The Department of Romance Languages and Literatures congratulates Virginia Braxs on her inclusion as one of ten St. Louis Women of Achievement for 2014. This award has been given since 1955, when the St. Louis Globe-Democrat created an awards program that became known as the Women of Achievement Award in order to recognize and honor women who, through their volunteer efforts, demonstrate their dedication and commitment to improving the quality of life in the St. Louis community.
Braxs was selected this year for achievement in the category of Cultural Enrichment, which recognizes her contributions in promoting the excellence of the Hispanic culture through arts and education to foster diversity and acceptance in St. Louis. Braxs has served as the President of the Hispanic Arts Council since 2013, having also served as the Vice President of the organization since 1998. In these roles, she has organized annual concerts with high-profile Latino artists at The Sheldon Concert Hall, collaborated annually with the Classical Guitar Society Hispanic artists concerts for over 15 years, and organized Latino art exhibits with local galleries. She has also arranged educational Hispanic culture activities to benefit underserved St. Louis students and given lectures and presentations on Hispanic culture to local organizations and institutions throughout the years. Braxs is an advocate for higher education access, regardless of immigration status, for underserved Hispanic students through the education initiative called Universidad YA! / College NOW!, which offered the first two bilingual Hispanic College Fairs in St. Louis in 2013, serving 700 local Latino families and students.
In addition to her work through the Hispanic Arts Council, Braxs also runs the Latino Youth Tutoring / Mentoring Programs here at Washington University. Consisting of three programs – the Niños Program, Cambios Program, and Puertas Program – these volunteer opportunities are open to all students of Intermediate or higher Spanish proficiency.