Name: Mariana Ramírez
Alma Mater: UMKC
Current City: Shawnee, KS
Current Title and Role: Director at JUNTOS Center for Advancing Latino Health
Describe what receiving the HDF scholarship meant to you:
Trust: It meant that there were people, a whole community, who believed in me even if they did not know me. That sense of family and belonging was a blessing in itself.
Commitment: On the other hand, I felt committed to do my very best to honor the trust I had been granted.
Hope: Finally, I was humbled to have received the award for two years along with extremely talented students of diverse backgrounds and career interests. It meant hope of a better community and a better world.
How did your experience as a HDF Scholar help you be successful?
One of the main benefits of being a HDF scholar was getting connected to Avanzando, a UMKC- based mentoring program for Latinx students. Through the program, I met brilliant students and professors like Norma Cantú and Miguel Carranza who were an inspiration for many of us. The workshops and events hosted by HDF and Avanzando facilitated great opportunities to learn and network with other Latinx colleagues and people interested in Latinx education, research and service. Moreover, Marjorie Datwyler, Avanzando program director then, was an amazing person, always caring and resourceful. She was a great support for me during my time as HDF scholar and we are in contact to date.
What advice would you give to current HDF scholars?
I have got tons of advice from very smart people! Here are a few things that have stuck with me and helped in my career and personal life. Lo que vaya uno a hacer, hay que hacerlo con las mejores ganas. No matter if it is something small or big, doing it with passion always makes a difference. Family is a treasure! Whether it is biological, friends, or community, being grateful and caring for them is a gift. Finally, believe in you! Respect and love yourself.