Xiomara Albán grew up in Springfield, Massachusetts, the middle of three girls. Her mother and father were born in Ecuador, making Xio
a first generation American, in addition to a first generation college student. “Springfield has a lot of inner city poverty, and is very diverse, culturally diverse and economically diverse,” says Xio (pronounced ‘Zee-o’). She graduated from Sabis International Charter School, a K-12 public charter school whose mission statement explains that “… those students with a SABIS education, especially in a multicultural setting, will be able to provide leadership throughout the world.” Xio has clearly proven to be a manifestation of that philosophy, although she admitted that UNH was the last choice on her list of colleges. Over time she was swayed by UNH Associate Director of Admissions Richard Haynes’ descriptions of the opportunities and positive challenges that she would encounter here. So she committed to UNH and participated in the the CONNECT Program, an intensive one week orientation for multicultural students held before fall classes begin. Despite the new friends and
mentors that she developed through CONNECT, the transition to UNH and southeastern New Hampshire was a dramatic one. “It was pure cul- ture shock my first year as a student. Home was diverse and UNH clearly was not. I feared the judgment from my white peers and the
pressures of “fitting in”. Regardless of the social pressures, it didn’t stop me from pursuing my goals!” describes an animated Xio.
As part of that first-year transition, Xio decided to rally some other first year women to start a multicultural sorority. So, in 2006 Xio and 14 other women founded Delta Xi Phi Multicultural Sorority, Inc. (DXP), which has become the first multicultural sorority to establish a sustaining base at UNH. “There was a lot of opposition to a multicultural sorority. It felt like we weren’t receiving support from the administration or the student body. I think that we attracted a lot of attention because we were so different," claims Xio. DXP has since become a fully recognized member of the Greek system and grown to more
than 50 members who stand by its five pillars of Friendship, Sisterhood, Community Service, the Advancement of Women in Higher Education, and promoting Multicultural Awareness. They collaborate extensively with numerous UNH people and organizations and garnered Program of the Year and Community Service Project of the Year honors at the Student Leadership Awards Banquet in 2009. One of Xio’s primary UNH involvements now is serving as the student assistant coordinator of Safe Zones, “an educational program to raise awareness of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgendered, Queer, Questioning, Allied (LGBTQQA) issues and contribute to a campus climate of inclusion.” The Safe Zones Program is coordinated by Ellen Semran in the Office of Multicultural Student Affairs (OMSA). Yet, Safe Zones has not been the sole focus of her activism, which has included key roles in Greek Life, working as a mentor for
the CONNECT Program, membership in the UNH Latino student organization (MOSAICO) and the Diversity Network Program, and participating in the annual Martin Luther King Leadership Summit and the week-long Leadership Camp. She also played a key role in the 2009
Martin Luther King Interfaith Spiritual Celebration, and her personal ethic of service has been evidenced by her ongoing participation in Relay for Life, the Cornucopia Food Pantry and monthly community dinners through the Waysmeet Center. She added international experience
to her résumé in the spring of 2009 when she studied for a semester in Costa Rica, pulling together so much that she had learned through her Spanish and International
CYOS nominator Ellen Semran stated that, "Xiomara has intentionally examined and developed a foundation within her leadership that focuses on inspiring multicultural awareness, building and strengthening community, helping those around her, and making a difference. With her warm and energetic spirit, she has excelled at bringing people together across differences … and has been actively involved in increasing awareness, encouraging and facilitating dialogue."
Xiomara Albán has definite plans to continue developing her leadership skills. She believes that being a good leader “requires one to also be a follower and to learn from others, to step back when needed and to follow and trust others when necessary." She hastens to include
that she “embraces the concept of servant-leader, something that I learned at UNH.” So it is fitting that she has applied for a position as a White House intern for the summer after she graduates in May, 2010, and sees that as a base for pursuing a career involving politics. Her path in the near future includes plans for law school, but in the long term she seriously proclaims that she would like to be mayor of an inner city where there is ‘a lot going on.’ To summarize her future vision, Xiomara states, “I want to start a movement, create a revolution and really put myself out there. I want to advocate for those who can’t stand up for themselves. I’m not really sure how to do this, but