Patricia Loera, a University of Washington alumna and longtime advocate for educational opportunity, will join the UW Office of Minority Affairs & Diversity as associate vice president for college access, effective Sept. 8.
In this role, Loera will provide leadership and oversight for all OMA&D college access programs and initiatives, including working closely with K-12 and community partners to broaden pathways for underrepresented minority, low-income and first generation students. Most recently, she helped lead efforts to develop innovative college readiness programs in states throughout the country as a senior program officer for the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
“We are thrilled to have Patricia join us in OMA&D,” said Interim Vice President for Minority Affairs and Vice Provost for Diversity Gabriel Gallardo. “Her knowledge and experience will be a tremendous asset to us as we commit to taking our pre-college programs to the next level. Patricia has also been a passionate supporter of OMA&D from an alumni perspective and we are very happy to have her as a member of our leadership team. I know she is excited to get started.”
With the Gates Foundation, Loera worked with its College Ready team to develop, manage and implement strategies for schools, districts and community-based organizations committed to improving college pathways for low-income and underrepresented minority students. She led grants portfolios to support this work in Texas, Georgia and Colorado. She also collaborated with national, state and community leaders and funders to champion college readiness, share knowledge and ensure sustainability of these reforms.
“After working on a national level, I’m very excited to join the UW Office of Minority Affairs & Diversity to expand pathways to and through college for underrepresented youth here in Washington state,” Loera said. “I am committed to keeping the needs of these students front and center, as well as engaging our community and K-12 partners to carry out this important work.”
Prior to her tenure with the Gates Foundation, Loera spent time in Washington, D.C., working as legislative director for the National Association for Bilingual Education (1998-2004) and legislative staff attorney with the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (1997). She also served as Washington state assistant attorney general in Yakima (1993-97).
Loera received a juris doctorate degree from the UW Law School (1993) and bachelor’s degrees in political science and Spanish, cum laude, from Central Washington University (1989). She is originally from Sunnyside, Wash.