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Dominican University senior Zuleica Oseguera-Padilla has been named 2023 Outstanding Student Employee of the Year.

Oseguera-Padilla is the marketing and communications student coordinator for the Center for Cultural Liberation (CCL), promoting the center’s activities, events and student resources by creating flyers, infographics and social media posts. She also creates the center’s monthly heritage slides, which highlight the varied cultures and heritages of Dominican students.

Oseguera-Padilla has been involved with the CCL since its inception. She contributed to the early promotion of the multicultural center, which aims to foster an inclusive environment and support and celebrate students from diverse and historically marginalized backgrounds.

“Seeing the Center for Cultural Liberation develop made me feel more welcome at Dominican,” Oseguera-Padilla shared. “It’s really exciting to have a welcoming space that focuses on culture and heritage.”

She wants other students to feel the same.

“When students come to the CCL, I hope they feel welcome and they know the space is open to talk about anything they want,” Oseguera-Padilla said. “I want students to feel we are here for them.”

Oseguera-Padilla was recognized as an Outstanding Student Employee for her strong leadership skills, optimistic attitude, openness to new experiences, passion for her work and involvement in projects allowing her to serve the campus community.

She was nominated for the honor by her supervisors Jacky Neri Arias, Yessy Hernandez and Jamal Patterson. A committee of two human resources personnel and a student supervisor then selected her for the award after reviewing the pool of all nominees.

In addition to her work with the CCL, Oseguera-Padilla served as vice president of the Undocumented & Immigrant Allyance student organization and she has coordinated initiatives on campus to promote social justice, including two solidarity marches to promote cross-racial unity in Chicago.

During the fall semester, Oseguera-Padilla was among five Dominican students who advocated in Washington, D.C. for immigration reform and protection of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. The visit was organized by the bipartisan political organization

“Being able to speak to the U.S. representatives, I felt I was being heard and that we can actually make things happen,” she said.

A biology major, Oseguera-Padilla’s career aspiration is to open a DNA research lab.