Jillian Glantz is an up-and-coming filmmaker and historian focusing her most recent documentary projects on the history of smaller, underrepresented groups of people in the Rio Grande Valley. After growing up in Dallas, Glantz found herself searching for a suitable career path. “I spent my first two semesters after high school at The University of Texas- Arlington… And I hated it,” she explained. “Then I tried college at The University of Texas in Austin. I spent a semester there, and hated it more.” To the dismay of her parents, Jillian then decided to take a break from school to pursue her dreams of learning the ins and outs of filmmaking. “I didn’t follow a traditional path,” Glantz explained. “But I knew myself best.”
You may have heard her name when she drove cross country, from Cambridge, Massachusetts, to Houston, Texas, to bring her undocumented mother to her graduation ceremony at Harvard University. Her name is Norma Torres Mendoza. She is an advocate for Latinx communities, prided on her continual dedication to education and immigration policy. Mendoza currently resides in the Rio Grande Valley of Texas but calls Houston, home. Her experience working in educational institutions spans further than her current career; Mendoza founded a non-profit at age 19 that focused on helping first-generation students in Houston get accepted into college. She aspires to run for public office one day in her hometown of Houston, Texas, in hopes of representing the voices of the Latinx community.