DR. BELKYS TORRES
Bringing communities of all backgrounds together
Dr. Belkys Torres is the executive director of global engagement at the University of Pittsburgh’s University Center for International Studies (UCIS). Dr. Torres has worked with the University of Pittsburgh for the past seven years and held the title of executive director for the past four. She also serves as president on the board of directors for the Latino Community Center and is a member of United Way’s Women’s Leadership Council (WLC) and Bridges Society.
Her career path is deeply personal, and it has been a passion of hers since she was a child. “I am the daughter of Cuban refugees; I am a first-generation American citizen. I am a first-generation college student; I identify as Latina or Cuban American, and I am someone whose native language is Spanish. It was important to my parents that I be able to speak my native tongue and respect my cultural heritage and traditions.” Dr. Torres believes one way to honor this is by using her professional and volunteer work about creating a safe space to celebrate individuals who have been made to feel like an outsider in the United States.
She is a proud member of United Way’s Women in Leadership (WLC) and Bridges. The University of Pittsburgh has helped create an opportunity for faculty and staff to join WLC and Bridges through United Way. “Jackie Dunbar-Jacob, the dean of Nursing, would invite faculty to on-campus events where we would have conversations about how the university engages in community enrichment. WLC provides an organic bridge for people of all backgrounds to network together about philanthropy and community enrichment that we may not have had otherwise.”
“I appreciate United Way because I can direct my financial donations to the Latino Community Center (LCC) which has provided family services and support to incoming immigrant and ethnic communities. These contributions have also helped provide education services to Latinx children and their families; support that extends to children as newborns all the way through their college years.”
Dr. Torres has felt moved by her other professionals and members of United Way who have committed their time and expertise to make our community a better place. “There is a greater opportunity for all of us in Pittsburgh to think intentionally about the way we are supporting immigrants and those coming from emerging communities. We are determined to look carefully at those gaps and try to fill them through organizations like United Way.”
To learn more about United Way’s Women’s Leadership Council, contact Lynne Popash at email@example.com in Allegheny County or Terri Dominick at Terri.Dominick@unitedwayswpa.org in Westmoreland County, or Sherrie Dunlap Gallagher at firstname.lastname@example.org in Butler County.