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JackieCruz“Orange is the New Black” actress Jackie Cruz will speak at the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh on Wednesday, April 13 at 7 p.m. in the Reeve Memorial Union ballroom.

Cruz, an actor, model and singer best known for her role as Marisol “Flaca” Gonzales in the Netflix series “Orange is the New Black,” will give a motivational speech, Cruzing Through Adversity, as part of the University Speaker Series.

Cruz was born in New York City, but grew up in Los Angeles, the Dominican Republic, New York and Miami. Cruz has survived a multitude of challenges, including a near fatal car accident. In this interactive session, Cruz will share her inspirational story of struggle and determination with the goal of inspiring the audience to achieve their dreams, no matter how large or small. Using the transformative powers of music, Cruz challenges audiences to experience life as a harmonic melody sung to your own tune.

“We  felt that Cruz had a message of resilience that would resonate well with students,” said Nicole Bellcorelli, volunteerism program adviser at UW Oshkosh. “When discussing the speaker, we also felt more people would be attracted to hear her message because the show she is on is current and is popular among college students.”

The University Speaker Series brings six speakers to campus each year with the goal of covering diverse topics and interests. “Our desired outcome is that the speakers we bring each year will inform, inspire or challenge the way our attendees think,” Bellcorelli said.

University Speaker Series Chair Christopher Owen said Cruz has an incredible message to share with campus.

“I hope that students listen to her story and find inspiration in the long road to success that she had to take,” Owen said. “With this being such a difficult time in the academic year for students, I hope that they find inspiration to finish the semester strong. As well as finding inspiration, this event offers a brief getaway from the stresses of the end of the semester.”

Free tickets are available to students and the public (must show an ID) starting Monday, April 4 at the Student Leadership and Involvement Center desk, located in the lower level of Reeve Union.

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