Sunday, October 23, 2011

The Corcuera women are notable achievers

Project Light of Manatee received a $1,356 grant for educational materials, including English in Action student and curriculum kits. Shown above are (from left) Jeff Burkee, Luz Corcuera and Lisa Ramirez. (Photo by Jim Jones)
I have long been an admirer of Luz Corcuera, president of the Project Light literacy center in Manatee County.

Luz has worked for years to constructively and compassionately address some of the problems of undocumented workers in our community, a part of a far larger issue nationwide.

I have often gone to Luz, as have many reporters at the Herald over the years, as we worked on one story or another to do with this complex issue.

But I had never met her in person until Friday at the Lakewood Ranch Community Fund grants award ceremony at Town Hall.

Luz, a gentle soul with a wonderful heart who has done much for the betterment of our community, was there to accept a $1,356 grant for Project Light. She more than lived up to my expectations. You can get to know a person very well over the phone.

During our discussion, I mentioned that I had  been in touch with Luz' daughter, Mariella Corcuera, a member of the Lakewood Ranch High School graduating class of 2001, which recently celebrated the 10th anniversary of its commencement.

Mariella is working in Europe, and was unable to attend the reunion. But she wanted to share with her classmates some of what she has been doing.

I'm pleased to offer an excerpt about the impressive young woman in Mariella's own words. I know Luz is very proud.

"I arrived at LRHS in 1999 (after everyone had been there for 1 year already) from Toronto, Canada.

"LRHS placed me into Honors classes from the beginning after reviewing my Canadian course work which was a good fit and later allowed me to take AP classes and get university credit.  

"Specifically, Mrs. Carole Sicard was a great calculus teacher and I even skipped my first math course class in engineering school because I had taken her honors/AP class.  She would even host tutoring sessions to better prepare us and taught us that hard math was possible to conquer.  LRHS also welcomed my French and science interests with open arms allowing me to win senior awards in both subjects.

"After LRHS, I decided to go to USF in Tampa since I had moved just recently; I wasn’t ready to go anywhere too far.  I got great scholarships to enroll in their Engineering School, where I majored in electrical engineering.

"I did a lot of research in the biomedical devices field and was accepted to do a REU (research experience for undergraduates) at Boston University for a summer.  I was then accepted into Duke University for my master’s in engineering management on a full corporate scholarship and decided it was the perfect fit for me.

Mariella Corcuera
"The MEM degree is a mix of the sciences along with MBA and some patent law classes.  It allowed me to obtain my first job in 2006, a Rotational Leadership Development program in a satellite company that was looking for someone from the technical arena who was business savvy. 

"The Rotational Program allowed me to rotate through various departments within the company and provided me with the opportunity to complete one international rotation in Europe.  After my rotation in Europe, it was clear to me and my company that the Product Management team was the best fit for me.

"I’ve been working in this team since 2008 and focus on Reception System Technology.  It’s a combination of technical and business which goes along what I always wanted to do.

"Living in Europe is amazing and I hope that I’ll be lucky enough to live here and experience its beauty forever.  I’ll always hold Bradenton/Sarasota close to my heart because it’s where my family resides and it is a great place to go on vacation to a couple of times a year - the beaches are beautiful!"

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