Student Curated Biographies | Chicana por mi Raza

Student Curated Biographies

CPMR relies on the brilliance and motivation of many dedicated undergraduate students to preserve, identify, and create new content related to our holdings. These biographies reflect over 5 years' work by students whom have participated via classes, independent studies, and research seminars. Students are entirely responsible for the creation of these biographies and each biography is an ever-expanding, previously unavailable record of knowledge. Please contact us at with any concerns or updates to the information displayed here.

Dr. Elena Mulcahy “I’m not interested in being remembered, I’m interested in having the work survive.”

Dr. Elena Mulcahy was born on the South side of Chicago, Illinois on May 24, 1937 as Elena Berezaluce.  Her parents were immigrants from Tabasco, Mexico.  Although she grew up with her cousins on Chicago’s South side, her family lived in an area where there were few other Mexicans. Growing up bilingual, at an early age Elena not only helped translate for her primarily Spanish-speaking parents, but also for other community members and her fellow students and teachers.

Rose Mary Bombela-Tobias “I don’t want to just be a stewardess and just serve coffee – I want to be Lois Lane…”

Rose Mary Bombela-Tobias was born in East Chicago, Indiana to Mexican migrants. After her father’s retirement from working in a steel mill while she was in grammar school, her family relocated to El Paso, Texas. There, she attended a Lithuanian school where she was one of the few Latinas.  It was when she attended Urban High School, whose population was predominantly children of white military families, that she began noticing social politics.  For example, she noted that as more Latino students enrolled in the high school, most were being placed in remedial courses. 

Virginia Gomez Oviedo “I think one of the biggest things is that they need to be unafraid, unafraid to look at things differently than how they’ve been told to look at things, whether it’s in school, even at home…do not be afraid, you’re going to probably take some criticism. You won’t think you know how to do it, but you’ll learn. It’s a fun path, living is fun.”

Virginia Gomez Oviedo was born in 1945 on the Southeast side of Chicago. Her family first lived in the Maxwell Street area, a diverse port of entry for many of Chicago’s immigrants.  When her family moved to the South Shore neighborhood, however, her community and school were not very diverse and the family faced racism.  Facing this discrimination at a very young age fostered her political consciousness and activism.