Assistant Professor Ana Cruz was recognized by Heartland Latino Leadership (HLL) as the Latina Educator of the Year for 2011. The group presented the award at a gala dinner. HLL's community awards program recognizes achievements of Latinos contributing to the growth and development of the community.
The group seeks to "inspire others to contribute and support the common good." Cruz has been active assisting immigrants with translation. Additionally, she helped pioneer an educational program for inmates in Omaha.