All posts by Joselyn Tejeda

LANSU Executive Board

Alumni Profile: Nathalie Quezada Warren ’08

Nathalie

Please introduce yourself, the year you graduated, and what was your major when you graduated?

My name is Nathalie Quezada Warren. I am Dominican, born in Puerto Rico, and raised in the Bronx, NY. I graduated May 2008 with a double major in International Relations and Psychology.

What was your Syracuse University experience like when you attended?

I knew I wanted to go to SU as soon as I stepped foot on campus. I visited during the Multicultural Spring Program and stayed overnight with a host. It was April and the weather was beautiful, the sun was out, and the birds were chirping.  Little did I know, Syracuse was playing a hoax.  Anyone who has lived in Syracuse knows this kind of weather in March is a rarity, and a total tease. During my visit, I was impressed by the diversity of SU’s population. I had previously visited other campuses and had not experienced this; I felt comfortable here and I was sold. A couple of months later I found out I had been accepted and I was psyched.

Once a student, I was very interested in getting to know the local Syracuse community. As a freshman, I co-founded the Cross-Cultural Connections Program, a successful diversity-training model that paired bilingual high school students from Syracuse’s west side community with Syracuse Police Department officers. In 2007, I was honored to receive the Racial Justice Award from Community Wide Dialogue to End Racism – InterFaith Works of Central New York and the Chancellor’s Award for Public Engagement and Scholarship.

I joined the SU Outing Club and learned how to rock climb and cave, satisfied my adrenaline craving, and met some remarkable folks. I also studied abroad in Madrid, Spain and had a wonderful time exploring Europe and Morocco. All in all, I took the initiative to make my experience at SU what I wanted it to be – an opportunity to meet new people, step out of my comfort zone, make connections, and have fun.

What did you do post-SU?

After graduating, I worked for about a year as a Youth Health Educator for Catholic Charities of Onondaga County, then as a program coordinator and site director at Delaware Academy for Say Yes to Education, a national non-profit organization committed to increasing high school and college graduation rates for inner city youth.  I loved and became a part of the community of Delaware Academy, a local Syracuse City School District elementary school on Syracuse’s west side. I invested my time in creating and managing attendance and behavioral intervention initiatives, managing the Say Yes after-school program, the Say Yes pro-bono legal clinic within the school, and creating a student government.

In September of 2012, I took on the role of Assistant Director of Winnick Literacy Initiatives within Syracuse University’s Shaw Center for Public and Community Service. In my role, I manage the Literacy Corps tutoring program and work to forge partnerships with the local Syracuse community to sustain community literacy and programming in the community.

I still maintain close connections with Syracuse’s Latino community. I am a member of the board of directors of Partners in Learning Inc., which provides support to the MANOS Early Childhood Education program, and the West Side Learning Center, an adult education center serving refugees and others for whom English is not the first language. I also serve as a mentor to young first-generation college women through On Point for College, a college assistance program.

Certainly, the greatest thing I have done was when, in late November of 2012, my husband and I welcomed our baby girl, Ámali Luz Warren.

What’s the best advice you would give to current students?

First, make connections, and maintain them – network! I have been working with college students for many years now and am always impressed by students who find the time to touch base. These relationships are valuable; when asked to give a reference, I am able to speak more clearly to this person’s growth and successes. In addition, when career opportunities come across my desk these are the folks that come to mind. It’s hard to forget a student who is in touch.

Second, open yourself up to experiences outside of your comfort zone, whether this means eating a new food, joining a new organization, studying abroad, or simply doing something on your own. These kinds of challenges prepare you for life after college. You won’t always have the opportunity to explore Europe without obligation or go rock climbing with a group you met just two weeks ago, so cherish your time here at SU and relish in those moments.

Third, in this economic climate, it may be ever more challenging to graduate and be immediately employed in a place that you love. Do not let that dissuade you from being successful. These are stepping stones and you never know where these opportunities will lead you. Challenging situations push you to explore yourself and your environment and can be opportunities for you to open yourself up to new adventures!

