Hispanic Heritage Month student highlight: The Gonzalez siblings and Juan Razo
Roberto, Yesica, and Julio Gonzalez are making their mark at IU South Bend. The three graduated from Bremen High School in 2015, 2017, and 2020 respectively. Roberto, the oldest, was the first to choose IU South Bend after attending a local private college to play soccer his first year. He was attracted to the Dwyer College of Health Sciences and its nursing program for both the quality of education and the affordable price. This December, he will graduate with his B.S.N. When asked about clinical rotations during the stress of a pandemic, Roberto shared that he has be gratified to witness patients who are really sick move from illness to recovery. It has been especially satisfying to him to know that he contributed to their care, “while also serving as a bridge for the language barrier and cultural isolation experienced by many Latino patients in the ICU”.
Yesica originally considered psychology has a major, however, friend and IUSB alumna in the radiography program, Cassie Gonzalez, sold her on the competitive radiography program. Yesi says in hindsight she was glad that she did not realize just how challenging the program was. “It has been stressful at times being the only Latina in difficult courses, like anatomy, or the only Latina in my radiography cohort class,” she said. Yesi will graduate in spring of 2021. “The time in radiography might be a small amount of time a patient’s overall care, but the impact that care has on patient’s lives is amazing,” she says.
Lastly, younger brother Julio joined Roberto and Yesi this fall as a first-xyear student. He plans to major in biology and attend medical school. He, like his siblings before him, is first-generation college student. The three credit their hard-working parents for their support, especially their mother whose care, compassion, and desire to help others has been their inspiration for selecting careers in health care. Julio states that it has taken time to learn how to navigate the transition to college, online classes, and financial aid, however, the 21st Century Scholar award inspires him to keep working hard to reach his goals. And while each of the siblings have faced unique barriers and personal successes on road to college, they hope their family journey will inspire future Latinx students to also take pride in their cultural heritage and to never give up on their own dreams.
Juan Razo was an infant when his family moved to Indiana after they relocated from Mexico. They have made Elkhart their home for over twenty years. When Juan graduated from Concord High School in 2016 he was unsure whether or not college was even a possibility. Then he met an IU South Bend admissions counselor at an Onsite Admission Day at school. “I had been doing a lot of research because I was concerned about finances,” he said. “IU South Bend was close to home, allowing me to stay connected to family, and offered a quality education at an affordable price.”
He began his college career in fall of 2016 in the Judd Leighton School of Business and Economics. He is majoring in accounting and financing and will be graduating May 2021. Early in college he began working at 1st Source Bank. He has worked as a customer service representative and has taken advantage of opportunities to work in different departments such as mortgage processing/servicing.
“In banking I see much more material from my finance classes that have a direct relationship to the ‘real world’ of work,” Juan said. “Financial ratios, credit analysis, monetary/fiscal policies, are subjects I read about in most of my finance books. To understand the material from my classes and then witness the application on the job is like envisioning a puzzle coming together. The concepts I learn about in school help make my career make sense.”
Another important aspect of college life is student clubs and organizations. Juan joined the Latino Student Union in the spring semester of his freshman year and one of the first major events that he participated in included a trip to Indianapolis in the fall of 2017 for the Indiana Latino Institute Hispanic Heritage Month Celebration.The first-generation college student experienced first-hand the value that specific scholarships in support of Latino students offer to students of diverse backgrounds.
As the culmination of his college journey quickly approaches, he hopes that future generations of Latinx middle and high school students, “ponte las pilas (a Spanish phrase meaning work hard) because their college goals, dreams, graduation, and future await!” Juan is excited to begin the next chapter of his career in business with an accounting internship at the Crowe, the ninth largest accounting firm in the U.S.