Tuesday, May 30th, 2023
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Alum Conquers Mount Everest

Silvia Vasquez-Lavado ‘96 uses adventure and nature to heal abused women.

Silvia Vasquez-Lavado ‘96

Silvia Vasquez-Lavado grew up in the mountains of Peru.

When you have already climbed some of the tallest mountains in South America, there are still higher and bigger mountains to climb. Like Mount Everest in Nepal.

Vasquez-Lavado did just that in May, when she reached the summit of Mount Everest, after facing a  grueling climb to the top. It wasn’t the first time Vasquez-Lavado has aimed to reach great summits.

As a child in Peru, she was sexually abused. A Fulbright Scholarship gave her the opportunity to leave the terrors of her country and study at Millersville University, where she earned her degree in accounting and international business. After moving to California, she got a job with eBay, then moved on to become principal of enterprise technology at PayPal. She is also founder and CEO of Courageous Girls, a group that uses adventure and nature to heal women who have been sexually abused.

Talk about adventure. She took a group of Courageous Girls to Base Camp before continuing on her personal quest to conquer Mount Everest.

Silvia2“I have summited six of the seven tallest summits in the world. By making it to the top of Everest, I am the first Peruvian person and the first gay woman to climb all seven of the world’s tallest summits,” she says.

For Vasquez-Lavado, it’s more than reaching the top. It’s about finding her soul and her spirit in this world. It’s about leading others to a place of healing.

“For me, nature has always been a place of introspection, a place where you gain perspective about the world around you,” says Vasquez-Lavado. “You’re standing there, surrounded by the Himalayas and realize you’re a tiny speck amongst the vast world.”


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