What do you think about LANSU Scholarship?

As the cost of higher education continues to rise, attending college has become increasingly more difficult. Although we have enrolled larger numbers of Latino students, the issue of retention is a real one. This is especially true for those who lack access to lending or financial resources. However, this should not determine the fate of a deserving student’s college education. A LANSU Scholarship can assist in alleviating some of the financial stresses so that students can focus on what they’re here for – to be successful at a prestigious University like Syracuse.  I am proud of my alma mater for taking on this issue and providing students with a much needed resource.

Gracias Nathalie!

Alumni Profile: Eunice Cuevas ’10

EC BHS Photo

Please introduce yourself, the year you graduated, and what was your major when you graduated?

My name is Eunice Cuevas; I was born and raised in the Bronx, New York. I graduated in May 2010 from the Martin J. Whitman School of Management with a Bachelor of Science in Marketing Management.

What was your Syracuse University experience like when you attended?

My years at Syracuse were everything I could have asked for. Although challenging, I would not be the woman I am today without the experiences I had, the friends I made along the way, the courses I took, and the obstacles I had to face personally and academically.

Furthermore, my time at Syracuse allowed me to get involved with various organizations throughout campus. I was an active member of Raíces Dance Troupe for all four years and served as co-chair for two consecutive years. I was also a Dimensions Mentor and a Wellslink Scholar.

Most importantly, Syracuse inspired my passion for traveling and gave me the opportunity to see the world as a resident versus a tourist. I went abroad and attended the SU Madrid program, visited countries such as Morocco, Greece and many others. I consider myself truly fortunate to have had a well-rounded education with travel, on-campus organizations, internships and memories that will last a lifetime.

What did you do post-SU?

The six months following graduation were a test of perseverance. I was unemployed and fighting for a dream that many college graduates assume would be handed to them upon receiving a degree (especially graduating from SU). This was not the case. My days were filled with countless interviews, waking up and uploading my resume to what seemed like a thousand different company portals, redundant thank you notes and a lot of waiting.

In the meantime I free-lanced for a start-up publication company and helped create their marketing materials and media kits to generate ad revenue. Although I was not being compensated for my work, I knew it was a career I wanted to pursue. With very little resources, the publication did not kick-off as hoped.

After some time, I received a phone call from a temp agency offering a job at a luxury real estate company as an administrative assistant. Was it what I wanted? No, but I saw it as an opportunity to start paying off loans and maybe consider another route. I attended the New York Real Estate Institute and received my Salesperson License. After a year with the company, I took a position (in a sense, a promotion) with a broker as a Sales Agent and Operations Associate. I was working with clients, showing multi-million dollar homes, seeing parts of New York City that many people would never see – still it was not enough. I was not passionate about the industry, I felt unfulfilled and I needed a bit of guidance.

Through some research, I found the L. Patrick Mellon Mentorship Program through the National Association for Multi-ethnicity in Communications (NAMIC), one of the many professional development programs they have to offer. I was paired with a mentor who is a VP of Marketing in the telecommunications industry. The relationship that was formed served to be highly instrumental to the next stage of my career. She pushed me to set goals, attend networking events and helped me to overcome personal fears and obstacles. One of my goals was to transition out of the real estate industry by the end of the year, it was July. Through NAMIC, I had the opportunity to volunteer at the annual NAMIC conference that fall where I met countless key contacts in the cable and telecommunications industry. I followed up with every person I met and I received responses from only a few, but by December I finally had a job in the industry I wanted.

I am now working for A&E Networks as a Distributions Coordinator with hopes to build a career in network marketing and business development. This is still, however, only the beginning of a long journey.

In addition to NAMIC, I am also actively involved with Women in Cable Television (WICT) and serve on the Latino Bigs of Big Brothers Big Sisters of New York City’s Leadership Committee. I am looking forward to be paired up with a ‘Little’ this fall and hope that I can make a positive influence in her life.

What’s the best advice you would give to current students?

