2011 Romero Finalists
Jesus Damian Baeza majors in English and Human Development and hopes to become a High School Counselor. He has chosen this profession to help others fight, as he remarks, "the negative stigma of being a young, Latino male in high school." He has participated in the ALC Volunteer Corp Immersion Trip, where he helped raise $20,000 for the Mississippi Delta Region. He also volunteers as a B.C. Orientation Leader. Jesus believes that "it is important for the incoming AHANA freshmen to see someone they may better [can] relate to [in a] leadership role." While studying in Madrid, Jesus facilitated activities for Moroccan children at the local YMCA. In addition, Jesus is Head Captain of the dance troupe 'Fuego del Corazon,' where he notes, "One of the most important aspects of being a member is being able to share a part of my culture with the BC community." Jesus also co-directs the Latino Student Recruitment efforts of OLAA and is a McNair Scholar.
Stephanie Gonzalez, a Psychology and Sociology major, exemplifies the role of leader in her efforts with OLAA and as Resident Assistant. She has contributed to the success of OLAA’s Hispanic Heritage Month since its inception. As co-chair of last year’s event, Stephanie notes that being involved in HHM taught to better manage her time, communicate more effectively and ask for help, “skills that [she] will carry for the rest of [her] professional life.” As Resident Assistant in the Walsh Residence Hall, Stephanie found herself in the exceptional position of being the role model and friend to 48 other young women. Describing that experience, Stephanie remarks, “I don’t think that I have ever had a more gratifying experience, being 48 different and unique individuals’ big sister…It enriched [my life.]” Stephanie’s Sociology major has helped her to better understand how important family, language and culture are to most Latinos and she hopes the opportunities she has received allow her to give back to that community.
Viera Vargas is a Psychology major with a clinical concentration and History minor. She declares that BC has taught her the most valuable, "that pursuit and accomplishment for the betterment of society, and not just one’s own, is personal fulfillment." Vieira’s outlook on life has been enhanced and challenged by her Obrigado Brazil service trip. From this experience she learned that the most challenging volunteer opportunities, teaching English and Math to orphan Brazilian children, are the most rewarding and worthwhile. She emphasizes that "these kids, though orphans, laughed so much, more than I did..., it made me wonder why this was so…" Vieira has also volunteered in the Welcome Wagon. Moreover, while volunteering at Mount Sinai Hospital, Vieira translated a safety website into Spanish to benefit large numbers of mechanics who do not speak or read English. She has also shadowed a physician who is a great inspiration to her. She hopes to emulate this mentor and, be "not only a professional consultant in whatever profession [she] decides to pursue, but also a friend."