I grew up in the Bronx as a Puerto Rican male. My academic milestones, first as high school valedictorian, then as a New York University undergraduate and now doctoral student in the Anthropology program at the City University of New York Graduate Center, could not have been possible without the support of some amazing educators and mentors including my mother. As an academic, I look forward to bridging community concerns with rigorous scholarship.
I think it is important for Latino/a students to recognize that higher education was not initially designed with them in mind. It is critical that students of color realize that while they might not possess the familial educational capital of whites, their perspectives and experiences are just as important within any academic discussions or discourse. To be sure, while educational attainment might be a challenge for many students of color, it is their lived experiences that provide much of the content of academic scholarship. Moreover, students of color need to stake claim to their right to learn and be among any discussants.
HSF’s mission is a wonderful initiative for Latino/a students. While the financial support is a very important element of HSF, I am sure that many students in my high school class would have greatly benefited from organized interactions with college students of color; the bridging between students of color in high school with those in college.
I had the great pleasure and honor to work as the HSF Scholar Chapter Coordinator at NYU. My efforts in organizing social activism events and community outreach programs allowed me the opportunity to connect much of the issues and concerns that were raised in my courses (class privilege, various inequalities, etc.) to the “real world.” As college students, we sometimes examine societal issues without really making a real-life connection. My time with HSF allowed me to share some of my knowledge with fellow peers at NYU and with youth all around New York City. I highly encourage all students of color to be actively involved in their college experience and their communities.