The best advice I have ever been given and did not realize until after I graduated was to network. Syracuse University has insurmountable resources and has the capacity of opening doors that many other institutions cannot; take advantage of it. If I could do it all over again, this is where I would have focused my efforts (in addition to studying harder). Keep in contact with professors, peers and anyone you meet along the way. You never know when you will need a recommendation or where your next job will come from. Go abroad at least once and if you can, twice. Travel and see beyond the world that you know; it will change your life and finally, do not stop fighting for your dream. The only thing stopping you from achieving anything in life is yourself.

What do you think about LANSU Scholarship?

Attending college has become increasingly more difficult for Latino students due to the economy, lack of lending and financial resources. I have met countless students that give up hope of going away to college because of financial burdens. I think the LANSU Scholarship is an excellent resource and a foundation of hope for those students that have worked hard and deserve to attend one of the best universities.

Gracias Eunice!

Alumni Profile: Ana Marte ’04

Please introduce yourself, the year you graduated, and what was your major when you graduated?

Ana P. Marte is a Senior Talent Manager with INROADS responsible for consulting with a diverse set of corporate sponsors, ranging from Retail and Telecommunications to Diverse Manufacturing, to fill talent needs and support hiring diversity initiatives. Currently she manages the intern sourcing process for 12+ corporate partners and coaches, trains, and provides year-round professional development to a minimum of 50+ underserved college interns.

Prior to working with INROADS, she was a Research Associate at non-profit research center The Worldwide Security Institute in Washington, DC. While there, she authored The 2007 Military Almanac, a 250-page yearly statistical guidebook on the U.S military; and co-authored a series of bi-weekly comprehensive fact sheets on the U.S. weapon systems.

Ana Marte has a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and a Masters of Arts in International Relations from Syracuse University. During her time at Syracuse she was heavily involved on campus and off- campus, mentoring HS students and promoting literacy to elementary school students. She is involved as a leader in several organizations, including College Access Consortium of New York, Inc. and the NY chapter of ALPFA.

She is the recipient of a Citation of Honor in Recognition of her Leadership by the Honorable Queens Borough President Helen M. Marshall, for her leadership, service and positive impact on the underserved/underrepresented student community at large in the City of New York.

As the first in her family to graduate college, travel internationally, and attend graduated school — Ana has committed her career to promoting the value of higher education and increasing diversity in corporate America. She resides in New York, NY and is the mother of a beautiful baby boy – Alexander James.

What was your Syracuse University experience like when you attended?

Syracuse is a place that I have since graduation held dear to me. As a Senior Manager at INROADS, I am always looking for the next Orangemen student leader to be an INROADER with one of my corporate sponsors. It was a difficult transition at first, but once I got into the swing of things, I tried my best to focus on my academics, securing additional funding so that I can finish my Bachelors and further develop my connection to students of my graduating class. I certainly made sure to take advantage of mentoring opportunities through the HEOP program, to assist my long-time mentor Ms. Denise Trionfero and to explore Political Science outside of the U.S participating in the London Study Abroad program. If I would have done anything differently, I would have completed my social sciences study, with a business degree from the Whitman School of Business, for sure!

What did you do post-SU?

As a part of the Institute for International Public Policy, a six-component program pre-graduate program with the mission to promote minority students within field of International Affairs I prepped for my GRE’s and applied to several Graduate programs. Within the year I spent in NYC, prior to returning to Syracuse to attend the Maxwell School of Citizenship as a International Relations graduate student – I mentored a few high-school students; volunteered my time at the American Civil Liberties Union, as a communications intern for The Prisoners Project; worked as a paralegal with the City of New York Department of Juvenile Justice and private law firm of Danker & Milstein.

What’s the best advice you would give to current students?

Maximize all opportunities afforded. Connected with as many professors, administrators and develop ties with their fellow peers. It’s been years since I graduated and I am still closely connected with my CUSE contacts. In terms of academics, I would encourage students to focus on developing their writing and communication skills; skills that will certainly impact their life-long professional success. You would be surprised how many college students struggle with their written/verbal communication skills and presentation skills upon entering the professional workforce. Additionally, as my CUSE INROADERS have come to know candidates and Interns alike – everyone despite their course of study should take the opportunity to Study Abroad.

