At the first of many events commemorating Women’s History Month, Dr. Zulma Toro, president of Central Connecticut State University, told the University of New Haven community, "I look forward to a society that respects every individual."
March 7, 2019
For Aubrey Winiarski ’20, a chemical engineering major, listening to Dr. Zulma Toro’s talk about her life and her career was personal.
Toro, the first woman and the first Hispanic to serve as president of Central Connecticut State University, also has a background in engineering. As part of a lecture to kick off the University of New Haven’s celebration of Women’s History Month, Toro discussed the challenges that she has faced as a woman in a male-dominated field.
"It does get hard when you’re working on a team with mostly men," said Winiarski. "Dr. Toro is such an inspiration, and her goals and mindset are something to strive toward."
"It does get hard when you’re working on a team with mostly men. Dr. Toro is such an inspiration, and her goals and mindset are something to strive toward."Aubrey Winiarski ’20
Toro, who served as dean of the University of New Haven’s then School of Engineering and Applied Sciences from 2001 to 2005, told the University community about her mother, who taught her the importance of persistence and investing in one’s dreams.
Toro says she learned the value of education at an early age, and she wanted to make a difference in the lives of the next generations of students.
She admitted that her journey wasn’t always easy, and that she – and most women – faced social challenges and judgments in the workplace that men do not. She says that although less than a third of college presidents are women, she has worked hard to prove herself to the many naysayers that she has encountered.
"My struggles have developed my character and my stamina, and I work hard every day to change the script," said Toro. "The situation is not hopeless. Together, we can engage in a national dialogue to eliminate stereotypes and biases."
"The situation is not hopeless. Together, we can engage in a national dialogue to eliminate stereotypes and biases."Dr. Zulma Toro
Toro challenged the University community to continue that dialogue in their own lives, urging them to see the potential in everyone and to treat everyone equally.
Her message resonated with Jenna Uba ’20, a computer science major.
"Dr. Toro reminded us that it does take time to make a change and to make a difference," she said. "As long as you put in the hard work and you’re very devoted to what you’re doing, you’ll accomplish your goals."