The ICAA had a public speaking presentation from former First Generation (FG) Scholar and Saint Mary’s University alumna Daniela Martinez ‘15. Daniela discussed her personal story of life after graduation at the President’s Room at Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota on Monday, March 21.
“I wanted to connect this presentation with the ICAA mission which is inter-cultural awareness by educating students on the ups-and-downs of being Latina,” said Daniela.
Being born in the United States, from Latino parents, a person tries to find an identity while growing up in a community that is highly populated with Latinos with non-American citizenship. A Latino might struggle with English and have to work harder than others because it is a disadvantage that you are obligated to overcome while growing up in the United States.
Daniela, explains the benefits of being Latino, “Being Latino gives you the best of both worlds. You get to experience your family’s cultural traditions and the traditions of the US.”
When Daniela attended SMUMN it was a new environment for her because it was a predominantly white campus and she only saw a small percentage of Latinos as her classmates “At first I felt that this was a new experience and I tried to open up and get to know people by joining clubs and attending sporting events like hockey.” said Daniela. “It was sort of like experiencing a new culture on campus because I was able to adapt to the school’s atmosphere.”
“Daniela’s presentation was very insightful because as she spoke about her experience at Saint Mary’s and her experience in a professional settings, she spoke with passion and humbleness. Overall, she taught me a lot in regards to perceiving her experiences as learning experiences rather than adversity,” said Leticia Martinez, a Criminal Justice major at SMUMN and a FG Scholar.
Daniela gave advice to students of Latino heritage attending SMUMN, “My advice for Latinos, who are here at SMUMN, is to be open-minded and try to learn and experience a new environment. If you feel like you are being challenged, take that as a positive because most minorities do not get that same experience of attending a four year university.”
“I think Daniela gave some great advice about her experience because she believes in a greater perspective on life based on her experience with different students on campus that came from different cultures that enable her new perspective on different things,” said Priscilla Nava, a Spanish major and active member of the ICAA committee at SMUMN.
Daniela cherishes the following quote from Sonia Sotomayor, associate justice of the Supreme Court of the United States, because it motivates her to never give up no matter how many people do not believe in your goals and aspirations in life, “There are many people who think that Latinos do not have the capacity to make great things happen in life.”
Daniela graduated from SMUMN in 2015 with a degree in history and minor in global studies, she currently works as a Housing Division, Senior Court Clerk at Hennepin County in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Daniela was once the president of ICAA during her senior year at SMUMN. The ICAA is a committee run by the students of SMUMN who works with administration to enable all members of the smumn campus to help inspire and educate students about the fears of prejudice in order for each student to reach their own full potential on campus.