What do you think about LANSU Scholarship?

I think the work of LANSU is critically needed on campus as well as within the CUSE alumni community. I always felt like I was often one of a couple dozen Latinas’ on campus during my time at CUSE, but to have seen the growth of the Latino community attending the University, is something that certainly make me proud. Increased enrollment and retention of Latino students, most certainly can be tied to the doors that the University as a whole has opened up to our community, but also to opportunities such as the LANSU Scholarship; as it assists in alleviating some of the financial stresses so that students can focus on achieving academic success at such a prestigious University, such as Syracuse.

Gracias Ana!

Alumni Profile: Kenny Hernandez ’10

Kenneth

Please introduce yourself, the year you graduated, and what was your major when you graduated?

My name is Kenny Hernandez and I graduated from Syracuse University in 2010 from the Martin J. Whitman School of Management, majoring in finance. I was born and raised in Manhattan and grew up as the youngest of five boys in a single parent household. I am the first in my immediate family to receive a Bachelor’s degree.

What was your Syracuse University experience like when you attended?

My Syracuse University experience was everything that I could have asked for when I decided to pursue my undergraduate degree there. I was able to not only make life long bonds with Syracuse University staff and students, but also develop my leadership skills in the various student groups I was a part of. During my time at SU I was a proud brother of Lambda Sigma Upsilon Latino Fraternity Incorporated, I was on the executive board of the NALFO Greek Council, a member of the RAICES Dance Troupe, and a member of Student Leadership Institute. I was also awarded the Irma Almirall-Padamsee La Fuerza Community Enhancement Award, serving as recognition for my work in the Syracuse community and the Syracuse University campus.

During my time at SU I did my best to be an active member of the campus and community. I was always willing to lend a helping hand wherever needed and I tried to attend as many student-run events as possible to not only support my friends who organized those events, but to also to make the most out of time at Syracuse. Nevertheless, I had to make sure I struck an appropriate balance maintaining an active social/extracurricular life while still excelling academically. I interned at JP Morgan Chase & Co. within the Investment Bank for two summers before accepting a full-time offer in the fall of my senior year.

What did you do post-SU?

Since graduating from SU, I have been working full-time as an Account Manager in JP Morgan’s Prime Brokerage Group. I am responsible for managing the firm’s relationship with my deck of multi-billion dollar hedge fund clients. I also frequently go back up to Syracuse University to help with JP Morgan’s recruiting effort at SU. However, this summer I will be leaving JP Morgan to pursue my MBA at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.

When I entered the workforce, I was committed to continuing my community involvement and subsequently became a mentor for New York Needs You, a highly selective, New York based fellowship program that seeks to pair high-achieving first generation college students with young professionals in a myriad of industries to help bridge the gap between the fellows and their peers who have parents who have college degrees. I also became the alumni adviser for my fraternity’s chapter at Syracuse University to provide support and guidance to the undergraduate members of the fraternity. I am also a Management Leadership for Tomorrow (MLT) MBA Prep Fellow, which has been very instrumental in my pursuit of an MBA. MLT is the premier career development institution that equips high potential African Americans, Hispanics and Native Americans with the key ingredients that unlock their potential. Through these extracurricular activities, I have been able to really develop my career goals and develop an action plan to be able to set myself on the best path to accomplish these goals.

What’s the best advice you would give to current students?

My advice to current students is simple: be the best you that you can be. Don’t let anyone tell you who you are or set limits to what you can do. You know yourself and what you are capable of. We too easily let others distract us from our personal goals and often let these distractions become barriers to our personal success. Do not let money drive you (great advice coming from the finance guy right?). Follow a career path that is in line with your passions and interest because you will be excited to come to work and grow professionally. This combination is essential to attain a high level of success in whatever industry piques your interest. And when you are a high performer in your industry, the money will come so don’t be in a rush to chase money in your young careers.

