An Interview with Narrative 4 Community Partner, Mayra Valle

This month, to celebrate International Women’s History Month, we’ve asked our staff to nominate some of the amazing women working within the Narrative 4 community, to uplift their work and express our sincere appreciation for their commitment to N4’s core beliefs. These women truly embody compassionate change-making in the world and are doing the work to build support and connection in their communities.

Mayra is an educator, advocate and proud Houston, Texas native and resident. Mayra is passionate about building equitable systems of education, especially as it relates to African American and Latino students in Greater Houston and the state of Texas. Mayra was first connected to Narrative 4 through our partnership with the EMERGE Fellowship, an organization that supports high performing students in Houston from minority and marginalized communities to attend top colleges and universities. She was instrumental in helping us execute our first in-person engagement in Houston and attended our 2023 Global Summit in New York City to represent her region and bring her innovative ideas to our global community. Mayra’s commitment to developing a strong sense of belonging and a tenacity for success among the students she mentors is why we are honored to share her story this Women’s History Month.

In conversation with Mayra

  1. Tell us about the work you do to support students in maximizing their potential and navigating systemic barriers

Currently, I serve as a private consultant with Valle Conmigo LLC. I advise students within the college admission process and partner with organizations across the country to deliver results for college-bound students. My approach is deeply grounded in building infrastructure that affirms student identities and builds a sense of belonging in the classroom. From developing history and heritage month materials to creating safe spaces for discourse, I work to ensure students reclaim their presence in historically-exclusive spaces of power.

2. Share how you think N4 can help students achieve these goals

First-generation students often feel unworthy of the opportunity to attend college. In many cases, students consider the tasks or concepts they weren’t taught in school, instead of acknowledging the transferable skills they have developed along the way to excel in many areas of their lives (including college). Storytelling is the vehicle by which students identify those transferable skills. When students share stories of resilience, challenges, problem solving, personal passions, and successes, they affirm a part of themselves that often is silenced. They acknowledge a part of themselves that can and will succeed, even when faced a new challenge.

3. Can you speak to the connection between creative/artistic expression and student success?

The young mind is creative and boundless. As educators, we are tasked with nurturing creativity in all learning spaces. In some cases, students must tap into creativity to envision themselves in new places, or they can execute their unique perspectives in physical forms on a stage or on a canvas. My students see the college application as an invitation into self-expression and storytelling. They showcase their creativity through their personal narrative in all aspects of the application process.

4. Is there a local Houston/regional individual or organization you’d like to shout out?

There are a few local organizations I would love to highlight! New Leaders Council is a space for young professionals to learn more about how to develop inclusive, supportive, and equitable leadership practices. Their fellowship program has had an incredible impact on my professional development and personal growth. Additionally, as a Northsider, Art In the Heart is one of the few art centers in the community. This is a welcoming and inspiring Latina-owned communal space that supports creative expression in all forms. 

Read our interviews with other nominees and participate in our International Women’s History month campaign here!