SJU Student Receives Award from National Hispanic Honor Society

Produced by the Office of Marketing and Communications.  

Lehidyt Montecinos ’14G left her native country of Peru at the age of 11 to come to the United States for a life-changing experience that ultimately led her to St. John’s University. “Leaving the developing world gave me a chance to live in ways that never would have been possible otherwise,” she said. “Attending St. John’s has been the biggest opportunity afforded to me so far.”   

Montecinos, a member of St. John’s Epsilon Kappa chapter of Sigma Delta Pi, the National Collegiate Hispanic Honor Society, recently received the prestigious Gabriela Mistral Award for her academic achievements, leadership, and initiative in her chapter. The award is presented to outstanding graduate or undergraduate students of Spanish who are active members of Sigma Delta Pi.

"Lehidyt is the type of student that the University can be proud of,” said Marie-Lise Gazarian, Ph.D., director, graduate program in Spanish. “Dedicated to her studies and to helping others, she symbolizes St. John's mission as well as Sigma Delta Pi's passion for Hispanic literature and culture.”

Montecinos wrote her thesis on two Peruvian personalities of international stature: Javier Pérez de Cuéllar, former Secretary General of the United Nations, and Luis Alberto Sánchez, writer and former vice president of Peru. “I owe so much to my professors in the Spanish department for guiding me through my studies and creating a family-like environment where I could thrive,” said Montecinos.  

After graduation she plans to teach at the high school level or work at the United Nations in a literacy program for women and children. “I’m passionate about empowering others through literacy,” she said.

“As her professor and mentor,” said Gazarian, “I am so pleased that Lehidyt Montecinos’ name is now linked with that of this award’s namesake, Gabriela Mistral, the great Chilean poet, educator, and feminist who was the first and, so far, the only Latin American woman, to win the Nobel Prize in literature." 

During her time as a graduate student at SJU, Montecinos was greatly affected by its commitment to service. “Everything comes back to the Vincentian mission,” she explained. “When I think of St. John’s, I automatically think about giving back.”