WHM: Meet Liz Coronado Castillo

March 5, 2020

Alexa Saavedra, Strategic Communications Coordinator

Liz Castillo identifies herself as a Queer Chicanx performer, writer, advocate and educator. She was born and raised in Balmorhea, a (tiny) town in west Texas. “Most people have heard of Marfa, TX; it is kind of like that, except smaller, and not gentrified,” she says.

Castillo attended the same school from kindergarten through her senior year, graduating with a cohort of 15 students. “My most vivid memory of High School is of the High School Counselor telling me that most students from Balmorhea don’t dream past the irrigation ditch,” she said.

She went on to obtain a BA in theatre from Sul Ross State University and a MFA in playwriting from Texas Tech University.

Her grandmother, who didn’t speak any English attended every single one of her theatre productions. In her honor, Castillo writes plays that can be understood through stories that represent her personal experiences. She views theatre as a social, political and cultural platform.

“It is a space where we can dive into critical issues such as race, gender, sexuality, class, ethnicity and the place where they all intersect.” Additionally, her work inspiration stems from the border and the intricacies of living in two worlds at once.

She currently serves as a Director of Student Success at St. Philip’s College. Throughout her 15-year career, her work has focused on advocating and supporting underrepresented students in Higher Education. 

Most recently, her team worked to re-establish the advocacy center, Safe SPACE, which includes a food pantry and emergency grant program. The center empowers students through academic, economic and social engagement initiatives to promote self-efficacy and awareness.

What does Women’s History Month mean to you?

“Celebrating the strong women who have paved the way for our success; women like my grandmother who worked in the fields to provide a better life for their children and grandchildren. Some of you may have seen them, their silhouettes off in the distance as you drive down a rural highway. They have names, and families, and dreams. Cristina M. Coronado’s work and sacrifice allowed me to be the first in my family to go to college. I am forever grateful for the $50 she sent me every single month while I pursued my BA and then my MFA…every single month. It wasn’t the amount of money that she sent that mattered but the sacrifice that it represented.” 

Click here to view the official SPC Women’s History Month web page.

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