As a first-generation college student, I am extremely grateful for all the experiences I have had at Indiana University. I entered freshman year as a 21st Century Scholar, a Groups Scholar, and a Hudson and Holland Scholar. The Groups Scholars Program helped me adjust to college life the summer before my freshman year, during which I got to meet friends that I have to this day. Throughout college, some of my fondest memories are visiting La Casa, Latino Cultural Center, where I found even more ways to give back to the Latinx community and meet incredible friends. I am a member of Latinos Unidos at Indiana University and the Chi Alpha Epsilon Honor Society. I am one of the co-chairs of the Latino Enhancement Cooperative, responsible for planning and hosting the annual Indiana Latinx Leadership Conference and I am a recipient of the Kate Hevner Mueller Award.
Undergraduate Perspective: Wendy Ruiz
I initially decided to double major in International Studies and Linguistics with a minor in Spanish. Throughout my experiences with these two majors, I decided to add Spanish as a major and add a minor in Latin American and Caribbean Studies. I have genuinely enjoyed each of these different programs, but some of my favorite classes have been those in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese. I got to learn more about my most salient identity as a Latina and Mexican while exploring topics such as history, language, and culture; topics that I wish were more readily available to all. My undergraduate thesis, "Bilingualism and its Effects on Latinx Young Adults' Construction of Identity in the US," investigates what Spanish means to Latinx who are second-generation immigrants. There are so many more classes that I wish I would have taken in Spanish, but I am extremely grateful for those that I was able to take with incredible faculty. I was able to participate in two study abroad programs, in Peru and Cuba, where I used my intercultural knowledge and language skills to make the best of my stays. I know Spanish will be useful wherever the future takes me. I intend to work as a translator and directly participate in advocacy work.