Muñoz graduated from Washburn in December 2022 with a degree in public administration and a minor in Latin American and Latino/a studies. She is currently employed with U.S. Bank.

Following the keynote, conference participants will engage in two rounds of “Speed Chat” with about 36 professionals from Topeka and the surrounding area, an activity that provides participants the opportunity to learn more about multiple professions and the education necessary to reach professional goals. After lunch, conference participants will play a game designed for the conference called “A Girl’s Journey.” Loosely based on “Life,” players have the opportunity to think about choices that move them toward higher education and learn about tools to help them reach career goals while, on occasion, practicing their set shots or running a relay race. 

Sponsors for the conference include FHLBank Topeka, Security Benefit, Greater Topeka Partnership, Cortez Transportation Company and Washburn University.


About Washburn University 

Founded in 1865, Washburn University is a public institution with more than 6,000 students involved in more than 200 academic programs. Washburn’s programs lead to certification, associate, bachelor, master's degree or doctor of nursing practice and juris doctor degrees. The programs are offered through Washburn’s six primary academic units – College of Arts and Sciences, School of Applied Studies, School of Business, School of Nursing, School of Law and Washburn Institute of Technology (Washburn Tech).

            All programs are offered on either the 160-acre residential campus in the heart of Topeka, Kan., at Washburn Tech’s campus on Topeka’s west side or in the east Topeka facility. Washburn University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association and many of the individual programs have additional accreditations.

            Washburn is ranked best public regional university in Kansas and 14th best public regional university in the Midwest by U.S. News and World Report 2022-2023.

About MANA de Topeka

Founded in 2005, MANA de Topeka is a local chapter of the National MANA organization committed to improving the lives of Latinos and the community through Latino Leadership. Learn more at


For further information, contact:
Joy Bailes
Assistant Director of Public Relations
Telephone: (785) 670-2153
Cell: (785) 230-1648


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