Spotlight on Latinx Culture at UMKC

Students and alumni share their stories about the Latinx community and UMKC resources available
dance party at night during the 2019 end of year celebration for Avanzando

We want to shine a spotlight on the Latinx culture at UMKC during Hispanic Heritage month. Hear firsthand from students, alumni and faculty about their experiences at UMKC and the resources, opportunities, and programs for Latinx students that helped them navigate college.

What does a mentorship look like at UMKC?

“It’s such a joy. It’s such a rewarding experience. And it’s a way of paying back all the opportunities I have had in life. If I hadn’t had mentors, I wouldn’t have come as far as I have.” - Clara Irazábal-Zurita, Ph.D., mentor

“I just know she’s there, that I have someone to go to to ask for guidance and advice. I know I have someone to talk to.” - Aricela Guadalupe

“For me being a first-generation college student, none of my family members knew anything about college or knew the struggle or challenges that came with being in college. All of those things were difficult at times for my mother to understand. But having a mentor has helped me tremendously.”-Edith Moreno ‘16

Favorite Spanish/Latinx resources or student organization at UMKC?

“I am on the executive board for the Association of Latin American Students (ALAS) and a scholar in the Avanzando Mentoring Program. ALAS has helped me get to know fellow Latinx students on campus and about different Latinx cultures.” -Jonny Gutierrez ‘19

“The Avanzando Program made the transition from high school to college less stressful and more exciting. It also has given me the opportunity to interact with my mentor.” -Edith Moreno B.A. ‘16

Who/what motivates you?

“My parents didn’t go to college, but they always stressed the importance of going and finishing. And now I tell my younger sisters and my son ‘I made it, so you have to make it. No ifs, ands or buts.” -Astrid Vega ‘22

“I take pride in [being a first-generation student] because I know my family made a sacrifice to leave their homeland to come here and prosper. My parents were only able to get so far in life because of the lack of resources provided to them; however, I was inculcated with the desire to work hard and be humble, and I can't thank them enough for teaching me those values.” - Roberto Diaz ‘20

“Since migrating to the U.S., my parents have broken their backs to keep my siblings and I financially stable. After working for others for 15 years, my father finally owns his own company (also without a degree, like my grandmother). They’ve inspired me to follow in their footsteps and try to be even more successful than they were, but this time, with a college degree.” - Daphne Posadas ‘21

How do you want to make a difference in the Hispanic/Latinx community?

“I am a member and co-founder of the organization Voz Kansas City. We are a new Latinx Organization advocating for and advancing the role the Latinx community plays in the community and within politics.” - Aly Hernandez ‘19

“I got into teaching when I did City Year and Teach for America. Both of those experiences showed me that there are very few Latinx educators in front of black and brown children. Research shows when students have teachers that reflect their identities, they often do better. This motivates me to stay in education.” -Roberto Diaz ‘20

Advice for incoming first-generation Hispanic/Latinx students?

“Instead of advice, I would want to congratulate families in general, and Latino families in particular, because they invest a lot in supporting their children to come to college and to do well in college. Keep doing what you’re doing and realize that this is an investment for the long term.”- Clara Irazábal-Zurita, Ph.D.

Thoughts on diversity at UMKC?

“Another thing I love about UMKC is the diversity. It's great to see people from all different cultures and stories. I realized I haven't met everyone in the entire world, and I want to. UMKC allows students to start becoming the adult they want to be – one who is full of confidence, creativity and compassion.” - Daphne Posadas ‘21

“This might be a bit cliché, but I really admire the diversity at this school. Being Mexican American, I feel extremely welcomed, and it motivates me more because I know I have different kinds of support behind me and that means the world to me.” - Jonny Gutierrez ‘19

Published: Oct 9, 2020