Jonathan J. Higuera

In celebration of Arizona Trailblazers

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Elizabeth Archuleta 

Photo courtesy of Valle Del Sol

Helping people, especially youth, achieve their full potential has propelled Elizabeth Archuleta’s life and career to amazing heights. At 31 years old, Elizabeth Archuleta became the youngest person to serve on the Coconino County Board of Supervisors and the only Latina to ever hold a seat on the powerful board. During the 16 years that she served on board, she solidified her reputation as a passionate advocate for neighborhoods. The contributions she and her family have made to the development of northern Arizona is a tribute to her ancestors, who settled in the area decades ago as one of Flagstaff’s pioneering families.

Archuleta’s accomplishments are not restricted to the realm of politics. As a staff member at Northern Arizona University (NAU), she developed programs designed to increase diversity at the campus, build leadership skills in youth and attract grants to fund those programs. She has been a persistent voice for enhancing inclusivity and diversity at the school. 

The programs she brought to Flagstaff include: Hispanics Organizing for Youth, which replicated the Hispanic mother-daughter program originally instituted at Arizona State University; the Minority Access and Achievement Council, which brings business, industry and education together to address needs of minority youth; and the Young Women’s Minority Leadership Conference, which she founded to foster leadership in multicultural and at-risk youth. 

She has received a Valle del Sol Profiles of Success Award and other professional recognitions. She still lives in the neighborhood where she grew up and where her parents still live today –  the Sunnyside neighborhood in Flagstaff. 

Archuleta is quick to point out that her community work is an extension of the values she received from her parents, Remigio and Isabel Archuleta. They always encouraged her to be whatever she dreamed she could be, and served as role models for their three children. Working in the family ice-cream-truck business provided Liz and her siblings a chance to pay their way through college; all attended Northern Arizona University. Liz received her degree, majoring in Speech and Communication and Spanish, then went on to work at NAU and eventually became coordinator of multicultural affairs.

Archuleta’s most rewarding achievements have been creating and developing programs that have provided Hispanic, African American and Native American youth in middle and high schools with the skills, confidence and vision to pursue a college degree. Not only did she do it, she created a path for others to follow.

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