‘Be The Diversity’ Says Latina Student Advocate

When Tamara Vasquez stepped onto UCF’s campus four years ago, she could still hear the echo of her grandparents’ advice.

“They would always remind my cousins and I about the history behind our family name, and why success is important to achieve,” Vasquez remembers with a smile.

A proud Afro-Latina, Vasquez is the first generation of her family, originally from Peru, to be born in the U.S. She is also the first in her generation to attend college. Apart from that emphasis on education, Vasquez grew up with a firm connection to her roots.

She was raised in a Spanish-speaking household brimming with Peruvian history and tradition. Some of her favorite memories revolve around food like ceviche, rocoto relleno and lomo saltado, and dancing to music like marinera, festejo and huayno.

Vasquez was drawn to UCF initially for the institution’s emphasis on diversity. Originally a pre-nursing major, she found her passion in the form of advertising and public relations during her freshman year of college.

“I took this Visual Communications class that really stood out to me,” said Vasquez, who graduates in December. “I loved the topic, the subject, learning how people think and communicate. So I decided to switch my major afterward.”

With her major now decided, Vasquez pursued clubs, internships and opportunities on and off campus to broaden her knowledge. One thing she noticed was that her field lacked Latina representation.

“I noticed that the more I’d do internships or join clubs, there wasn’t many people that looked like me or came from a Latin American background like myself,” said Vasquez. “That was the inspiration I needed in order to push myself further and to show others that there is no need to feel awkward about the lack of diversity in your field. Be the diversity.”

Using this as motivation, she is making strides in the UCF community, recently landing her dream internship on the LatinX Heritage Month E-board as social media and marketing director.

For Vasquez, being on the E-board has fueled her deep-rooted passion for her heritage even further than she thought possible.

“I got to use what I am studying to try and close the gaps between international students and our huge university,” said Vasquez. “I ultimately want to elevate all students from all backgrounds, but most importantly I want to elevate minority students and assist them in finding the tools they need to achieve success in college.”

Looking forward, Vasquez wants to apply what she has learned thus far on the E-board and through other endeavors to her post-graduate studies. She is currently in the process of applying to the Multicultural Advertising Intern Program.

“Accomplishing my goal of being on E-board was just the start,” said Vasquez. “I want to continue to climb the ladder and encourage those around me, that are like me, to do what they love and to do it with all their heart.”





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