Through it all, don’t forget to have fun. Life is short and your time will be better spent if you are enjoying your life instead of being a Debbie Downer. Surround yourself with people who complement you and make you better. Surround yourself with people who make you laugh and whom you genuinely like to be around. Never settle for anything less than what you deserve and each of you deserve GREATNESS.

What do you think about LANSU Scholarship?

I think the LANSU Scholarship is a great way to bring Latino SU undergraduates and alumni closer and really affect change in the Syracuse community. It is a way for alumni to really pay it forward and help the next generation at Syracuse University students. It is a great gesture showing that alumni are committed to helping every undergraduate attain the success they are all capable of attaining. There are many Latino alumni scattered all across the globe and it is a great initiative to make us one strong, united force.

Gracias Kenny!

Alumni Profile: Ghislaine Leon ’10

Please introduce yourself, the year you graduated, and what was your major when you graduated?

My name is Ghislaine Leon and I was born and raised in Harlem. I graduated with the class of 2010 and majored in Marketing and Retail Management at the Whitman School of Management.

What was your Syracuse University experience like when you attended?

I don’t know where to begin. I grew so much mentally and spiritually during my time at Syracuse University. The academics were a bonus, but it was the relationships that I built, the organizations that I became apart of, and the older class men that I watched and listened to at SU that defined me. Syracuse exposed me to things that I would have never experienced had I stayed in my hometown for college. For someone raised in the concrete jungle of New York City, it was life changing. It was a change of pace, a change of mind, and an enlightening four years of my life.

What did you do post-SU?

Post SU I had all kinds of odd jobs. I graduated at the peak of economic turmoil and I was forced to work temp jobs. I became a spirits ambassador during the evenings, holding wine and liquor tastings across NYC. I even worked at a bar for a few months to pay bills once Sally Mae started knocking on my door. The difficulty that I experienced searching for a job made me realize that I had to become very spiritual in order to keep going. My adversity became my victory and thus in the spring of 2011 birthed Fearlessleon.com. My sites mantra became “The Lioness While Hunting Never Roars” and that awakened a part of me that I didn’t even know existed. I founded Fearlessleon.com to motivate myself in my relentless pursuit. Since, my site has grown to become a space that motivates individuals who are fearlessly chasing their dreams.

In March of 2011, I was hand selected to participate in a very competitive summer program by W.E.E.N. (Women In Entertainment Empowerment Network) that prepared the next promising female entertainment executives. That summer I hustled and networked my way into the entertainment industry by volunteering at a plethora of events and landed a job assisting a very well known publicist that December.

I currently work for Radio One, a publicly traded company, under the Interactive One umbrella supporting their new Latino network Zona de Sabor and their Senior Director of Integrated Marketing as Marketing Coordinator.

What’s the best advice you would give to current students?

There’s so much that I would advise SU students. I would start by saying that if you plan to start a business start it while you’re still in school. Even if it fails, the skills that you learn while bringing something to life are incomparable and it brings way for you to have a portfolio to show for during interviews. In addition, people with entrepreneurial spirits stand out as leaders in any market place.

Secondly, before you declare a major, ask yourself “what kind of jobs are available in this academic path”? Too many of my friends majored in subjects that required a masters degree for employment ,but realized that after undergraduate graduation. Do your research and lock in a internship the summer after your freshman year. Your network is your net worth and you truly don’t understand the meaning of network until you’re living back home with your parents.

Lastly, make sure that you have mentors for different things. Whether its for financial advice, or resume and cover letter help, you’ll need experienced people to help you on different things.

What do you think about LANSU Scholarship?

I think the LANSU Scholarship is a way for us to start leaving a mark in the lives of those very teens that we once were. I also think it’s a way to bring SU Latino alumni closer as well as a way to build relationships with current SU students. We’re only as strong as those behind us its time we take more responsibility in helping others climb to higher educational heights. As a community we must lead by example and I am thrilled to support the LANSU Scholarship.

Gracias Ghislaine!

You can follow Ghislaine on Twitter.

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