Meet the Team: María Cristina Pacheco Alcalá
Thursday, March 9th, 2017
Name: María Cristina Pacheco Alcalá
Title: Program Coordinator
Main responsibilities: Coordinate and implement training and technical assistance for campus grantees from the Office of Violence Against Women (OVW).
Where are you from?
Caguas, Puerto Rico
Where do you feel most at home?
I feel most at home when I’m cooking and spending time with my family, especially at my parent’s house.
What inspires you, professionally and personally?
Professionally, women inspire me. We go through so much and take care of all the so-called “simple things,” the details each day help make a difference in the world. We deserve respect, equality, and more and better opportunities to develop. Personally, my family inspires me. We always been very close and always find ways to connect and spend time together even when there’s some physical distance between us.
In terms of your work for the National Latin@ Network, what are your areas of expertise or what areas are particularly interesting to you?
I have been doing campus prevention work since 2007, working with Peer Educators, training law enforcement and judicial board members, coordinating the Coordinated Community Response Team, developing awareness activities, reviewing and updating policies, working with external collaborators, etc. Mostly, my areas of expertise are related to feminism, gender construction and roles, dating and domestic violence, stalking, sexual assault, human rights — especially sexual and reproductive rights. All the work is framed from a gender perspective and including participatory methodologies to make the work more pertinent for participants and for it to be also a continuous learning process for me.
Share one thing you have learned, big or small, doing your work over the past year?
I’ve learned (and am still learning) to take more time for myself, to take things easier in a more relaxed way, and try to enjoy more what’s happening around me.
What do you do to relax, de-stress or recharge your batteries?
I like to watch TV or movies, go to the beach, visit my sister Cecilia or José Francisco (they live in the United States), and go to festivals and local activities.
Why have you chosen to do this kind of work?
I believe that education and knowledge can transform lives. Being able to provide technical assistance is an opportunity to share specific information and experiences that support communities in their learning process, but also learning from them being there every step of the way is very fulfilling.
What is your favorite food?
Pasta with “sorullitos,” “mallorcas” with cheese, pizza, nachos, tacos and desserts!
What is your favorite book?
I’m not sure what my favorite book is, but I like books from Jorge Bucay, like “Amarse con los Ojos Abiertos” (Loving with Open Eyes) and “Cuentos para pensar” (Stories to Make us Think). He writes in simple words about life, learning opportunities, relationships, etc.