Born and raised in Chicago, Lilia has been fortunate enough to have an exceedingly loving and supportive family. She attended Whitney M. Young Magnet High School, where she came out the summer before her freshman year. As a sophomore, Lilia took part in Chicago’s Broadway Youth Center’s inaugural GLBT Youth Mentor Program. During her senior year, Lilia served as treasurer for her school’s Gay-Straight Alliance, and was a National Hispanic Scholar, National Merit finalist, and an AP Scholar with Distinction, as well as being listed in Who’s Who Among American High School Students.
She was thrilled to learn of heracceptance to Columbia University, where she continued her work with the queer community. Lilia served as treasurer and eventually president of GendeRevolution, Columbia’s student-run group that addresses issues related to gender, gender identity, and gender expression. She is grateful to have been a part of several groundbreaking changes at Columbia, including the founding of a special-interest housing community for LGBTQ and ally students, and the institution of Columbia’s gender-neutral housing policy for undergraduates. During her junior year at Columbia, Lilia discovered her passion for public health and became a peer advocate at Columbia’s Gay Health Advocacy Project,which provides pre- and post-HIV test counseling for the Columbia community. She graduated in May 2011 with a B.A. in anthropology.
Lilia is now a clinical research coordinator at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in the Bronx. She works in the Department of Medicine – Infectious Diseases with a team that focuses on female-controlled methods to prevent the transmission of HIV and other sexually-transmitted infections. Lilia plans to continue her education by obtaining a Master of Public Health in the near future.