Women Rock Conference empowers students at San Diego City College

Conference kicked off list of Women’s History Month events.


Elisabeth Vermulen

Estefania de La Torre, City College student technician, volunteered her time to put the Women Rocks Conference together. By Elisabeth Vermulen/City Times

Elisabeth Vermeulen and Uyen Pham

City Women Rock Conference was all about women. The one-day conference held at City College on Friday contained a meaningful message that connected audience members to those who have come before them, especially women of color.

“The goal of today is to continue building the sense of community, empowerment, and being able to reach higher than you could reach,” said City Women Rock coordinator Lillian Garcia.

The event took place on International Women’s Day  and commemorated the empowerment of women who are not only the heart of their family but also the inspiration for many people and generations.

Panelists and volunteers who took part in organizing the event hope everyone could empathize with the struggles and challenges women have gone through in their life. They also hope to motivate City College women, help them acknowledge the support they receive and to reach the higher education system.

Throughout the month of March, National Women’s History Month, San Diego City College will hold several events on campus celebrating women.

Women Rocks Conference bag of goodies
Elisabeth Vermeule
Women Rocks Conference participants left encouraged and with a bag full of goodies. By Elisabeth Vermeulen/City Times

This year’s conference featured a returning presence. Estefania de la Torre, a student technician, volunteered for the first time in 2017 and returned to lend a helping hand in 2019. 

“First time that we put this event together it was really empowering because it is the first time that we had ever seen a community of just women,” de la Torre said. “It’s a safe place to teach all of these different aspects that you wouldn’t get at a normal conference especially because it’s catered to women, by women.”

Women’s Rock Conference is held annually to commemorate the hardship of womanhood and to ignite, inspire, empower, and to lead women. 

De la Torre emphasized the pressure of being a woman and having to juggle and balance all the expectations of society.

“You have to go to school and go to work,” de la Torre said. “(But) what about the students that have kids? They have to go home and be a mom at the end of the day, and it’s just all that pressure that they put on themselves.” 

According to de la Torre, there will always be a helping hand and resources available to those who look for it.

“One of the biggest things that I would like to see from students getting out of this experience is knowing they’re not alone,” she said. “A lot of students do feel like they have to go through certain aspects in life by themselves. And that’s not the case.”

De la Torre also encouraged students to participate in this safe space as a way to unwind. 

“We all have different goals but at the end of the day we’re trying to better ourselves, for ourselves,” she said. 

Lillian Garcia at Women Rocks Conference
Uyen Pham
City College’s Lilian Garcia coordinated the Women Rocks Conference on Friday. ByUyen Pham/City TImes

There were many other workshops with speakers specialized in different categories such as education, health, or business that were ready to mentor and help women lay a foundation for success. “If one woman is successful, it would be nice for that person to share their experiences,” Garcia said, “which (it can then) reach a large community of successful women, building the momentum.”

The conference was a start to community-building in the long run, and was the first time City College incorporated high school students from nearby schools in order to spread the message to the younger generation.

Other events commemorated to National Women’s Month on campus include:

Speaker panel: “She Was Warned”
Mar. 19, 7-9 p.m. in Black Box Theater
An evening of storytelling from 10 ordinary, diverse women taking 10 minutes each to talk about their experiences with dismantling barriers, building bridges and making history.


Art Exhibit: Women in Light, Luxe Photography Gallery
Mar. 15 – Apr. 19, all school hours   
Luxe Photography Gallery (top floor of the V building)
An opportunity that lasts more than one month for students to appreciate the beauty of women captured in photographs.