Valeria Mendoza is a graduating student from Adelphi University who majored in International and Latin American Studies, and was a member of Levermore Global Scholars.
Cotija Michoacan, Mexico
B.A. International /Latin American Studies, *Levermore Global Scholar
International Studies /Latin American Studies, Marketing Minor
Why did you choose to attend Adelphi?
Adelphi University was the right fit for me as it allowed me to stay close to my family which was crucial when selecting a University. It also helped that tuition was more affordable than most colleges in the area. Ultimately however what finally convinced me I made the right choice was when Devin Thornburg, the Director of the Levermore Global Scholars Program at the time sat me down and expressed the tremendous opportunities I would have available having such a close proximity to the United Nations Head Quarters in New York City and other major International organizations.
When and how did your interest in your major develop?
Having been President of the Model United Nations Debate Team in high school I knew I wanted to pursue an internationally focused career. I came in with the mindset of graduating and becoming a diplomat. As a first generation graduate my parents encouraged me to pursue a career that would allow me to be financially stable and allow me to continue fueling the passion I had to learn of the world and diverse people. They were happy with my intended career path but to their misfortune it didn’t take long for me to discover my inner activist. Taking courses in the Levermore Global Scholars Program like The Arts and Human Rights, The Leadership Initiative Seminar and Advanced Research Colloquium empowered me to take action at a grass roots level to help resolve international issues by acting local and thinking global. Before they knew it I was off at the Social Good Summit and The World We Want UNA-USA Conference learning and strategizing how I could be a part of my generation’s efforts to make a difference in the world. I began to realize my place was no longer behind a desk but rather in the front line of protest marches. Thankfully my International/Latin American Studies Major and Marketing Minor allowed me to find a happy medium between my passion to explore diverse political systems and cultures while developing a skill set around language, research and marketing.
Did you complete any noteworthy internships or study abroad programs?
Serving as a Community Fellow two years out of the three I attended Adelphi University, I am proud to say that I had wonderful opportunities Interning for Global Kids, and the Fair Media Council.
Describe your experiences at Adelphi with the faculty and/or your classmates?
At Adelphi, I befriended many of my Professors and developed professional relationships with many others both faculty and staff members. One of the best professional relationships I developed was with the entire staff of the Center for Career and Development. Not only were they helpful molding me into a career ready woman but their genuine love to see me triumph made every minute of the experience worth it.
The way professionals lend themselves to secure a student’s success at the University makes Adelphi University a unique learning community.
What is your favorite moment with a professor?
During Professor Hanna Kim’s course Global Migration and Transnational Communities we read an excerpt from Dr. Robert Courtney Smith’s book Mexico-New York Transnational Lives of New Migrants. The course itself was magnificently structured and insightful. The readings she selected paid homage to the realities of existing migrants in the United States. Smith’s book in particular highlighted my personal struggle being labeled as a first generation migrant when in fact I didn’t consider myself so. Through Professor Kim’s teachings I finally learned the proper terminology to categorize people with my status. It meant so much to me after 21 years my life to be able to put to words accurately how I wanted to be identified as an individual.
It was even more splendid coming back to visit Professor Kim after my first day of work at the CUNY Institute of Mexican Studies one year later to explain to her that Dr. Robert Smith served as an Executive Board Member to the Institute and that he had invited me to attend his graduate class at the CUNY Graduate Center.
As I sat in her office sharing the news we were both gleaming with joy.
What accomplishment are you most proud of during your college career?
One of the proudest moments of my college career was finding a way to highlight my father’s impact on my professional development. As someone who is very detached from the academic sphere, having worked as a migrant farmer and horticulturalist I never expected any bit of my father to translate into my line of work.
When I presented at Adelphi University’s Annual Research Conference Day and I was able to share that my research topic on Exploring the Role of Music in the Transnational Lives of Migrants from Mexico in the United States, was inspired from sitting in the car listening to my father’s corrido music. I felt immense pride because I was paying tribute to my family’s humble roots.
What is your aspirations/dream job?
In many ways I have found it! I am currently working for the CUNY Institute of Mexican Studies, as the Initiative Coordinator of the Anchoring Achievement in Mexican Communities Initiative sponsored by the Deutsche Bank Americas Foundation.
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