‘Like a family’: Hispanic RSOs foster community


Photo courtesy of Daniela Marquez

The University’s Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers chapter and alumni attend the SHPE National Convention in Orlando in November 2021.

By Lilli Bresnahan, Assistant News Editor

RSOs are the perfect places for students with specific interests or backgrounds. The University has a variety of RSOs on campus that help Hispanic students in their respective fields.

Nathalie Murillo, senior in Media and president of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists at the University, said being a part of the RSO has helped grow her professional career.

“I’ve gotten into contact with a lot of alumni who are within the journalism department,” Murillo said. “Through that, I got a scholarship through the College of Media, and I also got another scholarship through the National Association of Hispanic Journalists. I went to their conference and that really helped me establish networking connections.”

The NAHJ helps support aspiring Hispanic journalists, Murillo explained.

“A lot of the time, we try to provide them with internship opportunities and mentorship opportunities,” Murillo said. “We’re just trying to equip Latin and Hispanic journalists within the department and help them feel empowered and equip them with knowledge on workshops.”

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Daniela Marquez, senior in Engineering and president of the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE), said the RSO helps with academic, personal, social and professional development that college students might be looking for.

“Overall, it’s just a community that really does kind of provide all those areas of development that you would need to become successful coming out of college,” Marquez said.

Marquez said that the Hispanic community is what attracted her to the University.

“It’s really like a family that you get here on campus,” Marquez said. “And for a lot of people, the Hispanic community on campus is their main source of support, and for many it’s the reason that they’re doing well in college or that they even stayed in college.”

Murillo is also a staff member at La Casa Cultural Latina where she continues to work toward helping students feel heard.

“There’s so much power in feeling understood,” Murillo said. “When I see students come in, a lot of the time I see their faces brighten up. So when they come in and we’re talking in Spanish, it’s like you feel a sense of community and a sense of belonging.”

Murillo said that the College of Media has helped in giving her a scholarship and La Casa has helped with networking and building connections with alumni.

According to Murillo, there are not a lot of women of color in the journalism department, so it can be difficult to have your voice heard.

“For example, I’m a Latina studying journalism, and I definitely want to go into Spanish-speaking journalism,” Murillo said. “A lot of times, that can be kind of hard. Sometimes, there’ve been students who have expressed that they don’t feel supported within the department.”

Marquez said the SHPE helps with providing Hispanic students a “stepping stone that (they) don’t normally have in (their) communities.”

“Speaking personally, I had a really hard time transitioning in engineering because I was a first-generation American college student, so I had really no idea what I was getting myself into,” Marquez said. “And obviously, (the University) is a good engineering school, so I felt kind of a huge sense of imposter syndrome. SHPE helped me find my place in Engineering and made me feel valued as an engineer, and I think that does that for a lot of people.”

As president, Marquez has been trying to “bridge the gap” between the RSO and the College of Engineering.

“We’ve had a very close relationship with the Morrill Engineering Program in the College of Engineering, and through them, they’ve been a really great vessel to the larger College of Engineering,” Marquez said. “They really have been kind of champions for us and kind of speaking out for us, putting us in those positions where we can vote for ourselves.”

Marquez said that it would be appreciated if the University recognized them for their efforts.

“It’s kind of just making our presence heard, not only to the community but also to the administration,” Marquez said.


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