Alumni Spotlight: Michelle Miguel
Michelle Miguel (B.S.’20), a proud Salvadoreña, chose VCU for its mission and value of diversity. She was a member of the Latinx Student Association and Students Today Alumni Tomorrow (now Student Alumni Council). In honor of National Hispanic Heritage Month, Sept. 15-Oct. 15, she talks about culture, pride and her college experience as a Latina and first-generation student.
“VCU was always one of my top choices, when applying to college. I knew this was a place where I was going to grow and have many new experiences,” she says.
Describe your VCU experience. What did you love about it?
VCU is one of the best experiences ever! It was where I first learned how to use a dishwasher, because every Latino knows that at home, the dishwasher is only used for storage and dishes have to be washed by hand.
It was where I met new people from different walks of life and met my best friends. I had supportive mentors who enriched my learning experiences and helped fund my study abroad experiences. I had professors who were Latine and made me feel like I was at home.
It’s where my leadership skills started to blossom (shoutout to Students Today Alumni Tomorrow). It is where I got to try over 50+ restaurants. It was where I had restless nights at the library. My opportunities were endless, which is why I love my experience.
Talk about the Hispanic and Latine community at VCU? Did you feel supported?
As a first-generation Latina, I did feel supported. I sought out all the resources I could get. Although I did not have the chance to fully commit to the Latinx Student Association, I still loved to see how supportive members were.
Why is it important to celebrate Hispanic and Latine heritage?
Celebrating Hispanic and Latino heritage helps to recognize and honor the rich history, traditions, contributions and achievements of this diverse community. It also helps promote cross-cultural understanding, respect and unity among different groups in our society. It is important to celebrate and value diversity in all its forms to build a more inclusive and equitable society.
What is something you wish people knew about your culture?
There are different Latin and Hispanic cultures beyond Mexican culture. The slang, dialect, food, clothing, traditions, beliefs, etc. of each country are [each] unique.
Name something that makes you proud of your identity and heritage.
My Salvadoran history and las pupusas, the national dish of El Salvador.