KC Scholars Student Thrives Through Connection

Adriana Suarez says UMKC community is key to success

Our ongoing story starts with people from around the world, converging here at UMKC. Get to know our people and you’ll know what UMKC is all about.

Adriana Suarez

Anticipated graduation: Spring 2023

Academic program:  Honors College, Bachelor of Business Administration-Nonprofit Management, minors in Sociology and Latinx and Latin American Studies

Hometown:  Kansas City, Kansas

Adriana Suarez started her freshman year living in the dorm, studying, working and hanging out with friends. Soon, the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic began turning everything upside down. Suarez lost her job and moved out of the dorm and in with her sister and was going to school online. Despite the turmoil, she’s focused and committed to finding her way through this challenging time with success.

Why did you choose UMKC?

I grew up in Kansas City, Kansas, and was familiar with UMKC because of the prestige and exposure of the school. It was only when I was awarded a scholarship through KC Scholars that I seriously considered attending the university. One of the main reasons I was attracted to UMKC was the diversity on campus compared to other campuses in the area.

"One of the main reasons I was attracted to UMKC was the diversity on campus compared to other campuses in the area." - Adriana Suarez

Why did you choose your field of study?

Business degrees are very versatile, and I hope I can apply my knowledge of history and the culture of the Latinx community to further develop the Latino voice of the KC metro area.  

When I entered college, I joined the Latinx Student Union where I was given the opportunity to listen to speakers present on important topics within the Latinx community. These events led me to discover my own passion for helping others and our growing Latino community.

What are the challenges of the program?

The biggest challenge is finding the intersectionality of each program. I must find ways in which each program can build upon the other to open opportunities to connect with the community not only as a student but also as a community member. The most important part about combining these programs includes adaptability -- I must be able to learn to adapt to changes in the environment that require me to learn skills that aren’t necessarily taught in school.

What are the benefits of the program?

The programs at UMKC are very versatile, and I feel as though I am able to make them my own. I have the chance to explore the business world while also discovering the cultural aspects of my community. The part I am most excited about is studying abroad for the next full academic year. I hope that this experience will challenge me to learn new cultural perspectives in the business world as well as the real world.

How has your college program inspired you?

I feel inspired to do more to help our community. Especially during moments of need like now where we need to lean on our community for support. I feel more inspired than ever to create change that will leave a legacy.

"I have the chance to explore the business world while also discovering cultural aspects of my community."

Since entering college, what have you learned about yourself?

The college experience has definitely built my sense of independence. Realizing what it takes to be an adult, I have discovered a growing sense of responsibility. Every day I aspire to grow as a person.

Attending college has allowed me to grow not only academically, but also creatively. I recently started a small handmade jewelry Instagram account called Xotu Jewelry. A lot of my work is inspired by the Wixárika better known as the Huichol. They are one of the few indigenous tribes in Mexico that have been able to preserve their traditions, while also finding new ways to express their vision of the world through art.

 What do you admire most at UMKC?

The thing that I admire most about UMKC is the support system that it has provided me and other students. From faculty and advisors to friends, UMKC does not lack people who want to help. I have had the chance to work with amazing staff and meet people who I know will -- and have already -- made an impact on my life.

What’s the best piece of advice you have ever received from a professor?

Seek advice from only those people who are in the position that you want to be in.

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What extracurricular activities are you involved in at UMKC?

I am currently a work-study student at the Multicultural Student Affairs Office on campus. I serve as the project liaison on the Enactus Fundraising Committee and the SAFC Representative on the Bloch School Student Association Committee. I am also a Peer Academic Leader with the UMKC PAL Program where I mentor and support students through their first years at the UMKC.

I am planning on studying abroad in Ireland (Fall 2021) and South Korea (Spring 2022). I participate in various programs on campus such as the Latino Student Union, the Avanzando Mentoring Program as well as the Association of Latino Professionals for America.

Do you have any scholarships? 

KC Scholars has provided me the opportunity to attend school at the university level. KC Scholars gave me something set in stone when other parts of my life weren’t going so well. I am forever grateful for the opportunity.

"The thing that I admire most about UMKC is the support system that it has provided me and other students. From faculty and advisors to friends, UMKC does not lack people who want to help."

I am also a Hispanic Development Fund Scholarship recipient. When I was awarded the Hispanic Development Fund Scholarship, I knew that I was entering a “familia” - a family and community of Hispanic community members that cared for the wellbeing of each other and bettering the future.

I was awarded the 2020 Sherman and Irene Dreiseszun Scholarship through UMKC, and the Truman Foundation which will, in the future, contribute to my plans for studying abroad.

What do you hope to take from your experiences at UMKC into your professional career?

I hope that being active on campus through diverse programs will allow me to engage more in the community. I believe these experiences are great for opening doors in the future.

Learn more about Henry W. Bloch School of Management

Published: Feb 26, 2021