“My parents are my biggest motivators,” says Christopher Flores, whose mom and dad have worked hard as packers at an Indiana metal finishing company for many years, in order to create a home and provide opportunities for their children. As a big brother and first-generation college student, Michael also strives to serve as a role model for his two younger sisters.
Yet charting his own path to college had its challenges. With little outside assistance to rely on, he often felt discouraged and alone as he grappled to understand the application process, determine which tests he needed to take, and complete all the other necessary steps, while simultaneously finishing high school. However, drawing on the kind of determination and commitment he saw in his parents, he graduated from high school and secured his college entrance.
Now a senior at Indiana University Bloomington, he is an HSF Scholar majoring in Sports Marketing and Management. Through an internship at the school, he assists with the operation of multiple sporting events on campus, including soccer, football, basketball, wrestling, softball, swimming and diving. He volunteers at the events, as one way of giving back to the community, and has also joined the newly-created George Taliaferro Sport Association, which seeks to celebrate underrepresented populations in sports.
This past November, Christopher was one of 100 Scholars invited to attend the HSF Media & Entertainment Summit—an annual conference that exposes HSF Scholars interested in the field, to diverse career opportunities and specialized knowledge from industry insiders. He states that he is proud to be part of HSF and adds that he sees particular value in meeting Hispanic, industry trailblazers. “I feel it is important to know there are people like you out there doing amazing things,” he said.
He recalls how tough it was for a kid like him, from a low-income household, to be able to play his favorite sport, futbol, as he was growing up. His plan is to work hard after college to change that. “I want to provide underprivileged kids with a chance to play futbol,” he says, “changing the pay to play system in the USA.” He believes passionately that this will also end up producing “better players and better kids, in the long run.”
For now, he hopes to empower students who are planning to go to college, with this advice: “You should not be afraid to reach out for help,” he says, “Do not be afraid to change. Whether it’s majors, cities, friends, whatever it may be, take the leap.”