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Co-Owner/Co-Founder, Coco Verde Vegan

Lecturer, Tufts University

Age: 29

Heritage: Dominican

Cecilia believes that she would be nothing without her community and support network. She admires the proverb, "if you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together." Cecilia has been able to accomplish so much with the help of the people that care about her. Her father taught her from a young age not to give up and not to take no for an answer. Her mother nurtured her gentle presence. Cecilia’s family (both chosen and biological) have been present in the most difficult times and have always been her cheerleaders. 

In Cecilia’s eyes, being Latina influences everything! She is very thankful her parents raised her bicultural and bilingual. She has always thought of herself as a bridge connecting two cultures and it's important to her to document the experience of immigrants and their children in the United States. 

Cecilia’s dissertation and research is focused on the experience of breastfeeding among Latinas: understanding the differences in breastfeeding longevity, characterizing barriers, and identifying potential interventions. She decided to focus on this area after her own experience breastfeeding and the stories in her family shared, both positive and negative, about their own experiences. 

Currently, Cecilia has a catering company, known as Coco Verde Vegan. It has been an attempt in the food world to re-imagine the plates that we grew up eating as plant based versions. Food is so integral to all of us and our identities, therefore Cecilia wants to play a role in making food both nourishing and tasty too. In addition to this, Cecilia is also currently working on a PhD on Social Policy. 

In the future, Cecilia hopes to open Coco Verde Vegan as a restaurant and continue to offer classes, meal plans, and bring understanding to our relationship with food. In the academic world, she is excited to become a professor and to continue to share and create knowledge with students. It's important to Cecilia to teach classes where students see themselves reflected and can conduct research that is crucial to understanding our health as a community. 

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